I have been transferred to Thailand by my company for the next two years. I am a native English speaker, and so far I find the Thai language very difficult, to almost well-nigh impossible. What is the best way to learn the lingo? I see there are quite a few “language schools”, but I get the feeling they are just out to rip me off with their high fees. I want to converse with my lady friend a little better. Some suggestions please.
Dear Len the linguist,
I can’t recommend one language school above the others, as I haven’t needed to go to one myself. The larger ones are fairly reputable I am told, Petal. The best way, I am told, is ‘immersion’ where you go somewhere where nobody speaks your language and you have to learn Thai, just the same as a small child picks up Thai. Three year olds have a good command of the language, after all. This might be difficult for you if you are employed down here, so you might have to sign up for lessons. There is another method, called ‘pillow talk’ where your lady friend teaches you, but again, I am not offering!
My Thai GF likes to go back to the village every couple of months to see her mother. I’m cool with this but she never gets back when she says she will be. It goes from a couple of days extra to 10 days on one trip. There’s always lots of reasons why this happens like her dog gets run over, a local boy was rude to her and she went to the police to complain, so had to be there for the meeting with the police and the guy. The phone never seems to work either. Then there’s a funeral about once a month it seems, and I’m starting to get suspicious. What should I do about this? Or do you think I’m worrying too much?
I think you know the answer to this, my Petal. You’re being played for a fool. I’m sure she gets money for the bus or plane from you, so you are subsidizing her behavior. What can you do? Well, insist on her coming back when she says and accept no excuses. The phone coverage in Thailand, even to Isaan is good. So tell her she either starts playing the game or it’s all over. Don’t continue to be a sucker.
What is the situation with Thai law when you split from a live-in girlfriend? Does she have any legal rights to your property, cars, houses and such. I’ve been with this girl for about a year, but it’s time to change, but she’s already got the hand out and wants the house and the car. Hand them over, or tough it out? What is your advice?
You are asking the wrong person, Petal. This is Hillary, with heart balm for those injured in love, not a lawyer specializing in marital problems, even though some days it seems like it. However, I would imagine that the crux of the matter hinges on whose name is on the ownership documents. Foreigners cannot own houses in Thailand in their own names, so many just put the house in the girlfriend’s name, which is not such a smart move if there is a break-up as it ends up as ‘martial’ problems. See a lawyer.
In response to the many letters that you receive from the elite of UK and Europe etc, this letter is on behalf of the over sixties, pot bellied, beer swilling, bar girl ogling, past-it guys.
We are not all as described above, there are a lot of us expats who go to the local bar to meet up with our friends and discuss various topics. When we are there we are greeted by the bar girls, and as long time regulars of our particular watering hole, are treated with respect.
We don’t get the “come in sexy man” comments, and are generally greeted by name and seated in our usual spot, our drinks are brought to us without delay with the usual smile.
Where else will you get the bar girl to run out of the bar in a tropical rainstorm to get your favorite snack from the passing vender without any complaint or expecting something in return,
On occasion, when drinking a little too much of the mind clouding liquid, where else will you get the bar girl, or any waitress for that matter, to get you the regular taxi bike guy to take you home and make sure you are not ripped off on the way.
We watch from our particular vantage point at the bar, at the people who write in to you after their particular trip to Thailand, they walk into the bar and look at us as if we are too old and shouldn’t be there, we then watch the real experts (girls) go to work, and after several beers later, the guy’s chest swells up and they give us the old knowing wink, as if to say that’s how it’s done pop. A few more beers later and the old bar fine is handed over, and the expert leaves with another captive, on the way out, giving us old smiling guys, the old knowing smile and wink.
Thanks for letting me have my small say,
Not so Desperate Donald.
Dear NSD Donald,
Thank you for that wonderful snippet of the thoughts of the ‘elder spectators at life’ group, but as you can see, I did have to shorten it a little – the Editor gets twitchy if we run to two pages! I did have to correct the spelling as well - I get a little twitchy with a letter full of incredible spellings, such as yours. However, you certainly do know how to put the tourist who thinks he knows everything in his place, and I loved the “expert leaves with another captive.” I am glad to see that our local plus 60’s still have fun, especially the last Friday of the month – is that pension day, my Petal? I will make it my business to drop by one Friday.
One guy I know has just lost about everything, other than the clothes he stands up in, to what we all thought was the sweetest Thai girl you’d ever meet. They were married for 12 years and had two kids but she was cheating on him for the last couple of years. He believed in her so much, he ignored all the warning signs like staying out “with the girls” until four in the morning. He left her a couple of times but she always got him back by promises she would be faithful but that was just more lies. Now he’s divorced and potless, the divorce lawyers taking anything that was left after she took everything she could grab that wasn’t too hot or too heavy.
There are always two sides to any argument/discussion or divorce court. You have been getting one side only from a man who is looking for sympathies and another beer. The court finding for the woman is the same all over the western world. Ask any UK citizen, American, Australian or European and they will all say the same. Marriages made in Heaven can turn into divorces made in Hell. Just be a friend to him and get him out of his igloo or wherever he lives these days, but don’t be surprised when he does it all again!
The wife of a friend (sort of business acquaintance) is making it obvious that she would like to have an affair with me. Sends me messages to say where she is at any time, and do I have any free time to meet with her? This has been going on for a couple of months and now she is having dinner parties at her home and inviting me to come along, and even supplies a partner for me, though these are always her friends and they don’t get near me when she’s around. It is a good business we are in, and I don’t want to spoil that. Any ideas Hillary?
Looks to me like you want to keep your cake and eat it as well. You are in charge of the situation here, not her. She is saying there is an opportunity, but that is all. What happens from now is up to you, my Petal, but the best thing you can do is run. Very fast!
I have come over here on holiday from the UK and I am shocked by what I see here, going on night and day. I can put up with the endless beer bars with young women trying to get people to sit down and drink. I can put up with the fact there are gogo bars with women displaying their bodies as some sort of tourist attraction, but I cannot put up with the way old foreign men walk around with barely teenage Thai girls hanging on to their arm. They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression. Don’t they know, or doesn’t anybody tell them that they are just being taken for a ride? They’re not clever. It’s disgusting.
Mona from Manchester
Dear Mona from Manchester,
When you say “They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression” are you referring to the old foreign men, or the barely teenage girls, Petal? Honestly Mona, this can be applied to both of them. They are smiling because they have found themselves in a situation which is good for both of them. The young girls have found a financial ‘sponsor’, whilst the old foreign men have found themselves a gorgeous young companion who will take care of their every need (until the money runs out). They know what the name of the game is, Petal. So what is so wrong with it? It is a win-win situation, so no need to be shocked. Can a ‘man from Manchester’ get a deal like that back home in the UK? No, he’s more likely to get a moaner.
Saw another living dead expat this morning with two young lovelies, one each side, keeping him upright walking down the street. I didn’t follow them to see where they were going, but if you guess the ATM machine, I’m sure you won’t be far wrong. Should we feel sorry for these old blokes being ripped off by these girls? Or should we be sorry for the girls?
Read the letter above yours. The only person I feel sorry for is you, Petal. The old expat isn’t complaining, the two girls aren’t complaining, so what are you doing in this scenario? If you are going to call it a “crime”, then it is a victimless one, can’t you see that? In actual fact it is a win-win-win (as there’s three people) situation. He has two sexy “nurses” looking after him and the two girls get a nice old gentleman looking after their needs (I know it is financial). So what is wrong with that? Looks to me that you are more than just a little jealous.
Why do some of your readers want to pick a fight with you? You are doing your best and if they don’t like your advice they start complaining. Don’t these people know this is an entertainment page? Even so, your advice is pretty well on the mark.
Aren’t you just the sweetest man. But, Petal, I don’t let silly people worry me, especially when I know there are readers out there who understand what this column is about. These are readers with real problems, looking for confidential advice. Thank you for your support.
People forget when they are calling Thai women names, that cheating happens all over the world, not just in Thailand. How many who claim that they were cheated upon didn’t cheat themselves too? How does it go about throwing the first stone? I reckon that if you get cheated on you either forgive or take a walk. I did both – forgave her first time but she did it again, so then I took a walk. Should have done it the first time, I suppose, but we had been married for five years, and I thought everything was OK. Lost a heap of money, but you can’t live with a cheater I reckon these days. Should I try again with a new woman, Hillary?
You are still hurting, aren’t you. Are you sure you didn’t throw the first stone? It does sound as if you have finally made up your mind, so I hope it works out for you. You were obviously not happy where you were, but take your time in finding another lady for your life. They say a house is the most expensive thing you will ever buy in your lifetime, but it isn’t – it’s a wife, Petal. Tread carefully.