What with all the doom and gloom internationally about the world going into a recession, rice prices through the roof, petrol becoming a luxury, do you think this will produce an increase in costs in the red light areas in Thailand?
I am not sure what you mean, Bill. “Red light areas”? Do you mean under the traffic lights, but they also go orange and green and are ignored by all road users as being unimportant, so I presume that wasn’t what you meant. If you mean the bars, then you should be more specific, Petal. With rice, the staple food in Thailand doubling in price, one must expect that beer, the staple drink in the bar areas, will also be going up in price. I cannot think of any other costs in the bar areas, as prostitution is against the law, and therefore does not happen. Perhaps donations to one’s favorite Buffalo Rehabilitation Unit (BRU) may have to be increased, but this I am not sure of. I suggest discreet questions to the Mamasans might yield better results than asking me, after all, I don’t really follow the international stocks and share indices.
My wife’s mother is coming down from the up-country village, to spend a few days with us. I have not seen her since we got married and I was wondering what I should call her? “Mum” sounds pretty silly to me, as I am older than she is. What do you suggest I should call her to be polite?
This is the easiest one I’ve had all year, Petal. You ask your wife! Like all Thai wives, she will know what to call her mother. Relax.
You may find this a strange request, but I am an American interested in Buddhism and wondered if it would be possible that on my next holiday here I could join a monastery. I would only have two weeks but imagine that in that time I could at least get the basics of Buddhism. Is this possible? I don’t mind where in Thailand that I would go as I am interested in the study, not the geography or tourism side. I have always been impressed watching the orange robes going along the streets with their begging bowls in the mornings.
There is no such thing as “strange requests” in Hillary’s letter box! If you want to understand the basics of Buddhism, you have to start long before you get on the plane to come to Thailand. To begin with, have you looked to see if there is a Buddhist temple in your region in the US? Discussions with the monks there will assist you in your quest. Monks in America can generally all speak English, while in the temples here, they naturally speak Thai.
I would recommend that you get the following books before going much further, “Buddhism Explained” (ISBN 974-7047-28-4) by Khantipalo Bhikkhu, “Phra Farang, An English Monk in Thailand”, by Phra Peter Pannapadipo (ISBN 974-202-019-1) and “The Good Life. A guide to Buddhism for the Westerner” by Gerald Roscoe (ISBN 974-8206-56-4). Read these before ordering the saffron robes, Petal.
It amuses me when I read some of the letters that men send to you complaining about how the bar girls that move in with them seem to always want more money. You live with a bar girl until you are ready to move on or tired of being an ATM. You guys have it easy. I have been married to a Thai woman for 8 years. When I met her she worked in a hospital, I guess you would call her a non-bar girl. Here’s my point; I have spent much more money since being married than I ever did when I had bar girl friends. When you marry a Thai girl, you also marry the entire family. My wife has six sisters, all married with kids. They never ask me for money; however, when I see that one of the them is having a hard time paying off the bank loan because the rice crop was flooded out, a nephew or niece needs money for school, a brother-in-law is laid up in the hospital because one of his bulls kicked him, or another bother-in-law drives around in an old rusted out Mazda P/U while I drive a New Nissan P/U and our house is paid for, I help them. Do you think I turn my back on them and “move on”? The eight years I’ve been married to my Thai wife are the best years of my life and I hope for many more. Although I respect and admire the bar girls - theirs is not an easy life, they are just trying to survive - I will never go back to that kind of life.
Dear Uncle Bill,
Why didn’t you wait for me? I am having a hard time paying off a bank loan (tried to buy 50 kg of rice the other day and it was more than my salary, so I approached the bank for a food mortgage), and I have a rusty old bicycle as I can’t afford a pick-up (but I avoid bulls at all costs). You have also correctly described the Thai families (that you marry into) - they are not (despite claims to the contrary) all standing in line with their hands out. They are ordinary people who look after each other when needed. You sound like such a nice man, my Petal, I shall cry myself to sleep tonight having missed you. However, I am so happy to hear you are enjoying the “best years of my life”, and yet do understand the plight of the bar girls. Or rather, the trade of the bar girls, as they are not forced into working from around a chrome pole - they choose that existence. “Plight” is how they promote it, looking for (several) kind hearted gentlemen (ATM’s) to give them their pin numbers and fantastic plastics. Stay well, Uncle Bill.
Is that Tim guy for real, who wrote in asking how to transfer big wads of money to his ever-faithful sweetheart? He has fallen into the Thai trap of bringing everything back to financial terms. “You love me? Give me 20,000 baht. You really, really love me? Give me 40,000 baht. You love me forever? Give me 100,000 baht!” Relationships are not based on money, but on trust and that wonderful emotion called love. Not infatuation, which is the bar girl’s stock in trade. These old dudes start believing the lies that this 18 year old has fallen in love with him, so “just send me some money honey and I’ll leave the bar and go back to the village and wait for you coming next year.” So the infatuated dork sends the money over to his “sweetheart”, so that she doesn’t have to spend her nights going to bed with the endless supply of old losers like him. Hillary, you did try and warn him, but I think you should have just told him to stop being an idiot and wake up to himself. Remember, “You can take a girl out of the bar, but you can’t take the bar out of the girl!”
Telling it straight
Dear Telling it straight,
I think you are being a bit hard on Tim, my Petal. There have been many relationships between bar girls and older “sponsors” which have worked well for both parties. The problem is getting the Tims of this world to understand that it is a two-way street. She gets the benefit of an income, while he gets the benefit of the company of a lovely young girl. That works well for foreigners living here, but I don’t think it works as well for the ones living overseas and coming over for their three week holiday each year. It really is asking too much of the girl that she gives up all opportunities of gaining money for the other 11 months 1 week. Would you? If there is money to be made, then why not? Even 100,000 baht a month does not guarantee faithfulness, when the relationship is only based on money, I agree. And always remember, “You can lead horse to drink, but you can’t make it water!”
A couple of weeks ago, one of your readers was complaining about getting massaged at the urinal. Peculiar this has never happened to me at the Hilton, Le Saigon, Bruno’s, La Bocca, Volterra, Sugar Hut, or Cabbages and Condoms. In fact it has never happened to me anywhere, but I confess not to being an idiot wasting time/money on bars and clubs. Why have you not asked the “Mama San” (or owner) rather than presume it happens at ‘gay’ places in the gents WC? For your benefit I have done a short google search and have discovered this for you. Tip to have it done or not have it done as you like. Perhaps you looked as though you needed to relax your prostate. http://www.travelingmanchild.com/1/post/2013/01/urinal-massage.html
As I wrote in answer to the reader’s problem, I don’t frequent male urinals and none of the bars I have been in have masseurs in the Ladies. Sorry, but this is one area I just don’t know! But thank you Robert, the URL was interesting!
Dear Hilary (sic),
Please allow me to correct Arnie in his letter to you, and you in your response to it. Firstly, is that Anna Leonowens was not American: she was British. And secondly Dear Hillary, is that the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s movie ‘The King and I’, is based on the fictionalized book ‘Anna and the King of Siam’ by Margaret Langdon (sic) and not Anna Leonowens; whose first book of Siamese memoirs was entitled: ‘The English Governess at the Siamese Court,’ and her second book: ‘The Romance of the Harem.’
I hope that this is of help.
Dear Johnny Foreigner,
Thais are not very good at history, and I am no exception it seems, especially after being subject to bans. Thank you for correcting me, but you should note that the author you refer to is Margaret Landon, not Langdon. And my name is Hillary, not Hilary (two ells). Shall we call it quits?
Is the ability to turn on the waterworks part of the school curriculum here? You see it every day on the Thai soaps, weeping females after having been ditched by the on-screen boyfriend (who also is having it off with the “bad” female), and so it goes on with more floods of tears every episode. The soap is only mirror to real life. My Thai GF thinks she can get away with anything (including the latest cheating on me) if she can turn on enough tears. Well, tears or no tears, she’s out the door.
You’re not really asking for advice from me, are you Petal. You are looking for somebody to tell you that you are doing the right thing, aren’t you, Jacob? In personal problems such as yours, you have to make the decision, not Hillary.
I married my Thai fiancée after a year of engagement. She is a professional lady and we have always done everything in a proper fashion. My wife is 15 years younger than me and this gives us a problem. When we go out, many foreigners assume that my wife must be, or have been, a bar girl even though she in no way acts like one. She has no tattoos or wears sexy dresses or even smokes. I realize that as high as 85 percent of all Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex tourists”, but this is not so for other 15 percent of Thai-foreigner marriages. Please tell your readers that not all Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex tourists”, and stop making false assumptions.
Now you’ve got all that off your chest, do you feel a little better, Petal? However, I think you have made a few false assumptions yourself too. Where did you get that figure of 85 percent of Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and what you call “sex tourists”? Let me assure you that “sex tourists” do not come to Thailand to get married. That is why they are sex tourists - they want the fun in bed without the filling out forms fun at the local Ampur office. Honestly, James, 85 percent of Thai foreigner marriages are between people such as yourself and your wife. The foreigners who “look down” on you are the foreigners who are not in the marriage market, just the bar meat market. Ignore them, my Petal.
I am sure you get asked this all the time, but are all the women in Thailand just on the make? Every one I have met and end up in a relationship with seems to have her hand into your wallet within days of arriving at the condo with a suitcase full of clothes. Or I should say an empty suitcase for me to fill with clothes. Then it is some to send to Mama, for her children. Is there one honest woman in Thailand?
Tired of being an ATM
Dear ATM with exhaustion,
Ladies who are willing to move in at the drop of a wallet are ladies from the bars. You know this before you begin. Look elsewhere for a relationship.