I have been visiting Pattaya regulary (sic) for the past 12 years and love the place. Regretably (sic) the many financial crisises (sic) have deleted my funds and I can not afford to live in the palatial rooms I was accustomed to in your fair city. I was wondering if you have space in your penthouse for a respectable Aussie gentleman? I can not pay much rent but am willing to provide any services you may require.
Don’t hold your breath, my Petal. Don’t they teach English in Australia? Your spellings seem to come from Ethiopia. And “deleted your funds” or was that supposed to be “depleted your funds”? Goodness me, Hillary is a lady of letters, and if we were sharing my penthouse I could see me all day correcting your English. Now, why are your funds so low, after 12 years? Do you think you might come and spend mine - is that it? I am also a little worried as you describe yourself as a “respectable Aussie gentleman.” My friends tell me that the person you describe does not exist, but is a dream. You sound far too much of a risk for me, Platypus Petal. Sorry, I must decline your kind offer of “services”, whatever they might (have) been.
The cost of living in Thailand has been going up alarmingly. Compared to when I was in Thailand 12 months ago, it seems as if everything has gone up at least 50 percent, and some items even more. Little roadside stalls that used to sell a decent plate of food for 20-25 baht are now charging 35-40 baht for the same dish. Even the items in the local fresh market are becoming expensive. How do you see this going when the AEC comes into being at the end of 2015?
I do agree with you, Kevin, but there’s nothing you and I can do about it. Every country seems to be going in the same direction. Rents are up, cost of houses is up, gasoline and diesel is up, bus fares are up. As far as the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) is concerned, will it really happen? I don’t know, my Petal, I really don’t know, but I am the wrong one to ask. Speak to someone in the Chambers of Commerce!
Some newbies wonder just how the local expats make it through the day with all the nudge-nudge wink-wink you know what I mean side benefits that are available here and you suggested it was the same as the kid in the candy store thing. Hillary, I am sorry to say you are not really right. All that happens is that half of the expats settle down and get married but the other half never get out of the candy store, and what’s wrong with that. I know of guys who are in their 70’s and 80’s and maybe even older who still go to the bars every day, and even if it does take a couple of blue diamonds to get them going, does it really matter? They’re having fun, the girls get paid and surely that is a win-win situation. You would have to agree, Miss Hillary, as well as admitting that you were wrong for once.
Dear Blue Diamond,
What you describe is certainly a win-win situation Mr. Blue Diamonds, but is real life just as much a win-win situation? Unfortunately no, as you will have seen from the thousands of letters that have been posted in this column over the years, Petal. If it were such a win-win situation, why would anyone be complaining about their lot? Here’s the real situation. The ones that get married suffer from the same divorce statistics as marriages in their own countries, with about 50 percent down the drain. That’s real marriages. Then there are the ‘marriages of convenience’ (mia chow - rented wife) which also do not last (usually because the money dries up and the mia chow departs with whatever is not too hot or too heavy), and then a large portion of the remainder just get tired of the lack of the chase. The foreplay being restricted to “You want short time?” Followed by “OK. How much?” This is hardly hunter and hunted. There’s no conquest, let along no contest here. You would have to agree, Mr. Blue Diamond, and some of the chaps you think are in their 70’s and 80’s are probably only 45, but very dissipated.
(Following on to the chap who found his wife cheating) In farangland as I know it, it was mostly the wife who would hang on to a cheating husband. I know a few here who tolerate their husbands cheating. But their choices are different, do they tolerate it because the alternative is worse? Here farang will hang on way past the bitter end with a Thai wife. I was married more than 10 years, though no kids between us, but the first proof of indiscretion and we’d be done. While it happens everywhere, I just can’t get my head around living in a torturous, stressful relationship. I can’t see the point of being with someone who causes unhappiness. I would instantly separate myself from anyone who causes me drama. While kids are a major concern, resign yourself to the fact that are so many other family members around, the kids will not go un-loved. I’d be sure they get what they need, and see them when possible, without being a nuisance, or you will turn the whole family against you. Move on and try to be friends. Like elephant poop in a soi, you can see it from a great distance, but continue walking toward it until you have to make a drastic change of course to avoid it, then maybe stumble on something and fall face first into it, when it didn’t have to come that.
You are quite the philosopher, Petal, but I stick to my point that I have always said, the children come first. I am not so sure they “will get what they need,” as you are. Children need that father figure and a farang father is what is needed for a “Luk krueng”
Can nothing be done about the songthaew drivers? For a tourist city they give the place a bad name with their stand-over tactics and demands for fares much greater than should be the case. No wonder the foreign tourists look for taxis, but unless they have their wits about them they will again be quoted exorbitant fares, rather than using the meters. Until our city fathers meet the songthaew monopoly head on and produce a real public transport system, this will always be a third world tourist destination.
Unfortunately you are quite correct, my Petal. The songthaews which do not have any fixed or marked destination will always be a turn-off for tourists, as the majority of the drivers do not speak another language. Why would you expect them to get on transport with unmarked destinations? Perhaps it is time for the TAT to get involved and issue ‘tourist bus’ licenses for drivers who meet a minimum standard in communication. Hillary has given up with the songthaews, taxis and tuk-tuks, and use motorcycle taxis when possible. They appear to be a friendlier bunch and will heed the “cha-cha” (slowly) instructions. You do have to barter first, but that’s part of the fun of living in the ‘third world’.
I need some advice here. My Thai GF (fairly recent) wants a motorcycle and I have no objection to that, as long as she wears a helmet. The problem is she wants to buy a motorcycle, instead of renting as I suggest. I understand a Thai person wanting something that has a value, but I’m not really ready to lash out for a motorcycle, and I wonder if I am being set up?
It isn’t every day I get a letter from a famous person like Valentino Rossi. You are THE Valentino Rossi, aren’t you, my Petal? Now getting real about your problem, honestly it isn’t a problem. I can understand you not wanting to spend around 40 thousand since you are unsure about the relationship, but here is the answer - buy the motorcycle on installments and put it in your name. No big spend, a few thousand baht a month and you keep control over the whole thing. There you are. Done and dusted!
How do you go about transferring some money to a girl in Thailand that I met on my holidays? Not much, but just a little amount that I would like to send to her each month, to make life a little easier for her in the bar, and not to forget me. Are the money exchange places reliable?
My initial advice is to lock up your wallet and change your email address. Ern, my Petal, why give away the money you “earn” (couldn’t resist that one). You met her on your holidays and obviously it was a financial transaction then, and to continue across the oceans will take more money, and then more money, and then even more money. Put something aside each week for your next holidays and spend it with her, or others like her. Don’t even start, Ern!
I met Noi some 12 years ago. She had worked in Bangkok’s rag trade for 23 years but after making a claim on her employer’s insurance policy she was laid off. Moving on to Pattaya as she was past the used by date and not overly attractive, so she could only find work on day shift in a bar. I met Noi one afternoon when she remarked on the two lines ironed on my sleeves and offered to do my ironing. I put her on the pay roll and we have been together for over 12 years. As I am in my twilight years and semi invalided Noi has nursed me, bathed me and does all the chores associated with a marriage. I find it impossible to take the bar out of Noi, because it was never there.
Thank you for telling me your wonderful story, and you certainly found a real gem in your Noi. Looks aren’t everything, it is the “jai dee” (good heart) that is important, and you don’t find it in a bar too often. As you say, you didn’t have to take the bar out of Noi “because it was never there.” I hope your health is better.
I can’t believe it’s 2014 already. It seems like it’s just 2001, because that’s when I met my sweetheart, and even though you don’t like it, I found her in a bar and we’re still together 13 years later. We got married after a couple of years of living together, because I wanted her to get anything here after I die. I’ve taken everything out of the UK, where my first family lives. They’ve never done anything for me over the years, so I’m quite sure I’m not leaving them anything now. My Thai wife looks after me so well, it’s the least I can do is to look after her. Before I go to sleep she makes sure I’ve got water, gives me a back massage and sits there till I fall asleep. In the morning she’s already got the breakfast going before I get up. What western woman would do all that? None. I know there’s a risk with girls from the bar business, but I’ve got no complaints with mine. She wasn’t the best looking one, but inside she’s a little diamond.
I am so glad you are a Happy Henry, and you are correct in that there are some little diamonds that can be found behind the bar. Unfortunately there’s a few cubic zirconias as well, so you have to be careful, which you were, waiting a couple of years before you got married. I cannot really comment on your family in the UK, Petal. They probably felt that you deserted them, while you think they’ve done nothing for you. Might be six of one and half a dozen of the other, I think. Whatever, they are still your family and you should keep in touch if nothing else. Enjoy your life with your wife, and do thank the spirits for the lucky choice.
See so much in your column about the women in Thailand being able to milk some poor saps dry in no time at all that it makes me worry about going over to your side. I was planning on a trip over the Yuletide, and friends who have been over say that there’s no shortage of lookers, but you’ve got to watch them as they will put pressure on you to buy them gold necklaces and suchlike. What is your advice Mrs. Hillary?
I don’t quite understand, my Petal. Your friends who have been over here say “there’s no shortage of lookers but you’ve got to watch them”, did they mean “lookers” or “hookers”? You have to decide which kind of woman you are looking for. If you think you can rock on over here and pick up a virgin film star who is an orphan and does not support a buffalo or a younger brother who just fell off his motorcycle, which is on time payments, and broke his leg, then you have unreal expectations, George. Like all things in life, you will get what you pay for, and short term company in Thailand is just the same. However, for the small cost of a bottle of (good) French bubbly and some Swiss or Belgian chocolates, I am willing to let you escort me to one of our better restaurants one evening. No hanky panky mind, this is just a way to show you that not all Thai women are on the make.