Wednesday, 01 October 2014 17:09

Hot Line for the Hopeless

Dear Hillary,

There is a shopping center very close to my office. There is a very pretty young girl in one of them and she always gives me a big smile. Lately she has been giving me a shy little wave as well. I would like to know a bit more about her, but how do I do it, Hillary?



Dear Ron,

Does RON stand for Run Over Now, or what? Ron, you are not going to be able to find out anything about your boutique girl from outside sources. There is no Hot Line for this kind of problem. The girl is doing one of two things - either she is interested in you, OR she wants to get you over to sell you some of her merchandise. How do you find out? It is easy, my Petal. Next time she waves, walk over to her little stand and say, “Hi, How long have you been in this shopping center?” or something equally as easy as an ice-breaker. You will soon see if she is interested in you, or what you’ve got in your pants - not that! Your wallet!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:40

Baht bus blues

Dear Hillary,

Not being a cheap Charlie I pay for distance covered (on the baht bus). 10 B should get you from Pattaya Thai to Tops super market, and you can stretch it out to Big C hand the driver B. 10 and walk away, but if you are that stingy you deserve to be ignored next time you wave a cab down. I have never had trouble when handing a B. 20 note over for a reasonable short trip and said “Kor Hi Sip Baht Khup.”



Dear Sean,

Thank you for replying to my query as to how far you can go in a baht bus for B. 10. I think you are correct, and with the price of everything going up these days, the baht bus driver is also looking at an increased weekly spend in the markets for groceries, so be fair, is my answer.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:39

Risking “it”

Dear Hillary,

I am thinking of having an affair with one of the girls at work. She is obviously up for it and gives me all the right signals, but is discreet enough, so that nobody has guessed that we have sneaked away for some fun and excitement. Only problem is that I have a live-in Thai GF and even though she seems OK with me going out on my own which I do a couple of times a week, I don’t know just how she would take it if she found I was with another woman. Your understanding of this type of thing is much better than mine - I don’t even understand western women, let alone Thai ones!

Living on the edge


Dear Living on the edge,

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Cut it off and feed it to the ducks’? It happens frequently, Petal, and I’ll leave you to guess just what “it” is. You can always get the duck to cough it up, or make it into a duck stew, but Thai women have even more inventive methods of disposing of the “it” which has been visiting where “it” shouldn’t. The vegetable food processor makes it all pretty final. So if you want to run the risk of having to sit down to wee wee, just keep going. Lots of luck in finding “it”.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:38

Money woes (again)

Dear Hillary,

I think I am being ripped off. My Thai wife has recently started to ask me for more money than she normally gets for housekeeping and the monthly wage I give her. It was just a few hundred baht here and there to start with, but now she needs thousands at a time. When I ask her why she needs the extra she gets sulky and when I really push her for an answer the best I get is “for family - you farang no understand.” Hillary, is there something here that I should understand, or what? I am getting very tired of the continual cash hand-outs.



Dear ATM Matt,

It sounds like there is lots you don’t understand. “Family” is important to a Thai and is one of the strongest bonds for the individuals in that family. Family keeps them together, family gets them over problems of all types, financial and otherwise. Your girlfriend may be returning money borrowed from before, or may also be helping her brother/mother/father/cousin (delete that which is not applicable) out of a jam. And on the other hand, she may be gambling with it, another very common Thai pastime. You really have to start communicating better with your girlfriend, Petal, if you want to know where the money goes. If she is the money manager for the household, sit down each week and discuss the family budget. If you do this in a non-threatening way, then you will find out where the money goes. If it ends up in sulkiness or accusations, then it is time to review the entire relationship and handle the housekeeping yourself. I also note you are paying her a “wage”. What is that for, Marc? Is she a wife or a “mia chow” (rented wife)? To me, your relationship seems to be based only on money, which is never a long-term basis. Time to review everything, my Petal.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:36

Are they all in the banking business?

Dear Hillary,

I read all these tales of woe that your letter writers send to you about losing money and getting ripped off. Is it really that bad in Thailand? Surely there are some good ones, or are they all on the make? Do you know how many marriages to bar girls fail? Can’t be ‘all’ of them, can it? I’ve met so many great girls on my holidays each year and I can’t believe that they would be anything other than great wives for some lucky guys. What is the real situation?

Scottish John


Dear Scottish John,

Even in your highlands ‘mixed’ marriages fail, and that’s just marriages between men and women. Now look at the marriages you want to examine - the love sick visitor and the hardened professional girl behind the bar. One has been convinced that this is the marriage made in heaven. Besotted Billy just wants the ring on her finger, while business girl Bee can’t wait to investigate a joint bank account. She is in the banking business, Gary. This marriage lasts as long as the bank accounts.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 16:42

Winter woollies cheap!

Dear Hillary,

I just read an article in the dining out column where Don, Aka Nod, said for B. 450 they should dish up the whole sheep. This is more of a Legal or Moral question than a relationship one.

Many years ago I worked as a mechanic in outback Australia. My boss also ran a property with 20000+ sheep. He would sell me 1 sheep for $3.00 on the condition that I drove out there, selected a beast, killed and dressed it myself.

Being of good Irish Stock whose ancestors had been shipped to Australia on trumped up charges of stealing, I would round up two mates and drive out there and select a beast each.

We now had three sheep for an outlay of $3.00. I also had three hides that would fetch $4.00. By now I was showing a profit of one dollar and had enough lamb to feed me well till next time.

I know my boss was claiming losses on his taxes. So using the logic of the local priest (Irish) I was helping him out and the good lord would have no trouble with me if a leg of mutton were to show up at the manse back door.

I don’t know the statute of limitations on duffing but I fear I may be sent down rather than up when my time comes.

Please Hillary help me out. (Psst if you are heading down under I can let you have a nice sheepskin vest at a good price.)



Dear Bryan,

You have me totally confused, but thank you for your email and the offer of a woolly vest, just what I need in our tropical paradise! I also don’t quite understand what you want me to help you out with? Alter your course of destination from the fires of Hell to the balmy pursuit of the Heaven in the clouds which has herds of sheep for the taking and lamb chops for dinner? I am also a trifle worried with your information that your boss insisted you dress the sheep yourself. I didn’t know that Australian sheep wear dresses, but it probably goes a long way towards my understanding of some of the culture from Down-Under.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 16:41

Hillary hits the “aitches”

Hi Hillary,

First, I appreciate your column. Always get some insight and enjoyment. Kinda have to disagree with an house, an horse... I always say a house/ a horse/ a home... if I am wrong ... no problem... It won’t be the first time or last... keep writing... Thanx,



Dear Joe,

It all gets down in the end to what is called “common usage”, like the “got” or “gotten” idea, Petal. Personally I don’t worry about these things, as long as nobody is trying to drag me off to an hotel, or even a hotel, unless there is some Veuve Clicquot and Belgian chocolates in the dining salon!

Dear Hillary,

I agree with you that ‘an’ should come before a noun beginning with any of the vowels. In English, where a word begins with the letter “H”, this consonant must always be pronounced, although English people never do. So it is not an ‘orse, an ‘otel, an ‘ouse. It is a horse, a hotel, a house. The only European language to drop the “H” is French.

As to Robert’s comments on British accents, having worked on drilling rigs around the world for 25 years and known Americans from “Loozana Coonass”, Louisiana Cajun up through all of the Redneck states to the big city of “Noo Yoik”, New York, I have liked and understood them and they me.

The British Empire was guilty of many massacres, and for this I am ashamed, but the British people never took part in state sponsored genocide as did the Americans against their own native tribes.

I am an articulate, multilingual Scotsman looking forward to independence from the remnants of the Empire.



Dear Don,

What have I started? What have I done, Don? How do I gotten off this runaway ‘orse? We’ve even got ‘ercule Poirot waiting in the wings as well. I have heard the statement that Britain and the USA are “separated by a common language” even if just in the pronunciation of tomato or tomayto, and we’ll not get (gotten) into the argument over elevators and lifts.

Anyway, let’s get into something easy like jilted boyfriends and walking ATMs. I’m better equipped for those!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 16:39

Now it’s RAMS as well!

Dear Hillary,

Can you recommend a good computer technician? Every time my computer breaks down, the technician takes it away to fix it, and returns it several days later and when I go to use it, something else has packed up. “You haven’t got enough RAM,” seems to be the catchword with these people, but even after buying more, the problems are still there. Any ideas, Hillary?



Dear Frazzled,

You’re lucky it’s only a RAM problem. I’ve bought a veritable sheep station of RAMs and now they’re telling me it is my operating system that is no good. I ask you, what’s wrong with Windows 1946? It worked before, why not now? Honestly Petal, I have no idea about this modern technology. Bring back faxes, I say. I could understand those.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 16:50

Seven-11 gone broke

Dear Hillary,

When I complained about being broke, you said I should give up drinking. If I stopped drinking, the Singha company would go broke as well as 7-11.

Singha Jerry


Dear Singha Jerry,

Thanks for the advance knowledge, Petal. Seven-11 and Singha Beer are the basis of the entire Thai financial system. Thank you for keeping the country afloat. I will ask our new PM to give you an award, after he has kicked out all the grafters. Don’t wait up!

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