Wednesday, 28 May 2014 16:04

Looking for a lovely loo

Dear Hillary,

I am trying to make a constructive criticism here.  I am a regular visitor to Pattaya and it beats me how the streets and footpaths and vacant lots and even the beaches are just so filthy.  The majority of the public toilets, except in the most expensive hotels, are indescribably putrid and filthy.  How can they stand it?  Don’t they care about health and sanitation or even the tourist dollar.  Don’t they have any National pride?  Isn’t there anyone assigned to clean up the place or doesn’t anyone care?



Dear Jim,

You’re throwing a bit of muck at us, aren’t you!  And a little unfairly, too.  The beach vendors do clean their area of the beach every morning.  The council workers do clean the streets and pick up the garbage here.  Certainly, nobody cares much about the rubbish lying around in vacant lots - the locals just don’t see it.  Thais have a different mind set to farangs and deliberately ignore anything unpleasant they do not want to see.  And yes the Asian loos do take a little getting used to.  However if everything was legislated out of existence and sparkling clean just like your home is supposed to be, exotic tropical Thailand would lose a lot of its appeal and you wouldn’t want to holiday here so often.  Part of our attraction is the fact that you can experience a freedom here, that the over-legislated western countries do not allow you to do.  Have you ever thought of that?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:46

Is this a take-home pack?

Dear Hillary,

I am only here for a short holiday, so I hope you can answer me quickly.  I have fallen in love with a Thai girl and don’t know what to do.  She works in a bar, but she had only just come down from her village “up country” this week.  She makes friends very easily (all the other girls in the bar seem to know her) and speaks very good English.  I would like to take her back to the UK with me when I go next week.  How do I go about this?  Will she come with me (I haven’t asked her yet)?  Do I need to ask her parents’ permission to take her overseas?  Please hurry with the reply as I haven’t got much time left.



Dear Starstruck,

You have an entire lifetime ahead of you, not just next week.  How old are you, my Petal?  15?  16?  Your girl is not a newbie (“all the other girls seem to know her,”) and you don’t learn “very good English” up in Nakhon Nowhere.  Simple answer my Petal, is to leave her where she is, where she is happy and has lots of friends.  Don’t send her money, and grow up a bit more before your next trip to Thailand.  It’s not the place for you.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:45

Mother problems

Dear Hillary,

I have fallen very much in love with the cashier at the local optical shop.  She seems quite interested in me, we have been out together a few times, but there is one problem in our relationship.  I asked if I could come and meet her parents, but she immediately said no, and when I asked why she said because her mother does not like farangs.  I sort of feel that if this relationship is to progress any further I am going to have to get over the mother problem.  Any advice Hillary?

Myopic Mark


Dear Myopic Mark,

You’re not the leader of the Democrat party are you?  Anyway he’s not a farang, he was just educated in farangland.  Now then, your short-sightedness extends beyond your glasses I am afraid.  Before you go any further and make a spectacle of yourself, I would suggest you have to tread warily and slowly.  The wooing you have to do is with the mother, not the daughter, Petal.  Send flowers or a buffalo, or whatever is required, to mother before making the next move on the young damsel.  On second thoughts, have you tried the girl in the dentist surgery next door?  Your optical romance sounds as if it has terminal teething problems.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:44

Bar versus restaurant

Dear Hillary,

I used to be very friendly with a girl in a local café and often used to just say hello, as her English was not very good.  About three months ago she disappeared and the new waitress could not tell me where she had gone.  However, I bumped into her in a shopping center the other day and her English was much better, so I decided to ask her out for dinner.  She told me she couldn’t go as she was working in a bar in South Pattaya, but I could see her there.  Hillary I was just so disappointed.  How could a sweet young girl from a restaurant turn into yet another bar girl?  I still like her a lot.  Should I try to get her to leave?  She’s much too nice for the bar work.



Dear Jimmy,

In a word, No! There’s an old saying - You can take a girl out of a bar but you can’t take the bar out of the girl!  If that’s what your sweet young thing wants to do, you have to accept it.  Just think about it from her side of the fence.  She did not make much money as a waitress, the hours she works in the bar are up to her, and she gets to meet lots of native English speakers, as well as just you.  She’s made her decision and you have quite frankly nothing better to offer her.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:43

Workplace problems

Dear Hillary,

One of the women in my office was always meddling in everyone else’s business, telling them what to do, and generally being very aggressive about it if anyone crossed her or contradicted her.  Nobody knew what to do about her and she was becoming a real tyrant.  When she left the company we were all very pleased, and it became a good place to work again.  However, she has started doing part-time work in the office again, and we are all dreading what is going to happen when she decides she wants to work full-time again.  She has known the boss for many years and he seems reluctant to intervene.  This has depressed everyone of us.  What should we do?



Dear Depressed Dazza,

If there’s enough of you, then just ignore her and refuse to work with her.  You all got along OK without her, so surely you can continue doing that.  If that doesn’t work, then there’s always other offices to work in.  Unfortunately these types of people do spoil it for everyone else, and there is not much you can do without the support of those higher up.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 16:17

Is there an ess in the how?

Dear Hillary,

Why is it that even well educated Thais who speak English cannot put the last “s” sound on words?  My girlfriend has been to English classes for months, but still says “How” instead of House and “Eye” instead of Ice.  Should I change the school she goes to or what?  Your advice, Ma’am!



Dear Horah,

Thai does not have an “ess” consonant at the end of a word, Petal, so Thais do not see one, or say one, even in English.  For the same reason educated Farangs think they can speak Thai, use incorrect tones and continue to make farcical mistakes.  Lighten up and be less critical.  Ignore the pronunciation, relax with a scotch and soda and a little “eye” and keep a happy “how”.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 16:15

Ya Ba

Dear Hillary,

I will soon be back in the beloved Kingdom for some much needed rest and relaxation.  I have discovered in my limited travels in Thailand that I should be polite but plain spoken and to the point in order to get exactly what I want.  I have always had a brilliant time in Thailand.  Bearing that in mind I would put forth this straight forward question.  Some of the boys I consort with smoke a little marijuana. I don’t, but I don’t mind if a few boys split a joint as long as they don’t bring it to my room.  That’s my little rule.  A good Thai friend of mine told me to stay away from the boys who are taking or offering “ya ma”.  He tells me that a farang could end up in the monkey house over this drug.  Please tell me what ya ma really is.  I know most of the others, but ya ma doesn’t ring a bell.  I am not a drug user, but I am curious about this drug and what the legal ramifications might be if a boy brought one to my room unbeknownst to me and got caught somehow.

Paranoid and Anxious


Dear Paranoid and Anxious,

It is not paranoia to want to stay out of the monkey house.  Not a very healthy place to be, in fact suicide would have to be considered as a more viable option to becoming an inmate.  Firstly, farangs have been locked up for possessing small quantities of marihuana.  The lucky ones get deported after paying a lot of money.  Secondly, the drug ya ba (which is what I believe you mean) is amphetamine or speed.  Ya ba literally means “crazy medicine” and you’d be crazy to try it.  It is a Class One narcotic here, and it’s jail if caught.  There is also a ya ma, which is roughly translated as “horse medicine”, and is generally heroin (“horse”, H, “heroin”).

As with other drugs, the seller frequently tips off the police and shares the reward.  Stay well away if you want to have a brilliant holiday.  If you want further encouragement, read, “Twelve Wasted Years” by Warren Fellowes.  This is a horrific story of the time he and his friend spent inside, as a result of heroin trafficking.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 16:12

Beer Bar Blues

Dear Hillary,

I have been offered a 50 percent share in a beer bar, and the price seems very reasonable (about ten thousand pounds sterling).  The bar does good business (especially with me around!) but they do not keep books the way we have to in the U.K., so all I have to go on is the number of patrons - and that seems very good.  How do I protect my investment, as it looks like a wonderful way to retire over here?  Are there any hidden problems I should know about?

Lucky Lenny


Dear Lenny,

Not lucky for long, Lenny, this is a veritable minefield.  Not only a foolhardy retirement plan here, it is also the best way that has ever been designed to lose ten thousand pounds sterling, or more, within six months.  Of course there are no books kept, neither are farang “partners” kept for long.  The “patrons” may have been just invited friends, that is a common practice (renta-crowd).  Don’t even consider it.  If you are still skeptical, leave the Sterling at home and come over here for a six months look-see.  Do your own research and by that I do not mean just sitting drinking in bars.  Find out how many bars there are in Pattaya.  How many of them are well frequented?  How many of them have farang owners or partners who have been here for years?  What makes you think you can run a successful bar and what experience do you have?  (Being a customer just doesn’t rate.)  Do you speak Thai, do you have a trusted Thai friend you can trust with your life and your bank account?  In that six months you may be able to locate a trustworthy Thai lawyer to help you arrange documents but that is really not much safeguard.  As a bar owner you would become an instant target for the powers that be for all sorts of over and under the table payments.  What you are suggesting is akin to taking the pin out of a hand grenade and playing pass the parcel!  Forget it Lenny and stay lucky!

Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:54

German Fraus or Thai bar girl?

Dear Hillary,

In response to Gunther, the German chap with money missing, you are right Hillary.  Spot on, “save your money.”  This German fellow did not meet his lady at a language school now did he?  Yes, things can and do get lost in the post, but basic teaching is to fold a sheet of paper around the currency.  In the west we even do it with a check.  Just coming from offshore the envelope is going to arouse suspicion.

“I called to my girl at the bar and she said there was no letter from me.”  Was that the only one in the series that had money in it?  Was it mailed TO THE BAR?

I am hoping that he has sent her bits of money before and this was a one time thing.  Obviously he has a kind heart but does he have good sense?  But even so he has to “call a bar” to reach her?  A BAR?  Gunther, choose where you want to be, the Fraus in Germany await you too.  Are you number five or number ten on the “sending her money” parade?  Please do a total of the money spent versus the “certainty received” and ask your dad, your uncle, or any older guy you will respect what your chances are “fishing on the Danube” with this one.

I am personally acquainted with the next door neighbor of a friend of mine who has three men keeping her.  The only thing the woman has to fear is that the three of them will come in the same week.



Dear Robert

Thank you for backing me up, but I wouldn’t be too hard on our German friend.  So he has a relationship with a girl from the bar, it would be hard for him to have any other GF in Thailand other than one of the lovely ladies of the night, who are skilled at making sure the Gunthers of this world come back for second helpings.  And third and fourths…  However, having said all that, he should find a way of transferring money that is more secure.  If he is worried, I have the ideal answer.  He transfers the money to me, and I will go round all of the bars and find which one his vision of loveliness works in.  I will make sure I spend it in the right bar.

Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:52

Pensioner problems

Dear Hillary,

Ron with the vanishing British pension a couple of weeks ago really does need some help, and more than you gave him, Hillary.

Ron, hope you don’t mind dark humor, but you will get the last laugh.  All you have to do is die old fellow and the money fully stops!  That will teach her!  Tough break on the UK fixed pension if you are not living in UK which makes you subject to inflation and currency exchange changes.  Of course, you are not in UK spending money in the local economy either which is why they froze it.  (If you were there it would be you that was freezing!)

Perhaps having the brothers in law “in residence” will encourage you to take a lot of walks buddy.  Perhaps they will join you and you can point out all the “help wanted” signs in Thai to them.  Yours is an excellent case to comment on and something anyone coming to Thailand from UK or any Western country should consider.  “Should I marry?”  “Should I own a condo in Farang name or rent?”  “Should I live in Thailand full time or half year?”  “How much should I have saved up in investment money before I retire?”  “What is the greatest and lowest exchange rate for my pound in the previous 10 years?”  If you plan for the lowest rate to be the best you ever get anything over is a bonus.

Your situation kind of makes a 15K baht a month housekeeper companion sound like a bargain.  But, I presume you love your wife and she loves you and except on this score she works hard and treats you well old friend.  Very best to you.  I hope you rent only and when you stop so does all the money.



Dear Rob,

You certainly have a streak of dark humor don’t you, my Petal?  And just a dash of sarcasm too!  However, the questions you raise are all very legitimate and should be addressed by all those thinking of coming over here with their pension pounds in their pockets, which as has been pointed out, gets smaller every year.  Unfortunately, marrying and home purchase can be decisions that can make or break relationships in this country.  Ron’s situation is somewhat different, in the fact that he has already married, house with a mortgage and lazy brother-in-laws who do not help.  When you boil it all down, Ron has only two choices - put up or shut up and go back home.  Neither is much fun, but he might do better in the next life if he just soldiers on in this one.  I think you will agree with me, Rob.

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