The usual suckers in this ‘land of smiles’ where money talks really loudly and losers (like myself) can’t even afford to take a baht bus ride (farang price; which is a bit ironic because I guestimate that many Thais in Jomtien and Pattaya are a lot better off than a farang on a pension). Having said that, I do think that bar girls and sex workers in Thailand are badly ripped off by greasy old sex tourists. If a pot-bellied, bald 60 year old male wants to sleep with a beautiful 20 year old girl (and younger), he should pay accordingly; at least 5,000 baht a night and not the derisory 50 euros (2,000 baht) he is now getting away with. The Thai authorities should step in and safeguard these girls’ interests. That same greasy old sex tourist would be paying a heck of a lot more for similar services in Europe.
Yours, a sad old walker (that is ‘walker’)
Dear Sad Old Walker,
In your letter, you are suggesting that 60 year old overweight bald male tourists should be subject to a 500 percent escalation in dormitory fees - I don’t quite understand this at all. Firstly, there are no “sex workers” here and you can verify this by asking any policeman. Secondly, it is against the law - you can check the statutes on this fact. So you see, the “Thai authorities” (the police) are already safeguarding the interests of those girls who work in the bars, so you can stop worrying. Incidentally, this is a type of discrimination you are proposing. What about 60 year old tourists that still have hair, or who are not overweight? Will they be made to pay your new schedule of fees too? Your “new order” needs refining, Petal. By the way, I’m sorry you have to walk everywhere, but I’m sure the exercise is good for you.
I have been with my Thai partner now for one and a half years and we are both very happy. I read your column every week and over the last few weeks I have noticed how many people write about not meeting “Nice Girls”. My lady has six friends who are interested in meeting any kind gentlemen. They are all working ladies (not bar girls) and their ages are from 30 to 48 years of age. If anybody is interested please get in touch with me and I will send the information to them. Thank you for your help.
Thank you for your letter, and I do believe you and your partner’s friends are sincere in your wish to help/meet kind gentlemen, and be a helping hand. However, this column is not a dating agency - for many reasons. I cannot vouch for the men who may answer your letter - are they all really “kind gentlemen” - as I cannot vet them, I cannot give that guarantee. Are all the ladies, as you would suggest by your letter, not people out to make some money from unsuspecting farangs? Again I cannot vouch for your partner’s friends either. So I hope you can see that it would be wrong of me to become the intermediary or ‘match-maker’. What your letter does do, is to show that there are many nice girls out there, and I would suggest that perhaps you and your partner and her friends should attend some farang functions, like the expats’ clubs, or the chambers of commerce, and meet the kind of gentlemen they are looking for at those type of events.
What is the situation here as far as dowries is concerned. I have been living with this girl I met in the local bar for a few weeks and I have been up to her home town to meet her folks, and they seem to be OK sort of people. Her mother looks after her child from a previous marriage. My girl is now saying that her parents expect us now to get married and we must go back to her village for the ceremony, and that I should pay the dowry for her as well as paying for the monks and the marriage ceremony and party. I asked her how much did they expect and she tells me around 200,000 baht will cover everything. Honestly Hillary, that is a lot of money, being a bit short of 4,000 pounds, and I don’t know that I really want to go through this at that sort of money. I understand this may be the custom out here, but I want your opinion on it.
Dowries are still expected in some regions of Thailand, but 200,000 baht is a bit steep for a blushing bride you met in a bar, who has been married before and already has one child being looked after by her mother. Are there any others hiding round the corner? Any contract of marriage should not be entered into when there are doubts, and you are certainly showing more than a few doubts (not that I blame you). You do not say how long you have been in Thailand, but I get the feeling you are a newcomer. A ‘real’ marriage, which is recognized in both Thai law and the UK, is not the one in the village, but is done at the local amphur office. You asked for my opinion, Petal, and here it is - run!
I would like to invite one of the girls from my work to go to dinner, but I am unsure of the way to go about it in Thailand. She is very reserved, and I am told she comes from a “good” family. Should I offer to have someone as a chaperone? Or is this not necessary these days?
Goodness me! There are some old-style gentlemen left in this world! Honestly, my Petal, most educated Thai women are quite emancipated these days, but if you want to be very politically correct, I would suggest you just ask her if she would have dinner with you next Thursday night, and if she would like to bring a friend, that is quite alright by you. If she turns you down, I will keep Thursday night free, as long as there is French champagne on the menu!
Why do the Thai girls all wear those molded plastic bras that look like two dumplings attached to the front of their chests? It is obvious that the lumps don’t belong to them, but come from the bra shop. I’m like a lot of guys and like a nice pair on a girl, but real ones, not plastic ones, please.
Tom the T-man
Dear Tom the T-man,
I presume you mean Tom the Toyman, you naughty little Petal! Since Thai girls were standing behind the door when the chests were given out (the Russian ladies made it to the front row), we have to do something to catch the eye of Toymen like you, Tom. So you have discovered our secret. Don’t tell everyone, that’s a good boy.
Regarding your recent contact with Horace and how Thais speak English. You attempted to compare foreigners to Thais with your comment “educated Farangs think they can speak Thai, use incorrect tones and continue to make farcical mistakes”. However, if it is explained to us then we make the correct adjustments. You can tell a Thai 1 million times that the correct pronunciation is “house” and not “hou” and the very next time the Thai will still say “hou”. Your comparison isn’t valid. The whole thing is simply ridiculous.
Of course it is ridiculous. My column is neither a language school trainer nor a psychiatrist’s couch. It is a fun look at all our lives and the tiny problems we give ourselves. Lighten up, JCB and crawl back into your “hou” and have a beer.
I remember some time ago that you got some food questions, and I was hoping you could answer mine. I have seen people eating what looks like an egg “parcel” with meat inside it. What is it? And would it be too spicy for someone like me who is a little afraid of spicy food?
I am sure you are referring to a Thai omelet, called “Kai Yat Sai”. Generally the filling is pork based, but you can get chicken as well - ask for “Kai Yat Sai Gai”. It comes with a little bowl of red ketchup - but beware, it is chilli, not tomato, so I’d steer clear of the red stuff! Around 50 baht at most food carts. Enjoy!
It seems impossible to buy furniture here that is not in “kit” form. Since I do not know which end of a screwdriver to use (and my husband is just as technically challenged) what should I do? Any suggestions?
You are worrying too much, my Petal. The nice friendly furniture shop will send a team of semi-trained carpenters who will put it all together for you, and a 100 baht tip will be very welcome. If the shop says they don’t do the assembly, then go to another shop - there’s enough of them.
We are fairly new to living in Asia and I am not sure what to do with our maid. She came with the apartment and seems to be a very nice person. My problem comes with the number of days off that she seems to have. It is not that she does not come to work, it is that she tells me that she has to see her mother, or it is a special day for Chinese or something, so she will not be here on some day next week. Is this the usual for Thai maids, or am I being made use of?
Hillary is sitting here having had to make her own coffee. My maid is off at the temple. But how many unscheduled days off a month does she have? About one or two extra days off a month is standard custom. Not one a week! Most Thai employees and all maids take every Buddhist and Thai holiday off for which you are expected to pay. Have you thought of joining one of the ladies’ organizations here (listed in the Pattaya Mail) so you can learn the ropes quickly. Remember to smile a lot at your maid even if you can’t speak Thai and bring the odd sweet cakes for a present for her sometimes. Good luck.
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?
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?