Heart to Heart – Friday January 4, 2019 – January 10, 2019


Addicted to chocolate

Dear Hillary,

I sympathize with you, Petal, as I too have had a life-long battle with my addiction to chocolate. I first knew I was addicted when I was about five years old and used to bite off some of my Mum’s cooking chocolate. Then I went through hell as a teenager with pimples every day, but I had to keep nibbling the chocolates. I didn’t care. These days I need a Mars bar every day or I can get the withdrawals. What do you do about the cravings?

Charlie Chocolate

Dear Charlie Chocolate,

You have me all wrong, Petal. I am not addicted to chocolate, I just like chocolate. I don’t need chocolate every day, and the chocolates (and champagne) have been pretty sparse recently anyway. If I was feeding your addiction, I’d be in very bad withdrawals by now. Seriously though, I think you should talk to your doctor about this. You might have sugar or something. And by the way, you are my Petal, I am not your Petal. OK?


No place like home

Dear Hillary,

You might think this is a trivial problem, but it isn’t for me. About a year ago I set up home with a Thai girl, who is many years my junior. This does not seem to bother her, though it bothers me at times. Her family comes from the northeast and I have been up there and met them, and they seemed nice enough farming folks. They accepted me quite readily, but I always felt a little left out at the family gatherings as they can only speak Thai and my girl had to translate all the time. (They also drink that awful Lao khao stuff!) For this reason, and because I am busy at work, I have not been back up there, though my girl does go up frequently. Is this the usual way families behave in this country? If it is, I will say nothing, but she will often go back for two or three days, the last being the end of Buddhist Lent. Have I anything to worry about?

The Worrier

Dear Worrier,

You may have lots to worry about, or nothing at all. Are you worrying because you think she is not going back to the family rice paddy? I am having to try and read between the lines too much here. It is very usual for daughters to go home and pay respects to their family, and often contribute financially as well. Does your lady have children there that are being looked after by her Mama? Honestly, Petal, it sounds very normal to me. Talk to your friends who have been married to a Thai girl for some time. You’ll find it is the norm in this country. Caring and following the family principles will carry over to you as well, if you allow her to follow her traditions. In the meantime you can always see your doctor for some anti-worrying pills!


Snogging halitosis

Dear Hillary,

My problem is with bad breath. In the mornings it would peel the paint from the walls, but my girlfriend wants an early morning snog. I have tried holding my breath, but that doesn’t work as I have to come up for air after thirty seconds. Have you any ideas that might help?


Dear Hal,

Is that short for “Halitosis”, but do not despair, help is at hand. Try first by jumping out of bed and throwing the toothbrush over the gums before the morning snog. If there still is a problem, make flossing and teeth cleaning the family fashion before retiring at night. And look for a dentist.


No wedding day blues

Dear Hillary,

I asked my Thai girlfriend to marry me, but she said that she could not because her family did not agree. I found this amazing as the girl, a woman really, is 28 years old and surely old enough to make up her own mind. We have been dating for the last three months, and I thought everything was sweet with her parents. I have been married before and have grown up children, but she does not. Do you think it is because I am a foreigner? Or is there something else I am missing here? I had intended taking her back to my home country after we were married.


Dear Confused,

I think there is lots that I am missing in this equation too. Where do her parents live? What are their occupations, including that of the daughter? Where in the family hierarchy does the daughter come? All these can have an enormous bearing on the response by the family, as well as the woman’s adherence to family traditions. You also have to remember that you are probably more than twice her age, and again, as you have realized, you are a foreigner. You have not been dating very long either, Petal. You may think you know this woman after three months, but I doubt it. Understanding Thai society and Thai minds can be a very difficult process for foreigners. Finally, it could really just mean that she didn’t want to disappoint you, so used the usual excuse. Sounds like a lost cause. Better start looking somewhere else.