Heart to Heart – May 8, 2019


Thai language or Language Thai

Dear Hillary,

As you are such a knowledgeable person, could you please explain to me why Thai people always say things backward, for instance Bank book is said a Book bank, woodworm is said as worm wood and many others, also road marking for cyclist on the way to Silverlake are marked as Lane bike, not Lane for bike or Bike lane. I know we all get a little tongue tied, with or without a few bottles of bubbly.

UK Ian

Dear Ian UK,

It’s all in the adjectives, Petal. In Thai the adjective follows the noun, while in Pasa Angkrit, the noun follows the adjective. If asked for a book, you know what it is – a book. “Bank” tells you what kind of book, describing being adjectival. You have also complicated matters even further. Riding a bicycle in the proper lane, what word do you come to first? Bike or lane? You are riding in the lane bike, aren’t you? You are also Ian (noun) from UK (adjectival), and not UK Ian. Simple.


Don’t check my phone

Dear Hillary,

I left my mobile at home when I went out to play golf. Unfortunately my Thai GF read the messages and is playing no-speaky. I am a little worried because I read in the Pattaya Mail of one annoyed Thai woman who stabbed her husband to death a couple of weeks ago. Is there any way to get the relationship back in order? We have two kids. I’ve counted the kitchen knives so I know if she is keeping any hidden somewhere.


Dear George,

You have just started to understand that a sweet little caring Thai girl can turn into an angry monster, especially if the monster is the green eyed jealous one. This is a very difficult situation, my Petal. You have two choices as far as I can see it. The first is to just continue as you are, putting up with the silence and wait for the anger to diffuse itself. This can take up to three months. The second is to call it quits right now, explaining that in the western world, this situation has gone on too long and you want her to forgive you and then you can go back to being a couple again. Only you can decide which choice is for you. And how much you are prepared to spend to get out of it.


Green eyed monster week

Dear Hillary,

Is this green-eyed monster week? My problem is worse than George’s (see above). He is worried because she is not speaking to him. Mine is the opposite who screams and shouts at top volume. The quiet little lady has turned into a dangerous dervish. If it weren’t for the kids I would have packed my bag and left, but I can’t leave them in her crazy clutches. What is the next step?


Dear Kerry,

Yes, you have a similar problem to George, but the children of the marriage does make your situation totally different. The next step is to settle everything with the kids, stay in touch with them and have nothing further to do with your ex. Ideally they are with you and she has access. Less than ideal for you is she becomes the custodial parent and you have access. Time for you to consult a good lawyer and not Agony Aunts.


Yet another rip-off?

Dear Hillary,

How do you know whether you are being ripped off or not? With all documents being in Thai, and some of the local customs and ways of doing things quite foreign to me, all I can go on is the amounts paid to girlfriends by my pub mates. It began as a few hundred baht here and there, no problems. However it has grown bigger and bigger and now it’s a few thousand each time, and that is over and above the monthly salary.


Dear Harry,

You are in a difficult position here. “Family” is important to a Thai and is one of the strongest bonds for the individual. Family keeps them together, family gets them over problems of all types, financial and otherwise. Your girlfriend may be returning money borrowed from before – in that time in her life B.H. – before Harry. She 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, ask her. If it ends up in sulkiness or accusations, then it is time to review the entire relationship. I also worry about relationships where the “girlfriend/wife” is paid a “wage” each month. For what, Harry? For staying with you, putting up with you, or what? We call that having a “mia chow” (rented wife), and a master and servant relationship will always fail, in my experience.