Settee shenanigans


Dear Hillary,

I am writing to you with a sad cautionary tale. Briefly, a lady from Buriram who I met in 2003 worked as a masseuse in various shops and we became friends platonically. She was genuine (no extras) and with two sons to support I was glad for her when a Swedish man invited her to share his life in his Jomtien Condo in 2004. She could continue working but not late at night. I rarely met her and had not seen her for a long time so when we met by chance in a local Boots shop I invited her to visit me for a coffee and a chat after a daily English lesson at school. She was happy with her life and told me she had finally finished building a new home in Buriram paid for over time with her own money but had no cash left for any furniture. As it happened I had ordered a new settee due for delivery in a few days and I was in a quandary how to get rid of my current one which I inherited with the condo so I offered it to her free if she could arrange to collect it. No problem, two of her friends from school arrived and the settee had a new owner so we were both pleased. So far so good but this is Pattaya where the word TRUST is unknown!

Yesterday she sent an SMS requesting immediate help. She and her Swede had visited her home and he had volunteered to buy some furniture for her very bare home but on seeing my old settee he became enraged and accused her of much wrong doing saying no one gives something for nothing in return! He returned alone and when she eventually arrived he told her to get out, she had no money and asked if I could give her enough to cover a month’s rent for a room, she would immediately look for work of course. I was glad to, what are friends for? The attitude of her guy gave me a sour taste, he assumed wrongly that as I had given her a present she had been playing around with other men – this after three years living as his wife. She was very philosophic about it all but who can SHE trust again? If you print this as a warning giving gifts sometimes brings a lot of grief.


Dear JMS,

Indeed a sad cautionary tale, but I believe there is more to all this than meets the eye. However, please do not think that I am sitting here as judge and jury, but I am trying to look dispassionately, Petal. The lady had been living in a marital situation for three years, but the trust between them was obviously simply not there. I wonder why, and what prompted the outburst from the husband? Perhaps there were other events leading up to this? You are only giving me one side of the story (the one you are being given by the lady), and in any relationship there are always two sides. You have not been made privy to the Swede’s side.

You also wonder whom this woman could trust again. She seems to be able to trust you, and you trust her, even giving her money for rent, so “trust” still exists in both of your minds. You say she is philosophic about it all and this could either mean that she is applying Buddhist principles to her life, or even the fact that there was little spark left between she and her Swedish husband. If there had been much communication between them, he would have known about the settee long before making the trip to Buriram.