When you read my letter (email) please don’t just discount it as being another of “those” letters from bilked foreigners, but please read it through as this one is genuine. Despite not wishing to have anything to do with women from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ (my idea of a joke), six months ago I found that I was getting very fond of a young lady who worked in a bar here. I come over three times a year for a week and in between times we began to keep in touch via email, and I thought I was beginning to understand something about the Thai culture. It got that she would wait for me at the airport and see me off afterwards, and in all ways looked after me very nicely (and not like the women back in the US). Never once did she ask me for money, and I began to think that all those letters I read before in your column showed just what mugs they really were. This time it was different. I had found a gem. Last time I came over I had given her a gold chain but this time she wasn’t wearing it, so I asked why and she told me she had to pawn it to help pay the mortgage for her father’s land. Then she said she didn’t have a job anymore and couldn’t go back to the bar she worked in before because she would lose face because she didn’t have the chain, and asked me to buy her another one. I blew my top, I’m afraid and I know it’s a no-no in Thailand and walked out leaving her in tears. Now I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing. I am really feeling bad about all this. What do you think, Hillary?
Dear me! Why can’t I meet people like you? You have been here for a grand total of two weeks and you start throwing gold chains about like you are fishing for tuna – except you are the fish on the end of the chain, coming in hook, line and sinker! Let me assure you that you have done the right thing – there’s a lot of land out there, and it’s all under finance! Every last rai of it. Don’t finance any of it yourself.