Heart to Heart
My GF has been great for the past year and
I’m really thinking of marrying her. She gave up working when she moved in with
me, and I pay all the bills and give her an allowance as well. She has hinted at
getting married, with talks about what if we have a baby I would like the baby
to have my name and the like. Only problem has come up in the last three months
where she goes to a friend’s house and comes back drunk. This is now happening
two to three times a week and when she gets back to the condo she just collapses
on the bed and tells me to make my own dinner as she is “too lazy to cook” as
she puts it. A couple of times she has rung me to say she won’t be back till
later as some more of her friends have arrived and they are going to cook Isaan
food there. This may be standard Thai girl behavior, but I don’t like it, nor
know what to do. Any suggestions, Hillary?
Yes I have a suggestion for you, my
Petal. Leave, change the locks and write the whole thing down to experience. She
is already showing you what is most important and that’s drinking with her
friends, not looking after you as would be expected of a “wife” (and mother, if
you’re not careful). You hit it all on the head when you said “GF has been
great” and then go on to say there’s been a problem for the last three months.
Consider yourself lucky that she showed her true hand early in the piece. Pay
her some money and she will leave quietly. Do it this month. Don’t wait.
Is it true that it is difficult to marry a
Thai girl, with lots of paper work and stuff? I get told that it’s difficult,
then some of my other mates say it’s just a party in the village and some moolah
to the mother and you’re done. You’ve got yourself a wife. Even the bar room
lawyers seem confused. I’ve got a chicky on the go and wouldn’t mind if it’s
If you want a party in the village and
spend 200,000 baht on what is really another way of describing a ‘dowry’, then
go ahead, remembering that the village marriage is not a marriage at all. If
your newly just married wife walks out, you haven’t got the law on your side.
Village marriages are not even accepted by the Thai authorities as being a
proper marriage. No, if you want a proper marriage then it is done through the
local amphur office and there is plenty of paperwork, certificates and
translating, all of which will take you at least eight weeks. This is good as it
gives you a couple of months to think hard about the decision.
Every time my GF has a beer, her face goes
red. I’ve noticed that quite a few of her girlfriends are the same. Is it she
didn’t get enough to get used to beer or what? Is it dangerous? Is the beer too
strong or something? Should she stick to whisky and coke, that’s what my friends
This is common with people from SE Asia
and is something to do with enzymes. It is called alcohol flush, so perhaps your
lady friend should limit her drinking? And you too, from what I hear from your
friends as well, Petal.
I did the right thing, that you talk about
all the time, where I courted this Thai woman for 18 months. Slowly went from
holding hands to kissing on dates. She got drunk one night and I looked after
her, bucket beside the bed and all that. Slowly went from there where she would
stay watching movies with me, and finally sleep over, but no sex. It certainly
took time, but I was accepting it as this was a professional woman. Come my
birthday and we went to dinner to celebrate, and I thought this was going to be
THE night and she then floors me by saying she wanted to go back to only seeing
each other occasionally as it was too much for her. I had no option but to
accept this, but then one of my office girls told me she had seen her with
another man in the shopping center. A couple of weeks later she posts in
Facebook that she was going to America with the boyfriend. That’s where she is
now, so I’ve got no chance. If this is how your good girls work, I’ll stick to
my local bar, I get looked after and not the other way around.
Taken for a ride
Dear Taken for a ride,
A sad tale, but human responses are
difficult to understand at times. However, it doesn’t sound to me that she was
stringing you along, but just that she met someone else and fell in love, while
with you, she fell in ‘like’. Hard to take, but I hope writing about it makes
you feel less bitter.
you get bombarded with letters asking you to say Amen after their post. This
can be asking for money, to asking you to buy something, to write on walls
and other silly things. What do they honestly think the word “amen” will do?
There must be a pile of disappointed folk out there if they ever go and
check six months later.
With a little research it comes out that
Amen is a word that came to English from Latin, which got it from Greek, which
got it from Aramaic, which got it from Hebrew (technically, Aramaic may have had
it anyway, before it became the standard language of the Jewish people a few
centuries before JC played for Bethlehem United). If people want to do this,
then fine. What is wrong is telling other FB friends to do this too. However, it
means very little in today’s world. All the very best. Amen.
Is it right that it is harmful to your
liver to swap drinks? Mates say you are OK as long as you stick to one, like
beer, but don’t then go on to the hard stuff. That’s what makes you drunk. The
headaches are less too. Do you agree?
I have it on good authority that your
liver has no earthly idea what bottle your beer came in. Livers don’t have eyes.
Alcohol is a chemical, and the only difference between the various ones is the
percentage of alcohol in it. Beers are about 5 percent, unless it is a Belgian
beer which can go as high as 12 percent, while whisky is around 40 percent.
Differences in liver damage and hangovers by mixing drinks are folklore.
I’ve been reading you for some time and it
seams (sic) to me that you’ve got a down on the bar girls. Why? They all speak
English and know how to keep a bloke entertained. They’d make a much better wife
than the stuck up society girls you are telling everyone to hook up with. Time
for you to be a bit more real old gal and stop knocking the working girls. At
least you don’t have to get permission from her parents to hold her hand!
I think it is time you went through the
back copies of this illustrious newspaper, my Petal, and see and note what I
have really been saying. However, you are right, the bar girls do speak (some
kind of) English, and so I suppose if you are looking for a long term
relationship with a woman and you are happy with the in-depth conversations of
“Hello sexy man,” and “Sit down please” and “Buy me cola”, then you are in
paradise. This depends upon, of course, you having an endless supply of cola at
home, plus a rather large always-full wallet. The “working girls” are just that
– they are working and like all good workers deserve their hire. What is
forgotten in that heady rush of blood to the brain is that you are doing exactly
that – hiring. “Mia chow” (rented wife) expects a monthly salary for her. It is
not the more commonly thought of “housekeeping” money. She will demand a salary,
which is untouchable. Does this make them a “better wife” as you claim? Each to
his own, I suppose, but long term liaisons with working girls do not have a good
long term history, Pete.
I married my Thai fiancée after a year of
engagement. She is a professional lady and we have always done everything in a
proper fashion. My wife is 15 years younger than me and this gives us a problem.
When we go out, many foreigners assume that my wife must be, or have been, a bar
girl even though she in no way acts like one. She has no tattoos or wears sexy
dresses or even smokes. I realize that as high as 85 percent of all
Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex tourists”, but this is
not so for other 15 percent of Thai-foreigner marriages. Please tell your
readers that not all Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex
tourists,” and stop making false assumptions.
Now you’ve got all that off your chest,
do you feel a little better, Petal? However, I think you have made a few false
assumptions yourself too. Where did you get that figure of 85 percent of
Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and what you call “sex tourists”?
Let me assure you that sex tourists do not come to Thailand to get married. That
is why they are sex tourists – they want the fun in bed without the filling out
forms at the local Ampur office. Honestly, Jack, 85 percent of Thai foreigner
marriages are between people such as yourself and your wife. The foreigners who
“look down” on you are the foreigners who are not in the marriage market, just
the bar meat market. Ignore them, my Petal.
I get different answers to my problem depending on the
different people I ask, so I hope you will excuse me for asking you too.
This is the first time my husband and I have been posted overseas, and I am
told we are expected to employ a maid. The HR people tell my husband that we
should pay her “whatever you want”. I don’t want to offer something too low,
but I don’t want to go over the top either.
A common problem, Petal, especially with newbies. I
do understand your problem. The basic wage in Thailand is B. 300 a day so
that’s your starting point. How many days a week? Now come the add-ons or
take offs if you like – does she sleep out, or do you have a dedicated
maid’s room? Does she eat in or eat out? Does she do her laundry with your
laundry? All these “savings” can be deducted from the basic daily rate then
multiplied by the number of days. I know it is a rough guide, but it will
get you somewhere in the ball park, and where you are happy with it.
My friends who have been to Pattaya before tell me that
you never lose your girl, you only lose your turn. I’m taking out a real
stunner right now and she said she would wait for me, but there is money
involved if she’s out of the bar and not earning. What do you think is a
reasonable monthly amount that she can live on till I come back in three
I don’t know which shower you came down in, but you
certainly have been hiding under a rock somewhere. Don’t you read my column
with all the terrible stories of lads like you who find the “I’m back in the
village” actually means “I’m at a new bar and please send the money soon
because my brother broke his leg in a motorcycle accident.” If you have
already donated to the leg fund, send the money to the arm fund. Please just
go back to your home town and never come to Thailand again. Or listen to
your friends, who have been listening to me.
I will go out with a few boys and girls from work. I am
the only foreigner, and they all try to understand me when we are working,
but after hours it is a different situation and they all happily chat
amongst themselves in Thai, leaving me out. Should I say something to them,
or to their supervisor, because I would like to get to know them all, but
after three months of this, I don’t think it is possible.
I want you to stand in front of the mirror and pose
the following questions:
What country am I in?
What language do the natives speak?
Since even you will get the answers correct, then
you will be able to work out that the answer to your problem is firmly fixed
between your two ears. Learn Thai, my Petal, and all the friendships will
You do go on a bit about speaking Thai, but what is the
best way to learn? It is very different from English, and I know several
people who have tried but gave up. Plenty of places advertising ‘Education’
visas, but they don’t want you to graduate, as while ‘learning’ you are
paying them for the privilege. So, is private tuition the best? Or a
language school? Where do all these students go?
You forgot ‘pillow talk’ as another option, or is
that what you call ‘private tuition’? My friends in the learning business
all say the most important thing is to try and speak, and don’t worry about
getting the words exactly right to start with. They all say that listening
is also an important part of learning. Listen and then speak, in that order.
All the best Giovanni, with whatever method you choose.
“Poot Thai geng.”
Why do Thai women prefer to wear black underwear, when
white looks so much better against their tanned skin? I can’t understand it.
It has reached the point where I have been forced to purchase white
underwear to give whatever bar girl I pick up to wear. That’s not fair
really. I mean, why black underwear? Also, I am not some kind of deviant. I
am a very serious photographer. Sure I am Skandi and I am old, but I am not
some trench coat wearing deviant.
Dear Norseman AKA trench coat wearing deviant,
Next you will be telling me that the Vikings didn’t
rape and pillage, they were actually on a photo trip. But why should I doubt
the man who has made Thai ladies underwear his fetish. I can feel sorry for
you as it is difficult to find trench coats here, and those pink plastic
throw away rain coats don’t fit the bill, do they?
My wife and I are coming over before Xmas.
We have read that the roadside food stalls will be removed as the hygiene is
poor and people can get very sick. We eat simple meals at home here, so we’re
not looking for Michelin stars. We will be in Pattaya for a week, so can you
give us some help?
Andy and Marge
Dear Andy and Marge,
You will be blown away with the choices
available from any of our over 400 restaurants. My best advice is to read the
Dining Out columns in this paper and you will soon see what kind of cuisine is
on offer, and the price range in food. By the way, there will still be very good
roadside food available. It’s just some misguided soul trying to make Bangkok
into a European eatery, instead of promoting the Asian, much loved, ordinary
food. The general advice is always don’t eat food that has been sitting in pots
and getting cold. Eat food that has been cooked in front of you. Come and enjoy
My GF is going to meet my parents for the
first time next month. She doesn’t work, but did work in a bar where I met her.
I told my parents that she worked in a shop but I think they will see through
that, as she dresses very sexy. Just ‘fess up or what?
Just how old are you, Little Rick? 14?
If you are old enough to have a relationship with a woman, you are old enough
for your parents not to worry about you. I suggest you tell your parents you
will come over there, and in the meantime tell the GF you are taking classes in
adult behavior. And tell her she can also pack up the bras and knickers while
you are away.
You get many letters about western men
exploited by Thai women. What about the reverse? Here is a situation that I am
involved with as part of the ‘rescue’ team of ex-pats who could see what was
happening and have gone to help the Thai woman in this instance.
Fortyish farang man from the UK meets 30ish
Thai lady. She is well educated, has a good job with excellent likelihood of
promotion, owns her own condo and car. Pleasant, sweet but in a country of very
attractive women, kind of ordinary looking. He tells her he is in “security
work”, some for the government and because of that can tell her little else and
it does explain his reluctance to answer personal questions. He also wants a
joint account in the bank as he cannot show where “his” money comes from.
He is very presentable, dresses well and
romances her and moves into her condo, but is strangely short of money. Several
of her friends question her but she is very defensive. Eventually, after a few
months her friends do some detective work and find that he is an unemployed guy
with a wife and family back in the UK and they are looking for him. She
confronts him – he gets angry and drives off in her car and she has not seen guy
or car since.
Rob the Rescuer
Dear Rob the Rescuer,
Yes, my Petal, the reverse does occur,
just as you have described. I showed your letter to a psychologist I know and he
said, here is how it happens. Despite all the warnings from the actions of this
chap and the warnings from her friends, they both continued in the relationship.
So why? Simple – the co-dependent relationship works with two people who have
damaged self esteem, where they shore each other up to hide their own personal
deficiencies. These relationships can go on like that for years until someone
comes to the ‘rescue’ – makes the two people admit to their inadequacies and it
all falls in a heap.
You see, Rob, 30ish Thai ladies don’t
have much of a choice when it comes to relationships. Unmarried by 30 is to
remain a spinster as all the gorgeous young things snap up the eligible males
(Thai and farang). This lady doesn’t even have spectacular looks to attract
whatever males are left. “Kind of ordinary looking,” you say, damning the poor
woman with faint praise. I am a great believer in letting couples like that work
out their lives for themselves. For a third party to get involved, even though
it is with the best of intentions, just places an additional strain on the
relationship and it will end in premature failure.
So what are you and her friends going to
do now? As ‘rescuers’ you do have some responsibilities here. You will not be
able to give her self esteem back. The best you can now do is inform the police
about the stolen car. You may be able to get that back. There is a fine line
between helping and meddling. You should let the professionals handle situations
like this in the future.