Heart to Heart
I picked up one of those tourist magazines
the other day and it had listings of places to go for the tourists, and also for
residents. The thing I found so interesting was the prices for these
attractions. This was dual pricing, plainly printed for the tourists to see that
they were going to pay something like twice the price of the Thais and even more
in some cases. I thought it was against the policy to have dual pricing. We
certainly don’t have that in the States. What is the real situation?
Dual pricing is not something I agree
with, but it is found in many countries, not just Thailand. I would also be very
amazed if it doesn’t happen somewhere in the US. The original concept was to
make the attraction affordable for the Thai people and to get Thai residents to
tour their own country, but charge more for the foreign tourists as they can
afford higher prices. In countries like Thailand where there is a large
discrepancy between foreign tourists’ spending power and that of the local
people, I can understand why dual pricing exists, without encouraging it.
However, instead of publicly doubling the Thai entrance price, it would be so
much better to state one ‘standard’ (foreign) admission price, but offer a 50
percent discount for Thais. This idea of locals getting a 50 percent discount is
more understandable than doubling the price for non-Thais. Oh what a lovely
bargain! Of course, there will always be the problem of resident ex-pats who
will not be happy at being asked to pay foreign tourist prices. For that group,
some form of registration of the fact that they are living here should be
enough. I know of many who use the Thai driving license as proof.
I have been transferred to Thailand by my
company for the next two years. I have been here three months already. I am a
native English speaker, and so far I find the Thai language very difficult, to
so far almost well-nigh impossible. What is the best way to learn the lingo? I
see there are quite a few “language schools” in Pattaya, but why do I get the
feeling they are just out to rip me off with their high fees. I want to converse
with my lady friend a little better, but she struggles with English. Some
Dear Les the cunning linguist,
I can’t recommend one language school
above the others, as I haven’t needed to go to one myself. However, the larger
ones are fairly reputable I am told, Petal. The best way, I am told, is
‘immersion’ where you go somewhere where nobody speaks your language and you
have to learn Thai, just the same as a small child picks up Thai. Three year
olds have a good command of the language, after all. This might be difficult for
you if you are employed down here, so you might have to sign up for lessons.
There is another method, called ‘pillow talk’ where your lady friend teaches
you, but again, I am not offering! There is a book called Pillow Talk, which
might be fun to study with your Thai GF.
One of the pool typists in our company is
very attractive and I would like to get to know her better, but I have a
problem. I am naturally shy so can’t just rock up to her and say “What about it
Baby?” She is very friendly and if I meet her walking into work she is always
very chatty and will hold my arm with her hand. She doesn’t wear any rings, so I
don’t think she is married or anything like that. She did ask the other day what
I was getting her for her birthday, and I almost fell over, but mumbled
something like wait and see. I know, I missed my opportunity again, but that is
shyness for you. Do you think she is interested? What is the next move, and
please don’t say just to go and ask her out.
I feel for you, my Petal. I really do. You
are from the UK I presume and it is nice to see you aren’t one of those dreadful
lager louts that populate the bars this time of year. Even though Thai people
are very welcoming and friendly, this girl seems to be giving you a message. You
don’t need to be brave to buy her a box of chocolates and quietly present them
to her on her birthday. Or if that is too much, just leave them on her desk. Put
a card with them saying “From Bob” and your phone number. If she rings you to
thank you, then ask her out for dinner to a nice restaurant. Not over the top,
but one where you can chat and get to know each other a little. However, if she
does not contact you after the chocolates, just send them over to my office,
marked “For my Darling Hillary”. I will appreciate them. You can attach a bottle
of champers as well.
I live in a townhouse and I have noisy neighbors, one on
each side. I’m just renting so the neighbors don’t really care about me, I
think. If they played their music inside their houses it would be better, but
every couple of nights they sit out on their front patios, have a party, drink
beer and scream and laugh till the early hours. When I first moved in I tried
being nice and even brought them over a couple of bottles of beer but that
didn’t do too much other than keep them going longer. Is there some department I
could approach and get them to quieten them up?
The noise is obviously getting to you. “Quieten them
up”. Like Sam Goldwyn’s “Include me out.” But of course there is something you
can do – leave. My Petal, Thai people are happy people, and part of the
enjoyment is noise. Lots of it. There is no way you will get them to turn the
music down. Even if the Prime Minister were to rock up one evening he wouldn’t
stop them, he’d sit down with them and have some of your beer which you so
kindly sent over, and join in the karaoke. Leave and rent a small house on a
I’m a good lookin’ guy, so getting the good lookin’ women
isn’t hard for me. They play hard to get, but the problems don’t start there.
Get them in the sack and then they want paying, just like a bar girl. No diff.
No joke. It’s not worth the hassle for a product that’s no better’n one off the
streets. But you keep on bleating about meeting the “good girls.” Good for what,
Hillary, good for what?
It seems to me that you are getting back exactly what
you hand out. The good lookin’ high and mighty meets the good lookin’ high and
mighty from the other side. Have you stopped to think that you were too full of
yourself and needed taking down a peg or two? When I say look for the good
girls, I presume that you are looking for a long term arrangement with someone
who can be your partner. After reading your email, you don’t want a partner, you
want someone you can lord it over. You’ve got a long way to go in this world,
What do you think about the raids on Gentlemen’s Clubs by
the authorities? Are they a bad thing? Who goes to them anyway?
You are asking the wrong person, My Petal. I don’t think
they allow ladies in gentlemen’s clubs, do they? Are they a bad thing? I
wouldn’t know. Same goes for who goes there.
I have been reading the Pattaya Mail for more than 10
years, and I always get a laugh out of your column. How many years is it? How do
you keep going, as you must be a fair old age by now.
It is the thought of all those poor suffering people
that keeps me going. How could I just let them suffer? Look at this week, one
chap going deaf. Another worried about gentlemen’s clubs (about which I know
nothing, I add again). And a smart Alec who has found that Thai ladies are also
smart, or should I say ‘smarter’. And forget about my age, ladies don’t divulge
such details. Anyway, you’re no spring chicken either.
A mother-in-law problem. Like many retired males now living
in Thailand, I married a delightful young lady, who could be perfect other than
the fact she has a mother, who could also be almost perfect. The daughter is 28
and her mother is 48 and single. Both of them at what I would imagine are ages
where Thai women worry about being left on the shelf.
Mother comes down to spend weeks with us, and as we have a
4 bedroom house, there is plenty of room. When mother is down, my wife takes the
opportunities to go out with girlfriends and her mother stays at home to ‘look
after’ me. Recently mother has been getting very close to me and she says not to
worry, the daughter wants us to get close. Well, too close and when I woke up
last week, it was mother in bed with me, not daughter. Now any time I see
mother, she winks at me and I know what she means. She is also a good looking
woman and people think she is my wife’s sister. So what now? Divorce daughter
and marry mother? By doing nothing am I encouraging a ménage a trois? What is my
next move, Hillary?
You really have a problem, don’t you. Or, you are really
pulling my leg. The ménage a trois is not restricted to the French culture,
despite the French language name. As it is worrying you (I think), you should
sit your two ladies down and explain what this means as far as jealousy between
mother and daughter is concerned and do you support them both. Do let us know
how you get on.
I see that awful Nairod person
mentioned you in his comic strip. You’d think by now he would have given it
away. So I suppose you have to give him an E for Effort if nothing else. Do
you get many unwanted suitors, Hillary, or is Nairod just the last one?
Thank you for your concern, and I
have to say that “suitors” are a bit thin on the ground just now. I know it
is nothing to do with my occasional temper outbursts, but honestly Petal it
would take someone with the patience of a saint to put up with some of the
nonsense that gets put on my desk. It’s a shelf really and I have to stand
in beside the filing cabinet. Never mind what gets put on my desk, it’s
enough of a trial just working here. All this I put up with, just to help
you folk out there. And I haven’t been sent any chocolates or fizz-water
either. I have stopped asking for champagne as by the time they have bought
the paper, they’re skint for the rest of the week. My readers do not appear
to be well strung (I almost wrote something naughty there), so I forgive
them. I don’t forgive the editor chap though. Reads my every word, comma and
full stop (some people call it a ‘period’ but I don’t for obvious reasons).
The less I give him to whinge about the better. Oops, lost track of what I
was on about there, it’s the age you know. After you pass 40 it’s a downhill
ride from there. And without chocolate, I just seem to lose my get up and
go. It’s more like get up and gone these days. But I shouldn’t complain. The
MD does send a couple of bowls of rice each day up to the attic. It’s not
really an office. It’s about the size of a loo and there’s not even room to
sit down (note spelling, no “h”). I wrote this on a Sunday. Yes, Sunday Mr
Editor just to try and keep you happy. And please wash your hands, that
printer’s ink leaves black handprints everywhere. The office girl said she’s
got to wear black leggings these days so the ink doesn’t show. (I can’t
vouch for this as she’s a bit of a sexy creature, but at 48 years of age
she’s past it anyway. Probably just wishful thinking.)
A local family is crazy about dogs.
They’ve got dozens of them hanging round their place because they feed them.
Dogs don’t think like we do and they do their business anywhere, not like
cats which at least clean up after themselves. Will the pound take them
You have a problem with people nuts
about mutts, or is it that you stepped in some doggy doo last week? Will the
pound take them away? No, not whilst they have a current Tabian Baan listing
them as living there (you are referring to the people, or was it the dog
poo?) But to be serious, if these are street dogs, yes the council can take
them away, but if they are registered as family dogs, that’s a different
plate of Pedigree Chum. In the meantime start breeding Anatolian Shepherd
dogs which are bigger and stronger than any soi dog.
What do you do with a girlfriend who
loves Thai soaps? She is a lovely girl, looks after me, cooks, cleans,
washes, tidy – but that is as long as a soapie isn’t on, because then
everything stops, and all I get is shoosh. It would be OK if the soaps came
on at 11 p.m. and lasted two hours, but no, they seem to be on from 6 p.m.
until midnight. I work hard during the day and need my sleep and she should
be looking after me then. But soapie comes first, Alan comes second.
How long have you been in Thailand?
Is this your first girlfriend? You are now starting to see that there is
more to living together than cooking, cleaning, washing and tidying. In the
Thai way of listing important items, I’m afraid soapie rates higher than
Alan (which you already know). If you persevere then you can add mother,
father, brothers, sisters, family cat and soi dog all in the list above
Alan. You see, my Petal, there is a price for having a gorgeous film star
staying with you and sharing your bed (after the soaps of course). I’m
afraid that is how life is and the only thing that outranks soapies are
parties at which soapy stars are present, so that your girl can show all her
friends that she was at a function with … (fill in the latest top billing).
Never forget that you are an alien, Alan. That’s why you come into Thailand
through the aliens gate. Time for you to face a few facts of life in
Thailand, and then working out how you fit into it all. And remember some of
the soapies have two hour programs.
My Thai GF sleeps over two times a week but she has some
strange habits. I have a great two bedroom, two bathroom condo which is very
nice. She sleeps in the room OK with me but always uses the second toilet, not
the en-suite attached to the main bedroom. Showers OK in the en-suite, but
always in the second toilet when she wants to pee. Is this normal for Thai
You do have a maid, don’t you? Someone who cleans
bedrooms and toilets. Or are you doing for yourself? It sounds to me like the
sheets go to the laundry, but the toilet doesn’t get done. Do you flush every
time? Squirt of the blue stuff once a day? Dump some of the blue balls in the
cistern to make that lovely blue water, remembering that blue and yellow makes
green. Try that my Petal and you’ll be Lionel of the Loo. Amaze your friends by
knowing who invented the Water Closet (that’s why it is called a W.C.) and the
inventor was (roll of drums) not Thomas Crapper! Alexander Cummings is generally
credited with inventing (or, at least, patenting) the first flush mechanism in
1775 (more than 50 years before Crapper was born), and plumbers Joseph Bramah
and Thomas Twyford further developed the technology with improvements such as
the float-and-valve system. Thomas Crapper, said an article in Plumbing and
Mechanical Magazine, “should best be remembered as a merchant of plumbing
products, a terrific salesman and advertising genius.” So there you go, such
pearls of wisdom from Hillary (and Snopes).
I am hot on the cold trail of a “good” Thai woman. I’ve
done the bar girl thing. I’ve been ripped off by sideline girls. I’ve been to
chamber meetings and have had business cards stuffed in my hands from very
polished women only interested in selling you a chunk of real estate dirt, which
we can’t own anyway, otherwise it’s condo after condo but none are interested in
setting up home with the customer (me). About all that’s left are grannies.
Where now, Wonder Woman?
Dear No Wonder Will,
What have I got here? Another randy expat who expects
any pretty girl he meets is ready to leap into bed, after saying thanks to
Buddha for sending such a catch. Will, my Petal, what you have to remember is
that where there’s a will, there’s a won’t. If you don’t want to be eaten by
lions, don’t go into the lion’s den. If you don’t want to be pestered by RE
girls with a fistful of business cards, don’t go there. You complain about being
ripped off, don’t you think Thai girls are suspicious of ex-pats? With good
reason to. It’s not all one way, you know. However, for you with the will, keep
attending ex-pat meetings and just be “normal”. Wait for some chemistry to
happen, not just exchanging business cards.
Where’s the best place to buy a car? Not after anything
flashy, just reliable daily transport. I’m not into “look at me” kind of
transport, but there seems to be no car sales place dealing in good second hand
cars. I asked at one place and they refused to let me drive it. Friends tell me
the same happens even with new cars. It is a wonder they sell anything. Don’t
they understand that I’m not going to leave a new motorcycle there if I want to
steal their car?
Don’t you understand that they could think you might
have stolen the motorcycle to leave there as collateral, giving the sales yard
people a false sense of security. Thai people are not very trusting of
non-family members, and even more wary with foreigners.
The bar business doesn’t look too good right now. Quite a
number of the bars, including some well known ones have closed. Even in Walking
Street and now they are closing Soi 6 in the daytime. It is hard enough to make
enough to live on for the girls, and this makes it impossible. There’s not much
left for them, other than crime. Restrictions on the bar girls affect the
economy all the way through to the grandparents living up country. When they
make these rules and regulations don’t they ever think about their own people?
Certainly keeps the lower paid people just at poverty level.
Dear Fair go,
I do agree with you in part, but not all. Prostitution
has been illegal in Thailand for many years, so the bars are operating outside
the law, but with the full knowledge of the police, and who tolerated the trade.
Many reasons for this, but paying off the motorcycle is just one of them. The
lower level police also have families which need financial assistance. This
crackdown makes life even harder for them. These are the reasons the bar trade
flourished, and makes it obvious why the lawmakers called in the Army to uphold
them. However, you are not in danger, unless you park in the “Supercar” area in