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Heart to Heart with Hillary


Heart to Heart - July 3 - July 16, 2020

Dear Hillary,

My normally sensible Thai wife and her girlfriends have taken to dressing up with hats and flowery dresses.  They began to do this at parties, but have now started dressing up in these outlandish get-ups during the day.  Girls overseas grow out of dressing up by the age of 10.  Isn’t it the same in Thailand, or have I got a bunch of loonies on my hands?

Harry the Hat Man

Dear Harry the Hat Man,

The behaviour your wife and her friends exhibits is purely having “sanook”, something Thai women keep all their lives.  That is why they are so much fun to be with - and is most likely one of the reasons that you came to live here, and get married here.  Look at it this way, my Petal, does their dressing up harm anyone?  Of course it doesn’t.  You think too much, Harry.  And finally please don’t become worried and then change into Harry the Hit Man.

Dear Hillary,

Is there any easy to read book to help us farangs understand Thai women?  I’ve been here for almost 10 years, lived with a couple of them, and I still don’t understand them.  Someone must have written the guide book.  What is its name, and where do I get it?


Dear Perplexed,

There are many books available in Thailand describing what goes on in a Thai-Farang relationship, such as Stephen Leather’s “Private Dancer”, or the Pattaya Mail’s Dr. Iain’s “Farang” and “Farang, The Sequel”, but there is no such thing as a ‘guide book’.  May I give you a little joke?  A man rescued a genie from a bottle, who said he could have one wish.  The man said that he was afraid of flying and could the genie build him a road bridge from Thailand to America.  The genie remonstrated with the man, saying that the amount of concrete needed for such a project was just far too great, and could he think of something a little easier?  The man then said, alright, can you make me understand Thai women’s minds, to which the genie replied, after thinking for a while, “OK.  Now how many lanes do you want in this bridge!”

Dear Hillary,

I have come over here with my husband from the UK and I am shocked by what I see here, going on night and day.  I can put up with the endless beer bars with young women trying to get people to sit down and drink.  I can put up with the fact there are go-go bars with women displaying their bodies as some sort of tourist attraction, but I cannot put up with the way old foreign men walk around with barely teenage Thai girls hanging on to their arm.  They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression.  Don’t they know, or doesn’t anybody tell them that they are just being taken for a ride?  They’re not clever.  It’s disgusting.

Mona from Manchester

Dear Mona from Manchester,

When you say, “They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression” are you referring to the old foreign men, or the barely teenage girls, Petal?  Honestly Mona, this can be applied to both of them.  They are smiling because they have found themselves in a situation which is good for both of them.  The young girls have found a financial ‘sponsor’, whilst the old foreign men have found themselves a gorgeous young companion who will take care of their every need (until the money runs out).  They know what the name of the game is, Petal.  So what is so wrong with it?  It is a win-win situation, so no need to be shocked.  Can a ‘man from Manchester’ get a deal like that back home in the UK?  No, he’s more likely to get a moaner.

Dear Hillary,

Where can I get a good computer technician?  Every time my computer breaks down, the technician says he’s fixed it, but when I go to use it, something else has packed up.  When he works on it at my condo he is there for hours clacking away and not only does he not fix the first problem, but leaves more than when he started.  “You haven’t got enough RAM,” seems to be the catchword with these people, but even after buying more, the problems are still there!


Dear (Bill) Gates,

You’re lucky it’s only a RAM problem.  I’ve bought veritable sheep stations of RAMs and now they’re telling me my operating system is no good.  What’s wrong with Windows 1946?  It worked before, why not now?  Honestly Petal, I have no idea about this modern technology.  Bring back faxes.  I could understand those.  I have to communicate with the editor with notes written on the back of envelopes.  His office is just below mine, so it’s easy to slip one under the door (he works rather strange hours, and nobody ever sees him).  I do inhale deeply as I pass his door, just in case he’s died in there after last week’s paper was put to bed.  See just how thoughtful I am!

Heart to Heart - June 15 - July 2, 2020

Finding the “good” girls

Dear Hillary,

I have to laugh at all your letter writers, wondering if they have found THE ONE, when they should start looking at themselves to see if they would be THE ONE for any of the women around here. I’m not talking about the girls from the bars, who are only there for one thing – money, while the blokes are also there for one thing – sex. They’ll never find the right one there. I’m talking about the ones you call “good girls”, and these blokes aren’t even looking in the right place, and I reckon no self-respecting girl would want to be seen with some fat old bloke wobbling along with a skinful of booze every night. You try telling ‘em, Hillary, I’ve given up. They’ve got no (expletive removed) idea.

Frank the Finder

Dear Frank,

I understand where you’re coming from Petal, but if you want to be an advisor you’ve got to do more than throwing a bucket of warm manure over the people wanting advice. Once the average chap understands what the bars are for, and what the girls who work in the bars are there for, then you’re about half way there to finding someone who might be THE ONE and obviously not from the bar scene. The bars are for fun, not for evers. You are correct when you say that the chaps looking for a partner have to present themselves in a good way as well. No Thai lady is looking for the kind of farang you best know. Finding THE ONE is difficult in any society, in any country, and is no different here. Just keep on showing those who ask of you where they shouldn’t look, and you’ve done your bit, Frank.

Learning the lingo!

Dear Hillary,

I have been transferred to Thailand by my company for the next two years. I am a native English speaker, and so far I find the Thai language very difficult, to almost well-nigh impossible. What is the best way to learn the lingo? I see there are quite a few “language schools”, but 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. Some suggestions please.


Dear Larry the linguist,

I can’t recommend one language school above the others, as I haven’t needed to go to one myself. 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!

“Opportunity” knocks!

Dear Hillary,

The wife of a friend (sort of business acquaintance) is making it obvious that she would like to have an affair with me. Sends me messages to say where she is at any time, and do I have any free time to meet with her? This has been going on for a couple of months and now she is having dinner parties at her home and inviting me to come along, and even supplies a partner for me, though these are always her friends and they don’t get near me when she’s around. It is a good business we are in, and I don’t want to spoil that. Any ideas Hillary?


Dear Darren,

Looks to me like you want to keep your cake and eat it as well. You are in charge of the situation here, not her. She is saying there is an opportunity, but that is all. What happens from now is up to you, my Petal, but the best thing you can do is run. Very fast!

“Living dead expat

Dear Hillary,

Saw another living dead expat this morning with two young lovelies, one each side, keeping him upright walking down the street. I didn’t follow them to see where they were going, but if you guess the ATM machine, I’m sure you won’t be far wrong. Should we feel sorry for these old blokes being ripped off by these girls? Or should we be sorry for the girls?


Dear Jacko,

The only person I feel sorry for is you, Petal. The old expat isn’t complaining, the two girls aren’t complaining, so what are you doing in this scenario? If you are going to call it a “crime”, then it is a victimless one, can’t you see that? In actual fact it is a win-win-win (as there’s three people) situation. He has two sexy “nurses” looking after him and the two girls get a nice old gentleman looking after their needs (I know it’s financial). So what is wrong with that? Looks to me that you are more than just a little jealous.

Heart to Heart - June 5 - June 18, 2020

Finding a ‘good’ bar girl

Dear Hillary,

I’ve heard such terrible reports of what these bar girls are like (eat you up and spit you out with the seeds was one report I read), that I’m too afraid to have anything to do with them, though I would really like to have a girl’s company when I come over for two weeks in October if Covid and other attendant viruses will let me. How do you pick a good one from the bad ones?


Dear Oliver,

You are wanting a go-no go test for bar girls. There isn’t one Petal. You pay your money and takes your chances, I’m afraid. All you can do is to sit in the bar and let the never-ending stream of ladies massaging your thigh go past you. After a few nights you will soon see which lady is not ripping you off in the lady drinks department. That’s about as good as it gets. It’s try before you buy I’m afraid, but remember social distancing.

The step kids from hell

Dear Hillary,

I need some help here. Like many British expat pensioners I am living off the small pension I get from the old country, which is frozen at the level it was when I first came here 8 years ago. This is enough for me and my lady (we’re not married). But now her two grownup kids have come to stay with us. It’s been three months now and they just sit around and drink Thai whisky, don’t work and live off me. It’s costing me more than my pension. She tells me it is the Thai way. You know these things, what should I do?


Dear Chas,

It’s not the Thai way, my Petal. It’s the other way around – the children are supposed to look after the elders. For the sake of your health it’s the highway, not the “Thai way”. They are making use of you. Get out of there. Now!


Menage a trois

Dear Hillary,

An old GF from the UK has contacted me to say she is coming out for a holiday for a couple of weeks in December. She is making it obvious that she expects to stay with me, for old time’s sake, I think. We last had a fling 10 years ago but we are both now pensioners, and I wonder if I can still perform as I find brake dancing too strenuous, and her pacemaker must be due for new batteries by now as well. Should I tell her that I am now living with George and enjoying the gay life?


Dear Harry,

Pull the other leg, it plays Colonel Bogey. Honestly, my Petal, if you are being serious, you know the answer already – you get the old GF to bring a chap over for George, while you trip down memory lane with her. Simple.

Swayed by the moment

Dear Hillary,

Time and time again you have to tell some of these fellows with too much testosterone that the girls in the bars know what is going down and are good actresses. Is it that the visitors just don’t know, or are swayed by the moment into making stupid decisions? Do you know, Hillary?


Dear Elwyn,

A right can of worms you’ve opened there, my Petal. You certainly won’t find any blushing brides in the beer bars. They are hardened campaigners, most of them, attracted to the lifestyle and the money that can be made in a bar. Which would you rather? 4,000 baht a week as a bar girl (“working” two nights), or 1,500 as a shop assistant (working five days)? I like the fact that you give these men “get out of jail cards free” by suggesting they are swayed by the moment. Swayed by the 10th bottle of beer might be closer to the mark. That and the fact that a gorgeous young thing is sitting next to him rubbing his leg.


The Hillary Hotel

Dear Hillary,

I’m coming over to Thailand next November for a couple of weeks. Where do you suggest I stay as I have never been to Pattaya before? Must be clean and quiet and close to the strip, lady OK. Anything going for around B. 500?


Dear Jeff,

What do you think I am, Petal? A travel agent or something? Where anyone stays depends first on price, and you can find that out by going to the web. You won’t get much for B. 500, and you’ll get everything for B. 5,000. How much have you got to spend for your holiday budget? I think your “Lady OK” means can you bring a room mate home? Certainly, but you may be asked for a “joiners” fee, and they don’t mean a chap with a lump of wood and a fret saw. Give me a break, go and talk to a real travel agent, not an Agony Aunt.

Heart to Heart - May 5 - May 21, 2020

Social distancing

Dear Hillary,

With the distancing rules where you can’t even sit next to someone, what will this do to the baht bus business? Normally they seem to pack about 20 people in one bus to give them enough revenue, but what are they going to do with only 10? However there is something even more important – what do you do for the rumpy pumpy thing? You can’t do that 2 meters apart, can you? Or is this some conspiracy plot to limit the number of babies born in 2021?


Dear Jack,

Is this a conspiracy plot? I don’t think so my Petal unless you feel the world’s medical authorities are in cahoots with the manufacturer of face masks. I’d love to walk into a bank with one on, to see what they would do. Unfortunately I haven’t got enough money to be worthy of a bank account so they would laugh. Just for light entertainment and your memory, in what old movie did one of the stars go into a bank and said “Esto es un robo.”?

Booked out planes

Dear Hillary,

She goes up country for two days every couple of weeks, but always comes back a couple of days late, with a credible excuse, but I’m getting a bit suspicious. Comes back with extra clothes as she says there was a village fair and she got them cheap, but she seems to forget she had already taken a couple of suitcases of clothes with her which she said she gives away to the villagers. I give her money to cover the air fare, but she comes back by bus as she says the planes were all booked out. For two days? Is this normal behavior for village girls, or am I being taken for a ride? We have been together for four months but I don’t think the way she acts is right. I haven’t had any experience with Thai girls, so I can’t compare with others, but you must know. Should I just let it slide, or should I show her the door?


Dear Jeremy,

I can certainly see that you are not happy, but there are always two sides to any story. You don’t have a very deep relationship or you wouldn’t be so ready to show her the door. Petal, why are you staying in this very new relationship? Rightly or wrongly, your relationship is doomed. I suggest you terminate your unhappy union as soon as you can. As you pointed out, you have no experience of the local ladies. Wait till you have more than a passing interest in a few ladies before asking one to join you as a live-in girlfriend. And, just by the way, local custom is that you have to pay the girl a sum of money for her to vacate your home.

Down at the lock-down

Dear Hillary,

How are you getting on with the lockdown? What do you do now that the local markets are closed? Convenience stores are expensive so I don’t think you would use them. You can’t even be taken to dinner, because the restaurants are closed. How do you survive Hillary?


Dear Ron,

Thank you for thinking of me, and worrying about my lack of restaurant dinners of suitable standard. It has been a case of remembering what my mother taught me many years ago. I now only have one meal in the morning because my mother was helpless in the kitchen, and cornflakes were the life saver then, and the life saver today. I avoid the muesli stuff as the nuts get under my dental plate.

Having it off with the staff

Dear Hillary,

One of the cleaning girls at work is starting to give me the eye and stops for a chat if we meet in the corridors. Seems pleasant enough, but I would put her age at around 50 and “plump”, all the way to “fat”. When I say chat it’s more of a Thai language lesson, and when she runs out of English, away she waddles. I’m 36 by the way. Now why am I writing to you? I am wondering if she would make a good maid for at home as I haven’t got a maid and it’s just me at home. What would happen if I suggested it, and how much should I pay her?


Dear Raymond,

I get the impression that you have already made up your mind and are looking to Hillary to place my blessing on the union. I don’t think it would be a good idea to employ her as a maid/bed-mate, simply because of the age difference and you not being madly in love or anything. Am I right, Petal? Leave your little fatty to chats in the corridor and nothing further.

Heart to Heart - April 24 - May 7, 2020

Dear Hillary,

I was over on holidays at the end of last year and I was amazed at the way the local girls could balance sitting sideways on a motor bike, while talking on the phone and having a drink at the same time. Is this the same all over Thailand, or just Pattaya? I came over with a couple of mates and we didn’t get to go anywhere else.


Dear Gordie,

Observant little person aren’t you. And yes, the girls are amazingly well balanced, but it is easy to see why. I am presuming you are male as you already know the answer. Have you ever tried wearing a short skirt while sitting astride a motorcycle? Even wearing a kilt would be a problem. And riding a buffalo would be impossible. No wonder the poor animals get sick all the time. Don’t believe me? Ask any of the girls about the health of the family buffalo. Vets in the north-east must make a fortune.

Dear Hillary,

I sort of know the answer to my question. Why do the barbers close on a Wednesday? I can understand they get tired with the snip snip snip, but they can’t all get tired on the same day surely.


Dear Jerry,

You must go to a very old barber. Snip snip snip? It’s more like buzz buzz buzz these days. It’s all a folklore thing. Just the same as fish on Fridays. It is considered bad luck to get your hair cut on Wednesday, so since nobody wants bad luck (especially now) they go on Thursdays. So since there are no customers, better to shut up shop.

Hello Hillary,

Thank you so much for your reply to my previous e-mail where I had implied that I can’t get a bird in a brothel! I took your advice, went into a bar and slapped 2,000 baht on the table and shouted “OK birds, I am over here, come and get it!” And did they... they were all over me, and it was all going fine. I had a great time. However, it slipped out! It had to I suppose! What can I do! I didn’t mean to do it, but a ‘gnaam’ just slipped out. I think it was followed by a ‘lie lie der’. That was it, a deathly silence. Then one of the birds said “Falang Laos” and the party was over. Oh dear, I’ll try again next week. You lucky people that only speak English!


I ain’t bovvered

Dear I ain’t bovvered,

Despite your hiding behind your pseudonym of ‘I ain’t bovvered’, I get the distinct impression that you are very ‘bovvered’ by it all. Otherwise you wouldn’t be writing to me with your tales of woe, would you Possum? Re-reading your email, I am glad it was just a ‘gnaam’ that slipped out. For a while there I thought you were trying to make pun of me. I also get the distinct impression that you are an antipodean with that quaint way to refer to the bar girls as “birds”. The only way the ladies of the night are similar to our feathered friends is that some of them have been known to go “Cheep Cheap” under certain financial conditions and good at midnight flights under other conditions. Best of luck and ‘kaneedur’.

Dear Hillary,

Can you recommend a good computer technician? Every time my computer breaks down, the technician takes it away to fix it, and returns it several days later and when I go to use it, something else has packed up. “You haven’t got enough RAM,” seems to be the catchword with these people, but even after buying more, the problems are still there. Any ideas, Hillary?


Dear Frazzled,

You’re lucky it’s only a RAM problem. I’ve bought a veritable sheep station of RAMs and now they’re telling me it is my operating system that is no good. I ask you, what’s wrong with Windows 1946? It worked before, why not now? Honestly Petal, I have no idea about this modern technology. Bring back faxes, I say. I could understand those.


Dear Hillary,

I got shown a letter where a guy had written to one of the local bar girls that he was coming back at Christmas and how he was looking forward to seeing her again. I said to her that he sounded like a nice guy, but she didn’t remember him! “Where he come from?” was the reply. When I said Germany, then she remembered that it was either George or Hans! How can these girls keep living like this? Have they no sense of responsibility?


Dear Amazed,

You should not be amazed, I am amazed that there are still people like you around, who think that there are “rules of association” with girls in bars. Petal, these girls are working there. Their “job” is to look after unattached males in return for financial rewards. Her George or Hans was just another passing face in the crowd, but don’t worry, five minutes after he arrives she will have recognized his wallet and will make his holiday memorable again.

Heart to Heart - APRIL 3 - APRIL 16, 2020

Dear Hillary,

I have no problems living here in Thailand. I can get as many ‘film stars’ as I want, who think I’m just the greatest. They don’t cost me much money - a lot less than a wife would ever cost back home. I get someone different every night I want. The beer is cheap and if you choose the bar which has a pig on a spit, you get free food as well. Just how good is that? It amazes me just how some of these losers can find life so difficult over here. It’s Paradise!



Dear Jimmy,

I am glad to see that you think you have arrived in Paradise, but you haven’t been here long, have you. The regular kid in the candy store, that’s you, isn’t it. We also have a name for the guys who follow the roast pigs, we call them ‘balloon chasers’ because the balloons are there to attract the poor mouths. I’m also glad that you think your ‘film stars’ think you’re just the greatest. Learn some Thai, Jimmy my Cheap Charlie Petal, and you’ll find out what they really think about you, and I guarantee it won’t be complimentary. And as for your “Paradise”, did you ever read John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost”? I probably doubt it, it was a bit before your time, and was 10 books long. A little bit too much brain tasking for you, I would imagine. Enjoy the pigs.


Dear Hillary,

Didn’t mean to be clogging up your column, but your reply to my letter just reminded me of something. Sick buffalos, haven’t they been sick since the Vietnam War? That’s an awfully long time. If they’re still alive, they should have been taken off a life support so these poor souls can rest in peace. I promise, I wouldn’t be writing you for a while b/c other people (like those love sick farangs) have more urgent needs than me.

As always,

Your fan from the USA


Dear Fan from the USA,

Always happy to hear from a true animal lover like yourself, prepared to place the family buffalo in the ICU ward since the end of the Vietnam War. However, I agree, it’s time to pull the plug on these unfortunate animals. Unfortunately, the new crop of post-Vietnam ladies of the night is adept at keeping the tale going to post-Vietnam wet behind the ears tourists to Thailand. These things have a habit of continuing to go around, and around and around. Where there is a well filled wallet, there is always someone wanting to help empty it. “Hello sexy man. Buy me cola?”


Dear Hillary,

I think my Thai wife is two timing me. When I go off-shore I leave my motorcycle in the garage. Being a British bike, I expect some drops of oil on the garage floor, but recently, on the last two trips, the garage floor is oil-spotless. The only way this could happen is if someone has taken the bike away while I’m off-shore. Is my wife giving it away? If she is, why doesn’t she tell me about it? Or does she have a Thai boyfriend waiting till I say goodbye every month? Why she would do this is beyond me as I give her everything she wants, gold chains and everything. I really cannot think of any other reason for the garage floor to be so clean. Do you think the seals have taken up, or what is happening? Is there another logical answer?


Dear Beezer,

Sorry to disappoint you, Petal, but none of your suppositions are correct. Seals don’t “take up” while a bike is not being used. The seals dry out and the leaks become far more, well that’s what Somchai, the leader of the motorcycle push on the corner of my street tells me. Somchai also tells me that you should check the odometer - the thingy that tells you how many km you have done. That will tell you right away if the bike has been used. Anyway, the more likely reason that there are no tell-tale oil drops is the fact that there is no oil left. Check that first before doing DNA tests on the saddle.


Dear Hillary,

My Thai GF and I get along very well, other than one thing - she is forever going up-country to visit her folks in the sticks, stays there for three or four days and then comes back and our relationship is very good again. There is nothing there in her village - it’s primitive (I’ve been there once, that was enough). So why the need to go up-country? Do you think she has a husband up there or something like that?



Dear Worried,

Are you asking me if I think this girl has someone in her “primitive” village that takes her back there, then I would say, very definitely yes. You do not understand Thai customs, Petal. Your saying “There is nothing in her village,” shows just how little you understand Thai families. She has her mother and father up there, and that is enough. She may also have children up there. Have you considered that possibility? Far more likely than a husband hiding in the buffalo shed. A friendly chat with your GF should soon reveal all!

Heart to Heart - March 20 - April 2, 2020

Hello Hillary,

As usual you always seem to give good advice to some of our friends who have fallen by the wayside, and they look to you to be their saviour, recently it is George’s turn to give you his problem concerning his up and coming marriage, your reply is, as usual, excellent and to the point, but after having the same problem in the past, I think I may be able to offer some further advice to this forsaken gentleman, if I may be so bold, George, as Hillary has explained to you, a village marriage is not legal, it is, very simply, a trap to relieve you of your cash, forget about dowries for a start, what are you buying?, a cow, or a buffalo, when I was told that a dowry is traditional in Thailand, I said no chance, forget it, I was married to a Thai girl a couple of years ago, I never went to the village, I went to Bangkok and was married legally, I had a good party in Pattaya with all my friends and the full cost to me for everything was, 30,000 baht, after knowing this girl for only one year George, my advice to you is to run while you still have some money in your bank account, it seems to me that this girl will leave you with nothing, although you are not the first and you will certainly not be the last, LEAVE TOWN GEORGE.

Experienced Pensioner

Dear Experienced Pensioner,

Wow! What a sentence! 245 words without a full stop - you leave me breathless! However, thank you for backing up my advice to George, I also felt he was being led up the matrimonial path by the proverbial carrot. “Experience” is always the best teacher (and you sound as if you have several buckets of it).

Dear Hillary,

Hello again, been reading you since I can’t remember. Whether I was here in Pattaya or in the U.S. All day with the rain I contemplated this writing. In the past you have published two of my writings. In my 30 yrs of coming to Thailand, and always Pattaya where I have had the most contact, the advice you offer, most of it I had to learn the hard way, because it was before the time of Pattaya Mail. Of course the farangs that write you are seeking your advice. While you are most knowledgeable, it’s one-sided. It’s always from the Thai female psyche. Sometimes I feel these farang need a slap in the back of head from one who has been there, one of their own. While you always offer a gentle solution to their problems, I feel some just have a hard heads. I know it’s immaterial whether or not they take the advice you offer, it’s up to them. But when it comes to the particularly stupid, I’d like to be of assistance if there is some way I could be of aid in these hard core cases please contact me.

I’m still new at this being retired, and have yet to find a way to occupy my time, sure that will change in the future. Because from what I read in your column it’s always the newbie or nearly newbies who get themselves in emotional / financial trouble. Us old timers are pretty well set, if we don’t know by now there is no helping us, nor are we seeking help. But not to invade on your turf - if I could be of any assistance please contact me.

Take Care,

Les (and Lawan)

Dear Les (and Lawan),

Aren’t you the kindest chap, with an offer of being Hillary’s little helper. It is nice to know there are settled “old timers” as you called yourself, ready, willing and able to step in at a moment’s notice. However, Petal, I think the readers out there are looking for the Thai female psyche, as they don’t understand what their long term partner of two days is thinking. I would also be somewhat embarrassed if you went out on some sort of vigilante exercise, slapping my correspondents around the head as you suggested. I don’t think the editor would like that.

Then there is another problem, and it’s not your salary as Hillary’s assistant, because there isn’t any, it’s where are we going to put you? The editorial desk is not very large, and just fits into my attic with me. If I have a good meal at lunchtime, I can’t get in until after three in the afternoon! In the days when we used to get real paper letters I had to open the envelopes outside as there wasn’t enough room to swing the proverbial cat. Not that I have anything against cats, you must know.

Unfortunately, I can see so many problems, apart from the fact that Lawan might get jealous of your snuggling up to me on one of these rainy afternoons. So many problems and so few ways around it all. I think it is best if we just leave things as they are, but if I find someone needing a bit of head-slapping, I’ll call you.

Heart to Heart - March 6 - March 19, 2020

J.K. Hillary?

Dear Hillary,

Haven't written you for a while because I have been very busy with moving and sending my youngest son to college and all, but you're still as sharp as ever. In this age of these reality shows (and god knows it’s way too many of them around), you should have a spin off like a book or something, you will be making a fortune. Your advice is always to the point with a bit of a punch, just enough to bring most of these love sick gentlemen back to reality. Love your column, keep up the good work.

Your fan from the USA

Dear Your fan from the USA,

Thank you for the lovely note, and in it you brought something out of great value for everyone - reality shows. We don’t have any here, as life in Thailand is always one of make-believe - just sit in any bar and listen to the chattering expats. Or even better, listen to the chattering bar girls as they spin their make-believe hard luck stories to the unsuspecting punter. There are more sick buffalos in Isaan than there are buffalos in grand total in the whole of Thailand. A right sickly lot they are up there, no wonder these poor girls need continuing financial support. A book? Goodness me, what a good idea, but I’ll have to run it past the editor (he of the long pockets and short arms) I’m afraid, and if it costs money that will be the end of it. I don’t think poor little Hillary will ever be another J.K. Rowling and ‘rolling’ in millions. Not even baht! Please keep writing, in between lion taming (AKA child rearing) and other domestic chores. And if you have been moving, you will spend the next six months trying to find everything. I have a similar problem, trying to find something I used yesterday, but that is probably what they call a ‘senior moment’. Only problem is I seem to get ‘senior hours’ these days…

Mind your business

Dear Hillary,

You were asked a similar question to this one of mine a few years ago, but I can’t remember just what you suggested, and of course I can’t remember the date either to go looking for it in back issues. Like many husbands over here, I am very much older than my wife, which is not a problem for us, even though the constant referrals to my wife as being supposed to be a bar girl were annoying at first, but we have been together now for 15 years. The problem I have is with our 12 year old son. Not that he is a problem, in fact he is a good lad, it is the people and the snide remarks we get when we are out together. He is a big lad for his age and the innuendo is that I must be a pedophile out with an underage boy. I mean I used to have problems when my wife and I used to go out, with remarks behind our backs that she was a bar girl and the like, but we got used to that and ignored it. This is different with the boy. He shouldn’t have to go through that sort of embarrassment. This is something we cannot just ignore and hope that it goes away. What do we do, Hillary?



Dear Jeff,

I am sorry, I can remember the letter, but I can’t remember what I advised then either! Unfortunately, there are plenty of ignorant people in this world, my Petal, and ones who point fingers are exceptionally ignorant. We certainly seem to have more than our fair share. You have to eventually get to the stage you reached when out with your wife, “we got used to that and ignored it.” In the meantime, why don’t you get a couple of T-shirts printed up? Yours reads “He is my son” and the boy’s T-shirt says “He is my Dad”. But if you really want to rub their noses in it, make the first line “Before you make a fool of yourself” and then “He is my son” underneath.

Overdone Aussie

Dear Hillary,

I have a mate coming up from Aussie for a couple of weeks on his holidays. Last year he made a right proper ass of himself with the girls in bars and had to cut his holiday short as he had run out of money. I don’t want to see that happening again, although I obviously want him to enjoy himself, but not to the same degree as before. How do I get him to slow down?

The Aussie’s Mate


Dear The Aussie’s Mate,

So we had a bit of the kid in the sweet shop last year, eh? You don’t say how old your friend is, but it sounds as if he is pretty young, but even young Aussie’s should be able to benefit from experience. I would suggest you sit him down on the first night he is here and openly discuss what happened last year on his holiday, and discuss methods whereby he can avoid all the pitfalls. Have fun acting as chaperone, I fear.

 Heart to Heart - February 21 - Mach 5, 2020

Dear Hillary,

This is a situation I have experienced all over Asia, so it’s not a “Thai” thing. You want to invite a young lady to dinner. Remember we are not talking about ladies of the night here. This is about ordinary ladies, no buffaloes, no brothers with broken legs and fathers on their last legs in hospital. This is a post about the gentle art of chaperoning. I invited a lady to dinner and she asked if she could bring a friend (a lady), I said certainly. The three of us met at the restaurant which was fine, until three more ladies arrived to sit with us, all who were introduced as sisters of the lady I invited. These sisters all looked like heavy weight wrestlers, nothing like the attractive lady I had invited, they all drank like fish, luckily not champagne, only beer Leo. To cap it all they ordered take away meals to be added to my bill. So 4,000 THB later we parted company. Never to be seen again, my choice by the way Hillary. So please warn your readers of what the “bring a friend” can lead too.


Dear Andrew,

I think the situation you experienced is really quite a common one. How long had you known the attractive lady and the heavyweight wrestler sisters? Sounds to me that you should be doing a bit of groundwork before offering carte blanche at the a la carte. Unfortunately, you young chaps only seem to learn by experience, so I doubt if you will be any different.

Dear Hillary,

My GF has just moved in with me, so everything’s a bit new and I’m pretty unsure too. How much salary should I be paying her? I’ve asked at the pub where I go after work and they all said different amounts from nothing to fifty thousand. She does work in an office job and clears about fifteen thousand baht a month, and will continue to work there. I don’t want to chase her away, now she’s made the decision to bunk in with me. I know others have written to you about this but always seems to be that these are with bar girls who leave the bar and haven’t got a steady income.


Dear Banker,

Love your name, I take it that this has been a mutual decision, the moving in. I also take it that you have known this girl for some time and this wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, with no discussion other than “Wanna move in?” “Yeah, why not.” You are quite correct when you point out that this is not the usual bar girl leaving her source of finance for a “regular” position. Honestly, my Petal, the pair of you have made the decision to move in and ‘share’ and that’s the way the financial side should be looked at. Both of you put a percentage of your salaries into a kitty which is used to spend on household expenses like food, cleaning materials. Discuss with the GF what she thinks is a reasonable sum for living expenses and then work out the split between your two salaries to make up that sum. You both should have more to spend on yourselves because the other party is helping pay living expenses. Do not think about giving her a “salary”, she already gets a salary from her office job, and you get a salary as well, I presume. You should be living together because you want to be near each other, not adding another job to your lives.

Dear Hillary,

How do you turn off the vacuum cleaners operating out of Soi Half Dozen? I have found that the lovely lady sitting beside me seems to be able to clean out my wallet and all done with the big smile, for which they are famous I am told. So famous that they clean every little nook or cranny and I end up borrowing money from a mate just to get home. Help me please Hillary.


Dear Jacques,

You are wondering how to stop the Soi 6 vacuum cleaners who seemed to be able to clean out your wallet very easily. My advice is simple. Try going out with the idea of only having 500 baht cash only on you...or 1000 note and a ten baht coin on you for a return songthaew. Leave your credit, debit, and ATM cards locked in your safe. Don’t worry, in due course you will be the least popular farang on Soi 6. Perhaps then, rather than visiting with Soi 6 vacuum cleaners, you will put effort into finding a woman who could perhaps look after you. This is if you are looking for “true love” actually of course, but I doubt you are. By the way, 10 baht songthaews around Soi Half Dozen? Are you living in Soi 6/1?


Heart to Heart - February 7 - February 20, 2020

Dearest Hillary,

I went to your office this week with a bottle of plonk and all, to be told by your staff that you don’t work there anymore. Tell me this isn’t true. You are the only reason I buy the paper. And what about all the expats that you keep from throwing themselves off tall buildings (though I do say you have let a few slip through last year)? Please don’t go. On behalf of the troubled people please stay.


Dear James,

You didn’t leave the wine, did you? You should know I don’t drink ‘plonk’, nothing short of a good French champagne please (though I have been known to take the odd glass of prosecco). Not much I can do about the Icarus jumping club without parachute. If you have some depressed friends, take them to see a psychiatrist. And I am not your “dearest” either.


Dear Hillary,

How are all your old whingers today? Every week there seems to be another expat who has been ripped off. With their blushing 17 year old ‘bride’ hanging on their arm all the way to the ATM and then off to the village until the money from the hole in the wall runs out. Don’t they ever learn? Or perhaps you should run classes for expats on how to avoid the bar girl trap? But I don’t think the depressed folk would attend lectures, do you?



Dear Art,

Why don’t you write the Bar Girl’s Manual and follow that up with the Bar Beer Drinkers Assistant? This way these two books would help the drinkers to understand what the bar girl is thinking and what the drinker is thinking. (Not much beyond the end of his pencil (sorry about the poor spelling) I would suggest. Your “old whingers” come to Thailand because they are unhappy in their own native country, and nothing will cheer them up in the long term, but at least they get a short term lift from the “bride”.


Dear Hillary,

I have had a jokey type relationship with my hairdresser for about six months. Last week she made it clear (I thought) that she would be interested in a little after hours fun, and we ended up with some slap and tickle in the back of the salon, nothing too deep, just what you’d call petting. I dropped by today with the idea of floating the idea of her closing the shop for an hour or two one afternoon, but she was not even in for a bit of a cuddle, so I did not pursue the idea. What gives with these Thai women, Hillary? I’ve had this before with lots of sexy suggestions, but then backing out at the last minute. Is this the way their culture demands or what? And should I keep trying with this dame?



Dear Jo-Jo,

My Petal, you have mistaken harmless fun with the real thing. Your hairdresser is just trying to keep you as a customer. A little snog every so often does not mean that she is ready for a roll between the covers at the local Lonely Hearts Club Scissors Hotel, room by the hour. Don’t get so serious with these ladies, they are just having some fun with you, but that’s all. If you are only looking for short term rumpy pumpy company then a Bar Beer, rather than a Barber, is where you go. Understand now?


Dear Hillary,

Can you have a test for compatibility with curry? The GF loves Indian food but I can’t take the heat. She’s from the north so has eaten spicy food all her life while I come from England and we don’t eat spicy food at all. She wants me to share the food with her so we get about four dishes and I struggle with one while she gobbles three. End result is she’s put on 10 kg while I’ve lost 2 kg. The previous GF was the same, but don’t tell me to choose from a western woman instead of a Thai lady. What to do next?



Dear Jeremy,

The local ladies spicing up your life a little too much? You won’t get the GF’s to change – they’ve been eating chillis all their lives, as you point out. There’s an old English phrase “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” so that’s what you have to do. And here is Hillary to tell you how it is done. Watch a Thai cook making something in the wok. What does she spread over the food? Sugar. The degree of spiciness is altered by the sugar. So as soon as your mouth is on fire, take one teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle on your tongue. Within one minute the fire will be manageable. Carry those little sachets you get in the coffee shops.

Heart to Heart - January 24 - February 6, 2020

Looking for a Lorek

Dear Hillary,

I’m your greatest fan. I love your column and am amazed at the patience you have. Would be throwing your red pen to the wall by now. I am an ex pat and live in Chiang Mai near the university. So, it is not the night time seedy part of town like Loi Kroh, for example. How you put up with letters every week from idiots is beyond me. To all those who fall for lines from bar girls, I say they deserve all the agro they get and ending up getting their wallets emptied. As a friend of mine (a media commentator) said, Thailand is for those poor males who could not get laid in their own countries. For all those idiots I have seen in bars bragging about the money they probably do not have, the girls just raise the prices for what they want and none of the girls cares whether the ‘Rolex’ they have is real. These idiots get what they deserve. As far as I am concerned, send them all to Pattaya!



Dear Ferdinand,

I spoke with the trouble shooters at Pattaya City Hall but they said for you to keep them up there in Chiang Mai, as Pattaya has as many idiots as we need already. However, looking at the problem that you have highlighted, perhaps an identification system is needed. A badge for the girls to state “Bar Girl wallet handler” or something like that. For the males, as they come through Immigration they get given an Octopus shaped ‘Sucker badge’ with first timers getting the 100 percent sucker rating. By the way, from the bar girl side of the pub the watch is a “Lorek”. But always remember that for a Thai, a watch is not an instrument for telling the time, but is more of a fashion accessory.


Puzzling behavior

Dear Hillary,

My Thai GF likes to go back to the village every couple of months to see her mother. I’m cool with this, as I believe it is a Thai custom, but she never gets back here when she says she will be. It goes from a couple of days extra to 10 days on one trip. There’s always lots of reasons why this happens like her dog gets run over, a local boy was rude to her and she went to the police to complain, so had to be there for the meeting with the police and the guy. The phone never seems to work either. Then there’s a funeral about once a month it seems, and I’m starting to get suspicious. What should I do about this? Or do you think I’m worrying too much?


Dear John,

(I love getting “Dear John” letters.) I think you know the answer to this already, my Petal. You’re being played for a fool. I’m sure she gets money for the plane from you and goes by bus instead, so you are subsidizing her behavior. What can you do? Well, insist on her coming back when she says and accept no excuses. The phone coverage in Thailand, even to Isaan is good. So tell her she either starts playing the game or it’s all over. Don’t continue to be a sucker.


Buy me how

Dear Hillary,

What is it with these men who complain about the way the Thai women relate to the foreigners? Don’t they understand this isn’t NY City or London? Your home country women have their own ways of getting money out of you, but they are more sneaky than the Thai who are up front about it all. At the beginning of the relationship it is “Buy me dress.” This later becomes “You buy me how (house).” Whereas the foreign female gets you to buy a house for both of you and then divorces you and keeps the lot. I’ll take my chances with the local ladies.


Dear Mike,

As long as you take care you’ll never be lonely.


Mixed marriages never work

Hillary, are you married? You never let us know. I think most farangs don’t understand Thai ladies and that is why their marriages break down. Do you agree?


Dear Mike,

There are always problems with these ‘mixed’ marriages – foreigners and locals, but if you keep your brains under your hat and not in the underpants you can survive very well. You look like you’ve got a good handle on the situation. Enjoy your life, Mike.


Follow the money

Dear Hillary,

I am tired of hearing that the Thai ladies are only interested in money. You could say that about any woman in any country. If you meet a woman who makes a big salary, they don’t need a man, but in Thailand there are very few rich ladies, so they need to hook up with a man who can look after them financially. Nothing wrong with that. Thinking ahead.


Dear Lance,

In Thailand, there are some women who are rich, but the only women with a big salary are Thai, and they don’t go on dates with ex-pats. This leaves the “ordinary” girls, but even they are difficult to get close to. The answer is the bar ladies who know what you need, but you must be ready for some give and take. You give, they take.

Heart to Heart - January 10, 2020 - January 23, 2020

A beer problem

Dear Hillary,

I have a real problem with my live-in GF and it is the demon drink again. I know Thais don’t hold their liqueur very well, but this one is gone off her face after two beers. That could be OK but she gets all “teary” and goes back to every time we’ve had a problem, or the guy before me, even. I say the past is the past, but she can’t hold her emotions. This then means no nooky for me that night. Have you any ideas what I can do to get her over this? It has become quiet (sic) tiresome


Dear Garry,

You men are all the same. Beer and sex, sex and beer. Don’t you think of anything else? (Spelling obviously I has been left stranded.) Back to your beer problem. Have you tried not plying her with drink? Beer is neither a stimulant nor a muscle strengthener, but is a depressant and a muscle relaxer. (Ever heard of brewer’s droop?) Neither of these items are good for your nocturnal pursuits, you know. Try sticking with soft drinks for the little lady – and a few for yourself won’t go astray either! And then again, do you absolutely have to have a beer yourself?


The family that lays together, stays together

Dear Hillary,

A family problem here, and I don’t want to see what is going to happen next. I’m originally from the UK and I am a pensioner and my legally married wife is Thai. We have been together for almost 12 years. Pretty good on the whole, but sometimes a spat or two but nothing we couldn’t work out by ourselves, but this is different. Money is tight as the UK pension isn’t much these days and mine is ‘frozen’ at the 2008 level and what with the baht being so strong, the wife’s little Mom and Pop convenience store doesn’t make much money these days either, not even enough to cover the rent like it used to. Now here’s the problem – two months ago her brother from the village and his girlfriend came to stay with us. No discussion about this, they just arrived on the doorstep. The girl helps my wife in the shop, but the business is so poor, anyway my wife runs it by herself, so the girl isn’t needed. The brother just lies about the place watching telly, and does not contribute either. This puts an even greater stress on the finances. My wife won’t discuss this problem either, telling me it is “family”. What do I do?


Dear Cyril,

You are so correct when you describe this as a “family problem”. For up-country Thai people, “family” comes first. That covers all Thai people with some blood connection, followed by all Thai people with any inherited Thai genes, after that lot comes the village soi dogs and then the foreigners. You will have to sit down with your wife and make her discuss the two newcomers and your available finances and she must accept that you are also “family”. You obviously cannot carry on the way you are going. The brother and the girlfriend must either leave, or go get a paying job and contribute to your household, or you will have to return to the UK. There is a limit, and you have reached it, my Petal.


A home grown cunning linguist

Dear Hillary,

Did you know Hillary, the first name of your favorite beverage translates to “Widow”?


Dear Don,

In actual fact, my linguistic Petal, I was well aware of the origins of Veuve Clicquot. So you are good at French are you, Don? Yes, Widow Clicquot was a remarkable woman (16 December 1777 – 29 July 1866). Known as the “Grand Dame of Champagne”, she was a French businesswoman who took on her husband's wine business when she was widowed at 27. Under her ownership, and her skill with wine, the company developed early champagne using a novel technique. The brand and company of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin still bears her name, and is drunk by Hillary as its major recommendation.

She is not to be confused with Madame Bollinger who reputedly said, “Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty.”

Don, darling, just leave the bottle for me at the Pattaya Mail office, clearly marked “FOR HILLARY” otherwise the messenger will claim it. That’s a very sweet Petal.


Inveterate liar

Dear Hillary,

I examined my wine room and discovered 89 bottles of Veuve Clicquot!

Don (again)

Dear Don (again),

If I didn’t know you were an inveterate liar, I would have been right over and been yours for 89 days (I didn’t say ‘nights’)! I also know, from personal experience, that 7-Eleven doesn’t sell any champagnes, and I’m sorry, Mont Clair Sparkling doesn’t cut it..  


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Heart to Heart - July 3 - July 16, 2020

Heart to Heart - June 15 - July 2, 2020

Heart to Heart - June 5 - June 18, 2020

Heart to Heart - May 5 - May 21, 2020

Heart to Heart - April 24 - May 7, 2020

Heart to Heart - April 3 - April 16, 2020

Heart to Heart - March 20 - April 2, 2020

Heart to Heart - March 6 - March 19, 2020

Heart to Heart - February 21 - Mach 5, 2020

Heart to Heart - February 7 - February 20, 2020

Heart to Heart - January 24 - February 6, 2020

Heart to Heart - January 10, 2020 - January 23, 2020