Heart to Heart
Another lamb to the slaughter with Barry’s
mate lining himself up with a blushing bride from one of the bars (your column
three weeks ago). You said it would end up like Paul McCartney or Greg Norman,
and I reckon Tiger Woods will have shelled out a few shills as well. You paint
the picture of gloom and doom, but there’s lots of successes as well, only you
don’t hear about them. I have one mate who lined up for a second time after a
disaster first time. Here they are 12 years later and they are as happy as
Larry. Dangerous to generalize, Hillary. You should know that.
Barry’s Other Mate
Dear Barry’s Other Mate,
You are correct, that I shouldn’t
generalize, but I can only work with the information fed to me, my Petal. When I
start to get as many positives as negatives in the mail box, then I’ll change my
tune. In the meantime, enjoy the bars, but don’t be too cocky, there’s plenty of
danger out there.
There was a car show the other week and
your boss was heavily involved. Did you go too? Just trying to see if you are a
Me? A car? I used to ride a pushbike,
but that got too dangerous. You see them on the road, head down and bottom up.
How they see what’s in front of them, I do not know. They don’t know either
judging by the crashes these bikers have. You see them in these competitions,
all covered in road rash. I think they would be better off in motorcyclists
leathers instead of fancy colored lycra. Simple answer, no.
If you forget one month to the water people
or the electricity people they take your meter away. It’s not really fair as
sometimes the bill gets lost before I get back and I come home and food is
spoiled as well as having no lights at night. Can’t I just give them a lump of
money and get them to contact me when it runs out?
They contact you already by sending you
a bill, but you say you didn’t get it. Why will it be different if they try to
contact you when your lump sum finishes? Do you want one woman at the Utility
working 30 days just because you can’t get your act together? No, my Petal, it
is your responsibility, you know the dates the bills come in (just ask them and
they’ll tell you), then make a mark in your diary and bingo! It’s fixed. And
start being responsible for your own actions from now on.
What is the situation here as far as
dowries is concerned. I have been living with this girl I met in the local bar
for a few weeks and I have been up to her home town to meet her folks, and they
seem to be OK sort of people who accepted me quite easily. Her mother looks
after her child from a previous marriage. Her father has a small rice farm. My
girl is now saying that her parents expect us now to get married and we must go
back to her village for the ceremony, and that I am expected to pay the dowry
for her as well as paying for the monks and the marriage ceremony and party. I
asked her how much did they expect and she tells me around 300,000 baht will
cover everything. Honestly Hillary, that is a lot of money, being a bit close to
6,000 pounds, and I don’t know that I really want to go through this at that
sort of money. I understand this may be the custom out here, but I want your
opinion on it. I haven’t got anyone else I can ask to get some sensible advice.
If I go ahead, she says her parents will give the money back to us, but what if
they don’t? Then I’ve just blown my trip money.
Dowries are still expected in some
regions of Thailand, but 300,000 baht is a bit steep for a blushing bride you
met in a bar, who has been married before and already has one child being looked
after by her mother. Are there any others hiding round the corner? Virgin births
have not happened for about 2,000 years, and that certainly didn’t happen in
Thailand. Any contract of marriage should not be entered into when there are
doubts, and you are certainly showing more than a few doubts (not that I blame
you). You do not say how long you have been in Thailand, but I get the feeling
you are a newcomer and even just a tourist. A ‘real’ marriage, which is
recognized in both Thai law and the UK, is not the one in the village, but is
done at the local amphur office. You asked for my opinion, Petal, and here it is
– run! Don’t wait around. Go!
Are ther (sic) reelly (sic)
that many suckers in Pattaya that fall for the sheilas in the local pubs?
You hear about them buying them cars and houses and all. They say thers (sic)
one born every minute. Reelly (sic)?
Yes! Reelly! (sic) But
Robert, my Petal, have you stopped to think why this happens? If where they
are is so good, why would they want to go to SE Asia and get involved again?
Would they buy a bartendee a house and a car in their (note the spelling,
Petal) home country? So why do they do it here? Maybe it is Thai herbs in
the food, or even Thai beer that does the trick.
Getting serious again, These young
(and not so young) chaps are swept off their feet by gorgeous young things
who make them feel like kings, and the next thing they are up country to
meet the “in-laws” and buying beer for the village. It has been this way for
years, Robert, and nothing I say can change it. You’ve heard of lemmings?
All running off the cliff following one another. It’s the same way in the
Pattaya bars. Now, I must take you to task. Where were you when the class
was doing spelling lessons? Chasing roo’s? (I presume you are Australian.)
Spend some time with a primary 2 spelling book before you write another
letter. That’s a good chap.
I see there is another big shopping
mall being built in North Pattaya. This one is going to be so big they have
a Boeing 747 in the middle of it. Do we need another one? Some of the ones
we have at present are half empty. I wouldn’t like to be a retailer, don’t
care what you’re selling. Don’t you think we are over-serviced?
I do agree with you in some ways,
Petal, but not quite altogether. I remember when it was a dirt track going
from South Pattaya, up and over Thappraya and down to Jomtien. When they
started building shop-houses along the road, we all said, where are they
going to find people to live in them? Well, they did, didn’t they? Not only
shop houses, but boutique hotels, fancy restaurants and even the odd bar (as
Pattaya is a little light on for bars). Against that history, I have to say
that I believe that in a few years we will need to build more hotels and
shopping centers. Do you remember the Green Bottle pub? When it opened some
20 plus years ago, all the wise heads agreed that it would fail, as it was
“too far out of town.” How wrong can you be. It is in the middle of town
I am a little worried about the age of
some of these girls working in the bars. Don’t they have to be 20? I am sure
some of them are 16 if they’re lucky. What is the situation, Hillary? I
don’t want to be caught out by not knowing.
This is a little deep for this
column, but here goes! I did some internet scouting and came up with the
following. The age of consent in the Kingdom of Thailand is 15 (with the
below caveat) as specified by article 279 of the Thai Criminal Code. The
current legislation applies to all regardless of gender and/or sexual
orientation, although it is a common misconception that it applies only to
women. However parts of the Law disallows any sexual contact with
prostitutes under the age of 18, are widely interpreted by some local
authorities to cover sexual acts classed as “obscenity for personal
gratification”. Also having sex with a child under 18 is a compoundable
offense even with the consent of that person. The parent or the child may
file charges against the other side if he or she later regrets his or her
own action. This ostensibly makes the Thai unfettered age of consent 18.
Had a heated discussion (argument) the
other night in the bar. Are Thai women romantic, it was all about. I say
that they are, but my drinking buddies all say not. They said that all they
are interested in are large amounts of gold, and the larger the better.
Surely there are still some ladies out there who appreciate wine and
chocolates (apart from you, Hillary)? I need you to back me up here,
Such a lovely thought – wine and
chocolates, but I prefer champagne and chocs. Of course there are romantic
ladies left in Thailand, other than myself. It sounds to me as if your
drinking buddies are looking for ladies from the wrong watering holes. The
professional ladies who come to the surface with the buffalos in tow are
certainly only looking for gold. That is their business, their profession
(and an old one at that). However, by looking in the universities, offices
and even department stores, you will find ladies who appreciate being
appreciated. You are correct, Ross. Your friends are taking too narrow a
sample to base their findings. You don’t have rose colored glasses. Your
drinking buddies are looking at life through beer glasses.
A couple of weeks ago a reader wrote to you with a worry
over bar girls and their requests for “buy me drink”. Reader Chris wrote back
with “Drink coke, buy the girl a drink or two and she will be happy, do not be
pressurized into buying too many lady drinks though. If these girls think you
are a soft touch you will find yourself surrounded by girls all wanting you to
keep buying them drinks. Do not let them dictate the terms, you are the
customer.” Just how much pressure can these girls heap on the customer? Surely
all the punter has to say is “no more” and bosh, problem over!
I’m afraid it’s not as simple as “bosh, problem over,”
my Petal. The graduates from the Bar Girl University use the water on stone
trick and can introduce other variables to the problem, such as massage.
Remember, these girls are not fighting thirst, they are fighting for their
livelihood, and that means money. My advice is that as soon as they are drinking
more than you, pay the bill and leg it! That will take you to another bar and
“Buy me cola,” all over again It is nothing serious, just remember that Pattaya
bars are Disneyland for adults – but the rides are better!
What’s with the Happy Zones I read about in the paper? Is
this another way to close the night entertainment? Pattaya isn’t a patch on what
it used to be. It was real happy then.
The Happy Zones are what used to be called Safety Zones
and are just areas where there are more police on the ground. I agree that
Pattaya is a different place these days. The free and easy side has changed, but
then, so has everything else, not just in Thailand. It’s called ‘progress’ and
there’s nothing you nor me can do, other than adapt to it. There will always be
an enjoyable time for the visitors. Pattaya is, after all, a tourist city, and
always will be.
Platform soles are back again I see. Don’t these girls know
how silly they look, perched on five inch platforms. Is it the fashion again?
No, not fashion thing – it’s more of a safety thing.
Have you tried to keep a motorcycle upright at the traffic lights when you have
I’m a bit new to Thailand, so I’m probably not the first to
ask this, but why do Thai women sit sideways on motorcycles? When did it start?
Have they always done this? You would never see anything like this in England,
so it really blows me away every time.
Dear Sideways Sam,
You seem to have your eyes open here, but you must have
had them closed in the UK. Go to any horsey event and you will see the women
riding side-saddle. Even the Queen of England used to ride side-saddle for the
trooping of the color. However, getting back to your question regarding riding
side-saddle here, it is for the sake of decency, young man. How can a woman in a
long skirt, or even more in a short skirt, look polite and decorous with the hem
hitched up above the hips, and legs hanging down each side of motorcycle (or
buffalo or elephant)? Thai women have had wrap skirts for years and rode animals
side-saddle, long before the motorcycle arrived in the villages.
Would you prefer it if we gazetted laws like those in
Connecticut, with Section 14-289c saying, “Any person who rides sidesaddle on a
motorcycle and any operator of a motorcycle who permits such riding or who
carries a passenger on any motorcycle not designed for passengers shall have
committed an infraction.” It could be worse, in Montana’s State laws, “No
passenger shall be carried in a position that will interfere with the operation
of the motorcycle or quadricycle or the view of the operator.” And again, “No
person operating a motorcycle or quadricycle shall carry any packages, bundles,
or articles which would interfere with the operation of said vehicle in a safe
and prudent manner.” Those two laws would bring the local motorcycle community
to a grinding halt. No small child in front of the rider, and a side-saddle
passenger or two on behind and no shopping bags hanging from the rear vision
mirrors. The streets would be empty, Petal!
Is it OK to apply the British Standard (BS) Duck Test to
the likelihood of being ripped off in a bar relationship? (The BS test if you’ve
forgotten “If a bird looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a
duck, then it probably is a duck.”) I have a friend who is thinking about
hooking up with one of these ducks. What’s his chances?
Now, will your mate’s bar girl rip him off when the
relationship ends?’ Of course not, ask Greg Norman ($103m), Paul McCartney
($48.7m), Prince Charles ($45.2m), and he’s next!.