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Heart to Heart with Hillary


 Heart to Heart - October 18, 2019 - October 31, 2019

Dear Hillary,

I will be coming to Pattaya at Xmas time and wonder if you knew where I could rent a motorcycle for the time I will be there (2 weeks). Is it insured and is it OK to drive with my French license? I want to go up to Isaan. Thank you.



Bonjour Pierre,

Which of these ways do you want to go back to France after your holiday of a lifetime? Sealed wooden box with gilt handles? Encased in bandages lying on your back? Or as certificates showing your organs were harvested? There are plenty of places renting motorcycles my Petal, and all you have to do is to let them keep your passport which you will get back at the end of the rental period. You want a big bike? No problems, up to 1250 cc. French license? No problems Mon Ami. The only problem comes when you want to claim, and ‘suddenly’ they find out that your French license is for under 250 cc and you are responsible. For everything – medical bills, repair to lamp post and repairs to the bike. Pierre, Thailand has the second worst road toll in the world. The Paris traffic has nothing like 6 p.m. on a wet Friday night in Pattaya. Road Rules? It’s Rafferty’s Rules. Don’t do it Mon Brave. Catch a VIP bus (not a minibus).


Dear Hillary,

I love your column and am amazed at the patience you have. I am an expat and live in Chiang Mai near the university. So, it is not the seedy part of town like Loi Kroh. 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 “good they deserve to get the wallets cleaned.” As a friend of mine said, Thailand is for those who could not get laid in their own countries. For all those idiots I have seen in bars bragging about the money they do not have, they just raise the prices for what they want and none of the girls care 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 Peter,

I spoke with Pattaya City Hall but they said for you to keep them up there in Chiang Mai, as we have 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 Cleaning” or something like that. For the males, as they come through Immigration they get given a ‘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 a way of telling the time, but is more of a fashion accessory.



Dear Hillary,

Am on the trail of a “good girl”. You know, the kind of girl you are always bleating on about. Well, I started to have a chatting relationship with the local laundry lady. She made it obvious that she was interested in me, always made sure she served me and not one of the other staff members. Long story short, I was passing her shop one night and she was just leaving so I stopped and said perhaps she might like a meal, so she said yes and suggested a little local place just up the road. We spent some time there, and a few bottles of brown ale, and we ended up in bed together. She left in the morning and even took the laundry. However, when I went to the laundry a couple of days later she told me she was going to Bangkok for the weekend to visit her daughter and she had no money, could I give her 2,000 baht? It certainly wasn’t a loan! Like a sucker, I opened my wallet and she had 2,000 baht in her fingers in no time, while rubbing my back. A couple of weeks later, the same scene. She’d come over, spend the night and the next time I saw her in the laundry it was another 2,000 baht. The only difference between this “good” girl and ones from the bar is you know what is the going rate, and you pay then, not a few days down the road a bit. So what do I do, Hillary? Continue on, but put her in the bar girl basket, or a pretend relationship as a “good” girl?



Dear Will,

The lesson here, is you get nothing for nothing! With your laundry lady you can go to restaurants and know people aren’t looking at the pair of you and saying “bar girl” under their breath. You were not to know she might like a financial contribution to help the relationship along. You never know, she might be amenable to a discount on the laundry, in exchange for the sleep-overs! We’ve all got to live, Will. Times are tough my Petal. Don’t be so judgmental.


Heart to Heart - October 6, 2019

Malapropism on two wheels

(Found this older letter, but worth a re-run)

Dear Hillary,

Its Evil here, not much happening on the motorcycle front, just the occasional sounding the horn and giving the two finger salute. Not sure if Thai Motorists or Motorcyclists understand what it all actually means but it gets rid if my anger. I am up to G in the dictionary Hillary and found the word Generic recently. It fits the Thai motorist and motorcyclist perfectly. Why you ask? Well they cannot turn their heads left or right as you can see when they come out of a side street into a major road. It has to be a generic problem don't you think Hillary? Also a problem exists with their legs, if the 7/11 is more than twenty meters away the thought of walking, well it would be out of the question. So there we have a problem that the worlds medical profession could look into Hillary and I know you are the lady who would know who to speak too regarding it. Don't get me wrong Hillary, that book I wrote about my life is thirty per cent of good things that have happened to me in Thailand, all from Thai people. I could not wish to find any better anywhere and that's for sure. But Foreigners beware when asking directions. I was visiting the big smoke to renew my Australian passport Hilary, on heading from a BTS station to the Consulate I thought I will ask a Thai council worker (road sweeper) to confirm I was going in the right direction. Oh No I was told, well five kilometers later I did arrive at the Australian Consulate, which was in fact about 300 meters from where I spoke with the council worker. Well sorry for the long winded letter Hillary, please keep us all smiling. Time to look for a Halloween outfit, although if you saw me I know what you would say....Bye for now,


Dear Evil,

You remind me of the Irish road sweeper who when asked which was the road to Dublin, said that if he was going to Dublin, he wouldn’t be leaving from there! Now, my little Petal, you will have to be more careful when reading your dictionary. “Generic”? I don’t think so. A couple of lines further down you will see “genetic” which refers to a condition inherited from the elders in the family, passed on through the genes, which is what you meant. Correct? Please note the distinction between genes and jeans. Both can have a part to play in the reproduction cycle, so be careful, especially when giving two finger salutes. I also have it on good authority that Aussies can speak English, but don’t like to! I thought it was only the French.


Place your bets, gentlemen

Dear Hillary,

One of your readers was complaining that every Thai girl was a rip-off. I say do people who squander huge sums at gambling in Las Vegas get angry at the, often female card dealer? These girls are just that, really, really good dealers with free physical therapy thrown in and don't take near the money.


Dear Don,

Thank you for taking up the cause of the Thai bar girls (they should make you president with what you’ve spent over the years), but you missed the point that he felt all Thai women were rip-offs, and as you know, not all Thai women work in beer bars.


Pla Ra

Dear Hillary,

Do you know that terrible smelling stuff called Pla Ra? My lady brings it back from the Isaan region, and it has a smell like 100 year old sox mixed up with sewage. It is so bad I won’t let her open it in the house. What do they use it for?


Dear James,

You have just discovered one of the delights of the North-East. It certainly isn’t the sweetest smelling stuff in the world, but if you grew up with it, I suppose it smells OK. It is used in cooking, and as a spicy dip. I agree with you – terrible smell, my Petal. Best thing to do is to only allow it in the Thai kitchen at the back of the house. (You do have a Thai kitchen, I hope?) It is a North-East specialty that is not found anywhere else in Thailand. (Or probably in the world!)


In defence of pla ra

Dear Hillary,

I write to soothe the pride of all those Isaan people who’ve read the letter about phra ra, commonly pronounced “palah”. With respect, it is much more than something they eat in Isaan, much, much more. Yes, it's on the nose (and there are as many different phra ra brews as there are people making it), but as a flavor enhancer it's great. Whether in any of the thousands of little eateries or a private home, in Isaan you eat the national dish, and that’s som tum, and there's no such thing as real som tum without phra ra. Those pussies down south who eat pawpaw salad (or tum daeng or tum tua) without it are missing a treat!


Dear Adrian,

You need help, Petal. You need help! If you’re already on treatment, I suggest you double the dose.

Heart to Heart - September 20, 2019 - October 03, 2019

Family culture

Dear Hillary,

With all these men writing to you to say how they have been tricked or cheated but not everyone has a hard-luck story. Certainly there are differences between Thai women and European/American women, but that is part of their charm. There are also differences in culture, so to say that looking after sick or needy relatives is an imposition means that the man does not understand the “family” culture here, as opposed to the selfish culture of “me first” above everything else, which is the usual situation in the west. Certainly the relatives stay with us when they are in town, but it is a small price to pay. I think many of these men who write to you are selfish in their attitude, and they bring the end results upon themselves. To those men who complain about all the problems they have, I say treat the Thai women with consideration, respect their culture, this is their country, not yours and you will be rewarded with a deep and satisfying association.


Dear Joe,

It pleases me very much to see there are some men over here who are prepared to admit to and respect the fact that they are guests in this country. Sure, there are societal differences as this is not America, this is Amazing Thailand. Fitting in as you have done is very much better than trying to make the women and the customs conform to your western ways. By the same token, you should carefully choose your life’s mate, slowly and thoughtfully, just as you would do when looking for a mate in your own countries. One night of bar fine passion is not the basis for a strong and lasting union, something many of you appear not to have understood.


Advice from the bar

Dear Hillary,

Local pub mates tell me all that the three things Thai women are interested in is money, money, money. I am in a long time relationship with a Thai woman, but she is a lot younger than me. Is she interested in me, or money? If it’s money she hides it pretty well. Who should I believe?


Dear John,

No, my Petal, Thai women are not just interested in money. For example, I am also interested in chocolates and champagne. All women, are interested in finding a mate who can support them and their children (and the family in Thailand). Why should any woman be interested in marrying a pauper? Would you? There are not too many couples you could call Romeo and Juliette in the world, but there are thousands of successful marriages, which exist for the mutual benefit of both parties. I am not saying that ‘romance’ is dead, but likewise a union based on an unreal expectation is also headed for the scrap heap. If you and your lady are happy as you are, with the money you have or haven’t got, then just enjoy life and don’t spend time worrying about what other people say in bars.


Cereal mahogany

Dear Hillary,

There’s been some letters to you about the Kid in the Candy store. As was pointed out, some foreigners never get over the candy store phase, but I think you will find that this is because they haven’t found the girl they really “clicked” with, so rather than become a crotchety old thing (I’m not pointing the finger at you, Hillary) they stay in the candy store, and I never hear many complaints. Have you heard of serial monogamy Hillary? That’s what this leads to.

Billy the Kid

Dear Billy the Kid,

I am so glad you’ve got everything in your life mapped out so well. It’s because of generous souls like yourself that the candy stores can continue to trade. In the meantime a box of Maynard’s Wine Gums will be very satisfactory. Thank you my Petal. However, this cereal mahogany has me a little worried. Is this a breakfast cereal the candy store sells? With colored hundreds and thousands on the top?


Here’s my business card

Dear Hillary,

Are all Thai girls as forward as the one I met the other night? I was sitting on my own in the bar and I didn’t want to listen to the usual inane chatter that the bar girls carry on with, so I started to talk to the service girl and she seemed a nice enough lady, so I bought her a couple of drinks, but then went home. The next day she rolls up at my office with some flowers for me! I was so embarrassed, as all my work mates were laughing. I asked one of the girls to find out what she wanted, but all they said was that the lady liked me. What do I do with this? The last thing I need is unwanted visits.

Embarrassed Eddie

Dear Embarrassed Eddie,

Just how did this girl know where you worked? If she is clairvoyant, then I think you should keep her, my Petal, and cash up on all the winning tickets she will predict for you. But if, on the other hand, it was because you gave her your business card, then you have nobody to blame but yourself. Of course you can always use someone else’s card.

Heart to Heart - September 06, 2019 - September 19, 2019

Mick Dundee where are you?!

Dear Hillary,

I am a successful businessman, an Australian who has worked hard, accumulated a high level of wealth that provides me with a very comfortable lifestyle long before I would be eligible for a pension. Despite my financial successes, I have failed miserably in finding true love. One might even call me a failure in that regard.

I’m not a good loser, so I have commenced a world wide trek to track down that elusive female butterfly. One who will be able to fill that void in my life, love me, marry me and produce our children.

Here’s where I am in the quest for my future mate. Australian women are not suitable. I have always believed that any relationship is a 50/50 proposition, but Aussie women don't understand fractions.

I flew to America. I met an attractive girl there and took her to Disneyland to enjoy the rides, but she took me for a ride instead.

In Canada I met a beautiful librarian, but she spent most of her time reading my bank books.

In Paris I met a very tender person, but she was frankly only interested in legal tender.

I am now here in Pattaya, still searching for my butterfly. I have met a cute local girl named Noi who works at a beer bar. She doesn't seem interested in taking my money for herself and only insists that I give her two thousand baht every morning for her taxi ride home. It seems that both of her parents are always ill as she needs additional money to send to them and her brother who is always falling off his motorcycle (which I bought him).

Please tell me about the local girls. Could Noi be my elusive butterfly? She wants me to take her away from it all but could she take it all away from me? Could the fact that her parents are always ill have any detrimental genetic effect on any children we may have?

Awaiting your advice, as the lawyers write.


Dear Mick,

Aren’t you a little dear! Or should I say a little expensive? Is Noi your elusive butterfly? Of course! Be aware, however, perhaps elusive but not exclusive. Don’t worry about Noi’s health – she will only get sick later in life when the daughter you have between you meets a rich Australian who has worked hard and accumulated a high level of wealth and is looking for an elusive butterfly. In the meantime, I suggest she takes a cheaper taxi home, that Rolls-Royce is a little over the top. Give her 40 baht for a motorcycle taxi and see how she goes! Or should I say “disappears”. As they say here, you never lose your girl, you only lose your turn! Have you considered having yourself cloned? Us girls all over the world need more of you! (Other than Australian, American and Canadian.)

(I stumbled across this letter to me from many years ago. I wonder where Mick is now. And does he have any money left? If you’re still out there, then drop me a line, Mick. I have just the girl for you – me!)


Organizing a SWAT team

Dear Hillary,

Hello I have been reading your column for at least 20 years, so both of us are “experienced”. Whether I was here in Pattaya or in the U.S., when I was a young buck in the military, I had to learn the hard way. While you are most knowledgeable, it’s one-sided. It’s always from the Thai female psyche point of view. 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 help 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.


Dear Chas,

You are such a nice man, offering to help an old lady in her time of need, but I have to tell you that it is not an easy job, my Petal. I often end up weeping real tears by the end of the day, reading about all the things that can happen to young chaps with more hormones than they need. There is also a logistics problem. My office is so small there wouldn’t be enough room for two of us, so while I thank you, let’s just keep our relationship on paper, the kind the bank deposits will show, but if I need the US Army and a SWAT team, I’ll let you know.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Heart to Heart - October 18, 2019 - October 31, 2019

Heart to Heart - October 6, 2019

Heart to Heart - September 20, 2019 - October 03, 2019

Heart to Heart - September 06, 2019 - September 19, 2019