Heart to Heart - July 3 - July 16, 2020
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
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.
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?
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
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
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.
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
the “good” girls
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
Frank the Finder
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!
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!
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?
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
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?
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
Heart to Heart - June 5 - June 18, 2020
a ‘good’ bar girl
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
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
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?
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
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?
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.
Swayed by the moment
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?
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
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.
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
Heart to Heart - May 5 - May 21, 2020
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?
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
Booked out planes
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?
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
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?
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
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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?”
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?
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.
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?
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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”
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?
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
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?
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?
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?
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
for a Lorek
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
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.
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
(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
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
Did you know Hillary, the first name of your favorite
beverage translates to “Widow”?
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.
I examined my wine room and discovered 89 bottles of Veuve
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..