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Heart to Heart with Hillary


Heart to Heart: December 4, 2020

Pass the nuts

Sir, Madam or whatever, as the case may be,

Your age, gender and nationality remains a mystery and all three of your regular readers are concerned about your qualifications to dispense what they often consider questionable advice. Would you therefore please be so kind as to confirm or otherwise the following?

1. You are not from America as you never advise a correspondent to seek, for all Americans essential, therapy or counseling.

2. You do not originate from the UK as you lack the finesse of such an upbringing.

3. You are not Australian as you never refer to your digery (sic) doo or call people cobber.

4. You could be Thai with a poor command of the English language.

5. You could be female as you have no sense.

6. You could be male as you lack compassion.

7. Most likely you are a very confused katoey who doesn’t know an arm from an elbow.

8. Age? Probably either pre-school or old enough to be suffering from dementia.

9. Your day job? Maybe a retired Turntable Underlooker Quality Control Inspector (Grade 3) in a gramophone factory now a part time cone counter at one of the numerous permanent road work sites.

I won’t mention the other theories as I do not wish to cause offence and in any event this is a family newspaper.

Awfully sorry, have just scoffed the chocs and bubbly bought for you. However, have only sucked the chocolate off the brazils and I am saving the nuts for your enjoyment.

Puzzled Petal from Pattaya

Dear Puzzled Petal from Pattaya,

You are a twisted young boy, aren’t you, Petal. I am not going to give you the pleasure of my going through your insulting list and refuting your specious statements. However, I do note that you are not an Australian either, as the people from the land down there know how to spell didgeridoo, which is more than you can doo. I’ll pass on the nuts as well.

If you can’t trust the woman, who can you trust?

Dear Hillary,

You published a letter from a guy called Mike who complained that even despite giving his GFs a salary, they still got into a snit every so often. How old is this guy, Hillary? Women, just like men, can be subject to different moods and money hasn’t anything to do with it, unless you are ‘keeneeow’ and give the girl nothing to live on. It’s not a salary, but in any relationship there should be some sharing of duties and expenses, and the woman is the one who looks after the housekeeping expenses. If you can’t trust the woman, then you shouldn’t be in the relationship, and stay single, footloose and fancy free, as they say. Salaries and snits do not cancel each other out. Hillary you hit it on the head when you said, “Maids get salaries, partners are not maids, and it is time men like you realized the difference.”


Dear George,

Thank you for backing up my words from last week. There are so many expats in Thailand who think they can buy everything here, including live-in girlfriends. Certainly it is possible to buy many things in this country, but you cannot buy love or devotion or a woman - without her mood swings. That’s just part of being a woman, Petal, and Mike has some growing up to do, I’m afraid. He hasn’t learned much in his life so far. But I am sure there will be some women who will give him what he wants, at a price, for a short time.

Hitting on Hills for Xmas

Dear Hillary,

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat - where are you going for Christmas dinner? And may I suggest that you be my guest. I have been reading your column and its good advice for many years, and this would be a way I can repay you. Just say “yes” in your reply and I will get in touch and take you to wherever you want. At my expense, Hillary.


Dear William,

Oh my goodness me, you’re not Willy Windsor of Wales are you? Have you broken up with Kate already? No, William, a lovely and very tempting suggestion, but for me to remain impartial, it is necessary for me to refuse your kind offer. I am sure you can find someone a little younger to be your date for the turkey and roast tatties, but thank you again. You are very sweet and I hope a nice girl finds you soon.

Missing the old regulars

Dear Hillary,

Ages ago, you used to have some regulars in the column, blokes like Mighty Mouse, the dreadful Mistersingha and the Nairod person. Where are they now?


Dear Wondering,

There’s no conspiracy or foul deeds here. I believe Mighty Mouse went back to Australia, the freedom here was all too much for him and his horse was missing him, but I have had the occasional contact. The Mistersingha contributor just ran out of excuses as to why the goodies he always promised never arrived (though I think I once got a Mars Bar), and Nairod, poor Nairod, just expired with a broken heart after I suggested that the center lane of the Sukhumvit roadway would be a good place for him to pitch his tent.

Heart to Heart: November 21, 2020

Partners are not maids

Dear Hillary,

These women here are strange creatures. Hot as hell one day and damn icebergs the next and I have absolutely no idea what brings it on. Had a couple of live-ins and I’ve had to give them both the door. Is there some way of finding out what these girls are like before you get too far into the relationship? It doesn’t seem to matter how much salary you pay them, if they get in a snit, that’s it.


Dear Mike,

You are certainly all heart, aren’t you. Pay “them” a salary and you think you own the woman and how she feels. What sort of relationship is that, me Petal? Your “live-ins” are merely “rented wives” (mia chow) and they have no compulsion in leaving, generally by being non-communicative, after which you will have to “buy” them out so they will leave. Mike, you’ve met your match, and you are getting what you deserve. Maids get salaries, partners are not maids, and it is time men like you realized the difference. Any woman who is willing to be your live-in is not trying to impress you. It is a straight out financial arrangement, and the contract can be broken by either side - but if you say it’s over, then you will pay again! Get out of the financial arena and find some nice genuine Thai women who would like to share their lives with you.

Too good to be true?

Dear Hillary,

I met a beautiful tall girl in a bar whose family buffalo was very well, her brother doesn’t ride motorbikes and her mother is in A1 health. What should I look out for as the next step?


Dear Amazed,

Check the Adam’s apple.

Mother knows best

Dear Hillary,

I have been going out with a wonderful Thai girl, a proper young “lady” not a bar girl, and we have become quite serious and I am now looking into the future. Everything seemed to be going along very well, although we did have some problems, just caused by communication problems (as I can’t speak Thai). The other night she dropped the bombshell. “My mother tell me I must marry Thai man.” Just like that! Hillary, is this a common thing in Thai families? Does her mother have that much power that she can dictate what her daughter does, and even the choice of husband for her? Surely in this 21st century Thai girls are not stuck with arranged marriages, and if they are, what can a farang do in this situation?

Devastated Dave

Dear DD,

Does her mother have that sort of authority? Yes, Dave, in a traditional Thai family she certainly does. It may be the 21st century for you, Dave, but in Thailand it is the 26th century and despite the extra 500 years, the traditional ways are still very strong. Thai people believe in the need for family members to look after each other and her mother is merely looking after her daughter in the traditional way. You are from an alien culture, Petal, and even if your Thai lady is well versed in the ways of the modern international world, the traditional values will still be held by the family. Have you stopped to consider that perhaps the Thai man may have already paid a dowry to the family? In the case of a well-educated girl this could go as high as two million baht. What can you do? You can either keep in there and hope, or call it quits now before you get in too deep. However, you should sit down with your girl and discuss it first.

Blind to pedestrian traffic lights

Dear Hillary,

Have you noticed nobody pays a blind bit of notice to the pedestrian traffic lights on Beach Road? I’ve seen chaps with flags complete with a whistle who jump out in front of the speeding minibuses to help pedestrians get across. I have checked the flag material and it is plastic and no match for the vehicles. Pedestrian crossings are all very fine, but on Beach Road?

James Wilson

Dear James,

When they first went up outside the office, I thought they had done it just for me and I was thrilled. Then I found they were everywhere! Unfortunately James, my column is not going to take your case very far. Being threatened by a baht bus belting through the red lights really isn’t the stuff of heartbroken lovers, but I do understand your annoyance. Instead of protecting the tourists, who will imagine that the traffic will stop, it puts them more in danger. Send your letter to City Hall, my Petal.

Heart to Heart - November 6 - November 19, 2020

Soaps with no bubbles

Dear Hillary,

Do you watch the Thai soaps? I find them unbelievable with their screaming, face slapping and obvious plot based on jealousy. Do you know anyone who lives in these gigantic houses, and all drive Mercedes, of course? The good guy is pushed aside by the bad guy, until the heroine is advised what the real situation is by the grandmotherly maid who shows her that her true love is not the flashy bad guy, but the quiet good guy. Now you know the plot of every soap. Why are these shows so popular?


Dear James,

For Thais, the soaps are a welcome break from the drudgery of daily life. For the lady with the handcart who sells satays, the television is a welcome escape, especially now during the Covid-19 pandemic when sales are almost non-existent. She can look and wonder and imagine what life would be like, plus a couple of charming young lads to help her put the chickens on the stick. And if you come from the UK there is the Eastenders or in Australia there is Home and Away. Neither towering intellectual giants.

Money not well spent

Dear Hillary,

Like all things in Pattaya, there seems to be a right way and a wrong way, complete with disastrous results, usually financial. How do you send money to one of the girls that is safe? I won’t be back in Thailand until next year and I’d like to send her something for her birthday.


Dear Grant,

You are quite correct that there are two ways that farangs do things in Pattaya. Unfortunately, generally wrong both times. And you are about to make that three ways. She will have forgotten who you are, let alone helping her blow out your candles. These girls are professional thieves. Keep your money in your trouser pocket, and say “Thank you, Hillary” before you neck your next beer.

Never lonely in Pattaya

Dear Hillary,

I was told that you are never lonely in Pattaya and it sure seems that way, but nobody tells you that you are going to pay for it, and big money too. By the time you pay the bar to let her out, and multiply by the number of days you will be around for, you are getting into serious money. Then the girl has got her hand out for this and that, mobile phone needs replacement, money for Mama, money here, money there. It really does add up. I think you should be letting your readers know about these things, Hillary.


Dear John,

Do I detect a little financial strain in your letter, my Petal? Nobody said it was ‘free’. Sure, you are never lonely in Thailand, but you will pay. Compare that to the western countries where you will be lonely, but if you are not, you will be paying big money! What you have to understand, John, is that by going to the bars, you enter the commercial side of the business. The girls are there to earn money - and they get that money from the punters - that’s you! Go into the ‘pay for company’ end of the society, and what you have described is completely true. The choice is always yours. I suggest you back out, while your piggy bank holds together.


Dear Hillary,

I hear the term ‘sideline girls.’ What exactly is this? And if they are a change from the usual bar girls, where do I find one of these sideliners? I am 42 years old, not bad looking, a little overweight and lonely.


Dear Bob,

We have found someone who admits to being lonely in Pattaya! But of course, that means hooking up with the bar girls, which sideliners are not. The differences between the two groups are simply, the bar girl’s income comes from the bar and hustling, while the sideliner already has an income from a regular job and if they want to top up their monthly salary they do a bit of hustling on the side. “Sideliner” get it? That girl at the checkout may want some extra cash if a rock concert is ever allowed again in Bangkok. So in your case look for a regular girl who is giving you signals that she would like to talk more. Now as far as the loneliness is concerned, neither the bar girl nor the sideliners will give you a 100 percent guarantee of long term success, but you have more chance of success with the sideliner.

Flatulence again

Dear Hillary,

I need help. My beautiful Thai wife of six years has just told me that she wants a divorce. The reason? I pass wind a lot, apparently worst in bed at night. Is this due to hamburgers? Ones with plenty of onions. She wants me to stop something I don’t even know I’m doing. Is this Thai logic?


Dear Gaz,

Or should that be “gas”? Now this passing wind - is the objection noise or odor? If it is noise, then the simple fix is tight underpants to bed in the next door room. If it is odor, that’s not so easy to fix. You can supply your wife with face masks, or you could look at your diet. Onions in hamburgers? Capsicum? After that, all that is left is anus retraining. Get your sphincter so powerful it could chop your finger off.

Heart to Heart: October 22, 2020 - November 5, 2020

Rip-off reversal

Dear Hillary,

A couple of weeks ago some chap wrote to you about the situation where a foreigner rips off some Thai woman instead of the other way about. Was that for real? It amazes me that some Thai woman could actually let the relationship go on for so long, they are generally pretty well switched on. Tell me it wasn’t true. And did she get her car back?

Doubting Thomas

Dear Doubting Thomas,

That letter was most certainly true, though I used an alias to disguise the identity of the writer, as I do many times. Did she get the car back? Sorry, I can’t tell you, Petal, as the writer did not respond to my humble advice, but if he does, I will let the readers know.

Duck soup it

Dear Hillary,

I am thinking of having an affair with one of the girls at work. She is obviously up for it and gives me all the right signals, but is discreet enough, so that nobody has guessed that we have sneaked away for some fun and excitement. Only problem is that I have a live-in Thai GF and even though she seems OK with me going out on my own which I do a couple of times a week, I don’t know just how she would take it if she found I was with another woman. Your understanding of this type of thing is much better than mine - I don’t even understand western women, let alone Thai ones!

Living on the edge

Dear Living on the edge,

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Cut it off and feed it to the ducks’? It happens frequently, Petal, and I’ll leave you to guess just what “it” is. You can always get the duck to cough it up, or make it into a duck stew, but Thai women have even more inventive methods of disposing of the “it” which has been visiting where “it” shouldn’t. The vegetable food processor makes it all pretty final. So, if you want to run the risk of having to sit down to wee wee, just keep going. Lots of luck in finding “it”.

Wife for hire

Dear Hillary,

I think I am being ripped off. My Thai wife has recently started to ask me for more money than she normally gets for housekeeping and the monthly wage I give her. It was just a few hundred baht here and there to start with, but now she needs thousands at a time. When I ask her why she needs the extra she gets sulky and when I really push her for an answer the best I get is “for family - you farang no understand.” Hillary, is there something here that I should understand, or what? I am getting very tired of the continual cash hand-outs.


Dear ATM Marc,

It sounds like there is lots you don’t understand. “Family” is important to a Thai and is one of the strongest bonds for the individuals in that family. Family keeps them together, family gets them over problems of all types, financial and otherwise. Your girlfriend may be returning money borrowed from before, or may also be helping her brother/mother/father/cousin (delete that which is not applicable) out of a jam. And on the other hand, she may be gambling with it, another very common Thai pastime. You really have to start communicating better with your girlfriend, Petal, if you want to know where the money goes. If she is the money manager for the household, sit down each week and discuss the family budget. If you do this in a non-threatening way, then you will find out where the money goes. If it ends up in sulkiness or accusations, then it is time to review the entire relationship and handle the housekeeping yourself. I also note you are paying her a “wage”. What is that for, Marc? Is she a wife or a “mia chow” (rented wife)? To me, your relationship seems to be based only on money, which is never a long-term basis. Time to review everything, my Petal.

Heart to Heart: October 11, 2020 - October 25, 2020

Perennial Miss Write

Dear Hillary,

I’ve read all the books, listened to the wise advice from the old hands, and still I get stymied in my attempts to find these elusive “good women” that you talk about.  Just where are they?  I don’t see any beating a path to my door, no matter how open I leave it.  Where or what am I supposed to do next?

Big Al

Dear Big Al,

The first thing you have to do is close the door.  “Good” girls don’t walk around the villages at night, looking for open doors.  They leave that to the “good time” girls, and that whole scene is a little doubtful, in all aspects, Big Al.  Finding your soul mate needs you to go to where such creatures hang out - not waiting by your door, waiting for them to chance by.  It is time you got off your Big A, Petal and worked out where these girls come from, and where you can meet them in a social scene.  One very easy way is to go to parties and BBQ’s put on by expats married to Thai ladies.  Let the hostess know that you don’t have a partner, but would love to meet a nice Thai lady, and she will let all her eligible friends know.  The next step of course depends upon whether you are really ready for a relationship yourself, and whether or not you are really a butterfly.  Thai ladies are not going to spend time with a time waster, no matter how clever or rich you think you are.

Really, Big Al, the dating situation is just like in your own country.  You meet ladies in a social environment, and eventually someone goes ‘click’ with you (and her)!  The trick is in finding the right social environment.  If the environment you inhabit is the bar scene, then you end up with a bar girl, and paying for the privilege.  You won’t find the financial stakes so high looking for the good ladies, but it will take time and effort (on your part) before you get to meet Miss Right.  In the meantime, I remain here waiting in my attic, the perennial “Miss Write”.

Pack up and leave

Dear Hillary,

I am working in the Middle East and before Covid, I came here regularly for many weeks at a time. On these trips I generally find that there will be a very suitable young lady who will indicate that she would like to take care of me, and a suitable (financial) arrangement can be entered into. The problem is, one young lady is trying to tie me down. How do I get her to understand that this is not a lifetime relationship, just a few weeks, and when I go back to work I will want her to leave the condo and take all of the things that she has managed to bring over in the last two weeks?

Sandy Sam

Dear Sandy Sam,

You have just found out that you can’t have your cake and eat it too! She has been taking care of you, so now you must take a little care of her and her feelings. Now is the time to spell it all out, my Petal. Tell her to take her things and go - but sweeten it with a suitable financial donation.

Beware, that’s not ketchup

Dear Hillary,

I don’t know if you answer ‘food’ questions, but here goes anyway. I have seen people eating what looks like an egg ‘parcel’ with meat inside it. They cook it in the wok and fold the egg over like wrapping a flat square object. What is it? And would it be too spicy for someone like me who is a little afraid of spicy food? I really do want to try but I am just a little afraid to go in and point!

Spicy Sue

Dear Spicy Sue,

I am sure you are referring to a Thai omelet, called ‘kai yat sai’. Generally it is pork based, but you can get chicken as well - ask for kai yat sai moo (pork) or kai yat sai gai (chicken). When it comes to the table it will have a little bowl of red ketchup - but beware, it is chili, not tomato! Around 50 baht at most food carts. Enjoy!

Heart to Heart - September 7 - September 20, 2020

Facebook fidelity

Dear Hillary,

My girlfriend has joined Facebook and now has to reply to about 50 emails a day which means that the housework falls behind every day. I don’t mind her having a hobby as it is good for women to have an outside interest, as it would stop her wasting her time with the girls from the bar, but enough’s enough. How do I get her to stop this Facebook nonsense and get her priorities right?


Dear (Facebook) Frank,

Aren’t you the high and mighty one! My Petal, I have news for you - it is not up to you what your girlfriend does, especially as it seems that you want to be given the right of deciding what is (or is not) good for her. Millions of people all over the world enjoy their time on Facebook. Are they all wrong? You should also know by now that Thai women need time with their women friends, just as all you men want your time to go down to the pub with the boys and discuss male things. You should not get confused between a “girlfriend” and a “maid”. They are not the same thing. I am also so pleased to see that chauvinism isn’t dead yet!


Xmas talk already?

Dear Hillary,

Xmas isn’t far away. What are you asking for this year? Every year you seem to hint choclate (sic) and champain (sic). Do you ever get some? Or is that just some trick to get your friends in the shops some extra customers? Us guys in the UK just want to know. Answer honestily (sic), Petal.


Dear Bill,

Do I detect that you are on the point of getting me some chocolates and champagne? Yes, in answer to your rather rude question, I do receive some very welcome Xmas presents each year. If you are old enough to buy alcohol, then when the time comes, some French champagne delivered to the Pattaya Mail office will be wonderful. And please note the spellings, Petal. Your command of your own language is not very good. Do try a little harder.


Ready for fleecing

Dear Hillary,

Some of your readers will probably say this is a silly question, but I haven’t been here long, so I don’t know the ropes. I often see a rather nice looking girl in the local shopping center and I sometimes stop and say hello. She is very well dressed and seems to have good English. I have asked her what she is doing and she says she is waiting for a boyfriend, but she seems to be waiting every day. Should I ask her if she is really waiting for a boyfriend? Do you think she is a prostitute? How do I ask? What will tell me that she is? Please don’t laugh, I would really like to get to know this girl.


Dear Jason,

You certainly are new around these parts, aren’t you! Let me take you by the hand in this matter. No, you do not say, “Excuse me, are you a prostitute?” Firstly, there are no prostitutes because that is against the law, so there aren’t any. However, there does appear to be a few enthusiastic ‘amateurs’ or ‘side-line’ girls around the place. What you have to reason out, young Jason, is how can she be so well dressed without a job, because you see her every day “waiting” and that’s not delivering food, is it? So she is either a young lady of independent means, or someone who goes shopping a lot with someone else’s money. You still with me, Jason my Petal? Now she has been giving you all the hints, “waiting for a boyfriend”. That wasn’t waiting for “her” boyfriend - she is waiting for “a” boyfriend. This is leaving the opening for you to become the boyfriend - but, Jason, I fear this relationship is going to cost you a whole heap of money. She is obviously more experienced than you are, and you are walking around the shopping center with “I’m ready for fleecing” written on your forehead. Take my tip - change your shopping center and wait till you meet some nice girl who is working there, not “waiting” there for a boyfriend.

Heart to Heart - August 24, 2020 - August 30, 2020

An air ticket for Mona

Hello Hillary,

In reply to Mona from Manchester. Her husband brought a bucket of sand to the beach. She traveled hours and hours on a plane to get here. If you don’t like it then go back to somewhere you do like things. Why on earth people fly halfway around the world, say it’s disgusting and try to be busy-bodies and make the new country conform to them is beyond me. She’s not complaining about total negligence or even total stupidity. She’s complaining about THE WAY THINGS ARE here. If she doesn’t like it then that airplane will take her home just as fast as it got her here.


Dear PBK,

What an interesting set of initials, my Petal. What do they stand for I wonder? However, Mona is still allowed to air her opinion (no matter how right or wrong it is), just as you have been allowed to air yours. Remember, PBK, that most foreigners do complain about the way things are here… it doesn’t suit everyone, you are correct, but rather than just tell Mona to catch the next plane out, how about advising her on some of the other attractions of Thailand? There is more than just sand here, as we all know.

Balloons for pensioners

Dear Hillary,

I will admit I’m what you call a “balloon chaser”, but there are many reasons for this. You would have read the readers letters to your newspaper and seen all the discontented British pensioners there are. Frozen benefits and the pound sterling going down like a lead balloon. We are doing it tough, Hillary. You would go chasing free roast pig too, when you’ve really got to count the pennies. It probably doesn’t mean much to you, being a working woman, but don’t you forget we are only pensioners.

Bob the Balloon Chaser

Dear Bob the Balloon Chaser,

I may as well be a pensioner, Bob my Petal, as I can assure you that you don’t get much sitting in an attic reading heart-rending letters, yours included. I’m afraid there’s nothing much I can do for you, as your financial predicament is a situation that you have chosen. You can always go back to the UK, where your pension will be unfrozen, but then, you will be frozen. Your choice, Bob. Your choice.


Duds a-plenty

Dear Hillary,

There are so many lovely girls in Thailand, how come all the people who write in to you seem to have picked a dud? Are all Thai girls as bad as they are painted by these guys or what? I get nervous about coming over for my next holiday when I read all the horror stories. Is there some easy way to pick a good one?

Yankee Doodle

Dear Yankee Doodle,

You are forgetting that there is a legion of lovely ladies out there who are doing all the right things by their men, be that a short-term arrangement or a long-term steady/married situation. These people do not need to ask Hillary for advice, so you are getting the wrong impression if you think everyone is like the sad people who write to me. Many of them do try and warn the tyros, but I believe their situations and their problems do not really represent the majority of farang/Thai liaisons. However, remember that in any man/woman relationship there can be problems. Look at the divorce rate in your own country, for example. The last figures I read were 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce and 60 percent of second marriages go down the alimony alley as well. The simple answer, Petal, is to use discretion and judgment before plunging headlong into something that could be an unsuitable partnership. Is the girl always looking for money? Does her father have a sick buffalo? Does her brother fall off his motorcycle and break any number of legs requiring expensive operations, when public hospital treatment is very, very inexpensive? If the answer is “yes” to any of those questions, move on to the next lady, and apply the same simple tests!

No money for honey

Dear Hillary,

I live in the UK, but come over to Thailand twice a year. I think I would be better off having a bank account in Thailand that I could send some money over to when I have some spare, instead of walking around with cash. Some friends have told me it’s impossible for me to get a bank account on a tourist visa. Is this the case? What should I do? Should I send it to my Thai girlfriend? I don’t know her very well, but she does look after me when I go over there.

Bill the banker

Dear Bill the banker,

The safest way is for you to transfer your money into my personal bank account, where I will keep it safe for you. This is much better than sending it to some girl you meet in a bar. No matter how well she looks after you. Now I am joking here, my Petal, but that is precisely what many men do every year. Never put your money in someone else’s account, as that is the best way to lose it. Bill, you can open a bank account here - just get a reliable Thai address to use, that’s all.

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: December 4, 2020

Heart to Heart: November 21, 2020

Heart to Heart - November 6 - November 19, 2020

Heart to Heart: October 22, 2020 - November 5, 2020

Heart to Heart: October 11, 2020 - October 25, 2020

Heart to Heart - September 7 - September 20, 2020

Heart to Heart - August 24, 2020 - August 30, 2020

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


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