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Really her brother?
Dear Emma,
I suspect my story is another one of those stupid clichés, I don’t consider myself a gullible man or a stupid man but I fear the wool has been very thoroughly pulled over my eyes by my girlfriend. She told me that the young boy living with her mother was her nephew but I heard him call her Mae the other day on a visit and she confessed that he is actually her son by an ex-husband.
I don’t mind that she has a child but I do mind that she lied about it. Now I am starting to question everything she has told me and wonder if it is true or not. I look at her brother and wonder if all those stories I hear are true about women who say it’s their brother but it actually turns out to be their husband or boyfriend. She has a brother and he does not seem overly affectionate but after the lie about the child I can’t help but wonder what is real and what is fake.
What should I do? I do like this girl but I am not in love with her yet, although if it weren’t for the lying think that would be a real possibility. We are very compatible. However, I am concerned that my fears will poison the chances for this relationship. What do you think Emma?

Dear Confused,
While those stories do happen it is not really fair on your girlfriend to assume she is lying about her brother because she lied about her child. There are men, not just Thai men but foreigners as well, who are not interested in a woman who already has a child. They are not interested in the added responsibility that comes with a child. Perhaps your relationship is new enough she wasn’t sure if you would be one of those men so lied to you about it.
Yes, it is wrong to lie but you should put yourself in her shoes and try to understand where she is coming from. If you cannot do that and you cannot move past your distrust then you should end the relationship now before it moves any further and she begins to hope that something could come of it.

Neighbours talking loudly
Dear Emma,
I live in a small moobaan just on the outside of town. Everyone is at least nodding acquaintance with everyone else. I try to be friendly with my neighbours and make sure we have peaceful relations. However, a new couple has moved in next door and not only do they shun the rest of the neighbourhood by not responding to friendly nods or hellos, they are extremely loud.
The man is an old European man and perhaps he is deaf and doesn’t like his hearing aid as his television is on at a very high volume and goes most of the day and late into the night. Perhaps he falls asleep in front of it, I don’t know, but I do know that it means I cannot get any sleep at all.
I am at my wits end with the noise. I tried slipping a note under the door but it made no difference at all and they don’t even acknowledge I am there. What do I do now?
Needs sleep
Dear Sleep,
Emma sympathizes with you; she was woken up by a lady with a loud nasal voice in the street outside her place at 7 this morning. Whilst I was tempted to say something, it is the first time this has happened so I kept silent. However, the next 7 a.m. awakening might not be so pleasant as I am a night owl.
However, this does not help your situation since your neighbor seems to be a chronic noise maker. Emma suggests the direct approach. Knock on his door and ask him nicely to turn it down. Tell him that you cannot sleep and he needs to lower the volume at night. Suggest a pair of headphones.
If he doesn’t comply or gets belligerent then you will need to take it further. If he is a renter then contact his landlord. Even better, contact your landlord. If your village has a headman contact him or her as well. Talk to the neighbours on the other side of the noisy neighbor and see if they have the same issues. Perhaps if the complaints come from more than one person it may be more effective.
Best of luck and I hope you get some sleep.

My brother in law is a lady boy
Dear Emma,
My wife and I have been married for a few years and while I knew she had a brother he did not come to our wedding as he was in the Army at the time and could not get leave. We do not live in the same province as her family and every time we have gone home he has not been there so I never actually met him until last week when he showed up at our house here in Chiang Mai.
Imagine my surprise to see that he is a ladyboy. I asked my wife about it and why she hadn’t told me and she said she didn’t think it was important. I guess his sexual orientation is none of my business and I do like the guy he is hard working and seems quite nice. However, I am really not sure how to tell my parents when they come visit next month. He is living with us for a while, trying to save money so he can have the operation. My parents are elderly and from a small town in the Bible belt of the United States. I don’t know what to tell them!

Ladyboy in the family
Dear Family,
Emma has heard of the Bible belt in the United States and can only assume that this means they are highly Christian and very conservative. Well, this will be a real eye-opener for them I am sure. Since you like your brother-in-law and he is not causing trouble then you should just introduce him as that to your parents. They will surely take their cue from how you behave towards him. If they have questions, just tell them he is transgender. His sexual orientation is, as you said, not your business.
Your parents may surprise you and turn out to be far more accepting than you expect.