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Argumentative acquaintance
Dear Emma,
I was drinking in a bar near my condo a few weeks back and struck up a conversation with a fellow American. At the time he seemed to be pleasant enough and we had struck up a great conversation so we made arrangements to meet for a drink again at the same bar. Unfortunately, he seems to be good at making a good first impression but not so skilled at keeping that good impression intact. He is a rather mean drunk and tried to pick a fight with another guy at the bar the other night.
I don’t drink as much as he obviously does – or at least as much as he drank that night – and I am not really sure I want to keep up the acquaintance after his behavior. However, this is my regular bar, I live in the neighborhood and am friendly with the manageress and the girls that work there. I don’t want to have to go to another bar simply because this guy is there but I am not convinced that I want to remain friendly with this guy either. His behavior was really bad and upset the Thais that work at the bar.
What should I do Emma? Should I just drop him or maintain a friendly relationship?
Not a mean drunk
Dear Not mean,
Why do you have to do anything at all, Emma would like to know? You met the man twice, this does not commit you to being best mates for life. Next time he comes in smile and nod, maintain a cordial attitude but you can also make it clear that you are busy, play pool with one of the girls or something along those lines until he finds some other new person to try and befriend.
There is no need for you to be rude, but the neither do you need to be good friends. If he truly is a nasty drunk and was not just having a bad day, as we all do sometimes, he will make himself unwelcome sooner rather than later and you will not have had to do anything at all.
Thai people sometimes have it right in the way they handle situations, sometimes it is best to just ignore it and it will go away. Perhaps this is not the best medical advice or even relationship advice but it is perfectly acceptable when dealing with an acquaintance on no longer wishes to have.

Unwanted advances from my neighbors
Dear Emma,
I am a single woman living in one of the large condos popular with expats here in Chiang Mai. Every once in a while I run into one of my neighbors, I think he lives a few floors up as I generally only encounter him in the lift. The first time I met him he propositioned me. I made it clear that just because I was single did not mean I was interested. Apparently that was not good enough for this man as every time I encounter him he makes suggestive comments. When I pointed out to him that he had a girlfriend that lived with him he said “She doesn’t have to know.”
I have made it clear to this creep that I am not interested but he still does not give up. I have less than zero interest in this man and yet he seems to think he is god’s gift to women and will not leave me alone.
Fortunately I do not see him all the time but I dread taking the lift now as I really am loathe to encounter this man. I am not seriously considering moving but sometimes it is tempting if only to escape his unwanted attentions.
Can you give me some suggestions as how to deter him once and for all?
Single and happy that way

Dear Single,
Emma assumes you have told him in no uncertain terms that his comments and lewd suggestions are not only of no interest but are repugnant to you? If not then do so the next time you see him.
You will need to be more than clear; you will need to be rude. Emma would suggest something along the lines of “I have less than zero interest in doing anything at all with you and find your very person repellent. Leave me alone and never speak to me again. You are a loathsome slug.”
That should stop him from talking to you again although I am sure it will make for uncomfortable rides in the lift for a time.
I can’t imagine any man with even a modicum of self – respect would continue unwanted attentions after such a statement but then there are, of course, a few men who refuse to grasp the notion that No means no
If this does not work then Emma would suggest that you find out where he lives and ask one of your larger men friends to pay a friendly visit telling him to back off. Men like this usually have no respect for women at all so sadly sometimes it is necessary to get outside help in deterring them.
Best of luck with the loathsome slug, fortunately most men have better manners than to behave in such an appalling manner.

Dear Emma,
I live near Riverside and I have to say this midnight curfew is pretty good. I realize its tough on local businesses but it is really nice to have the music shut down at a normal hour every night. It would be great if we could at least have that during the weeknights so that those of us who live nearby can get a good night’s sleep.
I have a friend who lives over by Prasertland and he said it is great; no screaming drunken teenagers at 2 a.m., no thumping music that goes on well past the legal closing times and no loud choppers roaring through the neighborhoods at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Too bad there isn’t some kind of happy compromise for those of us who live here and those who want to party here. I heard they are thinking of lifing the curfew soon and I, for one at least, will miss that midnight curfew as I lay in bed listening to the loud music nearby.
Peace and quiet

Dear Peace,
It is the price we pay to live in the city. Of course, if we lived in the country we would be woken up by crowing cocks and village loudspeakers. Life is noisy. Wear earplugs.