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Heart to Heart with Hillary


They’re not all bad
Dear Hillary,
You get so many letters written by guys complaining about their Thai wives/girlfriends, that I wonder why these men come here in the first place. Why do they think that things are different here compared to their own home countries. A relationship has to have some foundation, not just one night after several bottles of beer. No wonder these people have problems, the relationship is built on a financial foundation, and if there’s a hiccup one day, it all turns to dross and complaints about being ripped off. They probably deserve all they get, but surely they would start to learn something?
Will the Watcher

Dear Will the Watcher,
You are perfectly correct, Petal. Any relationship which has a chance of surviving must be built on a strong foundation, and it is very rare that “You pay bar for me,” is the way to start a firm relationship. A relationship, certainly, but not one built on mutual respect. Mutual distrust is more like it.
You say, “Surely they would start to learn something,” but you are missing a point here - they do learn and move on, but along comes a new batch of bachelors ready for the plucking, and the ladies of the beer bars are ready and waiting. Then this new lot write to me, complaining about being used, ripped off, etc. Same old, same old, you know what I mean.

How much do you pay a ‘guide’?
Dear Hillary,
I am after some advice. I am here for two weeks next month and since I have been here before, I know the bar ropes (I think). I will be going to Koh Samet for at least a week and will take a young lady with me as a guide. What I need to know is how much should I pay for the service? I don’t want to look mean and stingy, but I want to use my holiday money wisely. What is your suggestion?

Dear Leroy,
I think you are trying to pull my leg. You honestly think you are going to contract a young girl from the bar and you call her “a guide”, and you don’t know how much that will cost? If you are as knowing as you say you are, then you would know that ‘guides’ are released from their place of employment by paying a sum to the management. That management will tell you exactly how much the rental for guides is this week. There will also be a matter of private negotiation between you and your guide on top. Have a great time in Koh Samet, and don’t get lost.

Lathered and then leathered?
Dear Hillary,
I am a 71-year-old British expat who has recently been visiting Thailand. I enjoy the life here so much that I am currently having a house built here. I don’t have to worry about pensions losing their value, as I have a private pension, which easily covers my simple needs. I have taken up with a 22-year-old bargirl. I now enjoy wonderful soapy massages, but I think she is into leather and bondage because when she saw my wallet she wanted to get tied to it. I am wondering what do you think are the chances of a long term relationship?

Dear Mark,
Did you know that you are a little self-centered, my Petal? Every sentence starts with “I” and everything else is secondary. You do sound like quite a catch for you little friend. 71 years old, plenty of money and only too ready to flash it around. How long will this sudsy relationship last? Depends on how long you keep your wallet filled, Mark. You could also try keeping your money in a sock, rather than a leather wallet if you think leather’s the attraction.

Thailand on B. 250 a day
Dear Hillary,
Can you help me with accommodation at Xmas? I want to keep enough money so that I can go trekking and I ride an elephant. I only want to spend about five quid a day for a place, is this possible? I know it’s probably a funny question, but I’m serious.
Trekker Thomas

Dear Trekker Thomas,
Don’t worry, my little impecunious one, I have had sillier questions than yours. Not often, but I have had some. When I first read your letter, I thought you were asking to come and stay with me, and I was about to suggest that if you brought enough bottles of bubbly, I might just be able to help you. Then I read the “five quid” line. By “five quid” I presume you are from the UK and this is about 250 baht in Thai money, so you would not have much left over for champers, I fear. Having said that, I must also point out that Hillary is not a travel agency, or an elephant mahout. Yes, you will get accommodation for that amount. Reasonable, basic, clean, but no air-conditioning, which you will probably need, coming from the UK, not known for its blistering temperatures in December.

Dear Hillary,
I’m getting close to getting married to my little girl, but I’m just a wee bit confused about the amount of money I’m supposed to give the outlaws. I’ve asked around my mates and I get all sorts of answers, none of which make much sense. The amounts range between 100,000 (which I can afford) and one million (which I can’t afford). What is reasonable, Ms Hillary?

Dear Con(fused),
You have not given me enough details Con, my Petal. If your “little girl” has no children and never been married before, and comes from a well-off family, the amount of the dowry is quite different from an older lady with two children and two previous husbands from Isaan.

Village families will expect a dowry, but usually this is returned to the couple (less a few baht for Lao Khao, roasted chickens, a couple of pigs on the spit and several bottles of JW Red). City families are generally not so traditional. So you are probably none the wiser. I suggest you ask your intended bride. You should be able to discuss everything with her before you get married, including your marital history and what you have in the bank! If you are getting “close to getting married” as you say, clear all these points up first, before you make a very big mistake.

Dear Hillary,
Have you been clubbing recently? Some of the new clubs are spectacular and the lighting/sound systems are terrific. The girls that go clubbing also look terrific, but they don’t want to mix with us. A couple of the guys and myself have been to clubs in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but come away empty-handed every time. The Thai women seem more interested in each other than they are with getting to know foreigners. Is this the usual scene?
Jack and the lads

Dear Jack and the lads,
You didn’t do your homework first, did you now. While the clubbing scene is all laser lights and thumping beat music and attracts girls like bears to honey, clubbing is expensive. The girls that go clubbing are well off, and are not there to be picked up, they are there to be seen. One night stands are well catered for at the other end of the market, which is where you should be looking, Petal.

Dear Hillary,
I work in an office as a teacher but I am going nuts about one of the women in the office who is screaming and yelling and giggling all day, every day. There’s just one of me and seven of the Thai women. On their own they are nice people, but all in one room, it is bedlam, and it is this one girl that starts it all off, and keeps it going. I have thought about having a word with her, but now I’ve found out that she is the owner’s daughter. So where do I go from here, Hillary? Any sensible suggestions?

Dear Jerry,
Your problem is very easy to fix. Where do you go? Straight down the road to the employment agency. You cannot change a group of Thai women from chatting and laughing together. That is how we relate to each other, Petal. And when one of them is the boss’ daughter, how far do you think you will go? Push too much and you are the one who will be pushed - out the door. No, maintain your dignity, and look for alternative employment, and don’t forget that you will need a new work permit when you do change jobs.

Dear Hillary,
I need your advice urgently, Hillary my Petal! I know I should have known better, after all I am not new to this country, but there I was at my usual bar and met this vision of loveliness. She spoke very little English but seems like a very genuine person and we got along just fine. She comes from Udon Thani, but that’s about all I managed to find out about her after about four hours and several “lady drinks”. The biggest problem was only that she doesn’t speak much English, but we got by OK. By the end of the night I was pretty drunk and I ended up lending her 5000 baht, which she was going to return three days later. It’s now a week later and I haven’t heard from her. What should I do? Should I go back to the bar and ask for my money? Should I keep going, or should I give up now before I get in too deep?

Dear Nelson,
You’ve got the telescope to the blind eye. Haven’t you! After four hours of lady drinks you give this “vision of loveliness” 5,000 baht. How were you communicating with your vision? It wasn’t English, according to you, so I presume it must have been in Braille. That is 5,000 baht you will never see again. But look at it this way - there is a very grateful buffalo up there in Udon Thani thinking about you. And by the way, I am not your Petal, Petal!

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