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Heart to Heart with Hillary


Dear Hillary,
Don’t you get sick of all the dipsticks writing in with their hopeless situations?  They bring it all on themselves.  I believe there’s still a couple of unclaimed brains at the Suvarnabhumi left luggage counter.  Is this true?

Dear George,
I’m a little confused about this “dipstick” thing.  My garage tells me that my engine has one, so why would my engine be writing to me?  Sorry, but that’s all Greek engineering to me.  However, you are completely correct about the Suvarnabhumi left luggage department.  At the last count there were 746 unclaimed brains, plus 1034 transferred over from the old Don Muang airport after its closure.  I have not enquired recently about Phuket, but I am told by a usually reliable source that there are 46 German ones and 64 Australian ones being held in Phuket, waiting for their owners.

Dear Hillary,
You do get lots of letters about foreigners getting ripped off.  No wonder, the laws were made 114 years ago.  Nothing much has changed since.  You should get in contact with Immigration and find out how many foreign men do their self in because of it. How would it be if the boot was on the other foot, that might open your eyes and change your way of thinking.  How quickly Thais forgot all the help and money they got from tsunami.  Shame on you Thailand.  Also the government has missed the boat they should have made keno legal, more revenue and pay a good pension, but they treat Thais like little kids.  Wrap them in cotton wool and gambling you cannot even play cards.  What a joke, they need to up date their laws.

Dear Dick,
Whew!  How many subjects did we cover in that one letter, Petal?  I can see that you are fairly upset by the goings on of Thai society, both for foreigners and for Thais, and that is very nice of you to look after both groups.  However, I don’t think Immigration keep the statistics on UFFO’s (unidentified foreign flying objects), but I’m sure the embassies would, if you’d like to explore the subject.  I believe that anyone who tops themselves have problems they can’t see their way out of, and those problems can be much more than just the immigration laws.  Financial worries are high on the list (well on my list anyway), and being unlucky in love another reason.  Gambling is illegal in this country, Dick, and sure, there is an opportunity for governments to cash in, but the Thai government is the body to make that decision, not you, I’m afraid.

Dear Hillary,
Why do Thais when they are out in company with English speaking people still speak Thai to each other, even though they can speak English?  Don’t you think this is very rude?
British Bob

Dear British Bob,

Bob, where are you living?  Check the address on your Post Office Box - you are living in Chiang Mai Province - that’s part of Thailand at last count.  Rather than them speaking English, it is you who should speak Thai.  Or is it that you are worried about the Thais talking about you?  Don’t worry about it.  But remember that just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you!

Dear Hillary,
We have some friends coming over from the US at Xmas, and normally I’d be very happy, but this time we will be in the middle of shifting house and I don’t think I’d be able to look after houseguests at the same time.  The children will be back from school and it’s all too much.  How can I put out American friends off?  Nicely without offending them?

Dear Barbara,
I can sympathize with you in this predicament, but it’s easy to get over this problem.  Just explain to your friends that you can’t give them a bed this time, because of the shifting in, but suggest that you’ll find them a little hotel close by for around $30 a night (B. 1,000).  They won’t be offended - we’ve all been through the problems with shifting.  I also suggest you contract out the shifting to one of the professional removals people.  They come in, pack everything, take it to the new house and then unpack everything and place the items where you want - but please have an idea just where you want the wardrobes before the truck arrives!

Dear Hillary,
I used my husband’s computer the other day and I was horrified to find he had been looking at some of the porn sites.  I didn’t check to see how long this has been going on, but at 65 years of age, surely he should be over that immature phase of his life.  Should I send him for counseling, and where do you recommend?

Dear Gertrude,
I am presuming that you are of similar age to your husband, and it would also seem that you wear the pants in the family.  Sending him for counseling!  Come on, Petal.  You may be married to the man, but that doesn’t give you the power to send him anywhere.  I am sorry to tell you, Gertrude, that watching a bit of porn is nothing to do with “immature phases”, and is probably an important let-off for the average husband (especially ones married to domineering wives).  Let the man be a man.  Let him have enjoyment from his hormones.  And stop looking in other people’s computers.  It’s just like steaming open other people’s mail!

Dear Hillary,
I went into one of the large supermarkets the other afternoon, intending to buy a bottle of wine for the evening and maybe a couple of cold beers for the afternoon, but instead I had to suffer the embarrassment of being told off by the checkout girl and having to leave my alcohol choices behind.  What sort of a crazy law is that, Hillary?  Why didn’t the supermarket rope off the area, or at least have a sign warning people?  Is it supposed to cut down alcohol in the afternoons?  Why?  This is 2011, not 1811.

Dear Robert,
Unfortunately Thailand does have some regulations that foreigners find difficult to understand.  The reason for the ban on alcohol sales in the afternoons, is to restrict the availability of alcohol to school-age children.  Well, that was the basic plan, but like all good plans, they may not be so good in the overall scheme.  While the supermarkets are rigidly policed, the Mom and Pop shops will sell alcohol to anyone, any time.  However, once a rule gets into the rule books, it is difficult to get it out of the rule books.  So now you know, and you also know how to get round it all, but I didn’t tell you, did I, Petal.

Dear Hillary,
I see you have included some success stories in your column.  Remember the famous song “I got you babe”?  About two people who fall in love and think love will pay the bills.  Well it does not work in the UK or America or anywhere else. Eighteen months ago I met girl in a bar from Isaan.  She was intelligent and very proud of her family - did not like her work - but as many do, did it for survival reasons.  She went back to her village two months after I met her and has now her pride back and works in a simple family business and earns less than 150 baht a day.  I send her help every month and visit her village 3 times a year - and when I visit I am treated like a family member by all her family.  We are going to get married in one year’s time and I believe you have got to provide for the one you love no matter where you live in the world.  Do you agree?
Another Success?

Dear Another Success?,
It’s a little early to be claiming success, my Petal.  You do that after 10 years.  The really successful ones are people who are happy in their relationship and do not need advice from an ‘agony aunt’ column like this one.  Your point is well taken and should be understood by everyone who is contemplating entering a relationship anywhere in the world.  Love (alone) does not pay the bills.  There is an obligation to provide and I am very pleased to see that you have accepted that, and that it is working out for you.

Dear Hillary,
Thought you’d like to know your (sic) not always right you know. Your (sic) always on about the bar girls and how you’ll get ripped off, but let me tell you about Da, she and me meet three months ago and we’re going to get married next year. She’s been with me all that time and we never have a bad word together. She’s a gem and she came from a bar too, so don’t go telling everyone to stay away from the bar girls. They are just as good as the uppity girls you are pushin (sic) on to everyone.

Dear Jim,
Have you heard of the phrase “One swallow doesn’t make a summer”? I am glad you are happy with your Da, but three months is not a long time, Jim. Tell me how you both are in three years. I shall cross my fingers for you, Petal.

Dear Hillary,
I have a 42 year old friend coming from Pakistan to stay for a couple of weeks. He does not drink alcohol. Where can I take him, as all the bars serve alcohol? I don’t want to embarrass him.

Dear Paul,
You will not be embarrassing him taking him anywhere. As he does not drink alcohol, he is quite used to sitting with people who do. Goodness me, he is 42 years of age. You will have more problems with him falling in love with lady-boys, than imagining he will turn into a drunken pumpkin if he sees alcohol.

Dear Hillary,
Like a lot of people I am having problems with the new facebook pages. I had just managed to work the old one and now they’ve changed it and I can’t find anything. Do you have this problem? What can we do about it? Help, Hillary. I had 647 friends out there and none of them can help me. Someone posted a sign which read “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I agree.

Dear Jenny,
I’m sorry my Petal, I am still at the quill pen and inkwell stage of communication. How can you have 647 friends? I don’t even know 647 people. Go back to ringing your friends up on the phone, instead of blabbing your affairs to 647 people, the majority of which you could not really know. And before you ask, I am not on facebook! Or Twitter or anything else.

Dear Hillary,
Most of your writers seem to have a problem with one girl. Mine’s different. I’ve got a two girl problem. The office building where I work has women everywhere. Ten floors of gorgeous babes, but the best two are right on my floor, but they work in the same company and in the same office. I chat to them both and I have suggested to them (singly) that we could go out one night and go to a disco or something. Both of them seemed quite happy at this, but here’s the problem. If I take the first one out the other will know, or vice versa. I like them both. They are gorgeous, can speak English and each of them is my ideal GF. But how do I find out which one is really mine?

Dear Julian,
I don’t think I’ve ever met an easier problem to solve, Petal. Take them both out at the same time. Thai girls will not want to go out on their own for first dates anyway (unless you are working in a go-go bar), so you just invite them both, and tell them that you are inviting the other as well, and over the course of the evening you’ll soon know which one suits you best. There is one other problem that you have overlooked in your whirlwind desire, and that is - will you suit them best? I hope you are not disappointed.

Dear Hillary,
I parked a rental car in Second Road the other day, and as they say in Wales, “When I came back, there it was, gone!” I went to the rental company as I thought it must have been stolen, but they rang around and it was then I found that the people who had “stolen” the car were the police themselves. Apparently I had parked in a no parking area, so they towed my car away. Now here’s the part that I am most annoyed about - it cost 800 baht to get it back and the rental company insisted that I pay it. Since they hadn’t warned me about this parking problem, I believe they had not shown due diligence, so they should have been responsible for the fine and not me. What do you think, Hillary?
Peter Parker

Dear Peter Parker,
You’ve been watching too many detective shows on TV, Petal. When you rent a car in Thailand, you are responsible for it while it is in your possession. What did you want the rental company to do? Employ a minder for you? Sorry, next time be more careful, and chalk it up to experience. Ignorance of the laws is not accepted as a valid excuse in any country.