Heart to Heart
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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?
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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.