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Heart to Heart with Hillary


Dear Hillary,
It is amazing all the stories you get when living in a foreign country.  It is a debate “them or us”.  A foreigner stands no chance.  A Thai judge and a Thai lawyer…


Dear Jack,
You will have seen that the middle section of your letter I did not print as you are making allegations, which I have no intention of exploring or defending; however, you should be very careful when making these sorts of statements.  I should not have to remind you that you are a guest in this country.  It is easy to point fingers at deficiencies in the laws in any country, but a well-mannered guest does not do so in public.

Dear Hillary,
My husband appears to have a problem, which in turn gives me a problem.  He has a tendency to drink heavily at times and then can go into extreme rages.  During one of these turns he can do anything - stupid things like breaking windows or kicking down doors and the like.  I never know what to do when he gets like this, and neither does any of our friends as a few of them have witnessed it too, and some have refused to go out with us, “just in case.”  This has been brewing for some time and it is nothing for him to drink six large bottles of beer before dinner and then a few more after that.  Have you any suggestions that I could follow?  I did suggest he should see someone about this problem, but when he’s sober he thinks he doesn’t have a problem.  He has been a good husband until the past couple of years, but I can’t take much more of this.
Confused and worried

Dear Confused and worried,
You surely do have the cares of the world on your shoulders, but you are probably shouldering more than you should.  Unless you are the cause of your husband’s drinking, the main problem revolves around his responses to too much alcohol.  Why does he overindulge?  Does he admit to the irrational behavior?  Is he sorry afterwards, or does he blame someone else - or you?  Quite frankly, I think you need to get him to seek professional help and very soon, before he does you, or someone (or even himself) an injury.  Just be sympathetic towards his problem, but don’t wear it yourself.  He is the one with the problem, not you.  Best of luck, but be prepared for an upheaval in your life.  This is a very difficult situation.

Dear Hillary,
I read and been told not to touch Thai girl on head because Thai think very rude.  What I wanting to know is how do you kiss Thai girl?  On the hand?

Dear Wolfgang,
This is why the Thais have the “sniff-kiss” which is like the “air-kiss” of Europeans, which I expect you know about.  Instead of making kissy-kissy noises beside the ear, Thai people make a gentle sniffing sound beside the cheek.  Much more romantic.

Dear Hillary,
I have noticed that you do spend much of your weekly columns appealing to your worried clients to send you champagne and chocolates.  Do you think this is fair?  These people have problems and you dismiss them with a “send chocolates and champagne” answer.  What is it with you and the chocolates anyway?  Are you envious of us young folk and need a warm comforter?
Not a chocaholic

Dear Not a chocaholic,
You young people are all the same these days - so sure you have the world by the tail and wanting an answer for everything.  Some things are just written in the stars, my Petal.  Nothing to do with age at all.  I suppose you also want to know why the earth is round, when the simple answer is just because it is!  Likewise with me and my chocolates.  Now, for having read your letter, that’s one chocolate bar.  For replying to it that’s another.  Remember that not everyone is like you, my little enquirer.  I had a lovely man who wanted to build me an Amari Hotel in the front garden of my townhouse who dropped in a beautiful bottle of French wine the other day.  Thanks but next time bring one with bubbles!  He knows what life’s about, Petal!  You’ll get there too - eventually!

Dear Hillary,
I have two married guys in my condo block I have got to know pretty well. Good guys, but at least once a week their chasing tail. I reckon this isn’t the right way, but so far I’ve not said anything. I’m not married, so I reckon it’s OK for me, but not for them. Do you agree? Should I tell them?

Dear Pete,
What grown-ups do in their own time is up to them. You can’t push your standards of behavior onto others, no matter how ‘correct’ you believe you are. You don’t know what the arrangements are in your friends condo’s with their wives, so they are not singing from the same hymn book as you, Petal. Should you tell them? No.

Dear Hillary,
The usual hopeless cases again for 2012. Are these the same ones still believing they have someone “different” from their 2011 bar girl disaster? Is there no end to idiocy?

Dear Jim,
No end, I’m afraid. Bar girls are more clever than star-struck young men, middle-aged men, old men.

Dear Hillary,
Last week you had this poor chap who didn’t like answering questions in a beer bar. Who does he think he is? If he wants tea and muffins and some culture, then he’s drinking in the wrong places. The six star hotels for you, Sir. If you want some hassle-free fun, then answer the girl’s questions and don’t get on your high horse. Bars are for having fun, don’t you agree Ms Hillary?

Dear Monty,
Of course you are right. The problems that you chaps have with the bar scene is you all want to find the girl of your dreams and settle down and raise hamsters. Bar girls are for fun times not for getting serious.

Dear Hillary,
I’ve never been to Thailand before but I’m saving to come over next Xmas hols, and I’ve been reading up something ferocious and your newspaper tells me a lot about where you live. I have read the phrase ST Bars and am not really sure of the meaning. Can you please explain it for me?

Dear Harold,
I was about to throw your letter in the ‘delete’ box, but then after re-reading it I think you must be the most na´ve person to ever think about coming to Thailand for a holiday. I get the feeling that you are still in your teens and your mother didn’t teach you how to dry behind your ears. ST stands for “short time” which is a bar where you have to wear shorts to get in. However, it can also mean that it is a bar for short people who spend some time there in the company of other dwarves. If you think I am pulling your leg, then you’re not as dumb as you sound. Look me up at Xmas Petal, and bring lots of money as well as the champagne and chocolates.

Dear Hillary,
While driving up a small street in the suburbs the other afternoon I saw at the last minute it had been blocked off. I went to do a U-Turn because of the blockage and then in the rear vision mirror I saw a taxi coming up behind me at a great rate of knots. By the time he saw both me and the barricade in front of me it was too late and he lost control of his bike and slid sideways into the rear bumper of my car. My car had no damage and he was not severely injured, just a few barked knuckles, and the motorcycle only had a few scratches, but he demanded payment from me. As I was in a hurry to get to an appointment, my Thai friend who was with me said to offer 500 baht and we eventually struck a deal at 1000 baht and that was it. Away he went. What I don’t understand is why I had to pay anything at all? He was going too fast and ran into me. Why should I pay anything? It makes me angry.
Confused Motorist

Dear Confused Motorist,
There are lots of ways at looking at your accident. You could have called the police and waited around and gone to the station to make a report and allowed the nice policeman to deliberate whether the poor little taxi bike rider was to blame, or the angry farang. There is also the viewpoint that in any accident with two moving vehicles it is extremely rare to see one 100 percent in the right and the other 100 percent in the wrong. Could the taxi bike afford to pay for treatment for his barked knuckles and the damage to his bike? You would do better, my Petal, to consider it a donation which allowed you not to have to waste several hours of your time. I believe your Thai friend gave you good advice, but the choice is always yours. Hope you have lots of time up your sleeve.

Dear Hillary,
I see a lot of girls in my local shopping center, and many are quite nice. I see them resting on the seats. I know you say we older farangs should stay away from the bars, but will I find Miss Right in the shopping center? Or do I have to lie about my age (I’m a pensioner) and go back to university? What should I do? I’m getting tired of being lonely.
Lonely Larry

Dear Lonely Larry,
What shower did you come down in, my lonely Petal? Must have been the last one. Will you find Miss Right waiting on the bench for you at the supermarket? No Larry, you will only find Miss Take there. Mistake if you talk to her and Miss Take all your money by the time you reach the checkout counter. These are freelance girls who can disappear very easily and you will never find where she went or came from (other than Aisle B next to the hot dog counter). They are more dangerous than the girls from the bars. At least Hello Sexy Man bar will still be there tomorrow, and the mamasan knows the ID of her girls. As far as lying about your age, that’s not such a bad idea. I heard of one 70 year old chap, when seen walking down the street with a cute 17 year old, told his friends it was easy. “I lied about my age. I told her I was 95!” If you are getting really desperate, talk to the girls in the optical stores. They are all well dressed and university graduates. You must be needing glasses at your age, so you’ve got a good excuse for being there. They also do eye checks for free, and that’s a free offer without a hoop of balloons outside either. Don’t despair, Larry. Just be nice to everyone you meet. Very soon someone will snap you up for who you are, and not just to get their hands on your pension.

Dear Hillary,
Listen to the pot calling the kettle black! In friday (sic) 12th’s paper, you slate poor old Andy the budding brain surgeon for not being able to spell, then on the same page you answer Harry the Holidaymaker and spell buses incorrectly - twice. Buses has only two s's, not three (busses)...

Dear Harleyrider,
Where did you dig that up from, Petal? That must be at least four years ago. Amazing just what is still floating around the ionosphere. However, just be a little careful, Harleyrider old chum, and check your facts before rushing into print with your six-shooters blazing. Any half way decent dictionary will indicate that the plural of bus is “buses” or “busses”. Either one is quite satisfactory. The same half way decent dictionary will also indicate that the days of the week do have capital letters to start the day, so the one you were striving for was actually “Friday” (see, capital F). However, if you ride a Harley, I will probably forgive you. Or should that bike be called a “harley”?

Dear Hillary,
I am having a problem with some of the direct questions you get asked over here. Do all Thai people ask you the most personal questions, which we would never do? Things like “How much salary you get? You married yet? Why not? You got girlfriend? You want boyfriend? You want me to go with you?” Apart from the fact that this is considered a very rude way of starting a relationship in the UK, I also find it very embarrassing when I am over here. How do I get these people to stop doing this? You seem to have the answers for most things over here, so I hope you have some answers for me too.
Rather Shy

Dear Rather Shy,
You have to look at where are these women who ask you such direct questions. My bet is in a bar somewhere. They are not in the habit of issuing a gilt edged invitation to dinner, hand inscribed in Olde English. Be real and be thankful that ‘these people’ as you call them are interested enough in you to even ask questions. There’s only one thing worse than being a wall-flower at parties, and that’s not being asked at all. In actual fact, my turtledove, those inquiries are very cleverly designed “standard” bar girl questions to see if you are worthwhile bothering with at all. If you have no money all interest will be lost immediately, if not sooner. Likewise if you are married they will want to know if “You marry Thai?” or whether your partner is waiting faithfully for you back home in the UK, while you contemplate the unfaithful ideas. Lighten up and when you are asked next time just say, “No money. Wife take all money to boy bar,” and then laugh a lot. They’ll get the message and you will be left happily lonely, then you can write me letters asking why does nobody talk to you!