Heart to Heart
Do all Thai women feel they can’t move in with you because other people
might talk about them, and they would lose face? Quite happy about the idea
of moving in, but can’t because “nice” Thai women don’t do that. We go to ST
rooms, everything good, but no overnighters. Got me bluffed.
You have met up with an ordinary Thai woman, for whom ‘face’, or how they
are seen by others, is important. As you have experienced, “concepts” are
not a problem, it is just the here and now that she is wary of. It will take
much time and persuasion for her to risk her face. Look for another my
Petal. This one is too difficult for you, I’m afraid.
I have been with this one woman for about six years. She was a pretty little
thing and I was always happy to be seen with her, but when I came back this
time after six weeks in the sand box, she’s turned into a fat toad. I don’t
want to be seen with her in case people start to feel sorry for me. What’s
You have many options, Petal. You can cut and run, leaving everything you
collected in the past six years. You can ignore the weight gain, but hide
all cameras. Or the best way – tell her how much you loved her when she was
a little petite lady, and can she go on a diet to get down to her original
weight again? She will either cut up your trousers (be careful if you’re
wearing them at the time), or physically throw you out, or point out your
beer belly. That’s about it, Sandy. You made your bed, now you have to lie
in it. I’m sure she didn’t put on all that weight in six weeks!
I’m lining up for a divorce after three years separation. I don’t want to
spend heaps on this, but she won’t agree with divorce unless I give her
large alimony payments. How to get around this?
As you have found out, to your sorrow, that where there’s a will, there’s
always a won’t. Your (about to be ex-) wife doesn’t have all the aces,
Petal, but go and see a lawyer. Tell him or her that you only have so much
money, and can they do the job for that amount? If they can’t then all you
can do is tell the judge your situation. Lots of luck.
I have had a jokey type relationship with my hairdresser for about six
months. Last week she made it clear (I thought) that she would be interested
in a little after hours fun, and we ended up with some slap and tickle in
the back of the salon, nothing too deep, just what you’d call petting. I
dropped by today with the idea of floating the idea of her closing the shop
for an hour or two one afternoon, but she was not even in for a bit of a
cuddle, so I did not pursue the idea. What gives with these Thai women,
Hillary? I’ve had this before with lots of sexy suggestions, but then
backing out at the last minute. Is this the way their culture demands or
what? And should I keep trying with this dame?
My Petal, you have mistaken harmless fun with the real thing. Your
hairdresser is just trying to keep you as a customer. A little snog every so
often does not mean that she is ready for a roll between the covers at the
local Lonely Hearts Hotel, room by the hour. Don’t get so serious with these
ladies, they are just having some fun with you, but that’s all. If you are
only looking for short term rumpy pumpy company then a bar beer, rather than
a barber, is where you go. Understand now?
I see that there has been a crackdown recently about copy goods – shirts,
CD’s and watches and the like. Pictures of them being burnt in the street
and all. Why is this? Everyone knows that you go to Asia to buy real
bargains. I always bring back a sack of watches and all the latest movies on
DVD and some footy shirts for the blokes. What’s wrong with this? If I can’t
get the stuff in Thailand any more, do you know where I can get them? I like
Thailand, but I have to look at what I can take back to sell, to pay for the
Dear Copy Cat,
Sorry about your holiday expenses business, but most countries are now
closing those loopholes. Monsieur Louis Vitton and Columbia Pictures have
more clout than you have, my Petal. However, all things are possible in
Thailand – go to the local markets and try there! Wear an overcoat and dark
Bit of a broo-ha-ha from one of the naughty bars in Walking Street I read.
Was it as ‘bad’ as it looks, Hills old girl? Over here in straitlaced
Blighty little old ladies would be swooning on the streets.
Firstly, I am not “Hills old girl” by any stretch of the imagination. My
name is, and always has been, Hillary and to refer to me as “old girl” is
simply very poor manners. Which is what I think about the Walking Street
incident – very poor manners. There are some things best kept away from the
children, and children do walk down Walking Street. I cannot comment on your
swooning old ladies in Blighty, but I am sure you would be the kind of
gentleman to render assistance to these ladies in need of smelling salts.
Found the “good girl” from a good family and all that you are always banging
on about, but progress is slow. So slow I’m thinking of giving up TBH. It
has been two months and we’re up to holding hands (when nobody is around)
and a peck on the cheek goodnight. We go out once a week, as that’s all
she’ll do. She’s a nice girl but I’m running short of patience. What’s the
I presume your acronym TBH is To Be Honest. So why not just write the full
three words, so there can be no confusion? TAGB (that’s a good boy). Now to
the go-slow romance which seems to be going nowhere. Mort, you are having
yourself on. She is obviously so well mannered that she is trying to tell
you, very gently, that even though you may be interested in her, she’s not
interested in you. Your next step is to “Hit the road Jack and don’t you
come back no more” that catchy song by Ray Charles. (You may be too young to
remember the song, but never mind.)
You have often mentioned books that newcomers to Thailand should read and
you should add “Falangs in Thailand” to that list. These cartoon books by
Mike Baird are based on truth and everyone who laughs at the drawings should
also remember that (it is based on truth). The cartoonist must have spent a
lot of time watching what goes on in Pattaya, but what he shows is the same
for Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. “Private Dancer” by Stephen Leather is
another book that anyone who spends time in the bars should read. Stay there
long enough and it will happen to you, so be warned. I hope this helps,
Hillary. I enjoy your column.
I am so glad you like my weekly (weakly some days) column. Thank you for the
information about suitable books, and I have enjoyed all of Mike’s books and
do agree with your ideas. Unfortunately, I think many young chaps who come
here (and some not so young as well) don’t seem to be able to read. Perhaps
the cartoon books will be better for them, as long as they realize that Mike
Baird is being very satirical. We can only hope, Petal. We can only hope.
I have to laugh at all your letter writers, wondering if they have found THE
ONE, when they should start looking at themselves to see if they would be
THE ONE for any of the women around here. I’m not talking about the girls
from the bars, who are only there for one thing – money, while the blokes
are also there for one thing – sex. They’ll never find the right one there.
I’m talking about the ones you call “good girls”, and these blokes aren’t
even looking in the right place, and I reckon no self respecting girl would
want to be seen with some fat old bloke wobbling along with a skinful of
booze every night. You try telling ‘em, Hillary, I’ve given up. They’ve got
no (expletive removed) idea.
Al the Advisor
I understand where you’re coming from Petal, but if you want to be an
advisor you’ve got to do more than throwing a bucket of warm manure over the
people wanting advice. Once the average chap understands what the bars are
for, and what the girls who work in the bars are there for, then you’re
about half way there to finding someone who might be THE ONE and obviously
not from the bar scene. The bars are for fun, not forever. You are correct
when you say that the chaps looking for a partner have to present themselves
in a good way as well. No Thai lady is looking for the kind of farang you
best know. Finding THE ONE is difficult in any society, in any country, and
is no different here. Just keep on showing those who ask of you where they
shouldn’t look, and you’ve done your bit, Al. You could start with Jack with
his problems this week. And he has big problems!
How do you keep up with all the tears that must come through your mail box?
Every week another tale of doom and destruction, another house lost, and pig
farms as well I read a couple of weeks ago. Or are you a victim as well?
It’s easy, Petal. I save up all the tissues that come with the reporters’
take aways and mop the mail box with them. Now as to your second question,
yes I am a victim - I got ripped off at the local market by one stall holder
who short changed me, but I didn’t know till I was counting my satangs that
You bleat on every week about not having any expensive French champagne. Why
don’t you do what the rest of us do, and that is to drink the cheaper
champagnes from Australia, Chile, Spain or Italy?
Dear Methode Champenoise,
You have answered it already in your ‘nom de plume’ my Petal. You obviously
know of the restrictions on using the name “champagne”. The Champagne
producers successfully lobbied the European Union to restrict the use of
that term within the EU to wines produced from their region. Thus, wines
from elsewhere cannot even use the term “méthode champenoise” on products
sold in the EU, and instead the term “traditional method” (méthode
traditionnelle) or the local language equivalent may be seen; for instance,
in Germany the term used is “klassische flaschengärung”. South African wines
from the Western Cape are labelled with the term “Methode Cap Classique”.
However, consumers outside the EU may see “méthode champenoise” used on
labels for products made outside of France.
So for little people like me I would much rather drink the “real thing” than
some other country’s copy. So, please send me the good stuff, that’s a nice
Do Thai women think differently from western women? Is the family really
that important? The guys I drink with say that the neighborhood cat is
higher up the tree than me, and I’m paying the bills. I’m only into the
second month of this relationship and I’m starting to feel I’m being put
upon. The hand is always out, and it is always for “family” problems.
Are you any good at running? Olympic standard 100 meter sprints. Time you
lined up on the starting blocks young ATM (you must be young not to know
about the family ladder and where you are on it - just don’t climb over the
cat on your way up)!
Why don’t these Thai girls kiss properly? You go to give them a nice sloppy
kiss and instead of returning it, you get a sniff on the cheek, or even on
the arm? That’s a bit off isn’t it? Everybody all over the world knows what
a French kiss is, surely?
Perhaps you have a problem with body odor and they are just checking. And do
you brush your teeth three times a day? I don’t think I’d like sloppy kisses
from someone who doesn’t have dental floss beside the bathroom sink. There
is a big difference between French and Thai kisses. Just think yourself
lucky you get any sort of show of affection. PS. Have you shown her your
wallet? That might improve the kisses if the wallet is full enough!
Can you tell me just what goes on in a Thai girl’s head? I have had this
relationship with one of the girls in the local bar. If she wants a night
off, I pay for her bar fine, and she comes home with me. We have a great
time and I usually take her for som tam or something on the way. The other
night I felt like seeing her, but when I went to the bar and suggested I pay
bar for her she said no. I stayed for a while and then another farang came
in and off she went off with him all lovey-dovey if you please. Are they all
like this? I thought I had a pretty good understanding with the girl, but it
must have meant nothing to her.
Let me tell you like it is Petal, and you won’t be confused in the future.
“This relationship” as you call it, is nothing like the “relationship” as
she sees it. You are as free as the proverbial bird, come along, pick up,
put down and here’s a bowl of noodles. And be thankful. She sees one
customer who she can get to buy her out when she’s got no better offers. The
other farang was probably offering two bowls of noodles. A much better
business deal if everything else is equal. Your girl in the bar is a
businesswoman, Mr. Confused. That’s where you are going wrong. Your
relationship does not “mean nothing to her”. It represents an “off” for the
evening and a bowl of som tam and some small change. No more, no less. Stop
confusing business with pleasure.
I love your column. I have been coming to Asia from the US for 15 years. I
bought a condominium here, got a drivers license, bought a car, and have a
retirement visa. I am continually amazed how stupid western men are when they
come here. They do not act the way they would back home and take women for
granted. I frankly think they deserve to get taken for all they are stupidly
worth or claim to be. I hear too many of them bragging (mostly lying) about how
great they are, how much money they have, etc., I hope they get robbed. I live
here and have many Thai friends. I respect them for their lifestyle and do not
care that I may have more money that they, they have HUGE hearts and that is
what I care about. Those idiots who come here to use them deserve to get ripped
off. So, to those who do not learn or respect the culture, spend your money and
get the hell out.
Anyone who starts their message with “I love your column” goes straight to the
top. Flattery will get you everywhere, and some chockies and bubbles gets you
even further! Unfortunately you are correct that many westerners do write their
CV on the plane coming over, thinking that nobody in a third world country will
ever know the truth - but the social networks soon show up the frauds. After
that it is downhill from there. I am glad to hear you have some Thai friends and
you respect their lifestyle, which can be quite different from the westerner’s,
but you are here in Thailand and have really made the grade. Well done.
Its Resurrected Delboy, I loved that title you have given me. You are a great
asset to Pattaya Mail (hope the Editor is reading this). Hillary I have had
three motorcycle accidents since that really serious one when two of the three
guys on the bike that hit me head on died. So no cremations to pay for in the
last three accidents, only replaced torn clothing to pay for. I guess I should
not joke about things like that, but I am hoping to live long enough to be the
oldest motorcyclist in Thailand. Back to Triple Wrapped Thailand Hillary, I
cannot find any broken biscuits at my supermarket but I will ask the check out
lady to open the outer wrapper for me, then my tea will still be warm by the
time I open the inner wrappers. Thank you and all the team at Pattaya Mail for a
great read and also the Email updates.
Dear Resurrected One,
If you want to be the oldest motorcyclist in the Kingdom, then you’d better be
more careful. Three accidents since the last time we were in contact does not
sound too good to me. I’m afraid I won’t ride pillion with you. Or is it a
sidecar these days? Enjoy the tea and bikkies.
What is the situation here as far as dowries is concerned. I have been living
with this girl I met in the local bar for a few weeks and I have been up to her
home town to meet her folks, and they seem to be OK sort of people. Her mother
looks after her child from a previous marriage. Her father has a small rice
farm. My girl is now saying that her parents expect us to get married and we
must go back to her village for the ceremony, and that I am expected to pay the
dowry for her as well as paying for the monks and the marriage ceremony and
party. I asked her how much did they expect and she tells me around 200,000 baht
will cover everything. Honestly Hillary, that is a lot of money, being a bit
close to 4,000 pounds, and I don’t know that I really want to go through this at
that sort of money. I understand this may be the custom out here, but I want
your opinion on it. I haven’t got anyone else I can ask to get some sensible
Dowries are still expected in some regions of Thailand, but 200,000 baht is a
bit steep for a blushing bride you met in a bar, who has been married before and
already has one child being looked after by her mother. Are there any others
hiding round the corner? Any contract of marriage should not be entered into
when there are doubts, and you are certainly showing more than a few doubts (not
that I blame you). You do not say how long you have been in Thailand, but I get
the feeling you are a newcomer. A ‘real’ marriage, which is recognized in both
Thai law and the UK, is not the one in the village, but is done at the local
amphur office. You asked for my opinion, Petal, and here it is - run!