Heart to Heart
In response to a letter from James re that fish paste called Phra Ra, I was
told it will stop an elephant at twenty paces. Seriously now Hillary, do you
or any of your readers know of an insurance company that will give
motorcycle accident insurance to a 75 year old. As you know I am bullet
proof when it comes to accidents, so the Insurance Company would be on a
winner with me. I will even sign a clause to say jumping the bike over
parked Tuk Tuk’s a la Evil Knievel would not be on. One company said they
would insure me, but only if I had another policy with them like a house or
car insurance. I realize that if a company would insure me it will not be a
cheap policy but that would be okay. Hillary. Thank you and the gang again
for brightening the Pattaya Mail readers days up with your column. I am
about to ride off into the sunset (with no insurance)...
You are a walking example of “only the good die young.” However, you
actually don’t need insurance for motorcycle arcade games, because they
aren’t going anywhere. Though it is possible to slip off one and do a nasty
injury to one’s glasses. Being serious for a moment, I know absolutely
nothing about insurance companies, other than the fact that they have huge
palatial buildings, and I live in a converted tent ex WW2. There is an
imbalance there I feel. Best of luck on the Vespa.
I have seen many older foreigners with young Thai wives, and wonder if these
marriages ever work, with so many years between the two. They generally look
happy enough, but you hear such terrible stories that I wonder if any of
these young girls ever become settled wives and mothers, or do they just
move on to the next foreigner who will give them a good lifestyle?
Marriages made in heaven can also end up in hell. The last time I looked,
around 50 percent of marriages end up in divorce – and that isn’t Thailand –
that is the US and UK. So if one out of every two marriages here end up in
the Amphur being scrapped, that’s about world average. Are you looking at
joining the Amphur club, Petal? Or just testing the water?
She’s beautiful. She even helps me put on my socks. She is sexy. She tells
me all the time she will look after me and take care when I am old. Only
problem is I am already old (63) and I think she might just be hanging
around till I get my pension. What’s your advice, Hillary?
I was going to say you should run, but then remembered that at your age, you
might only be able to crawl. Stop having yourself on. It would be a marriage
of convenience, with her supplying the bedroom delights and you the money.
Make up your own mind. Is that what you want?
Found the nice girl and now looking for somewhere to go for the first date.
She’s in her late 20’s, likes music, says she can eat European food and OK
with wine. Got any suggestions for me? I don’t want to spend too much as
it’s the first date, but don’t want to look like a Cheap Charlie.
You haven’t given me much to work on. She’s late 20’s (that means 35), likes
music. What kind, Petal? Heavy Metal or Chamber music, or karaoke? And has
black hair and dark brown eyes. And will eat spaghetti and sprinkles chilli
powder on it. And, Oh Yes, you don’t want to be seen as the Cheap Charlie
you really are. My suggestion is to go to Jomtien Beach Road and into one of
those large restaurants that make everything, farang or Thai, not too
expensive and they generally have a live band as well. That do?
Happy New Year, though I’m about a month late! I’ll be back in Party Town by
March and I’ve learned not to go looking for the same girl I had with me for
the six weeks. Did that once and spent half my holiday looking and then
three weeks regretting. No, there’s plenty of lovely girls out there and I’m
sure I will get looked after. Long winded, but would you like to have dinner
with me and her (whoever she is) one night? You name it and it’s yours. You
have given me so much good advice over the years, this is a ‘thank you’.
Aren’t you the sweetest thing, but you wouldn’t want to go to dinner with a
gorgeous little thing on one arm, and an old lady well past her prime on the
other. I don’t dance these days, even with a chrome pole to hang onto. Very
slow crossing the street and in bed by 8.15 at night. No, Petal, thank you
for the invitation, but you enjoy yourself with Miss Gorgeous Little Thing.
Need your words of wisdom here. My GF is the sweetest thing and a delight to
be with. We only have one problem and that is about whether we should have a
family. She is 37, never had kids, while I am 65 and had four kids back in
my home country, all grown up by now. She wants a kid before she turns 40,
but I’ve done my raising kids. I keep trying to tell her that I’d be 75 by
the time they finished primary school, but that doesn’t stop her. What’s
your experience of this, Hillary?
With such an age gap you must have thought about this before. She can see
her chances of having children disappearing, while you are running away as
fast as your 65 year old legs will carry you. It is time the two of you sat
down and discussed this. She may have to trade her wish for children against
a nice income from you, while you might have to trade your relaxed
retirement for young children. One of you will be the loser here, I’m
afraid, Petal. The only other scenario is for you both to go your separate
ways, and in many ways I think that may be the only outcome. Sorry if this
wasn’t the advice you were hoping to get.
I was being sarcastic in describing myself as a ‘Roy Orbison Tribute
Artiste’; I am an elderly, severely sight impaired Englishman; I have been
likened to the Big O before now, which I always resented because I always
thought he was really ugly. I’ll defend bar girls as ‘decent’, until proved
otherwise, due to the nature of the work they have to do: being pawed and
mauled by some of the most repulsive men on the planet, and I’m not just
talking about being physically repulsive here. A lot of these men treat them
like dirt, which they are not; they are escorts and should be treated with
respect ... and caution. If I could see better I’d take full advantage of
the bar scene to look for a partner here in Thailand, because trying to find
a ‘nice’ Thai GF is a minefield that I can’t afford mentally or physically
Lemmy Thinkalike (before he was dead obviously)
Dear Lemmy Thinkalike,
Did you see they are trying to make a Jack Daniels and Coke to be officially
known as a “Lemmy”? Though, hang on for a second, you can’t see, as you
said. That must be a real problem for you in some of those poorly
illuminated bars, but I am sure you will find some willing ladies who will
help the visually impaired, as they say. With all the political correctness
we are not allowed to refer to you as half blind. Personally I think it is
all nonsense. So do you really look like the Big O? Dark glasses and all?
But as you told me, it doesn’t matter in the bars, in actual fact it is what
your wallet looks like that is important, or should I say, what’s in your
wallet that’s important. You sound like a nice man, Lemmy Thinkalike, so I
hope they can do something for your eyesight. If they can’t, just grab the
hand of the girl on the stool next to you and she will guide you down the
street (to the nearest ATM).
My Thai GF has been living with me for six months, and I have been up to her
home town to meet her folks, and they seem to be OK sort of people. She has
a little girl which her mother looks after. 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
This question comes up often. 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 already had one child being looked after by her mother. 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 – get your running shoes on
and leg it!
Welcome to 2016 which will have lots of the same problems as 2015. I already
have the son of some friends back in the UK crying on my shoulder because
the love of his life from Soi Half Dozen went out with someone else last
week. That was after he gave her 20,000 baht because she was behind in her
rent. What can be done about these young chaps?
Were you never young once? Did you never fall in love? It is so easy for
young chaps to meet our professional girls and be taken in by them. The ones
who can easily get a young man to hand over the contents of his wallet to
assist the damsel in distress. Honestly Alex, if you look through previous
issues of Pattaya Mail you will see the same story cropping up regularly.
They are advised to read Money Number 1 by Neil Hutchinson, Private Dancer
by Stephen Leather, and to look at Mike Baird’s cartoons of the ‘real’ life
in Pattaya, but they don’t, do they? The old jokes about leaving their
brains at the airport as they arrive is too common – and it isn’t just the
young men either, my Petal, but many of your age and even older fall for the
ladies of the night. What can you do for the son of your friends? Just give
him a shoulder to cry on, and don’t lend him any money!
My live-in GF has started going out with “the girls” and getting back at 2
a.m., then 3 a.m. and even later with the best being 11 a.m. the next
morning. I am supposed to believe that they go to restaurants and karaoke
bars and drink and have a few laughs. Is this usual? I am getting tired of
A “few laughs”? The laughs are on you, James. You are being used by your GF.
There’s more than just drinks there. Show her the door as soon as possible.
It will cost you some money as a good bye gift, but it is better than living
with someone who is not thinking about you at all.
I’ve noticed a lot of Thai girls go red in the face when drinking beer. Is
it just that their (sic) [they’re] not used to alcohol the way we are or
I had to do some research for you on this one, and this is what Mr. Google
gave me: “Because of the association with Asian ancestry, alcohol flush
reaction has also been referred to by such informal names as Asian flush
syndrome, Asian flush, and Asian glow. Approximately 36 percent of East
Asians (Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans) show a characteristic physiological
response to drinking alcohol that includes facial flushing.” In addition,
Wiki said the flushing is from “accumulation of acetaldehyde, a metabolic
byproduct of the catabolic metabolism of alcohol, and is caused by an
acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency.” So there you are. It is all to do
with your dehydrogenase. That was certainly something new for this column.
Thank you for that my Petal.
My letter is a little bit different from all the usual no-hopers and
bleeding hearts who write in to you. On the opposite side of the coin, I’m a
happy, single man, well off, get my pick of the ladies, so why am I writing
to you? My only problem is that after a couple of nights, the ladies all
want to move in with me. Some of them bring over not just a change of
clothes, but a whole wardrobe full and then there’s the 33 different
cosmetics around the bathroom sink. I have no intention of settling down –
and why should I? Like I say, I get my pick, so why spoil it. You must have
heard the saying ‘why buy a book when you can join a library?’
How lucky are you? You get to wake up with the most adorable man in the
world, in your opinion – yourself. Time to change your name to Narcissus,
though I would suggest you take all the mirrors down in your bathroom, or
you might find yourself falling in love just like the long departed
Narcissus. Poor Narcissus saw his reflection and fell in love with it, and
could not be away from it, and pined to death looking into the pool.
Meanwhile the nymph Echo who fell in love with Narcissus also pined away,
just like your ‘lucky’ ladies who try and leave their clothes in your
wardrobe and the whitener on the bathroom shelf. It is not often I can
indulge myself in mythology and poetry, but Roger, read this little poem
penned many years ago by William Cowper (AD 1731-1800) and entitled: “On an
“Beware, my friend, of crystal brook
Or fountain, lest that hideous hook.
Thy nose, thou chance to see;
Narcissus’ fate would then be thine,
And self-detested thou would’st pine,
As self-enamored he.”
You may think you are God’s gift to women, but you’re just another meal
ticket in this country, Petal.
I’m really incensed by Art’s letter and your condoning response to it; he’s
the type of ‘farang’ who gives us decent ones a lousy name. He doesn’t say
why his long time GF left; she probably caught him at it with anything with
a pulse. I think he should be chemically castrated for blatantly messing
around with people’s emotions; he’s a GS/B/AH. And if trying to figure out
what these initials stand for gives you brain strain Hillary, it serves you
right for being so lax with him. Some of us older farangs would be grateful
for the attentions of one decent woman, let alone three.
Roy Orbison Tribute Artiste
Dear Tribute Roy,
I really don’t know why you are pouring vitriol on my head. Just how do you
make bar girls “decent” women? If you are just after any female, go to any
bar and you will get as much attention as you would ever want. Mind you, you
will pay for it. That’s why Art called them “professional” ladies. I don’t
think I condoned the chap at all, Petal. I told him to run! Correct?
However, I am amazed that a Big O tribute artist you have any time to be
frequenting the same bars as Art.
My Thai GF used to be very sexy in the way she dressed, but recently she has
been buying very dowdy clothes, more for a 50 year old, not a 25 year old. I
liked how she was, but I think that after moving in, she now wants to be the
mother of the house. I don’t need mothering, Hillary, I need the
stimulation. How do I get the message through?
(I love writing “Dear John” letters!) But what are you going to do, John? I
get the feeling that you are much older than your GF and you are expecting
her to make you young again. On the other hand she is trying to be the
partner to an older man, so she is dressing older. The only way around this
problem is for you to communicate what it is that you want. How good is your
GF with understanding English? Maybe you need a third person with good
language skills to explain it to your GF. Either that or set fire to her old
Do you know that terrible smelling stuff called Pra Ra? My lady brings it
back from the Isaan region, and it has a smell like 100 year old sox mixed
up with sewage. It is so bad I won’t let her open it in the house. What do
they use it for?
You have just discovered one of the delights of the North-East. It certainly
isn’t the sweetest smelling stuff in the world, but if you grew up with it,
I suppose it smells OK. It is used in cooking, and as a spicy dip. I agree
with you - terrible smell, my Petal. Best thing to do is to only allow it in
the Thai kitchen at the back of the house. (You do have a Thai kitchen, I
hope?) It is a North-East speciality that is not found anywhere else in
Hope I’m not too late with this bottle, please enjoy. I was hoping to get it
to you before New Year, but I got held up two weeks. Sorry, I ate the
chocolates because they were melting as soon as I pulled them out of the
Aren’t you the sweetest thing! Thank you, and after a day in the fridge I
was forced to open the bottle of bubbles, and then to make sure it didn’t
get hot again, I had to force myself to drink it. I’m sure you understand. I
hope 2016 will be a great year for you. You deserve it.
The cashier at my local has told me she wants to get out of the bar trade.
Even though she’s cashier, she has managed to get someone to cover for her,
while we’ve been out together. She tells me that I have to buy her out of
the bar, and that is going to cost me 30,000 baht, which I think is a lot,
but she’s a really nice girl, woman actually. The price for buying her out
seems high to me, but Nok says she will look after me after that. Is this a
risky thing, Hillary?
Have you ever heard of the saying “Opportunity Knocks”? Well in your case it
is more like “Opportunity Noks”. Not for you – for her. How old are you, my
pink Petal? The cashier story is used all the time, to make you think they
are “good” girls and not bar girls. The figure of 30,000 baht is well
inflated too. Jan you are being ripped off. What you do now is run, and
never go anywhere near that bar again!
This is just between you and me, it is to thank you for the tip regarding a
sweet red wine. I will look for Sangria like you suggested. A while ago I
mentioned a lady I took to dinner and ended up with five. Nothing to worry
about Hillary, the lady I first invited took care of an apartment block
which I was leaving, she did such a great job it was a way to say thank you.
Okay she did ask if the cleaner could come, well she did a great job too, so
no worries about that, and when the three sisters turned up what could I say
as it was a farewell dinner. A farewell to a few bob Hillary, 5, 5, 5...
Think of it this way, it was money well spent giving enjoyment and
nourishment to five young ladies (or even not so young, I imagine)! Please
note I kept the instructions down to you and me, but I had to let the editor
have a peek, and he showed it to the printers, and somehow it ended up in
the paper and read by 10,000 people. But never mind, that’s almost OK, and
you might get the recipe for Sangria out of it.
There’s a woman in my apartment block showing a lot of interest in me. I
think she would be about 50 and I am 70, so the ages are OK. She tells me
she is single, and I am widowed, so no problems there. She still looks
pretty good for someone her age. We haven’t been out together or anything,
so it’s early stages yet. My problem is worrying about the relations side of
things. It’s over three years now since I’ve been with a lady and I am not
sure I can perform any good. Should I tell her before we go out, or would
that be rude of me? Sorry to ask you about such personal matters, but I
don’t know where to go next.
Don’t worry you have come to the right place. Well, at least a place that
can point you in the right direction and give you a push. The correct person
you should talk to is your doctor. Go to the biggest hospital in your area
and there will be doctors who prescribe medicines that can help you. Many of
my readers use what they call “Blue Diamonds”, but you need a check-up
first. And good luck with the first date!
Hope this arrives in time for New Year. Thank you for making some of us
bar-flies happy reading your column in 2015, and all the best for 2016.
Barry and the Bar-flies
Dear Barry and the Bar-flies,
What a wonderful name. Are you a rock group? Or are you trying to attract
groupies? What bar and I’ll come and join you for a New Year’s champagne, if
One of my workmates and I came to Thailand for two weeks over Xmas. We did
what two young blokes do and enjoyed ourselves with the ladies.
Unfortunately my mate fell for a girl from the second bar we drank at. She
could hardly speak any English at all, but now my mate has received an email
from her saying that her mother is ill and she writes, “Darling! Will it be
alright if I ask you for more money? I am reluctant to tell you about this,
but you are very generous and gentle, I have no one to help at this time.”
That just doesn’t seem to be from the same girl whose English was limited to
“I lub you, Darling.” Or “One more beer?” Do they have writers in the bars
or has she managed to learn English in four weeks? I don’t really think that
is possible, do you? I am trying to show my mate that he is being taken for
a ride. He gave her heaps of money in the two weeks, and now she wants more.
Tell him he is being a sucker, Hillary.
Yes, this was not written by her, and yes, they do have writers who will
send the email, and do it for a slice of the money that comes in from the
begging letter. Get hold of a book called The Scribe, where this is
described. There is also a book called Handbook of English Love Letters, 20
years old now, but most bars have a dog-eared copy somewhere, and I think
you will find that the letter your friend received comes exactly from there.
Your friend should grow up, Jerry and see the difference between infatuation
and true love. Yes, he is being taken for a ride, but whether you can
convince him of this is another matter altogether.
Farang man complain all time about Thai girl. Him want fun, him want house
clean, him want go butterfly but want Thai girl stay home not go bar see
friends. Him stingy all the time and complain. Him get everything, and Thai
girl get nothing. Not fair.
Dear Thai Girl,
You know the answer. Leave.