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Heart to Heart with Hillary


Update March 26, 2016

Dear Hillary,
(Further to Mick’s letter of two weeks ago where he felt that the Thai women didn’t care if he had a good time – all they wanted was money)
“30 years ago you were 22 and life was fun,
And you got it for nothing while you laid in the sun,
And probably still you could have such a time,
If you found the women from your long lost prime.”

Dear Robert,
Not only a poet who can rhyme and scan, but one with advice for the asking man! Completely correct, my Petal. Buy yourself another beer.

Dear Hillary,
One of your writers was wondering if his wife (or GF, I can’t remember if it said) was cheating on him. Thai women have cheating down pat, and you can tell the ones who are going up country and have up country friends staying down here, that they are all covering for each other. The ones from the bars slip into it more easily, but there (sic) sisters then follow. If it’s OK for Lek then it’s OK for Mon. They have completely different morals and different ideas on what’s right or wrong. The crime here is in being found out, not in the cheating. All the overseas men should understand this before hooking up with a Thai woman. Do you agree with me?

Dear Jerry,
Reading between the lines, I think you are writing from experience, and still hurting. Honestly Petal, there are just as many honest ones as there are cheaters. But you are right that if the girl comes from the bar, that is a cheating environment (big word for a Friday!) and remember that “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” If they work in a bar, they follow what bar girls do. They have to start somewhere and once they are in that circle, it is very rare that they will leave it totally.

Dear Hillary,
Have you any suggestions to keep school age children interested during these school holidays? There seems to be about 10 weeks of them!

Dear Joy,
I believe you need some planning here. A big calendar sheet on the wall with one movie a week (Kung Fu Panda is great) marked off. Make a day out of grocery shopping after cleaning out the fridge. They do the work, you just record the items. There are many tourist attractions you can use, and again make them one a week after the movies and domestic chores. Cleaning the family car will take up one day and they are paid, since you don’t have to go to the car wash you usually use. With a little imagination you will fill your calendar. Enjoy the children!

Dear Hillary,
My wife always forgets when her visa runs out and it always ends up with me having to pay for her overstays. I even said I would handle it if she wanted (we have a secretary in the office who handles all this stuff), so that this did not happen all the time, but she asserts her independence all the time and calls it interfering if I say I’ll take charge of it. This has happened more than just a couple of times too. If she would only get her visa in line with mine, it would be so much easier. I am getting a bit tired of it. How do I make her see some sense? I don’t want to run her life, she is perfectly capable of doing that herself. I just don’t like unnecessary hassles, and with the new rules on overstays she could see herself deported.

Dear Victor,
You have a problem that will even be difficult for Hillary to fix, but as always I am ready for the challenge. You don’t say whether your wife is from the West, but I’ll guess that she is. I believe independent western women should be given their independence, so why are you paying for her overstays? With independence comes the responsibility for your own actions, but she is making you responsible for her actions. This is not independence at all. This is subjugation. She doesn’t want independence, she wants to be the boss. Vic, you have to put your foot down, give her all the independence that she wants, with everything that goes with it. If you are lucky, she will amass such a huge bill from her overstays that she will be deported. Don’t pay for the return ticket either. Some people learn the hard way.

Dear Hillary,
We are coming over your way again, after five years away from Thailand. We have kept up to date by reading the Pattaya Mail, and we always read your column first, Petal! There have been many new restaurants in that time, can you recommend a few we should try?
The Globe Trotters,

Dear Globe Trotters,
Thank you for the nice words, but you neglected to tell me just where you will be going in Thailand. I also suggest that rather than coming through me, go to Miss Terry Diner in Pattaya at [email protected] or in Chiang Mai go to [email protected]. I hope you find our new restaurants simply delectable.

Update March 19, 2016

Dear Hillary,
I love your column and am amazed at the patience you have. I am an ex pat and live in Chiang Mai near the university. So, it is not the seedy part of town like Loi Kroh. How you put up with letters every week from idiots is beyond me. To all those who fall for lines from bar girls, I say good they deserve to get the wallets emptied. As a friend of mine (a former model in Los Angeles) said, Thailand is for those who could not get laid in their own countries. For all those idiots I have seen in bars bragging about the money they probably do not have, they just raise the prices for what they want and none of the girls cares whether the ‘Rolex’ they have is real. These idiots get what they deserve. As far as I am concerned, send them all to Pattaya!

Dear Peter,
I spoke with Pattaya City Hall but they said for you to keep them up there in Chiang Mai, as we have as many idiots as we need already. However, looking at the problem that you have highlighted, perhaps an identification system is needed. A badge for the girls to state “Bar Girl wallet handler” or something like that. For the males, as they come through Immigration they get given a ‘Sucker badge’ with first timers getting the 100 percent sucker rating. By the way, from the bar girl side of the pub the watch is a “Lorek”. But always remember that for a Thai, a watch is not a way of telling the time, but is more of a fashion accessory.

Dear Hillary,
Further to the chap suspecting that his GF is gambling 2,000 baht a week - what you may not realize is that “loans” are conveniently available to her that would impress “Big Tuna Gambino” in New Jersey. I am acquainted with one fellow who had to sell two condos when his wife got this bug. The 2K per week could just be the interest. Oh, and the lender does not care if you do not owe him the money directly. He still expects you to pay Farang.

Dear Robert,
I’m afraid you are much more experienced in this than me. B. 2,000 a week is not small change for me, and I’ve never met the Big Tuna. I have heard of loan sharks, but never loan tuna’s. If someone has to pay, it looks to me that the chap who was asking about gambling debts last week should pack his bags and join the Olympic taxi drivers training camp and flee the scene.

Dear Hillary,
The other night in the bar we had a discussion whether Thai females are romantic. I say that they are, but my drinking buddies all say not. They said that all they are interested in are large amounts of gold, and the larger the better, and a limitless ATM card. Surely there are still some gals out there who appreciate roses and chocolates (apart from you, Hillary)? I need you to back me up here, Hillary.

Dear Champagne,
Such a lovely name, and chocolates and roses is nice, but I prefer champagne and chocs. Of course there are romantic ladies left in Thailand, other than myself. It sounds to me as if your drinking buddies are looking for ladies from the wrong watering holes. The professional ladies who come to the surface with the buffalos in tow are certainly only looking for gold. That is their business, their profession (and an old one at that). However, by looking in the universities, offices and even department stores, you will find ladies who appreciate being appreciated. You are correct, Champagne. Your friends are taking too narrow a sample to base their findings. You don’t need to have rose colored glasses. Your drinking buddies are looking at life through beer glasses.

Dear Hillary,
One of the women at work told me she needed some money as deposit for a unit close to work. It wasn’t much, only 4,500 baht, so I gave her 5,000 baht. I didn’t expect the change. I forgot about it after she said she had moved in to her new place. About a couple of months later she left the job, but came back to see me as she was waiting to be paid and was behind in the rent, so I stumped up for another 1,500 baht. She saw me a couple of weeks later and said everything was going fine, but that didn’t last too long as she came back again this week with another tale of woe. I realize I’m being played as a sucker here, Hillary, but how should I deal with it. I don’t want to be bad friends with anybody.

Dear William,
Willy the wallet, you have certainly been tagged as a soft touch, haven’t you, my Petal. There’s no secret in what to do here, and you know it already. Just say “No”. You can do it nicely, by saying you are a bit short this month yourself, and that’s all.

Update March 12, 2016

Dear Hillary,
Why is it that I seem to attract all the barkers any time I’m at a party? My mates all seem to bag the good looking ones, leaving the dogs for me. I’m an OK sort of guy, not loaded, but enough. Wash daily and shave. What is it?

Dear Lee,
You haven’t given me much to go on, Petal. You don’t mention the twice a day tooth clean, perhaps that’s it? Bad Breath? How’s the dress sense? Go to parties decently dressed? Clean clothes? Shoes? Or is it thongs? It’s just too difficult for me to comment, Lee. Why don’t you ask your friends who have won the pretty ladies? And remember, just because a girl is a looker, doesn’t mean she’s a nice person. And some plain Jane’s can be wonderful company.

Dear Hillary,
I know you are all things to all farangs (mainly men) so in desperation I thought I’d run this dilemma past you. I’m living in a Thai run, mismanaged and badly neglected condo complex; the 20-year old building is in a squalid condition: lifts keep breaking down, the building has been totally blacked out twice in the last 2 weeks, and if tiles come off the corridor floors they’re just left there. The only thing the management is interested in is screwing as much money out of helpless residents as they can. (They threaten to cut off your water and electric if you don’t pay up.)
What I’d like to know Hillary, is there a relevant government department that I can report these people to? By email please. Something needs to be done before the building collapses or sets on fire.

Dear Desperate,
How long have you lived in Thailand? You already know all the answers to your questions. You wrote “Thai run” and you want to know which relevant government department you should report them to. That’s a Thai government department, correct? You can report this to local government, central government or the government of San Salvador. You will get the same immediate action. There’s only one piece of advice I can give you – leave and move somewhere else.

Dear Hillary,
There seems to be so much wrong with tipping that I don’t want to tip any more. I heard the other day where the boss kept the tips that the waitress earned and she didn’t get anything. Surely that’s wrong. How can the diner get over the cheating bosses?

Dear Eric,
Here’s how it goes – tips are actually earned by everyone in the restaurant. If the food is no good, there will be no tip. If the service is poor, there will be no tip. If the restaurant is dirty, there will be no tip. So if the diner wants to leave a tip, it should be shared by all the staff. However, if the diner thinks that the waitress has done a particularly good job and wants to reward her, then he should quietly give the tip directly to her, separate from anything left after paying the bill. Hope that makes it easy. In the case you mentioned, the staff should walk out.

Dear Hillary,
Help me please. I came here on holiday about 30 years ago, when I was a young buck. Had a wonderful time, which ended up costing me very little. The ladies were more interested in my having a good time that the actual hand wasn’t out all the time at all. I’ve been here on holidays now for two weeks and I find the women here in Thailand are still the best eye candy I have ever seen, but now all they want is my money, and they have so many reasons that I should give it to them that it is just amazing. Amazing Thailand as they say. What should I do, Hillary? Give them money or what? I sure like having them around me, but at this rate I won’t have enough left to eat by the end of the month. I’m 52, by the way.

Dear Mick,
You don’t say where all your begging eye candy comes from, my Petal, but let me guess. From the bars, right? That is how they operate. Find a new customer, drape themselves all over him, make him feel like he is some irresistible young buck again, and they have you hooked. Once you’re hooked, the next item is to land you, and they’ve done that when you pay for the vet’s fees for the ailing family buffalo, shortly after there will be medical bills for the brother with the broken leg after the motorcycle accident. Remember to offer to buy him another motorcycle as well, it will only cost you another 40,000 baht. Chicken feed. If you have a really thick wallet, then building a new house for Mama and Papa puts you right up to the top of the tree – that is, until you return to your home wherever, and another 52 year old from Sweden takes over. Honestly Mick, this behavior is so well documented, I find it amazing that there are still people who fall for all this. A lot has changed in 30 years. Amazing Thailand indeed!

Update March 5, 2016

Dear Hillary,
A couple of weeks ago one of you (sic) writers was wondering if his wife was straying, with the friends from the village and temple trips. Of course she’s cheating on you, Thai girls keep as many as they possibly can, as long as you stay dumb.

Dear Rt,
Do I hear the voice of experience here? Not all Thai girls, but any girls from any country can stray and will use local excuses to explain their absence from the family home. So in Thailand it is friends from up-country and dutiful visits to the temple, and one too far away to just drop by and look inside. You don’t need PI’s, just careful monitoring and looking at the photos taken there. She will get the tales mistaken if you wait. Then there are three options, walk away, confrontation or send her packing. You work out what is best for you, my Petal.

Dear Hillary,
My GF has begun asking me for money so she can play cards with her friends. Now she’s left the bar she tells me she is bored, so plays cards for something to do. That would be OK, Hillary, but the sums of money are now well over 2,000 baht a week. Looks to me like she isn’t playing cards for fun, but for gambling. It used to be a couple of hundred baht, but now we are getting into big numbers. What’s your advice?

Dear Ron,
Once the gambling bug takes over, you will not get rid of it easily. You can try saying No and see what happens, but don’t expect a clean stop. You can try giving her a budget to keep to, but that usually doesn’t work either. Make it somebody else’s problem. Read the fine print on a Thai driver’s license where it says, “In the case of an accident – Flee the scene!”

Dear Hillary,
My GF won’t let me take photographs of her. She says she is “mai suay” and puts her hand over the lens every time I try. Is this a cultural thing or what? She lets me take as many shots as I want with all her clothes on, so why not some good arty shots as well? Any pointers on what I should do?
Lennie the lensman

Dear Lennie the lensman,
It is quite obvious that your girlfriend is shy if nothing else, and you should be aware of the fact that most Thai women are very modest, even in intimate surroundings. When she says she is “mai suay” (not pretty), that is just an excuse so that she does not have to explain to you that she would be embarrassed by all this. You also do not say how long she has been your girlfriend. You have to go slowly, Petal. If you have real feelings for this girl, buy her a new outfit and photograph her in it in the park. Otherwise, put the camera away if you want the relationship to continue.

Dear Hillary,
Are there any sorts of clubs or something where you can meet Thai women, the better class ones if you know what I mean. I’ve only been here a few weeks, but I intend to stay for a while. I’m 64, not married (divorced) and I’m not looking for a bimbo. What’s the right direction?

Dear George,
An experienced gentleman like yourself should join the various chambers of commerce and networking events promoted by groups chambers of commerce. It is at these networking evenings that you meet women involved in business (and not the naughty business), who are there to promote their businesses and are not there for the express purpose of finding a farang wallet. Best of luck in your searching.

Dear Hillary,
Do all Thai people ask you the most personal questions? Things like “How much money you make? You married yet? You got girlfriend? You want me go with you?” Apart from the fact that this is considered a very rude way of starting a relationship in the west, I also find it very embarrassing when I am over here. How do I get these people to stop doing this?
Shy and Retiring

Dear Shy and Retiring,
Or is that Shy and Retired? You have to look at where are these women who ask 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 Ye 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 invited at all. In actual fact, those inquiries are very cleverly designed “standard” bar girl questions to see if you are worthwhile bothering with at all. 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!


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Update March 26, 2016

Update March 19, 2016

Update March 12, 2016

Update March 5, 2016