Heart to Heart
Update September 30, 2016
You are so cleverly funny! I love reading your column.
You are so cleverly funny mun gun. I love reading your
Discussion re micro-waving: my Thai wife saw the word
“Wave” but couldn’t figure out how to close the door with her head inside! She
also cooks/dines on the floor but after a recent scare I told her NO animal
sacrifices or wood fires on the floor.
P.S. My wife, a certified masseuse, gives inexpensive 2
hour Thai (no oil, no specials) massages.
You are such a dear, and your long suffering wife
deserves a medal, putting up with you. Are you sure she wasn’t trying to work
out how to wave her hand, while in the microwave oven.
You remind me of Dire Straits’ hit “Money for Nothing”
where Knopfler sings
“We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchens deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these color TV’s”
But I’m sure your wife can work the fridge and the
“smart” TV. And I’m also sure she knows how to manage you! Hope her (dire)
straits massage business is going OK and bringing in enough to cover your local
7-Eleven Chang bill.
(Further to complaints regarding the Isaan ladies floor
cooking): I’ve been married to a Thai woman for 20 years. We have a house in
California and built a farang style house in Isaan. She has a nice kitchen in
both houses. When in Isaan, she and her family ignore the kitchen and sit on the
floor on the front porch to do all their cooking and eating. It’s part of their
culture. Get used to it.
Completely correct, my Petal. It is a cultural thing
amongst the people from the N.E., just as it is a cultural thing for Westerners
to sit up at a table and put their knives and forks together on the plate when
they have finished eating. This is as much a cultural thing as the Tibetan
funerals where the body is left on a rock for the ravens to dispose of, as
opposed to Thai cremations and Western burials. The world is full of such
interesting cultural differences.
I have a test I use on bar girls for honesty. I ask them to
buy me something, like a T shirt or something and give them one thousand baht,
and never ask for the change. If they give the change to me as well as the
shirt, she’s honest. If the shirt has no change with it, then steer clear. Only
lose a grand, much better than hundreds of thousands.
As a rough and ready test, I suppose it’s not bad, but
do you build into the equation the time, effort and money and loss of daytime
sleep that she has doing your errands? It’s probably easier to not ask them to
do anything. After all, they work in a bar so that they don’t have to run
I’ve done it again, despite all the advice from friends.
I’ve taken the girl back, even though she cheated me out of close to a million
baht last time. I met her in a bar and it was an immediate attraction and she
moved in tight away. I did the usual thing of buying her out of the bar and she
was very thankful for that, as she said she didn’t like working as a bar girl.
We carried on like any normal couple, and I did help her send money home. Then I
paid for a house to be built up country (not expensive in Isaan) and gave her a
little car to run around in. About two weeks after that she sold the car and
went to live with her mother – in the new house I had paid for. Of course
everything was in her name! Anyway I carried on by myself, but I kept on
thinking about her and contacted her after three months to make sure she was OK.
Turned out she was back in Pattaya, but at a different bar, and so I went round
to see her. She started to cry and said she was sorry, and so I said she could
come back. My friends all think I’m loco, but she’s the only one for me. Are my
friends right, or am I?
There’s no such thing as right or wrong in these
situations, my Petal. All it really is that some directions are more risky than
others. You’ve gone into this again with your eyes open this time, just don’t
get carried away with this second honeymoon. Remember the saying, “He who cheats
me once – shame on him. He who cheats me twice – shame on me.” I hope you are
going to be lucky this second time around, but lay some ground rules about
spending! Sounds hard, but it is a way to try and safeguard yourself.
Update September 24, 2016
What’s the go with the bar girls? I buy one a drink and she
always has a friend who wants one too. Take one out of the bar and you are hers
for eternity, and look behind you if you ever take another. The first one will
be behind you with a sharp breadknife. I thought that was the job, where she
looked after the customer. You keep on saying that’s how they make their money.
I’m not really sure what your point is here, my Petal.
Do you want a companion or not? When you go to the ‘professional’ end of town,
you should expect to pay. Since you are the supplier of the cash, they’re not
going to let you go easily, but I think you’re a bit OTT with the carving knife.
You are too intense. Relax a little and spread the money around.
You get many letters from guys complaining about being
ripped off by Thai girls. Do you get any letters from Thai girls being ripped
off by their western boyfriends? No? Just as I thought, it is all one sided
here, with no comeback for the guys, just cop it on the chin. Correct?
I once met a lady who said, “My mind is made up, don’t
try and confuse me with the facts.” You sound very much like that lady, my
Petal. It is not “No”. I have received letters from Thai girls over the years
who claim to have been ripped off by their boyfriend(s). But what you have to
remember is that the Thai girls from the bar may be able to speak English, but
have big problems trying to write in English. So that is one very obvious reason
why I don’t get too many emails from the ladies of the night. I do not suggest
that your friends “cop it on the chin” but do recommend that everyone takes
care. The commercial end of Pattaya is no different from similar areas
throughout the world. The Latin Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware) should not
You always make it sound so easy to meet up with an honest
Thai woman, rather than going to the bars for a companion. It’s not that easy,
Hillary. My friends have had the same problems as me. The girls from the bars
want to get into my wallet, but so does your “good” girls. The only difference
is it takes longer to get to know the goodies, but they have the sticky fingers
just the same. What I want to know, is this a genetic thing with Thai women?
You men are all the same, complaining about your wives,
girlfriends taking your hard earned money. That’s in the West as well as the
East. What do you expect? You consider your female partner to be your personal
property and start crying when the woman asks for money to put up with you. I
think it is a genetic thing with western men.
Like you always advise us, look for the “good” girls, and I
have found one, but there’s still a problem. She works in a dress shop and is
really quite a stunner. I pass by every day and if she spots me, I always get a
wave and a big smile. Sometimes I catch her outside the shop and she is always
happy to chat. In English which makes it even better, because my Thai is not so
good. She saw that I had bought a soft drink one day and told me what soft drink
she likes and so I have been buying a can for her and giving it to her if she is
outside. But today she just looked away and I was too embarrassed to go further.
Hillary, I have put six months into this, and I am starting to feel the chase
after “good” girls isn’t worth it. What do you suggest?
Dear Drink Can,
You are certainly not the one to be pro-active, are you?
After six months and the best you have been able to do in this relationship is
to buy her a 10 baht can of drink and chat for a few minutes outside a dress
shop. For six months this wonderful “good” girl has been waiting for something a
little better than a can of soft drink. Just what do you chat about? The merits
of aluminium cans over steel ones? The weather? Dress fashions? You are wimp, my
Petal. Just what have you put into this relationship in the six months? She has
been waiting for you to ask her out, to dinner, to a disco, to the movies –
anywhere that young people go to starting a relationship. And the best you have
managed is a can of soft drink. Honestly, what is wrong with you young people
these days? You don’t deserve a good girl. No wonder she eventually just gave up
Update September 17, 2016
Now now Hillary, further to the diamond
topic, the question was not where is the safest place to store your diamonds but
where to buy them.
I am sure you will agree that Hatton Garden
is internationally renowned as a safe place to purchase diamonds from. I would
certainly feel a lot happier that I had purchased genuine quality stones in
Hatton Garden than the corner jewelry store in downtown Pattaya whose brother
the songthaew driver has just dropped me off there.
I would also feel that I would be more
likely to be looked after if I had been ripped off in London rather than by the
keystone cops in Pattaya who would probably just want a bit more money to do
their jobs and investigate and then drop the whole case if any suspects turned
out to be another of their ‘benefactors’ (or am I just cynical?)
How could you possibly doubt the local
keepers of law and order? Cynical Cindy in person! But you are right, it was
where to buy diamonds, not where to keep safe, but it was such a wonderful item
in the British press with the analogue villains in a digital world that I
couldn’t resist. My Petal, buy yourself a beer on me.
I read you every week, but I don’t
understand you some times. One week you are on the side of the ladies of the
night, as you call them and the next week you seem to be on the side of the
foreigners. Why the flip-flopping?
I am not flip-flopping as you call it,
but I support whoever is in the right in my opinion (which can be wrong at times
– but I was mistaken). Many of the people who write in think they are 100
percent correct, while that may not always be the case. I start at 50:50 and
then see who is closest to 100. And you, Petal, because you so wrongly accused
me of changing sides, ended up with a zero on your ledger.
You always seem to have advice for the
love-lorn of the opposite sex, but I never see items from the gay community.
Don’t they have problems too?
Of course everyone can (and do) have
problems, but the number of members of the gay community is still very much less
than the members of the “Hello Sexy Man, Buy Me Cola” community. So that means
you will see more GF problems than BF problems, but feel free to write in,
My maid seems to be afraid of all
time-saving appliances. I have tried to show her how to use the simple microwave
and the convection oven, but she will not use either, despite smiling and saying
she understands every time. When we have people over for dinner she gets her
sister and auntie to come and help, and they sit on the floor of the kitchen
with her and prepare the food. I am terrified that one of my guests will see
this one day, even though the food is always very nice. How do I get around this
You really haven’t got a problem at all,
Petal. As you say, your maid cooks you very nice meals, so does it matter if she
sits on the floor to do it? I am sure that she cleans the kitchen floor too, so
it will be spotlessly clean. It is also very common for Thai people to call in
assistants, and family is always best, when they have to prepare for a large
party. If the food takes a little long in coming, just have some savories and
dips to ward off the hunger pangs in the guests, and relax and enjoy. You will
not change a Thai maid into a western short-order cook, no matter how many times
you show her the microwave! “Thai” means “free” and maids need their freedom to
cook the way they always have done.
Where can I go to get a ‘straight’ massage?
Every massage place I stop at offers me massages with “happy ending”, and there
seems to be hundreds of those. I have a longstanding back and right leg problem
after an accident a few years ago, and a proper deep massage does seem to help.
The other kind doesn’t. Any ideas Hillary?
Dear Bad Back,
What a lovely change, my Petal. Most of
the readers who write in here have a middle leg problem and not a right leg (or
left leg) one. ‘Physical’ massage is certainly good for all kinds of ailments,
but you have to find a place that advertises that it does ‘traditional Thai’
massage. You really should be looking for a “spa”, rather than massage parlor.
Most of the big hotels have a spa and massage area, though they cater for the
tourists more (and charge tourist prices). Tell any place you go to that you
don’t want an oil massage, but want physical massage. Hope you feel better soon.
Update September 10, 2016
A couple of weeks ago, a chap called “George” wrote
about his GF who watched TV while he “performed”. Well George you must be
quite a lover if TV excited your date. I have found Thai women to be more
attractive/creative/participating/affordable, sexually, than others around
the globe and most, not all, but most, more accommodating when it comes to
pampering the man, yes even some like you George, regardless of, often,
public fondling/boorishness/ill groomed/selfish/cheap (Choose any 2
George!), and frequently see the object of their utter distaste a second or
I think you have a phrase in America (how do I know
this?) saying “The pot calling the kettle black.” Our George gets everything
he deserves. The only advice I have for him is to lose the remote or pull
the plug out on the TV.
I want you to print this letter as a warning for all
the old age pensioners who come here for a couple of weeks every year. I see
the suckers walking down the street with their 17 year old girlfriends, who
couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about the old fellow, as long as the money
keeps coming. I want you to tell them just how silly they look. They should
stay at home and save the money for a cruise or something.
What a miserable old sod you are. If these “suckers”
as you call them, are happy with their 17 year old companion, just what is
wrong with that? Your suggestion of sitting in a deck chair looking at the
pool on an ocean liner is not half the fun as sitting on a deck chair on
Pattaya Beach, having a foot massage and a beer. You wowsers make me annoyed
All the letters to you seem to be from men, and many of
the older type. Why don’t you get women writing in with their problems too,
as I am sure they must have them? I’ve asked a few males I know but I don’t
get sensible answers.
Yes, it is mainly men who have the problems, and if
you look around (the forecourt of your local 7-Eleven will do) you will also
see that foreign men outnumber foreign women by a factor of 100:1. With the
maths in favor of males, and a reluctance in being misunderstood by women,
that should easily explain why letters from ladies are scarce. In fact, you
are the first lady this year to come and ask for my invaluable advice.
Perhaps some of the feminine gender are put off by the name of the
newspaper. Mr. Editor, could we change it to Pattaya Female. That might do
There’s plenty of places for men to enjoy the company
of the opposite sex around here, but where do ladies go for company? I’m not
looking for a long term commitment, but just some fun evenings. I’m English
and all I want is some good conversation, a couple of drinks and no heavy
stuff. Is this possible, or am I looking for something that isn’t there?
I think you are confusing your aspirations with the
local capabilities, my Petal. You are in Thailand. The people here all speak
a language known as Pasa Thai. The number of Thai males working in the bars
who can actually converse in English, would be very small. For that matter,
the number of ladies working in the bar that can speak good conversational
English is also very small, after you get past “Hello sexy man (lady). Sit
down please. Buy me cola?” I am sure that many of the ‘boy bars’ and
nightclubs could offer you drinks, some fun evenings with no commitment, and
the ‘stuff’ gets as heavy as you (the customer) wants. However, remember you
pay for the fun, just as you do in any bar in Thailand. The staff are
‘professional’, if you know what I mean.
You are always crying out for champain (sic) and
choclates (sic) when youre (sic) giving advise. Don’t you know
there (sic) bad for you? Why do you do it? You are supposed to be
setting a good example.
You didn’t do well at school, did you Jasper. Failed
O Levels, especially (sorry about using a big word, Petal) spelling. I can
see I will have to go through this slowly for you. Champagne and chocolates
(note the correct spelling, that’s a boy) are full of calories and because I
am underweight, I need the calories to put it back on. I am addicted you
could say, and a daily bottle of bubbly would overextend (oops, there I go
again with long words, sorry) my budget, so that’s why I look for generous
correspondents (people who write in, Petal) in the column. I’m sure you
understand. Mark the bottle “For Hillary only” and leave it at the office.
You have often mentioned books that
newcomers to Thailand should read and you should add “Falangs in Thailand” to
that list. This cartoon book by Mike Baird is 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 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.
Thank you for the information about
suitable books, and I have looked at both and do agree with your ideas.
Unfortunately, I think many young chaps who come here (and some not so youngs as
well) don’t seem to be able to read. Perhaps the cartoon books will be better
for them, as long as they realise that Mike Baird is being very satirical. We
can only hope, Petal. We can only hope.
When are you going to collect all your
writings into a book? I reckon it would have to be a great hit. I have mates
overseas who read you every week, just for the laugh at the poor saps who write
in. I’ll buy the first copy.
Dear Reg the Reader,
It is always nice to know that the
readers enjoy the column, especially people like Big D from the USA who sends
champagne and chocolates with his letters. (Thanks again Big D!) We have
discussed putting some of the best letters together, but it is a lot of work,
Reg my Petal. Maybe it will be something for me to do when I retire. I’ll let
you know and autograph that first copy just for you. Of course the first copy
will be more expensive than the others, so in true fashion for these parts,
there will be around 1,000 first copies, just like the third 50 percent share of
many bars that is sold so often! By the way, I would rather your friends laugh
at my answers, rather than at the readers!
I read somewhere that all Thai girls want
is to get their hands in your pockets, and once they have cleaned you out,
that’s it. No money, No Honey as the T shirt says. Is this really true? I have
met a few nice girls every time I’ve come over, and although I pay for
everything when we’re out together, I think that’s natural. I pay for everything
back home when I take out a woman, so what’s the difference?
Dear Confused Charlie,
The difference is you get more fun out
of the relationship here, my Petal, or that’s what I get told by my gentlemen
friends. It is nice to see there are still gentlemen in this world, and if you
are paying, I’ll have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot when we go to dinner. Of course
you can have what you want as well, I’m not stingy. Please let me know a week or
so in advance, as I will have to fit you in to my crowded appointment book,
though with promises of Veuve Clicquot you do go to the top of the waiting list.
You may think this is silly, but I’m from
America and I am not used to going into a bar to be propositioned. I don’t want
to have someone ask me where I come from. It is my business only if I am
married. I don’t want people to know how much money I make. How many children I
have is my affair. Why doesn’t someone tell these girls in the bars that not
everyone wants to tell them personal details? All I want is a quiet beer!
What are you worried about? Is there
some dark secret you are hiding from us all? A skeleton in the closet? Are you
on the run from the DEA? Has the CIA got a file on you? Has your ex-wife been
employing Private Investigators to find you to slap the alimony claim on you? Or
worse, has the IRS found out about your fraudulent claims for 2005/6? My next
question is why are you drinking in beer bars? These girls aren’t from the CIA
or the IRS, they are just doing their job as drinking companions as well as they
can and you’re lucky they can converse as much as they can. If you don’t want
the girls to talk to you then don’t drink in beer bars. It is like going to a
rock concert and complaining they’re not playing Mozart. It’s the old horses for
courses thing, Petal. If you just want a quiet beer, you can buy a bottle of
beer from the supermarket and sit alone in your room or restrict your drinking
to the more up-market watering holes!