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Heart to Heart with Hillary


 Heart to Heart - February 21 - Mach 5, 2020

Dear Hillary,

This is a situation I have experienced all over Asia, so it’s not a “Thai” thing. You want to invite a young lady to dinner. Remember we are not talking about ladies of the night here. This is about ordinary ladies, no buffaloes, no brothers with broken legs and fathers on their last legs in hospital. This is a post about the gentle art of chaperoning. I invited a lady to dinner and she asked if she could bring a friend (a lady), I said certainly. The three of us met at the restaurant which was fine, until three more ladies arrived to sit with us, all who were introduced as sisters of the lady I invited. These sisters all looked like heavy weight wrestlers, nothing like the attractive lady I had invited, they all drank like fish, luckily not champagne, only beer Leo. To cap it all they ordered take away meals to be added to my bill. So 4,000 THB later we parted company. Never to be seen again, my choice by the way Hillary. So please warn your readers of what the “bring a friend” can lead too.


Dear Andrew,

I think the situation you experienced is really quite a common one. How long had you known the attractive lady and the heavyweight wrestler sisters? Sounds to me that you should be doing a bit of groundwork before offering carte blanche at the a la carte. Unfortunately, you young chaps only seem to learn by experience, so I doubt if you will be any different.

Dear Hillary,

My GF has just moved in with me, so everything’s a bit new and I’m pretty unsure too. How much salary should I be paying her? I’ve asked at the pub where I go after work and they all said different amounts from nothing to fifty thousand. She does work in an office job and clears about fifteen thousand baht a month, and will continue to work there. I don’t want to chase her away, now she’s made the decision to bunk in with me. I know others have written to you about this but always seems to be that these are with bar girls who leave the bar and haven’t got a steady income.


Dear Banker,

Love your name, I take it that this has been a mutual decision, the moving in. I also take it that you have known this girl for some time and this wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, with no discussion other than “Wanna move in?” “Yeah, why not.” You are quite correct when you point out that this is not the usual bar girl leaving her source of finance for a “regular” position. Honestly, my Petal, the pair of you have made the decision to move in and ‘share’ and that’s the way the financial side should be looked at. Both of you put a percentage of your salaries into a kitty which is used to spend on household expenses like food, cleaning materials. Discuss with the GF what she thinks is a reasonable sum for living expenses and then work out the split between your two salaries to make up that sum. You both should have more to spend on yourselves because the other party is helping pay living expenses. Do not think about giving her a “salary”, she already gets a salary from her office job, and you get a salary as well, I presume. You should be living together because you want to be near each other, not adding another job to your lives.

Dear Hillary,

How do you turn off the vacuum cleaners operating out of Soi Half Dozen? I have found that the lovely lady sitting beside me seems to be able to clean out my wallet and all done with the big smile, for which they are famous I am told. So famous that they clean every little nook or cranny and I end up borrowing money from a mate just to get home. Help me please Hillary.


Dear Jacques,

You are wondering how to stop the Soi 6 vacuum cleaners who seemed to be able to clean out your wallet very easily. My advice is simple. Try going out with the idea of only having 500 baht cash only on you...or 1000 note and a ten baht coin on you for a return songthaew. Leave your credit, debit, and ATM cards locked in your safe. Don’t worry, in due course you will be the least popular farang on Soi 6. Perhaps then, rather than visiting with Soi 6 vacuum cleaners, you will put effort into finding a woman who could perhaps look after you. This is if you are looking for “true love” actually of course, but I doubt you are. By the way, 10 baht songthaews around Soi Half Dozen? Are you living in Soi 6/1?


Heart to Heart - February 7 - February 20, 2020

Dearest Hillary,

I went to your office this week with a bottle of plonk and all, to be told by your staff that you don’t work there anymore. Tell me this isn’t true. You are the only reason I buy the paper. And what about all the expats that you keep from throwing themselves off tall buildings (though I do say you have let a few slip through last year)? Please don’t go. On behalf of the troubled people please stay.


Dear James,

You didn’t leave the wine, did you? You should know I don’t drink ‘plonk’, nothing short of a good French champagne please (though I have been known to take the odd glass of prosecco). Not much I can do about the Icarus jumping club without parachute. If you have some depressed friends, take them to see a psychiatrist. And I am not your “dearest” either.


Dear Hillary,

How are all your old whingers today? Every week there seems to be another expat who has been ripped off. With their blushing 17 year old ‘bride’ hanging on their arm all the way to the ATM and then off to the village until the money from the hole in the wall runs out. Don’t they ever learn? Or perhaps you should run classes for expats on how to avoid the bar girl trap? But I don’t think the depressed folk would attend lectures, do you?



Dear Art,

Why don’t you write the Bar Girl’s Manual and follow that up with the Bar Beer Drinkers Assistant? This way these two books would help the drinkers to understand what the bar girl is thinking and what the drinker is thinking. (Not much beyond the end of his pencil (sorry about the poor spelling) I would suggest. Your “old whingers” come to Thailand because they are unhappy in their own native country, and nothing will cheer them up in the long term, but at least they get a short term lift from the “bride”.


Dear Hillary,

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?



Dear Jo-Jo,

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 Club Scissors 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?


Dear Hillary,

Can you have a test for compatibility with curry? The GF loves Indian food but I can’t take the heat. She’s from the north so has eaten spicy food all her life while I come from England and we don’t eat spicy food at all. She wants me to share the food with her so we get about four dishes and I struggle with one while she gobbles three. End result is she’s put on 10 kg while I’ve lost 2 kg. The previous GF was the same, but don’t tell me to choose from a western woman instead of a Thai lady. What to do next?



Dear Jeremy,

The local ladies spicing up your life a little too much? You won’t get the GF’s to change – they’ve been eating chillis all their lives, as you point out. There’s an old English phrase “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” so that’s what you have to do. And here is Hillary to tell you how it is done. Watch a Thai cook making something in the wok. What does she spread over the food? Sugar. The degree of spiciness is altered by the sugar. So as soon as your mouth is on fire, take one teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle on your tongue. Within one minute the fire will be manageable. Carry those little sachets you get in the coffee shops.

Heart to Heart - January 24 - February 6, 2020

Looking for a Lorek

Dear Hillary,

I’m your greatest fan. I love your column and am amazed at the patience you have. Would be throwing your red pen to the wall by now. I am an ex pat and live in Chiang Mai near the university. So, it is not the night time seedy part of town like Loi Kroh, for example. 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 they deserve all the agro they get and ending up getting their wallets emptied. As a friend of mine (a media commentator) said, Thailand is for those poor males 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, the girls 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 Ferdinand,

I spoke with the trouble shooters at Pattaya City Hall but they said for you to keep them up there in Chiang Mai, as Pattaya has 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 an Octopus shaped ‘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 an instrument for telling the time, but is more of a fashion accessory.


Puzzling behavior

Dear Hillary,

My Thai GF likes to go back to the village every couple of months to see her mother. I’m cool with this, as I believe it is a Thai custom, but she never gets back here when she says she will be. It goes from a couple of days extra to 10 days on one trip. There’s always lots of reasons why this happens like her dog gets run over, a local boy was rude to her and she went to the police to complain, so had to be there for the meeting with the police and the guy. The phone never seems to work either. Then there’s a funeral about once a month it seems, and I’m starting to get suspicious. What should I do about this? Or do you think I’m worrying too much?


Dear John,

(I love getting “Dear John” letters.) I think you know the answer to this already, my Petal. You’re being played for a fool. I’m sure she gets money for the plane from you and goes by bus instead, so you are subsidizing her behavior. What can you do? Well, insist on her coming back when she says and accept no excuses. The phone coverage in Thailand, even to Isaan is good. So tell her she either starts playing the game or it’s all over. Don’t continue to be a sucker.


Buy me how

Dear Hillary,

What is it with these men who complain about the way the Thai women relate to the foreigners? Don’t they understand this isn’t NY City or London? Your home country women have their own ways of getting money out of you, but they are more sneaky than the Thai who are up front about it all. At the beginning of the relationship it is “Buy me dress.” This later becomes “You buy me how (house).” Whereas the foreign female gets you to buy a house for both of you and then divorces you and keeps the lot. I’ll take my chances with the local ladies.


Dear Mike,

As long as you take care you’ll never be lonely.


Mixed marriages never work

Hillary, are you married? You never let us know. I think most farangs don’t understand Thai ladies and that is why their marriages break down. Do you agree?


Dear Mike,

There are always problems with these ‘mixed’ marriages – foreigners and locals, but if you keep your brains under your hat and not in the underpants you can survive very well. You look like you’ve got a good handle on the situation. Enjoy your life, Mike.


Follow the money

Dear Hillary,

I am tired of hearing that the Thai ladies are only interested in money. You could say that about any woman in any country. If you meet a woman who makes a big salary, they don’t need a man, but in Thailand there are very few rich ladies, so they need to hook up with a man who can look after them financially. Nothing wrong with that. Thinking ahead.


Dear Lance,

In Thailand, there are some women who are rich, but the only women with a big salary are Thai, and they don’t go on dates with ex-pats. This leaves the “ordinary” girls, but even they are difficult to get close to. The answer is the bar ladies who know what you need, but you must be ready for some give and take. You give, they take.

Heart to Heart - January 10, 2020 - January 23, 2020

A beer problem

Dear Hillary,

I have a real problem with my live-in GF and it is the demon drink again. I know Thais don’t hold their liqueur very well, but this one is gone off her face after two beers. That could be OK but she gets all “teary” and goes back to every time we’ve had a problem, or the guy before me, even. I say the past is the past, but she can’t hold her emotions. This then means no nooky for me that night. Have you any ideas what I can do to get her over this? It has become quiet (sic) tiresome


Dear Garry,

You men are all the same. Beer and sex, sex and beer. Don’t you think of anything else? (Spelling obviously I has been left stranded.) Back to your beer problem. Have you tried not plying her with drink? Beer is neither a stimulant nor a muscle strengthener, but is a depressant and a muscle relaxer. (Ever heard of brewer’s droop?) Neither of these items are good for your nocturnal pursuits, you know. Try sticking with soft drinks for the little lady – and a few for yourself won’t go astray either! And then again, do you absolutely have to have a beer yourself?


The family that lays together, stays together

Dear Hillary,

A family problem here, and I don’t want to see what is going to happen next. I’m originally from the UK and I am a pensioner and my legally married wife is Thai. We have been together for almost 12 years. Pretty good on the whole, but sometimes a spat or two but nothing we couldn’t work out by ourselves, but this is different. Money is tight as the UK pension isn’t much these days and mine is ‘frozen’ at the 2008 level and what with the baht being so strong, the wife’s little Mom and Pop convenience store doesn’t make much money these days either, not even enough to cover the rent like it used to. Now here’s the problem – two months ago her brother from the village and his girlfriend came to stay with us. No discussion about this, they just arrived on the doorstep. The girl helps my wife in the shop, but the business is so poor, anyway my wife runs it by herself, so the girl isn’t needed. The brother just lies about the place watching telly, and does not contribute either. This puts an even greater stress on the finances. My wife won’t discuss this problem either, telling me it is “family”. What do I do?


Dear Cyril,

You are so correct when you describe this as a “family problem”. For up-country Thai people, “family” comes first. That covers all Thai people with some blood connection, followed by all Thai people with any inherited Thai genes, after that lot comes the village soi dogs and then the foreigners. You will have to sit down with your wife and make her discuss the two newcomers and your available finances and she must accept that you are also “family”. You obviously cannot carry on the way you are going. The brother and the girlfriend must either leave, or go get a paying job and contribute to your household, or you will have to return to the UK. There is a limit, and you have reached it, my Petal.


A home grown cunning linguist

Dear Hillary,

Did you know Hillary, the first name of your favorite beverage translates to “Widow”?


Dear Don,

In actual fact, my linguistic Petal, I was well aware of the origins of Veuve Clicquot. So you are good at French are you, Don? Yes, Widow Clicquot was a remarkable woman (16 December 1777 – 29 July 1866). Known as the “Grand Dame of Champagne”, she was a French businesswoman who took on her husband's wine business when she was widowed at 27. Under her ownership, and her skill with wine, the company developed early champagne using a novel technique. The brand and company of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin still bears her name, and is drunk by Hillary as its major recommendation.

She is not to be confused with Madame Bollinger who reputedly said, “Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty.”

Don, darling, just leave the bottle for me at the Pattaya Mail office, clearly marked “FOR HILLARY” otherwise the messenger will claim it. That’s a very sweet Petal.


Inveterate liar

Dear Hillary,

I examined my wine room and discovered 89 bottles of Veuve Clicquot!

Don (again)

Dear Don (again),

If I didn’t know you were an inveterate liar, I would have been right over and been yours for 89 days (I didn’t say ‘nights’)! I also know, from personal experience, that 7-Eleven doesn’t sell any champagnes, and I’m sorry, Mont Clair Sparkling doesn’t cut it..  


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Heart to Heart - February 21 - Mach 5, 2020

Heart to Heart - February 7 - February 20, 2020

Heart to Heart - January 24 - February 6, 2020

Heart to Heart - January 10, 2020 - January 23, 2020



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