Stickman Readers' Submissions February 27th, 2003

Don’t Tar Them All With The Same Brush

Recently I've been reading a lot of stories on the site about those who have had serious breakdowns with their Thai wife and been bled dry by their families. Some of the stories if true are absolutely horrendous especially the recent article where the wife suddenly left without warning, while helping herself to the bank account and re-mortgaging the house. This guy has my deepest sympathy.

I've been married to my Thai wife for some time now and live in the United Kingdom and we have a large circle of friends, all couples Thai-Uk. Many of these young ladies I know for a fact were bargirls although in each case my lips have remained zipped. I have to say that the ones married to the "bargirls" seem to have the much happier, fun type relationships and are much more in love than the others. Some of the guys married well educated and in some cases wealthy Thai women. They seem to be much more demanding and are resentful that they are not perceived to be of high a class as they were in Thailand. As one guy told me "She behaves like a spoilt brat sometimes" but he's still happy.

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Anyway I don't want to drag on about the bargirl thing. It's been discussed enough on this site. I just want to tell my story of my relationship with my wife and her family. My wife is from Khon Kaen (an Isaan girl). She like many from this region finished school at 12 years of age. I would never say she is not well educated because her knowledge of her own country is much greater than that of mine and she has been incredibly fast to learn the ways of business working for me. In fact she's better at the so- called "men's stuff" around the house as well. ( I wonder if she can fix the car!!)

I went back and forward to Thailand for 2 years before we got a visa for her to come here. However one thing that was always lurking in my mind before we got married was my financial responsibility towards the family. I always said I would give a little but had my own life to lead and other responsibilities to take care of. So we had it out and she said she would like to send the equivalent of 3000 baht each month for her older sister who takes care of the house since her mother died. So I've been sending 18000 baht over twice a year. It's basically just for a few luxuries for them, they have enough money coming in otherwise to survive. Nothing more has ever been demanded.

Another recent article talks about lazy Thais sitting back and letting their children take care of their drinking habits by sending them money. I know too that this is true but I certainly don't think from what I've seen that it is the majority. My wife's father was farming until he was 70 years old and only stopped due to a bad back. He now takes care of my investment in Thailand with great efficiency. About 4 years ago I built (in my wife's name of course) a club/bar complex on the outskirts of her town (a man only joint if you know what I mean). It caters for both tiers of Thai society with a pricing structure that keeps that in place. On my wife's advice I employed her cousin to run the business as she had been a mamasan at one of the top go-go bars in Pattaya. I know this is no great qualification but I thought she would at least have a good idea how to manage staff. Her father also volunteered to help. Obviously as with any business it took time to get off the ground and many new ideas were implemented to maximise the attraction of the establishment. Within 8 months the business was starting to make good money by Thai standards (16-20k baht a week) so I was feeling pretty confident about things. However before the end of the year this was starting to average out less than 14k. I had a pretty good idea I was being turned over. This was confirmed in a phone call to my wife from her father. He said he was sure Nit was not only rifling money from food and drink sales but was withholding money from some of the more private activities. He was told to have CCTV cameras installed privately both to catch her in the act and to act as a deterrent to others in the future. Sure enough we caught her. After this her father was very keen to take over as he really enjoyed it there( maybe some of the ladies are taking care of him I don't know!) Since he took over the weekly profits have gradually risen to almost 28000k baht a week. Apparently he has fallen out with some friends for not being free and easy with the drinks. However I am under no illusions that this is out of loyalty to me, but for my wife, though I must say I get on very well with him and even in the early stages he made me feel very welcome in their house. I feel extremely lucky to have found a girl with such a decent, honest family especially when I read some of the submissions here. I am even more lucky in the respect that she is the only Thai woman I have ever been with and believe me I went to Thailand with sex maniac intentions.

To finalise I would say that embarking on a relationship with a Thai is more complex than any other relationship not least because of the family connection. I think one really needs to spend a lot of time out there to get to know the individual and her views and expectations. Don't be shy, find out what is expected of you. Don't wait for it to hit you like a hammer to the head. Financial problems such as this will ruin a relationship as you may think you've been taken for a ride the whole way through. At the end of the day we are cultures apart and we don't know when the day may come when these culture differences will blow up in our faces but like the romantic fools we are we carry on regardless.

Stickman says:

It sounds as though you have got yourself on to a very nice little number. If the business continues to turn over that sort of money, you'll build up a very nice nest egg at the Thai end. Interesting what you say about those guys in relationships with former bargirls having a better time of it. I don't disbelieve it, but I am curious as to why this may be the case. Maybe they simply have a more free and easy attitude towards life?

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