Response To A Female
In response to a reader submission, "A Woman's Point of View", by Luk Kreung Ying, (posted 23/2/2003), I have several comments.
First, Bravo! I agree with much of what she had to say. Your site is very well balanced, and a wealth of information. There do seem to be al ot of sad stories from heartbroken fellows on your site, and a disproportionate number of them from men who actively sought relationships with bargirls. While a successful relationship with a former prostitute could conceivably work out, a would-be boyfriend or groom is stacking the deck against himself by seeking partners from that segment of the population.
In possible defense of these men, some of whom actually would be interested in a committed, long-term relationship or marriage with a Thai woman, they are hampered by numerous things:
1. Often don't speak the language, past a few pidgin phrases.
2. Cultural differences, beginning with the very first introduction. How to tell if a girl is single, how to compliment her without being rude or insincere, how to tell the "good ones" from the "bad ones", etc etc.
3. Time. Most "good men" who visit Thailand do so for brief periods, after saving up for months or years for a nice vacation. They are only allotted what time they have for vacation, and have jobs and responsibilities waiting for them when they go back. Surrounded by Thai culture, people, customs, they have a limited time (even a month is limited) to squeeze in the Grand Palace, the wats, the museums, the Northern Hilltribes, perhaps a side-trip to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia….the beaches, and yes, in many cases, the bars. Real relationships require time and effort, and it's difficult to think about beginning something serious when the man in question is due back at work in 3 weeks.
4. They're on vacation. When "out and about" in another part of the world, taking a vacation that they saved up for, I'd guess that many of these men tend to act slightly freer or more uninhibited than in their regular work day world. Indulgences of various kinds occur, including drugs (I include alcohhol in this category), scuba diving, elephant rides, and sex, etc. These men don't feel particularly obliged to "act proper" and keep their shenanigans out of public sight, and men who would NEVER walk arm-in-arm with a prostitute down the street of their home province feel no social constraints that prevent them from doing the same thing in Bkk, or Phuket. After all, none of their family, co-workers, friends or neighbors are nearby to watch the spectacle, and the woman on his arm, prostitute or not, is likely to be far more attractive than he could have "picked up" casually in a bar back home.
5. It's just so darn easy to pick up bargirls. In a country where prostitution (and male infidelity) is, if not exactly legal, certainly tolerated in all levels of society, the industry is THERE, in bright neon lights and cute girls crooning out "Helllloooo, Hansum Man", and for a reasonable price men can negotiate the services of attractive, exotic women, who not only help him scratch a momentary itch, but are also much more attentive and engaging than most Western working girls tend to be. Why go pursuing that cute girl at the department store, when for much less effort and some of your spending money you can "rent" a girlfriend for a day, a week, a month.
Unfortunately, that is where the danger lies. Some of these girls are very much looking for a customer to save them from their job, but many of them are looking for someone to string along, send money, gifts and whatnot back overseas. Even among those that oblige their newfound farang boyfriend / fiancee by stepping out of the industry, some are dishonest. Some are too damaged by their former occupation to show lifelong caring / love for their new partner. Some have been having sex for money for long enough that sex has ceased to have much sacredness or intimacy associated with it; it neither means very much to them, nor are there strong inhibitions preventing her from engaging in sex behind her husband's back. Almost all of these women would be viewed as "damaged goods" in their own homeland, a fact which must affect many of them very deeply, perhaps damaging even an otherwise good, loving relationship.
All of this, of course, has been covered ad nauseam by the many articles and reader's submissions. I acknowledge that Luk Kreung Ying had many good points in her submission, and that, to a large extant, men who seek partners / wives from the sex bars at best (and with a lot of work on both sides) might be lucky, and at worst shouldn't be so amazed / surprised when their Thai pretty turns ugly on them (I don't mean ugly in the physical sense, either). I do have a suggestion, perhaps even a challenge for her, though. If she, and her mother, are constantly fielding requests from their female friends / acquaintences to meet "good" farang men, oblige them. There are also plenty of men interested in meeting Thai women for commitment, friendship and a desire to partner together, rather than simply casual sex. Set up a website, use Stickman's site (if he agrees) to advertise your intentions. Set up criteria to weed out less-than-good men. If you charge for the services at all, do it to reimburse you for your time, not as a business venture (charging thousands of dollars / pounds for "introduction services" is ridiculous). Don't assist women that you wouldn't reccommend a friend to date, either. Make no mistake, the men who will pursue this intro service are interested in "good" or "normal" girls, who are intelligent or hardworking or perhaps both.
Perhaps, at it's simplest level, you could arrange a sort of "blind date" service, like you might do with friends. Don't allow just any man to meet up with your friends, neighbors, whatever. Select from men who perhaps have already been to Thailand once or more, so there won't be as much of a culture shock. Perhaps exclude men who want to "set up" something in advance over the internet, because it is not always easy to gauge a person by emails or photos that they send. Since you are obviously a busy person with a life of your own, you might set up your intro service as a committee of neighborhood women or friends. I think one great idea would be to have both the Thai woman and the Farang man interviewed by a group of women that you keep on track, make sure that they keep the right intentions for both sides. Call it the "Find good Farang men for good Thai women knitting circle" or something like that. Let potential applicants know that the committee is using the "neighborhood network" to find out about each of them….Does the woman's family have a horrible reputation? OK, it doesn't mean that she is bad too, but a man set up with her could be warned to watch out for requests for money, or more money, or even more money. Is the man spending his evenings in gogo bars, despite his professed desire to meet "nice" girls? And each applicant should be warned, that if the Knitting Circle members don't get a good feeling for them, that they will be turned away….not that they're a bad person necessarily, but not someone that this Knitting Circle would reccommend. Personally, I kind of like the idea of that kind of set-up. If I were seeking to meet a nice Thai girl, I wouldn't mind being interviewed by other ladies to make certain I'm worthy of the introduction. If I trusted the intentions of the group, that they're not just trying to foist off every girl they can on unsuspecting farangs, I would feel more confident about the nature of the introduction. One of the problems with existing intro services seems to be that many of them are set up as typical scams to separate gullible and desparate men from their money. If I just met a girl in Thailand, how would I find out about her? Ask her friends? Of course they'll tell me exactly what I want to hear. Ask other Thais who know her? How many would tell me (a stranger, and a farang) that she's no good?
How about this as a pricing policy? The group meets every so often, volunteer their own time. They interview the men and women who apply to them for introductions, in person, and match up likely candidates. If the match results in a marriage, the "bride price"-or a percentage of it-goes to the Knitting Circle, to pay for the time they spent on that match and on others that didn't work out. This does honor to the bride by showing her worth, and encourages honest introdutions for future Thai-Farang couples, AND shows respect from the farang man to the community/culture from which he has decided to pursue a woman.
And for the guys who apply to the group for an introduction, DON"T EXPECT TO MEET ONLY SEX KITTENS. There's a good chance that if you get introduced to someone, she'll be cute or even beautiful, but remember you are going to this group because you want to meet a NORMAL woman.
Luk Kreung Ying, these are only ideas. Probably, given some thought, you could come up with a better way to set up a group like the one I suggested. The overall idea to me sounds very logical, but I'm decidedly Western in my views and I know that Thai logic and Western Logic don't always get on so well together. One of the things I did notice about Thais during my previous visit, particularly Thai women, is that they have an uncanny ability to suss out the character of people when they meet them. Doesn't it make sense that a group of 5-6 Thai women would be able to fairly well gauge the character of a man who willingly submits to their interview? Instead of only complaining about the bad submissions by farang men to the Stickman site, and the wonderful women who are NOT bargirls or money hungry and would like to meet good farang men, take the harder road. You, being half-Thai half-farang have a rare ability to see the best, and the worst, of both worlds, intimately. Use that ability. Partner with the women who want to meet farang men. Put them to work to set each other up with a chance, and introduction. Nothing more, nothing less, but it will be a much better chance than an an introduction that starts off with "You buy me lady drink?" Partner with Stickman, he's a great source of information and fair evaluation of the many services available in the LOS. I'd say he would most likely endorse your efforts, especially if they were based on helping people to find each other, and being particular about the applicants, rather than just making as much money as possible. Perhaps more importantly, he's a source of many readers, I would suppose most of them male, some of whom would be interested in meeting the women you wrote of. I think that I'm not the only male who read your own submission and wondered at how to meet these nice, normal women if there are so many out there.
Besides the great karma you'd get by helping good people find each other, I imagine that you might also find some very thankful lifelong friends / acquaintances, and lots of little nieces and nephews.
If this is being read by women, particularly Thai women, PLEASE submit your own stories / rants / memories to the site. I would love to see more submissions by women readers.
Interesting thoughts. I entertained the idea of setting up and running some sort of introduction service but then I decided for various reasons, that it was not a good idea… It is impossible to vouch for someone's character after a short interview and really, with a legitimate introduction agency, that is what you are doing.