The Internet, A Good Thai Lady And The Dowry
I have always been interested Asia, its culture, natural beauty, religion and in particular its ladies. I have found most Asian women to be very beautiful and also very loyal and proper towards the men in their life. I found western women to be lacking in this and other things. Many Western women feel that to be equal to a man they have to behave like a man. Not that I feel women are less than a man. Women are just as smart and talented as any man and in most cases they are more so. A woman is the equal to any man but just different. I found that while there are many Asian women in the west, most have adopted western attitudes. So I started exploring the internet sites. There are literally thousands of women listed on various web sites. I had not used the internet before to meet a lady, but where else could one meet an Asian raised lady. As I was unable to travel at the time, I didn’t write any one and I just kept reading their profiles. After about six months, I noticed that I kept looking at one lady’s profile over and over. It would change every week or so. Sometimes happy and other times, not so happy. She would talk about writing various men and no one would ever visit her.
As it happened, I had some business come up in South East Asia and decided to take an extra week in Thailand to do some diving. I was only to be in Bangkok for two days but I thought I might meet her and take her out to dinner. So I took a chance and wrote her, let’s call her Ant, two months before my trip. Ant wrote me back the very next day saying that she would be happy to meet with me. We started writing back and forth almost every day. I told her that I would only be in Bangkok for a few days and would be going to Phuket to do some diving. I have a deal with a hotel chain and had six free nights there. She said that she would like to come with me but she didn’t like Patong Beach much and suggested another town. Being sensitive to a new potential relationship, I booked a two bedroom suite for the first two nights in the Laguna Resort area. We would then travel north about 150 km. She said that a single room was ok but with two beds, understandable. I wasn’t sure about us because of the age difference. I am in my late 40s and she is in her mid thirties. However, as we were writing more and more I decided to change my business plans. I shortened my business so that I could spend more time with her. Mostly our letters were about myself and the trip. Ant gave very little information about herself. I had asked what she did for a living and all she told me was that she worked in advertising over the internet.
Finally I arrived in Bangkok and checked into the hotel near the airport that she had booked for me. She has contacts in the hotel industry and could get discounted rates. We got together the next day. She was three hours late. Her picture on her profile wasn’t very clear, but she seamed OK. But when I finally meet Ant in person I was very taken. She is by far the most beautiful person that I had ever met. Little makeup, a very natural beauty that is exceedingly rare, she is Thai Chinese. Exactly, my ideal type. We went to dinner, everything was wonderful. We took a taxi back to my hotel but I said that I would drop her off. Ant told the driver where to go. The taxi pulled into the Air Force Base and I was told that I couldn’t go in. She got out and walked the rest of the way. I thought it was strange that she lived on an Air Force Base. The next night her sister drove us to dinner and the following day I had to leave for my business. After three days, I came back to Bangkok and we had dinner with her mother and sister. The next day, Ant and I flew to Phuket. We arrived there in the early evening and rented a car. Driving to the hotel was a very interesting experience; at night, on the other side of the road and without a map. After getting lost a few times we finally made it there and checked in. The hotel was great, so was our time together. After three days there we moved to Koh Lak. For the next five days we traveled around the area, went swimming and snorkeling. I didn’t do any diving as I preferred spending my time with her. Still different beds. I didn’t want to push it too much. The day we left we spent a little time fooling around but didn’t “go all the way”. Very different from the rest of the relationships that I have had. On the way back to the airport we stopped in Patong Beach. I wanted to buy her a little something. I was looking at a small ring nothing special but also something nice. I thought about 20K to 30K baht. The lady showed us some rings, but Ant found some thing she liked. It was a 110K engagement ring. I told Ant that this was something that we needed to talk about. So we went next door to a café and talked about it. I told her that this is a very big step and was she sure. Ant said that was the ring she wanted. So, we went back, talked the sales person down to 90K and got it. We went to dinner and then flew back to Bangkok. We said our good byes at the airport and took different taxis from there. I flew back home very early the next morning. I had told her that I would be back in six weeks.
After I got back home, we talked on the phone for an hour every day before I went to work. Everything was going great. During our conversation she let it slip out about her work. Up until that time I didn’t know exactly what Ant did. It turned out that she is the manager and part owner of an internet dating company, a different one than the company that I meet her at and her sister also works there. Once I found out what she did, Ant started asking me to help her with her work. I started correcting her written English, writing letters, editing her web pages, etc. Sometimes 20 to 30 hours a week.
Ant told me a little about her family. Her parents live a few hours away from Bangkok and own a large store there. Two of her brothers also work at her parent’s store. Ant also told me about the dowry system. I started doing some research over the internet on the dowry. That is how I found Stickman’s Bangkok. I also found several other very good sites on Thai culture and life there, such as: Thailand life, Kat’s Window and Voice of a Thai Girl. While I don’t completely agree with a dowry, I grew to understand the history and the reasons for it. They all had articles on the dowry and said that it could be as little as 30K Baht to a couple of hundred thousand Baht. However, between persons of high status the dowry could also run into the millions of baht. That is what she said that her family thought. She said that her family wanted 5 million. That is a lot of money. As I was just starting a business, I didn’t have that amount of cash. However, as I had already told her everything about my finances and the new business, we both knew that in a year or so I would have it. So we made plans based on that. When I returned in January we would take her parents to Chang Mai and the Golden Triangle for a few days and then they would go back and we would have a couple for ourselves. I wanted her family to get to know me. As it turned out her brothers and sister also wanted to come. So I ended up buying plane tickets for seven people to Chang Mai and then onto Chang Rai. I also booked the hotels. As it was the holiday season here I decided to get all of her family Xmas gifts. I know that Ant and her family are Buddhists, I am also but of the Mahayana tradition, but it just was something I wanted to do. It was just a little something to show that I cared for her and her family.
As I do most of my work over the internet and I had a very large project in S.E. Asia, I decided to move my base of operation to Thailand to remain near Ant and take trips as needed for my business. I informed my business partners that I would be remaining in Bangkok until the project closed.
February 1st, I arrived back in Bangkok late in the evening. The next day Ant had to work so I only got to see her for a few minutes about midnight. She needed me to sign the credit card receipts for our trips to Saraburi and up north. In Addition to booking our trips, Ant also booked my business trip. While my business trip was only 10K baht the rest of the trip was over 80K.
Ant, her mother and I spent a two days in Saraburi. The three of us came back to Bangkok. I had to meet my business partner that night. The next day he and I left Thailand for 4 days to work on our business.
Our trip up north was very nice, but as her parents didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Thai, we didn’t get to talk much. Ant didn’t seem to want me to get to know them very well. Nothing overt, but I just didn’t seem to have to have the opportunity for Ant, her parents and I to talk. At the end of the trip her family was to go back and Ant and I were to spend a few days by ourselves. I took her family to the shuttle to take them all back to the airport to Chang Rai. As it turned out her mother didn’t get on and she stayed with us. So much for our time alone together. The following day Ant, her mother and I came back to Bangkok. Ant helped me find an apartment near the airport and a few km from where she worked and lived. Not very expensive, 5k baht per month. I still didn’t exactly know where her work was or where she lived. She explained that she didn’t want her neighbors or the people she worked with to know about me. This is very different from the west. But then again this is Thailand. After two weeks our relationship seemed to stall. Everything seemed good but it wasn’t progressing. I asked her what the problem was and Ant told me that both she and her family were not sure about how committed I was. I told her at I would marry her right now but as she already knew the 5 million Baht dowry was not possible because of the business start-up. She told me that I could make a down payment on the dowry of 200k and that would make her more comfortable with my commitment to the relationship. That amount was not a problem and I told her I would be happy to do it. That night she told the taxi driver to take us to my apartment and she stayed with me and went back home very late. It took me a few day to gather the cash on March 8th I presented it to her. After that our relationship changed a great deal.
For the better, well not exactly. Ant became very distant. I only saw her a few days a week and then only for lunch or a late dinner. She would call me and give me work to do. So I would go to the internet café and spend several hours there working on her web site. Ant had a problem with a Danish TV company that I helped straighten out, but I was not allowed meet them. I found a nice pub by Washington Square, Larry’s Dive Shop, where I got to know a few Canadians and learned more about being an expat in Thailand. I don’t drink but it is a nice place for good food and conversation. I still hadn’t indulged in the Thai “nightlife”. That has never been my style. No judgement, I just wasn’t interested, being with Ant was the most important thing.
By then end of March with the war and SARS, my business project was put on hold. I told Ant that I would have to return to the West to pursue other business projects and I said that we needed to spend some time together before I had to leave. She reluctantly said OK. Ant, her sister and I went to Phi Phi for five days. Her sister only stayed two nights. The trip was very strained. We came back to Bangkok and Ant stayed the night with me. The next day I left Thailand.
After my return to the west, Ant and I talked nearly every day, but mostly about her work. I was still helping her about twenty hours per week. One day Ant told me about a customer of hers who had been unable to find anyone. She told me that he was an American and an airline pilot. I told her that it was strange as pilots make a great deal of money. She said “REALLY”.
That was the last time I talked with her. For the next week I tried to call many times, Ant has caller ID. She never answered the phone. Finally, she sent me an email and said that she had never really wanted to be with me.
Many relationships end for many reasons, perhaps even most end. I replied that if she wanted to break up that was her choice and for her to return the engagement ring and the dowry. I was informed that because I hadn’t followed the Thai engagement ceremony she didn’t have to return the ring. Also, if I wanted the dowry back I could sue. In addition, even though we were together only a few times and half of those were her idea, she never really wanted to go to bed with me. Therefore, if I sued she would charge me with rape. By the laws in most western countries, that would be considered attempted extortion.
Looking back over the nearly a year that I was in contact with her and putting together the little pieces of information that Ant had let “slip out”. I discovered many things.
Within a week of me agreeing to the partial dowry, she had a new profile on the internet looking for someone else, I have since informed the internet company and they have removed her and her sister’s pages. Ant’s sister was “engaged to a man from England” but still had a profile looking for someone else.
She has a history of meeting a western man and slowly bringing him along. Then when the time is right, telling him that the relationship can’t progress unless a partial dowry is paid. By then he as been trapped and will gladly do what is necessary to show how committed he is. Then she breaks off the relationship. It didn’t happen that quickly with me as I was still in Thailand and I was also working so much for her business. I know that she has done this to at least two others, one is from Europe and the other is Thai. The Thai man wanted her to be a minor wife. In addition, I suspected several others from California, Montana, Alaska and New York. By not allowing him to know where she works and lives, any problems that might occur are avoided. In addition, by sleeping with them a few times she can always play the rape card if they decide to sue or cause other problems.
Ant told me several times that she wants to buy some property and live a quiet life. It seems that she has found a novel way of financing it.
As with all things some people take advantage of traditions and people. The amazing thing about all of this is that I am not angry. As a person who has been studying the dharma for several years, I know that I did it to my self. All of the information was in front of me, I just didn’t look.
There is a saying: “Love is not blind…..It just chooses not to see”
I had chosen not to see.
I will probably not be returning to the LOS “Land of Smiles” or is it “Land of Scams”. There are many other places in the world where the scuba diving and the weather are great.
For those of you who are or contemplating to be involved with a nice Thai lady be very careful. Not that all Thai ladies or even most are this way, but a few are. With my western values, Ant’s actions were something I would have never considered and was unprepared for. Maybe I should have gone with a BG. I least then I would have had my eyes open going in. The problem is that with a BG it is not love. For most of us that is what most important thing is.
That you are not angry is to me, a minor miracle. Yeah, the clues came early on, and yeah, one could argue that you should have realised that something was up, but really, thsi woman is to me a scam artist. No two ways about it. That she will likely continue to do this to other men is a tragedy.
I know its not right, but hell, I wouldn't let it end just like this. If it was me, I would tell her to return the engagement ring and the dowry. Failure to do so and I would spray her name and face all over the internet, explaining clearly what she did. Given that she scams via the net, it might help save some other fellows. Yeah, it is not right to do this, but hell, it wouldn't even be libellous as you'd be telling the truth…