Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics
You always hear about the Thai girl lies and scams that get pulled over on hapless farangs. But we all know that the farangs can be quite adept at deceit when it comes to the ladies, though granted, it tends to be for motives other than financial gain.
I thought of a story that took place more than ten years ago, whose time has come to share. It’s about something I once did, that I’m not particularly proud of, nor would I do it again… at least I don’t think so. Anyway, here’s how it goes.
In 1993 I had been living in Singapore, single for the first time in years, and for a few months I had a fine time playing the field. Singapore Chinese or Malay girlfriends here and there, and the odd Thai girl from Orchard Towers thrown in for spice every once in a while. Eventually, a Thai girl more or less landed me, in that she got my permission to lodge with me, in return for various services. It was a loose arrangement, and temporary, to the best of my knowledge, limited by her 14-day visa.
Little Miss Thai girl, or to be more accurate, Mrs. Thai girl – she was married to an American, and had a farang surname in her passport, was by all accounts hanging around earning extra money, waiting to apply for a visa to join her husband in the U.S. They’d lived in Singapore earlier, but the husband moved back to America without her. He told her he’d prepare paperwork for her from the US, and send for her later. Smart man; she never heard from him again. In the meantime, she started to crash at my place, at first as a genuine roommate, later with some fun thrown in.
Her name was ‘Orn’, and she was good-looking, articulate enough and must have been a good earner in her day, but was a little past her prime when I met her. Don’t get me wrong, I liked this about her, it made her (on the surface) a little more laid-back and a little less feisty than her younger friends. A few of my friends met her and commented that she was a nice package, and that I appeared to be the lucky one to have had her drop into my lap.
After a couple weeks, the arrangement wore a little thin though, and I began to ask Orn if it weren’t time for her to return to Thailand. She said that she’d planned to head back in a few more days, even though it entailed a short overstay on the visa. On the next Friday night however, her plan backfired. She’d gone out with her friends (co-workers) to Orchard Towers, and I set out to pick up a friend, Frank, who was arriving from Hong Kong, and we planned to meet up at Top Ten disco with Orn and the girls a little later.
By the time we got to Top Ten, all the Thai girls were in a panic. I was told of an NTY raid earlier, which confused me. NTY? I soon concluded that ‘NTY’ was Thai pronunciation for ‘anti-vice’. What’s more, they’d picked up Orn, and she was in custody, for overstay. Well, I thought about the options, decided there was little I could do at that moment, so my friend Frank and I enjoyed the evening, and I ended up having to reach into the old pocket and pull out a little hard-earned cash to pay for an all-night with one of the other girls, who could barely bring herself to do it, she was feeling so bad for poor Orn. As I recall, we really didn’t do anything that night, we were both a bit drunk, and the next morning, another of her friends called and said that an even larger group of Thai girls was picked up outside of Orchard Towers after closing time, in another ‘NTY’ raid. I concluded that by virtue of my (1) not having done the deed and (2) having diverted her from meeting her friends outside of Top Ten and thereby saving her from certain police detention, I owed her $20 for taxi money and we’d be square. She hemmed and hawed but agreed. She probably felt guilty about Orn, and felt no-deed and no-money equated to no-harm, no-foul.
Later that day (Saturday), a friend of Orn’s called me with a police phone number and contact for the officer-in-charge. I called up and presented myself as an associate of Orn’s husband, and inquired about her. They said I could come in and see her and bring her personal articles. Orn was relieved to see me, and to get the shampoo, soap, bras and panties. She said she would be charged in court in a few days’ time, and fined, upon payment of which she’d be deported to Thailand, at her expense; or if she couldn’t pay the fine, she’d do about 6 months in the monkey-house. She broke down and begged me to help her out. I told her I’d consider it, and committed to visit her prior to her court date. I conferred with the officer in charge, who told me the fine would be not more than 500 Singapore dollars. After I went home I checked and found a ticket to Bangkok would be about 200 Singapore dollars. I added it up and over the next couple days came to the conclusion that $700 Singapore was not too hefty a sum to spring her from jail, and when looked at from a certain perspective, she’d earned that amount already.
My friend Frank was genuinely surprised by my intentions. He thought it was fantastically convenient that one could have a short-term girlfriend appear out of the blue for a few weeks, and then disappear altogether at the first signs of boredom. He thought all girlfriends should be like this. He did congratulate on being kind-hearted, and remarked that he doubted he’d do the same in similar circumstances. Over the years, however, I saw Frank make more than a few sizeable contributions to the Asian Women’s Charity Fund.
So, by the end of the week, Orn was safely back in Thailand, and I was conveniently single again. I decided to steer clear of Thais, and over the next few weeks started dating a young Singaporean Chinese named Maxine. She was young, only 18, and I hadn’t dated an 18-year-old since I was, well, 18! She spoke perfect American English, and had even lived in the US for a few years as a kid. It was a relaxed, slow paced dating – courtship, that went on for about a month. We were introduced as friends by Frank’s Singapore girlfriend, Mindy, also a young hot 18-year old Chinese. Maxine and I first slept together in Phuket, when she went up there with her company on a holiday perk. I flew up myself and got a room near hers, where we spent the evenings while the rest of her colleagues sang karaoke or packed into a tour bus for group shopping. Mindy, who shared a room in the hotel with Maxine, was able to use the room all to herself, and to share with an English policeman from Hong Kong whom she’d met her first night there in a Patong disco.
After my flight back on Sunday night (I had to leave early, as she was on holiday, but I had work on Monday morning), I got a shock when I found Orn was back in my apartment! She’d gone to Bangkok, gotten a replacement passport, saved up some money, and come back to Singapore. I explained to Orn that while I was glad to see her, our little arrangement had already come to an end, and it was not really possible for her to stay in my flat any longer. She said she understood and expected this, but asked if she could please stay in the guestroom while she ‘worked’ for a few days, and that she’d be out of my hair and positively wouldn’t interfere with any of my affairs. Here’s where I should have drawn the line and packed her into a taxi, but I relented; mainly because she went on to plea so fervently with me in the bedroom. As soon as we were finished, I told her that I was dating a Singaporean girl, and that I wasn’t going to break up that relationship, and if she couldn’t accept that she should find new housing. She was a little surprised, but agreed. I put her in the guest bedroom, and, for the most part, joined her at night; the air-conditioning unit in my master bedroom was out, and I hadn’t gotten around to fixing it yet.
After a few days, Maxine returned and we started to date again, movies, dinner and so on. One Thursday night we were out with friends and had a bit too much to drink. On the way home Maxine said that she wanted to spend the night with me. I told her it was best not to, with tomorrow a workday, and that maybe on Friday afternoon we could sneak off to a resort for the weekend. She was relentless and insisted that I take her home. It was already late, about 1:00AM, and I guessed maybe Orn would be at work, and if Maxine and I slept in the master bedroom, Orn would sleep in the guest room, and we’d be up and out of the house well before she woke up. It was conceivable that it might work…
We got to my place, and crept inside. Maxine hadn’t been in my flat before. She looked around, and saw my computer room, my bedroom, and a closed door. She asked what it was and I said “It’s the maid’s room.”
“Oh, you have a maid?” I was moving up in stature in her eyes.
“Why, yes. Doesn’t everyone?” I casually replied. By now I’d determined that Orn was home, and sleeping, so Maxine and I went into my room, and I hoped that Orn would keep her side of the bargain.
After several days of non-use, my room was positively stuffy, and there were no pillows on the bed (Orn and I had taken them into the guest room). First Maxine asked about the air conditioner, and I said, “Oh, the thing’s broken, I guess. I never really use it, so I never bothered to get it fixed. I’m sensitive to cold temperatures at night.”
As we got into bed, she asked about pillows.
“Pillows?” I asked quizzically. “Oh! Well, I’ve never had much use for them – they give me a bad neck. But if you’d like, I can see if I can dig one up…” She was a little surprised by this, “Really, you don’t use a pillow?” “No,” I said, “not since I was a child. Can’t stand the things. You might want to try not sleeping with one, you wake up feeling so refreshed.” Fortunately we were tired enough that the idea of bed without pillows still worked. We woke early, at 6:00AM, stiff-necked, sore and sweaty from the heat, and quickly made our way out of the house and I dropped her off at work.
Later that day, Orn told me that she’d heard us come in the night before, and stayed in her room so as not to disturb us. I thanked her, and she asked if ‘my friend’ had noticed anything or asked about her.
“Yeah, she asked, but I told her I have a maid.”
“A maid?” Asked Orn.
“Well, I didn’t know what to say. You have to admit it’s as good a cover story as any, and all you have to do is keep quiet. Do you think you can do that?”
“I’ll try, but I’m not going to let her boss me around.” She said a little poutily.
Over the next week, Maxine stopped by my place a few times. On her first visit during the day, she saw Orn lying on the sofa watching TV, and said hi. Orn smiled back and said hi, too.
Later Maxine said, “You just let your maid sit around and watch TV?” I explained that I was at work most of the day, and as long as she got her work done – that the house was clean and the laundry done, her time was hers to do with as she pleased.
One night Maxine and I popped in at Top Ten, and saw Orn, who was dressed to kill in a black leather mini-skirt and mesh stockings, sitting alone at a table, with a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label. She invited us to join her. Maxine was quick to ask, “Your maid drinks Black Label?” I explained that like anyone, once in a while she probably liked to let off steam and go out with her friends to have some fun. “You must pay her well.” Maxine commented, with a little gleam of doubt in her eyes.
After about a month, things were cooling off with Maxine. The excitement and flair had worn off, and I found that an 18-year old required a lot of attention and constant entertainment, and it was wearing me out. I began to withdraw and become less patient with her. On our last date, she drank heavily and got overly obnoxious. She threatened to walk out on me, and I offered to walk her to the taxi stand. She made her way home by herself, and I popped over to Top Ten, where I saw Orn, all dressed up and drinking Black Label, alone. I came over and she hugged me, and asked about Maxine, and I said that things were over with her, and she cried with relief. She started to kiss me passionately. We went home and had a memorable night. She made a point of covering my neck with several deep hickies; it was fun, and I didn’t stop her.
The next morning Maxine called and accused me of being a cad. I said fair enough, but things weren’t working out anyway, and maybe it was time to move on. Later that day she called again, she was near my place, and wanted to stop by and pick up a bottle of hand crème and an umbrella that she’d left there. It wasn't expensive hand creme, it was just a little bottle that she'd bought at 7-11. I figured it was a ploy, but didn’t care enough to want to stop her, so I said, “Suit yourself; if it’s that important to you, come on over and get them.” I told Orn that Maxine was going to stop by and suggested she lie low, she agreed.
After collecting her things and complaining about me for a few moments, Maxine noticed the hickies, and asked who gave them to me. I said, “Very funny.” She asked what I meant by that, and I said, “Maxine, you mean to tell me you were so drunk you don’t remember?”
“Remember WHAT?” she asked.
“Jesus, girl, why do you think I put you in a taxi last night? It was a humiliating, in the club, in front of everyone. You were ready to pull your skirt up and take it right there, and frankly, I was offended.” I put more than a hint of annoyance in my tone. "Now I have to go into work on Monday, looking like… THIS!"
“Oh my God, did I do that?” She asked, becoming a little worried. It was working, she’d been drunk enough and couldn’t remember.
“Look Maxine, you’re a good kid, probably too good for me. But you know as well as I do that things just aren’t working out. Let’s just give it a rest for a while, and then maybe we can still be friends.” Just self-depreciating enough and magnanimous enough to be just what she needed to hear. She apologized for her conduct and agreed that we should remain friends. And so, another case was cleared off the dockets.
A few months later, I was out at a pub in Singapore and ran into Maxine. We got to talking, and she soon came out and asked me if I slept with my maid. I feigned indignation and declared I would never do such a thing – which was altogether true! I didn’t even have a maid. She then asked me to level with her about Orn, and I looked into her eyes, and sighed, and said, “Maxine, in fact I haven’t been totally honest with you. You’re right if you figured that Orn is not my maid.”
“I knew it!” she snapped back.
“Yeah, I was a little embarrassed about it, and didn’t really know how to tell you. And I was afraid that if Mindy ever found out…”
“Mindy? What’s she got to do with Mindy?” she asked?
I looked confused, “Well, I thought you said you knew.”
“I knew she wasn’t your maid. Who is she?”
“Oh God! Me and my big mouth! OK, I’ll tell you the truth. But you must promise never to tell Mindy. It would crush her, the poor kid.” I went on to explain, “Orn is Frank’s ex-girlfriend. They have a kid together in Thailand, and Frank asked me to look after her here in Singapore, and he chips in a little for my rent; I just give her a place to stay.”
Maxine’s face positively beamed with excitement at the realization of the scandal. She nodded knowingly, “Now it all makes sense! That Frank is such a bastard.”
“Well, it’s all in the past now, let bygones be bygones.”
Not long after that, Frank arrived in Singapore again, and one night he and Mindy came over to my flat for dinner. Orn was still around at that time, and I noticed all through dinner that Mindy was pensive and moody and positively glared at Orn. Towards the end of the evening Frank pulled me aside and asked if I’d have a little talk with Mindy. She had complained to him that she hated Orn bitterly but wouldn’t say why. I took Mindy aside, and she broke down in tears and told me that she knew all about Frank and Orn; that Maxine had told her everything the day after she’d seen me, and had even laughed at her and called her a fool for being cheated by Frank.
I started to laugh, and she couldn’t understand why. “Mindy,” I said, “Just think about it for a minute. What’s more likely? That Frank’s been cheating on you all this time with Orn, and I’ve been putting her up? Come on! You’ve seen Orn and I together countless times, and if that’s the case, then you know she’d have been cheating on Frank the entire time with me! Or, just maybe, I told a story to Maxine. Which do you think it is?”
After a moment Mindy broke into a huge grin, and hugged me and Orn and Frank, and said it was the happiest night of her life, and how good it made her feel to know that it was Maxine after all, and not her, who was such a sap. Orn was delighted, too, she told me later. As a Thai, it was gratifying to see classy smart Singaporeans so befuddled. Frank laughed about it too, as this meant everything was on again with Mindy, and they made a bee-line back to his hotel room.
What did I learn from all this? Well, I started out trying to be a nice guy and to do the right thing, but ended up being a bigger cad than I ever imagined. The important thing to remember is that if you ever have a Thai girlfriend in Singapore and she ends up in the slam – for any reason, leave her there!