Stickman Readers' Submissions November 13th, 2004

My Story

I have been extremely frustrated the last few months, mainly because of a few certain key issues. I am hoping that some people with more personal experience in Thailand will be able to help me better understand what is going on, however I suppose it is necessary to fill you in on my story first.

Currently I am a student in college, studying Chinese language and economies/politics of Asia. I managed to get some summer work at a private equity firm in Hong Kong, more out of desire to experience working and living in Asia then anything else. While in Hong Kong, a few friends of mine were passing through to mainland China and decided to take a break in their plans and stay with me for a few weeks. Little did we know it at the time, but this single decision really changed a lot of perspectives for all of our lives.

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Personally, I am not such a big fan of bar hopping and picking up girls in clubs. All through my high schools years in Los Angeles I had done that sort of thing, and by now I usually just look to have a relaxing good time with people rather then specifically go out to get girls. However, that being said, I do enjoy going to clubs in Asia, they tend to be much better quality then the ones I am used to at home, and I usually have a much better time.

So, one Thursday my friends called me around closing time at the office, telling me that I had to come out with them, they met this group of 3 Thai girls somewhere who were very interesting and fun to be with, and they wanted to introduce me to one of them. After refusing a few times, the week before I had a bad experience with too much vodka and a trio of Phillipinas that lead to a terrible work day that Friday morning, I decided to accept at least for a short time. I had nothing else to do that night anyways. So after dinner with my roommate I headed out to the club, and of course was introduced to the most beautiful girl I have ever seen in my life. Naturally, I promptly refused to say hello and started dancing with an Indonesian hooker. A few minutes later my friend pulled me aside and said, “Why aren’t you dancing with her, she is doesn’t understand why you are ignoring her and is upset”. I explained that I thought they were hookers, it being my opinion that all women not Chinese and in Lan Kwai Fong at that time were hookers, and he was surprised. He and our other friend both tried to assure me that they weren’t hookers, and if they were why would it matter anyways? I agreed, and so started dancing with her. We hit it off fairly well, but I decided after a while to leave, and went to the bathroom, then just left without even a goodbye.

Later that night I got a call from my friend saying the girl was very depressed, and didn’t understand me at all. So I called them the next night, and took her out on an apology date. We got some food and went to some clubs, I around about accused her of being a bargirl when she asked me to by her a drink, my logic was that my friends at home buy each other drinks all the time, girl or guy, so if you say you’re my friend now why not buy me a drink. She said, I don’t understand why a guy won’t buy a girl he likes a drink. So instead of arguing, and admittedly I really wasn’t ready to give up quite yet, I got her the drink and she took me to a series of hidden clubs in the Soho district and midlevels.

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Later that night I found out she is a model from Bangkok, and this was her second time working in Hong Kong. So we started dating that night or the night after I guess, by that I mean we called each other boyfriend and girlfriend when we went out. She always was a little secretive about her work when I asked, though she did show me the magazines and other things, ads that she had modeled for, so at least I knew some aspect of what was going on wasn’t a lie. Anyway, my friends ended up canceling their trip to China and going to Thailand with the other two girls, whereas I stayed in Hong Kong with my girlfriend. We basically stayed together for the next week and a half, except I still slept at home and she went back to her apartment. I couldn’t bring her home because of my roommate at the time, but eventually by the last week she let me sleep at her apartment with her more then once, so I guess she just became more trusting.

So, after leaving Hong Kong I kept in contact with her for months, we called each other basically very day 2 times a day, and web chatted with a camera every few days as well. She returned to Thailand about 3 weeks after I got back to America, and we continued to talk to each other, her plan was to come visit me with a tourist visa but her mom had misgivings when she found out that her daughter wanted to go to see a stranger from Hong Kong in America, so we had to cancel those plans. Honestly my family also had similar misgivings, especially when they heard she was from Thailand, but anyways, we managed to work it out that I went to Thailand for a week to visit her again.

And so now, I end up in Bangkok airport, and after a series of humorous encounters with taxi hawkers and a very annoying broken pay phone we managed to find each other in the airport. From then on we stayed together; she was a bit different then how she acted in Hong Kong, but not entirely. She was certainly more conservative in Thailand, but all and all we acted like we hadn’t even been apart. Of course, with modern technology, we really hadn’t been too far apart, just not physically together. Regardless, we went to Pattaya the first night, stayed of course in the amazing, cheap, suite for a night outside Walking Street. We went clubbing at night, then in the morning went to the temple for her birthday prayer. (If anyone knows about that ceremony please tell me, because I thought it was really cool, but didn’t understand a lot of what happened) Then we took a plane down to Koh Samui, rented a bungalow for 2 nights, and basically did tourist stuff, relaxed, went to some clubs, ate good food, and celebrated her birthday together. The final two days we returned to Bangkok, where I met her family, and stayed in her house for the night. Her family owns two fruit market stands and a small outdoor restaurant in a market area in Bangkok, they have a fairly nice looking house, though older style, in the suburbs. All and all they seem like they have enough money in Bangkok to live comfortably. I met her family, helped to sell fruit for a few hours, and then we went to a Thai food festival for a huge feast, which I admit was some of the best food I have ever eaten. The next day I had to return home, because I had already missed quite enough class and work in America, so unfortunately the trip had to be fairly short. The good news was now that her parents had met me, we applied for her visa the morning I left, and so given the usual month waiting time, hopefully some time next week the meeting will happen and she will be able to come visit my family for Christmas.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I have a lot of questions regarding her however, and I think my lack of experience with Thailand is the reason for them. For one, not so much in Hong Kong, but defiantly with my trip to Thailand, I tended to pay for everything. To be fair, I told her I wanted to treat her for her birthday, so that may have been a misunderstanding there, but I did not understand why I had to pay. A few particular instances come to mind, as well as a few plausible explanations for them. First, when traveling back from Pattaya to Bangkok she needed to buy some groceries for her parents restaurant, and I ended up paying for them. Granted it was like 5 US dollars, so I wasn’t angry at that expense, but still there was something a “the principle of the matter” flashing in my mind. The next incident was at her family's dinner, she wanted me to pay for everyone. Also, it was not very expensive because of the festival atmosphere, so I paid, however for a long time I wondered why she wanted me to pay. In America, typically if you have a guest and invite them to a gathering, you cover them, not the opposite.

However, I have come to the realization that perhaps she really wanted me to impress her family, and having me treat them to dinner was a good plan for that. Finally, she used a travel agency to help apply for her visa, and she asked me to pay the processing fee. This I have no real explanation for, except when I take it into account some other incidences. In Hong Kong she did ask for my help once with money, because she had not worked while staying with me was her excuse. Naturally I sent her the money, assuming that the amount she asked for it would not make reasonable sense even for someone from Asia, that she would be trying to steal my money. Another time she asked if I could help her get a new computer in Thailand, but I told her I didn’t have the money for that which she seemed fine with. Finally, in Thailand she needed money in her own bank account to prove she could afford a trip to America. Supposedly, as she explained it, her mom was giving her about 2/3’s of the money they thought was a good amount, and she wanted to know if I could get her the rest. I thought about this for a long time, because I had just returned to America from Thailand and was naturally a bit low on funds now, but in the end I again decided that if she was stealing my money the amount wouldn’t be worth it, and also I did not want to lose face for her parents, so I borrowed what I needed from a friend and sent it.

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Now, the fact that she has asked me for money bothers me a lot, because I do not know the reasoning behind this. My sister often calls me, telling me to be careful because in the end I don’t know her intentions, even though I visited her home and family. I agree with her assessment, I will never fully know her intentions or past. Unfortunately I have trusted her a lot so far, more then I usually trust a person, and I would be quite upset if it ended up that I was being played the entire time. I am not approaching this from the point of a drunken guy meeting some girl in a bar and just giving her money, but rather I am really trying to be cautious with every decision I maker regarding her. In the end I think I will keep trying with her however, because all though from my family I get lots of warnings and be careful, and money issues with her and considerations of Thai stereotypes, I for some reason still trust her. I know that in Thai culture when a girl says I love you it means I want you to take care of me, and possibly my family when they are old. I know all the stories of Thai girls taking advantage of the stupid Farang who they just milk for cash. My dad even has a personal example of this, where his friend married a Thai girl who he know hates because she takes all his money and sends it back to Thailand. She tells me she loves me, she also says she wants me to take care of her, and she wants to take care of me. I suppose all I can really say now is I am just being cautious, and perhaps a little paranoid. I will be studying in China for the next year come march, so I plan to take periodic trips to Thailand to be with her more and more in her homeland, and am even trying to get another summer job working at the Bangkok Post, where one of my friends has a connection. I wish I had a deeper understanding of Thai culture, and that she would not be secretive about Hong Kong, and that I knew exactly what her intentions were. Anyways, any incite from other Thailand travelers would be well appreciated.

Stickman's thoughts:

I have to admit that I do not really like the sound of this… When dating, some Thai women might expect the guy to pay for everything, which might b somewhat acceptable if she has very little or no money. But this woman has money. If she is modelling, she must have a reasonable income. In this case, if you are not just paying for everything but also getting requests to lend her money, buy her a computer, put money into her account then something is seriously wrong. In the early stages of dating, THIS IS NOT NORMAL. So, I'd be very careful indeed….the worlds "gold digger" come into mind…

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