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Stickman Readers' Submissions November 4th, 2004

Theft Pays Sometimes

The Mr Stick Site here often touches upon foreigners getting ripped off profoundly and devastatingly by the local women. But is there an underside – repercussions – to this? If there is, we sure wouldn’t know it from this Site.

A recent research study found that we have evolved with a need for revenge ingrained within us. The research, using a number of participants, found that revenge makes us feel good. And with this characteristic not having been selected out through our
evolution, I logically conclude revenge has helped us survive through the ages.

He Clinic Bangkok

Do some of the foreigner victims, of the local women’s fleecing and thievery, perform revenge? Right away two cases I’m almost directly familiar with come to mind. One victim performed the most brutal and deadly revenge possible; and the
other did nothing. One of the victims was a US Navy sailor in the Philippines, and one was a former member of the Algerian Embassy in Hanoi. The sailor had $800 stolen from him; and the Algerian, a long-time resident of Hanoi, lost his combined
bar and restaurant and the best hotel at a nearby resort area. Which one performed the deadly revenge and which one performed no retaliation and let the action almost kill him might surprise you.

I’d just been selected for my dream job in the Philippines, beating out 32 applicants for it. My wife and I are sitting in the huge organization’s auditorium with all the other new employees for our group entrance briefing. No punches were
pulled. For example, we were showed graphic pictures, taken in the Philippines, of sufferers of venereal disease. I always thought the expression of a venereal disease “making your dick fall off” was just that – hyperbole. It’s
not. We saw a photo or a film of an infected or deteriorated penis that did look like it was about to fall off. We were advised that if we were going to partake of the local women, we should perform an inspection, for example checking for venereal
warts. And they advised us that to stay within the law, we should make sure the girl was older than 17. (Later my Filipino lawyer would inform me that Filipino men described 21 year olds as “veterans of many wars,” meaning undesirable.
What a surprising response that was to my making the point that I found it flabbergasting that at an Angeles City club I observed 15 year olds performing nude, with a 16 year old virgin, Mai Lin, being passed around nude for the guys to go down
on. All, because of their young age, were devoid of pubic hair.)

A legal officer also briefed us, and told us of a case he had ongoing. He’d just spoken to the subject US sailor, who’d fled the country, and this legal officer was rather amazed at the calmness of the sailor. The sailor’s maid had
stolen $800 from him. The sailor then used the services of what they call in the Philippines a “salvage team” who chopped off the arms and legs of the offending maid. Knowing the Philippines, I’d say with a high confidence
level that machetes were used. There was no extradition treaty between the US and Philippines. The legal officer acted more entertained than repulsed by the case, and, given the chance, could very well have advised the sailor to flee the country,
but the sailor had used his own initiative. The US military will often cover for its personnel who get in trouble with the locals. I’d been hired as a civilian. Getting back to how the US military will take care of its personnel regarding
trouble with the locals, let me digress just a few seconds for an example. When I was in the military, I remember our troopship pulling into San Juan, Puerto Rico for some well-needed liberty. Some young black sailors of the ship who I knew pretty
well and had found to be okay guys overpowered their Puerto Rican taxi driver, stole the taxi, and ended up running it into a ditch. They were caught. What was their punishment? Nothing. The ship would soon be leaving, and the Navy reasoned this
way: The guys were just doing what sailors normally do when they finally get to go on liberty after a long period at sea – They get drunk, chase whores, and raise some hell.

An Algerian owned both an upscale combined bar and restaurant in a nice area of downtown Hanoi and the best hotel at his beloved Tam Dao, a former French hill station only 90 kilometers from Hanoi. It cost him $400,000 to build the hotel. Tam Dao, at
the top of a high mountain, is a resort splendid for gaining relief from Hanoi’s brutal summer heat and humidity, described as the worst in Vietnam. A few years ago Tam Dao also gained attention because of its snakes being subject of a
cover story of National Geographic magazine documenting that Tam Dao had more species of snakes than any place in the world. (The owner of one of the snake farms and restaurants in the snake village across the Red River from Hanoi in Gia Lam disputes
that, telling me there are more species of snakes around the notable and spectacular Hai Van pass between Hue and Danang.)

This Algerian, a long time resident of Hanoi ever since retiring from his position with the Algerian embassy in Hanoi, had put his two businesses in the name of his Hanoian wife. She recently sold the properties, kept the money for herself, and tried
as hard as she could to have him thrown out of the country and came very close to succeeding. Speculation is a local guy put the idea in her head. The Algerian had lost everything, was devastated and it almost killed him. What puts the scare in
we expatriates here is that the guy had no power to defend himself even though he had formerly been with the diplomatic corps here, meaning he would know the system, would have contacts, and would know how to defend himself. It sure didn’t
work out that way.

He’s now trying to make a comeback, opening up a nice Mediterranean restaurant in Hanoi’s Old Quarter on Ma May Street. I ate there out of curiosity, but my wife’s French boss, a friend of his, had advised me not to mention the case,
for he and the Algerian’s other buddies had finally gotten him on track to recovering, and reminding him of what happened could result in a relapse. On the walls of the restaurant are large photos of his beloved Tam Dao. Wife’s French
boss can now no longer go to Tam Dao, for when he’d see the subject hotel, it would remind him of the sad case of his friend. To read of the Algerian’s new restaurant, Tasilli, go to www.elephantguide.com where it is covered twice.

Years and years ago, a relative told me that when they (her and her husband) died, I’d never have to worry about money. Of course, I didn’t want them to die, but after losing her husband three years ago, she just died herself in a surprise
accident that was profoundly devastating to us all. I received a call that I needed to provide a fax number here in Hanoi so that the probate lawyer could fax me a document to sign, subject the first monetary distribution of the estate. The only
fax number I knew of was the one of my Hanoian wife’s office. I arrived at her office to sign and fax the document. My wife knew of the amount of the inheritance before I did, having the documents in hand as I arrived. The old gal (my relative)
hadn’t been blowing smoke, for she had been knocking on the doors of being a millionaire, I learned at that moment from the faxed documents, and probably was when stocks were riding higher. I’d formerly, when young, snicker to myself
when I’d hear her husband talk about his investments – homey things like the water company and a varnish company. I was wrong. Because of him, I was receiving high in the 6-figures, a fraction of a million dollars and the pre-distribution
was beginning immediately; the fax was to let legal boy know how he was supposed to transfer the pre-distribution (6-figures in US dollars) to me.

After faxing the document back to the States, I killed some time in my wife’s office, what with her boss gone on vacation. I used his computer for the internet, nice broadband, and my wife got things done in her adjacent room of the office. Now
I’m going to get to the point. Comes 5pm when it was time for us to leave – her to her night class and me up to Hoan Kiem Lake to do my usual every other day power walking for 90 minutes plus – and she hits me with this as we are leaving:
“I’ve been thinking of how we could invest that money – in property (Hanoi’s presumably) and I’ll do some research on that.” I drew on my semi-fine command of language and … said nothing. But I’m thinking
to myself, sure you’d like for me to invest in Hanoi property, but after what happened to the Algerian, do you really think any of us would invest in this place. I mean if a former diplomat here couldn’t protect himself, there’s
no chance for the rest of us.

All our wives are going to suffer because of the Algerian’s wife. Once burned, twice shy, to be a cliche bore. My wife’s been fine, but after the Algerian, we’ll err on the side of safety. It’s all too bad, because the property
in and around Hanoi is booming, and I/we could for sure make a hefty return. It’s doubly too bad because I don’t know what the heck to do with the money what with cash time deposits, stocks and bonds offering incredibly dismal returns
in the States now and there being a prediction of the real estate bubble possibly bursting in prime spots such as New York, California, and Hawaii. (And when it busts, if it does, then right after that’s the time to invest – when property’s
low not high – and Hawaii has part of my attention at least for brainstorming.)

And there will be no outlay for things such as a car or motorcycle, for although I’m driving a $350 Minsk (and I’m going to go on a tangent a bit now) of the former Soviet Union, Belarus to be specific, a machine that the Hanoians despise,
I love it – that smoke-belching beast – the only touring dirt bike in the world – that nothing in the rugged north of Vietnam can stop. No bridge over the stream, no problem. A tremendous storm meaning 12 inches of mud serving as a road going
steep up a mountain to the Tay, Dao (Man), and HMong ethnic minority villages – It won’t stop the Minsk, a machine that’s earned a cult following from the foreigners here. Nothing stops a Minsk. The Hanoians hate them; we bond with
them. In the States, a Harley-using motorcycle gang (Sons of Silence for example of which my beloved cousin* was a member – they kill rivals and are killed by rivals) will derisively dismiss another motorcycle gang with: “They drive Hondas.”
The Harley guys will say a Honda isn’t a man’s machine. It hits me that compared to my Minsk, their Harleys are cunt machines. After all, that Harley has an electric starter, a gas gauge, and one doesn’t have to mix oil with
the gas. (In the latter regard, by virtue of being a 2-stroke engine, meaning every stroke is a power stroke in contrast to the Harley’s 4-stroke where only every other stroke is a power stroke, the Minsk’s 250cc engine theoretically
has the power of a 500cc.)

*Cousin Rick, formerly of Sons of Silence, blew me away with his anecdotes when I finally got to visit him for the first time in years. Example:

Cop (showing up at their gang headquarters, complete with gun ports, on West Michigan Street in Indianapolis): “Rick, we’ve found a rival of your gang dead a block away.”

Rick: “You don’t think we’d be so dumb as to leave one of their bodies just a block away from us do you?”

Cop: “Then Rick, what would you do with one of their bodies?”

Rick: “Well let’s just say that if you go out of town on West Washington (Street), you come across a gravel pit.”

And finally, who couldn’t love that guidance, we learned of from the Mr Stick site, of rather than buying the local sweetie a house like guys had been doing with many losing their all, opting for mortgage financing it in her name.
That way, if one sheds the other, the foreigner still has his money and she has the monthly payments.

Stickman's thoughts:

I have to admit that if I have a dark side, it is revenge. I truly believe in it, I really do, but only when necessary. It is pointless taking out revenge over trivial things but if someone fxxxs you over big time, I think revenge is, as much as anything, a way for you to get over the issue.

As far as investments go, you’ll get close to 7% in the banks in New Zealand – and with the NZ dollar very high at the moment (and in my opinion not likely to stay there much longer) the effective return could be a lot greater.