Is This Right? – My Reply
My wife has just shown me a submission that she had written on this site “Is This Right – by Sunday Blossom”. I must admit it was a big surprise to see this but I think good on her… I would have preferred not to have had our dirty laundry voiced here but Stick has written to me asking if I would like to send in a reply and yes there is always two sides to every story. It does seem odd to write here about a serious disagreement between a husband and wife but there are lessons to be learnt about Thai / Farang relationships and how they can easily go wrong.
Khim has already received many emails about her story and I have received some hate mail, the writers having got my email address from my previous submissions. Khim wanted me to read the letters she had received, it sure was interesting. They were all in agreement that I’m a real cad and such an uncaring bastard and that she should leave me. Some also asked Khim to go out on a “date” with one saying that while his wife is visiting her mother in Isaan he would come and visit her… just for Khim to have a shoulder to cry on of course.
Before I get further into this story I want to say that what I did to Khim was completely wrong, I was totally at fault, Khim has no blame at all and I will not make up any excuses for my actions, I will do a very western thing and take it on the chin, own up to my lies and beg Khim for another chance and for her forgiveness but before you all have me hung draw and quartered you might want to hear what led up to my fall from grace.
As a background to this you might also like to read my previous submissions.
Good Girls on the Net 1 – 2 / 7 / 03
Good Girls on the Net 2 – 25 / 9 / 03
Good Girls on the Net 3 – 19 / 2 / 04
Scabby Dogs and Rubber Gloves – 1 / 10 / 04
As Khim said in her story things were very good between us, we were so very much in love and looking forward to the arrival of our baby. We had been living in the village for most of last year, we had a fantastic wedding, a new house to live in and we were having a lot of fun travelling around Thailand. If you have ever read Cent’s stories you will know what village life is like for a farang and in its own unique way it can be quite stressful at times. However I was adjusting well to my new life or at least I thought I was, I did go through a bit of Culture Shock but nothing too serious. Little things would annoy me but I’d go and have some time to myself and go fishing or hiking up the mountain range beside the village. One thing I had a problem with was people coming to our house to play cards, often their games would go on for many hours. I did need some peace and quiet so that I could do my work on the computer and in the end I told them not to play cards here, they then moved the games to various houses in the village as they were scared that the police would find them.
Khim wrote about the money I gave her each month. I did know it was important for her to have her own money and at first I gave her 10,000 baht per month but Aunties and card playing friends were hitting her up for loans so I decided to pay the house hold bills myself and just give Khim a little money as she needed it. I later went on to give her 5,000 baht each month and this has recently been put back up to 10,000 baht and I have asked her not to lend any more money.
In December I had to return to New Zealand, it was a bit of a risk to leave then with the baby due the following month, but I had to use up the air ticket and sort out a visa.
It was great to be with the family over Christmas and to recharge the batteries with trips to the West Coast and hiking in the bush. I sure did miss Khim and wished she was there with me to see how beautiful New Zealand is. Finally the day arrived to
return to Thailand, I had bought a lot of things for the baby, car seat, clothes, toys, books and some nice things for Khim and I even had gifts for every member of the extended family… I was determined to bring the spirit of Christmas back
with me even though it was a few days past the 25th… Khim knew I had a problem with her gambling and playing cards and she said that when I return she would give it up and will just concentrate on our soon to arrive sweet little girl.
At last I was finally on the bus to our village, the excitement was incredible as the bus pulled up to the stop and I could see my beautiful wife… Wow!! She looked so fantastic and her stomach was enormous… gosh she looked like she had twins in there. All the family were there to greet me too and we walked back to our home with Khim and I arms around each other just so thrilled to be together again. Later that evening we had a party, they all had great fun opening their Christmas presents…
I have painted you a picture of how I was such a wonderful all round good guy and I truly was… so how did I turn into that miserable bastard?
When you have mixed culture marriages you're going to have disagreements at times and the best way to solve this is for you both to be understanding and to find a compromise, but when you live in just one culture like the village, things have to be done their way…’It’s our culture, this is what our past generations have done”… And when you have the whole family saying “this is how it’s going to be”, one little lone voice ain’t gonna make one bit of difference.
I wrote this question to Mrs Stick:
My wife and I are having a serious disagreement concerning the ceremony that will be performed when she returns home from hospital with our new baby. My wife has told me that for the first 9 days she is home her relatives will have a charcoal fire in our kitchen over which will be kettles of boiling water with leaves and herbs inside. Alongside the fire a wood plank is placed and this will be my wife's bed, the baby will be next to her. I have seen this done with our neighbours and it just seems like an excuse to have beer for breakfast, Laos whisky for dinner and play cards until 4.00 AM. There is no way I want to subject my precious wife and baby to breathe in toxic fumes for 9 days. I have been told I am being too hard for saying no to this. We are unable to find a compromise. What is your opinion?
The idea behind this ceremony is that it makes the mother and the newborn baby much stronger. Often it is held in a hut which is very, very hot. I'm not sure about the whisky drinking part though! I guess from your question that your wife very much wants to go through with this and that you are strongly against it. I would suggest a compromise of some sort, though how you manage that, I don't know, because the 9 would appear to be significant to the number of days it is done for.
On 10th of January our beautiful daughter was born, the delivery was at a private hospital. Khim had a difficult time giving birth as the baby was quite large, she weighed 3.8kg. We spent 2 nights at the hospital, we didn’t get to see much of baby as she was kept in the nursery on the second floor, our room was on the fifth. I thought this was odd as it is so important for the mother (and father) to bond with the baby. There was no help from the nurses on how to look after the baby, no help with getting the breastfeeding started etc… they just sent us on our way with a tin of milk powder.
The only compromise to the home ceremony was that it was to be held at Uncle's house next door as I did not want the inside of our new house blackened by the charcoal smoke. I also asked that before the ceremony starts and when we come home just Khim and I could have a 10 minutes alone with the baby in our room. We had often talked about this during the pregnancy how wonderful it will be to have the baby between us on the bed. I can not emphasize enough how for some reason just having this 10 minutes had become so important to me. On the trip home from the hospital I again reminded Khim of the time that I wanted as I hadn’t even held the baby yet. When we got home I went to take the baby into our house but with all the relatives there this was not going to be allowed and an Aunty took the baby to Uncle's house… that was the start of my anger. <I know that it is never easy in circumstances like this, but sometimes, just sometimes, you HAVE to stand up for yourself. And this would have been one of those times when I would have rolled up my sleeves and told them in no uncertain terms – Stick>
The ceremony begins… Khim was put beside a charcoal fire, there were kettles of boiling water placed over the fire with all sorts of herbs added. Khim had to lie down on a bare plank of wood, that was to be her bed for the next 9 days. Now most women in this world go gah gah over a new baby, for Isaan women you can multiply that by a hundred. So all the aunties and helpers took over the looking after of the baby and Khim, I was totally pushed aside, and it was clear that my involvement with the baby was not wanted and anyway what would a farang know about taking care of a baby???
So it wasn’t long before the party was in full swing… I of course had supplied the cases of whisky and beer and at first it was quite good fun. The house was packed full of people and soon they were all in groups gambling and playing cards. Khim was made to stay on her plank and had to often drink bowls of this herb water, she was also not allowed to sleep much and they kept her awake. I wanted to spend the nights beside Khim but with all the noise from the card games it was impossible to get any sleep as every so often there would be arguments as to who owes what etc… The gambling continued throughout the night, in fact it hardly stopped for the 9 days. It was impossible for me to sleep so I had to go back to our house. The next day I was still angry about not being able to have any time with Khim and the baby. I just went over to the house and without saying anything picked up the baby, put her in her pram and took her outside for a walk… this did not go down well with the aunties and helpers as it was just so bad to take a baby outside in the cold air… 26c… yeah right!!… and to go against what is done in the ceremony. After this I was forbidden to take the baby anywhere. In the end I decided to just let them have their 9 days. I kept away and just saw Khim twice a day, I helped with the washing and getting the bottles of milk formula ready and that’s about all I did. Khim and I had a major breakdown in communication between us. I was angry at the whole situation, she was so very angry that I spent so little time with her and could not spend the nights with her. She also became very angry with her family as they were more interested in gambling and in the end only one lady was of any help to her. Khim and I just stopped talking to each other. Also when Khim is angry with me her way of dealing with it is to ignore me until I sweet talk her around, but this time I had no sweet words. This continued for some time after the ceremony had finished until one day Khim told me that she no longer loved me and that she only had enough love for the baby, she repeated this often. So here I was thinking how could her love for me had gone so quickly.
In my first marriage I had two daughters by the time I was 22… yes started very young … no problems really and settled down into family life. Divorced 25 years later and then met Khim and was married at 44. I thought yeah no problem to be a middle aged Dad, it will be a breeze as I would have so much time to give. But something happened to me that I had never ever experienced in my life before, after the 9 day ceremony I went into a depression. I knew there was something wrong with me because one day at dinner I just had tears in my eyes and they were rolling down my cheeks. What the hell is wrong with me, I hadn’t cried since I was 10. Now you try and explain to a Thai what depression is… no chance… Thais don’t get depressed. Everything is sanuk to them, in the west it’s an epidemic.
So this is where Khim's submission to this site starts. I won’t repeat what she has written as this story will turn into a bloody novel, I’ll just tell you how it started and also about the black magic and violence… this happened about 4 weeks after the baby was born… most times I will have dinner with the family but when they have their spicy food I’ll go down to the road side restaurants (1 km away at the lake) and get myself something to eat. On this particular night I had been working late on the computer and at 8.30pm decided to go and get some dinner but when I got to the lake none of the restaurants were open so I decided to travel to the next town 12km away.
I went to a karaoke / bar / restaurant type of place… It was a Monday night and I was the only customer there, I sat down ordered some food and a beer and I soon had 4 waitresses sitting at my table. Well what sort of place is this I thought to myself?…
The boss lady walks past and she knows who I am and tells them “he husband”. I get talking with one of the girls, her English is ok, I can only speak a few works of Thai, I tell her about Khim and our new baby, she asks the usual
questions where you from etc… I had bought them all drinks, they took turns at singing. I was unsure of what type of place this was and wondered if it was a knocking shop. I was only there about an hour and when the bill arrived I was surprised
how low it was, 250 baht which included a charge for the company (paid for friends)… Time to go I said and I gave the girl (Nut) I had been talking to a 500 baht tip and told her thanks for talking with me it was just what I needed… what can
I say… I was in a jovial mood and I guess showing off a bit too… how many of you guys reading this have done the same, being the big spending farang in a bar?… Nut walked me to my car and then she did something I did not expect, she kissed
me and said “come back and see me again”.
Now many guys that live in Thailand seem to dabble in the bar scene first, have one or two relationships and then find themselves a nice girl to settle down with… For me I just went straight to the nice girl Khim and I had never been in a gogo bar before except one time with Khim. Even though I have read all the submissions on this site (apart from “Searchng for Miss Good Bar”, sorry mate just couldn’t get through it), I do know about the sweet words these girls say and the affect it can have on some, me included.
Khim went back to playing cards during the day and I would look after the baby and do the laundry. In a perverse kind of way I justified my good husband / dad daytime routine with my bad husband friendship with Nut. During the course of a month I saw Nut 5 times at her work and 3 times at her Mum's home. She let me into her life by introducing me to her daughter, brother and mother. She had been divorced 6 months ago. No one believes me that Nut and I never slept together. For me it was a friendship and yes it was a friendship a married man should not have no matter what culture you come from. I bought Nut gifts and gave her money. I did want to help her, I did not want to see her end up in Pattaya, I wanted her to be a good mum for her daughter… sounds very noble doesn’t it, but if I am honest I would have most likely ended up sleeping with her if Khim had not found out. In Khim’s eyes giving gifts and not asking for anything back was worse than sleeping with her as she thought it showed pure love and she thought Nut would think the same. This is what Khim was most upset about that I gave Nut “pure love’, and all the cover up lies. <Incidentally, in my admittedly limited understanding of Thai law, giving "honour" to another woman like this is grounds for divorce – Stick>
When Khim found out the first time we had a big fight, which went on for most of the day and by fight I mean I was on the receiving end of quite a beating, I never raised a hand against her. She just totally lost control, I was kicked, punched, slapped, bitten, face scratched, and spat at. She would have a go at me, get some more information out of me then a while later it would start again. So why would I just stand there and take all of that violence. The simple answer is I was guilty and I did not want to lose my wife and baby and even though my recent actions did not show this, I do love Khim and the baby very much.
Later that evening Khim called me out to the living room, all the family had gathered and Khim asked me to sit down with them as there was something important that they wanted to talk about. Khim went on to say that Mum went to see Mr Knong who is the White Magic guy in the village. She told him my birth date and the time I was born, he went into a trance and then at the end he had big long laugh. When he came out of it he told mum that Nut had been to see a black magic witch and she gave her a potion to put a black magic spell on me. He said that half my body had already been taken and that it will be difficult to bring me back, if they are not successful I will lose all my money and I will end up a beggar in the street. The family told me I had to have some white magic ceremony performed on me to counter the black magic. My reaction to being told this was to have a big laugh. And then Khim did something I did not expect… I did not see it coming but she let fly with a hit to my head… She caught the left side of my face and across my eye… I don’t think I have ever been hit so hard in all my life…it shocked me that woman who only weighs 49kg could have so much force… I picked myself up of the floor and went to the bedroom… meanwhile her family were yelling at her for doing such a bad thing, they told her this is a time for understanding not for such violence. A few minutes later Khim came in to see me. She was crying and saying she was so sorry but she got so angry that I laughed at what they were saying and she asked me to come out and be with the family… in the end I agreed to their wishes of having the white magic done.
The next evening we all went to see Mr Knong… At his house he has a shrine in his living room with all sorts of images and statues and buddas etc… we talked for awhile and then the ceremony started… he started to chant some language that even the family did not know… he had a large bowl of water in which he put lots of things…potions, flowers herbs and leaves and he burnt candles over it. He took long candles and measured the length of my arms and broke of the ends, he then took a long cloth, measured my height and then cut the cloth to the same length and then folded it and put the long candles on the top. I then had to drink from the bowl of water with herbs and to drink as much as I could… maybe I drank over a litre of this… I then had to go out the back with Mr Knong and have a wash with him… he got me to sit down with my legs out straight and he poured water over me and chanted… this went on for about ten minutes with him pouring water all over my body and chanting. When he had finished I got dressed and then went back to his shrine… he sat me down and tied string to my wrists and then with a pen he drew symbols on my arms and on my neck and under my chin and then all over my back. I then had to carry the folded cloth back home and was told to put it in our room and before I went to sleep I had to wai and pray to it and make a wish for the future.
That night I had a very vivid dream and the next morning I told Khim and then she told her family and they all agreed that this dream had some meaning and that we should go and see someone about this. So they asked, no told me that we were going to see a very famous monk who will do a reading for me. By this stage I think you could say I was brow beaten and so did not resist what they wanted me to do. So we go and see this monk and he asks what my birth date is and what day I was born and the time and he then goes through various charts and books and tells me that my sign is at it’s lowest and that I will most likely die before my next birthday this August and that I will die in a road accident, but there is still hope that I will survive and that I should not drive alone anywhere and only at very slow speed. If I make it to my birthday I will have a longer life even though my sign will be low for four years. He also said not to lend any money or to go into business until the four years had past.
I had another two sessions with Mr Knong and each time I had a very vivid dream. The last one being an old lady that came to talk to me and she said to buy Khim a special gift before it is too late. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to do what was said in the dream so I went up to Loei and bought 100 long stem roses and a 1 baht gold bracelet. When I got home I arranged the roses in a heart shape on the bed with the gold in the middle. I wanted it to show Khim how sorry I was.
I was to have another two sessions with Mr Knong but he had to go away on a trip. For the next two weeks I was “confined to barracks” and I was not allowed to travel in my car anywhere by myself. I did buy myself a 12 speed mountain bike so that I could at least ride around the farm tracks so that I could have some time to myself. I did not see Nut during that time. Then one day I just went to her house, I did not call her on the phone and she did not look too happy to see me. We talked for a bit and she introduced me to her Mum. I don’t know why I went to see her…was I MAD???. I did not love her, just wanted to talk. So I managed to see her 3 times, each time just staying for about 30 minutes and we would just sit outside her house and I would also talk with her Mum. The irony of the third visit was that I was telling Nut it was getting impossible for me to see her and that I was taking a very big risk and that I should stay away. Then Khim called me on the phone and told me she could see me… she had followed me.
Now in Khim’s story she said that she had hit me with her slipper (sandal) about 10 times… if only… I got a beating far worse than the first time. No point in getting into details, some of you must now think I enjoy being hit. Khim did one really bad thing for a Thai…she stomped her foot on my head. In her culture she will carry that sin for the rest of her life. The next day she was going to leave with the baby, I begged for one last chance… she eventually agreed but she had conditions…
First I had to go with her to Nut's house and tell Nut I was wrong and that I did not love her and second I had to sign a written agreement. So we head of to see Nut, 3 aunties came along as well. I asked Khim to interpret what I was going to say to Nut as her English was not too good and I wanted to make sure that she understood what I said. We arrived and the feelings were very tense. Nut’s Mum did not look happy, maybe even scared, the aunties are a fierce looking bunch at the best of times. They all talked in Thai for a bit and then Khim told me to say my piece to Nut, with Khim interpreting as I spoke. I told Nut that I did not love her and that it was wrong of me to be her friend and that I loved my wife and baby and needed to be with them and that our friendship is to end. Khim continued to speak to her in Thai and then I said ok it’s finished and started to walk back to the car, but Khim came over to me trying to drag me back, she ripped my shirt half off me. I managed to get into the car and I drove down the soi a little… I could see that they were all shouting at each other. What I found out later is that Khim did not say the words I said… She had told Nut that I had come here today to be with her and that I had offered her 100,000 baht dowry and would she accept that. Nat said yes and that she would like a diamond ring too… yes Khim said that’s ok… you can take him now… that’s why she was trying to drag me back. After I had driven away they all had a big argument and almost had a punch up, the aunties had to drag Khim away… Khim walked down the soi yelling out to all the neighbours that Nut was a prostitute and she was trying to steal her husband.
So I didn’t know any of the true story until days later… when we got home Khim said she would stay with me if I signed an agreement, this is what she wrote…
I am giving another chance with the following conditions.
1. no sex, no touch (but if I want that’s ok).
2. no contact to Nut or any other woman.
3. I (Khim) hold on all money, James has to ask and report about spending money and James can’t spend any baht before asking the permission from Khim.
4. James has to cycle every day, but he can go only 3 ways but not in the direction of Nut's house.
If he breaks just 1 condition he has to leave home for New Zealand alone.
Did I sign the agreement???
Khim called my Mother and Sister and told them what I had done, she also told my friends, she said I had to be totally shamed out by everyone and that’s why she wrote her story to Stickman. I wished she had not told my Mum as she is 76 and gets upset easily. I did talk to her later and explained things a little, but did not tell her about the black / white magic, that would send her to an early grave for sure.
I am considering titles for my next submission.
Pussywipped Into Insanity
Battered Husband Syndrome (how I survived)
Hit Me Again (I like It)
S and M for Dummies
Love Hurts… it Really Hurts
As I said in the introduction to this story Khim has shown me all the letters she has received. Only one letter gave any encouragement for her to try and work it out. Thanks Abdullah for the advice you gave Khim. To the guy that proposed marriage to Khim, I reckon you're running scared now… and to the bloke from England… Just tell your wife you love her even though she asks you 5 times a day. And JC (aka “Caveman”) wrote saying “please get rid of the piece of vermin in your life…this is evidently a man that lives for the satisfaction of his penis, after you had a child, his penis needed different attentions, he is the worst kind of man there is”… hmm! A bit harsh mate… my penis has not seen any action for the past 3 months thank you very much.
Again I will say that what I did was wrong and I place no blame on Khim at all… Khim and I are doing our best to work this out, if you have any words of encouragement we would be happy to hear from you. Both Khim and I have been blessed with such a wonderful baby girl, she is two months old now and she is an absolute darling. I have promised Khim that I have gone back to how I was before… a very good loving husband. I have learnt from my mistakes and I will not repeat them. It’s going to take quite awhile to repair the damage that I caused.
Today, 18 March, the rest of the family that live in Bangkok have come up to spend the weekend with us. My brother in-law is a bit of a joker and he has bought me a pair of boxing gloves to use if there is a next time that Khim uses her fists on me I will be able to use the gloves to hit back… not that I would…Tomorrow I will have one last session with Mr Knong and then the family will have our house blessed by the monks. The family and all the village residents have been very supportive, they are close to us and they want to see us be a very happy couple again… and I can assure you all I will work hard to make that happen. And to my darling Khim, I am so very sorry for hurting you, I pledge to you that I will be that man again that you fell in love with and I will love you completely with all my heart, we will have a good future together… just wait and see.
Do I believe in black / white magic??? Maybe just 10%
There but for the Grace of God, go I… I sure hope I get to live past my next birthday, what would that monk know anyway…right… hmm!… on second thought I think it might be best just to stay home until August.
What an epic! Now I am still a relatively young guy and am loathe to say too much here, especially to someone who has been married, divorced, has had kids and has basically been through the cycle already, but what the hell, here I go:
Your wife has a gambling problem. Your wife turns to violence when put under pressure. Your wife is deceitful – that carry on with Nut and the proposal for marriage and then announcing to her village that that girl was a prostitute is a fxxxing big deal in Thailand. Ask any Thai (away from your village) about such behaviour and they will verify that that is EXTREME.
Your wife does NOT respect that you are different from her and that to have a happy marriage, compromise is needed. It has to be VERY difficult to live in a relationship like that. You were clearly wrong with what you did, but she too has to change her ways.
Your willingness to stick around for the sake of the kid is noble, but look deep into your heart and ask yourself if you would still be there if there was no child?
She is now controlling you. When control enters relationships, the relationship is doomed and it is just a matter of time. Better to get out sooner, rather than later. Harsh words I know, but this is truly what I believe.