Readers' Submissions

Afterthought And Retrospect Of Thai Relations In Thailand And Abroad



Hello all you beer guzzling, horny, seasoned travellers to the wonderful LOS.

I am just healing from a romance that went sour (OPEN YOUR EYES 16/7) and would like to contribute some more data into the think tank on all the goings on of Thai couples, love affairs and dealings that would make an American soap opera blush! Living in a foreign land where there is never a dull moment (see if you can guess which with the hint) I befriend and protect the interests of many Thai nationals working in my country. Some of them work for me part time and I do them as many favours as I can whenever I get the chance… and I mean MANY good samaritan deeds for their kinfolk in Thailand as well as abroad.. I am well loved, respected, pampered, fed and accepted as the only 'farang' in this Thai circle of friends as one of the family.

They are delightful folk; fun loving, laughing, jostling, joking, well meaning and decent to a remarkable degree. Once you get past the mercenary stage, you cross over to the other side which is favour for favour without obligation, no money grabbing tactics and you lower your guard so you can relax and enjoy the friendship face value. I am witness to the wheeling dealings of all their families and loved ones here and in Thailand.

Typical scenario: Thai cook / chef comes to the country on a five year work permit being married in Thailand just two months before arriving. He has now been here seven and a half years (two illegally) and religiously sending all his money to his bride and her family in Thailand. While he has been away, his family have told him that his wife is with another man. What they don't realise there though is that my good friend the husband has also warmed his nest with a Thai lady worker in the same suspended family / marital state as him.The obvious switch has taken place; husband and wife all taken care of and everybody is happy all in a 'hush hush' mutual acceptance of "I know what you're doing and you know what I'm doing but we're both not looking". The couple on my side are very good friends of mine and we spend a lot of time together. Thais hate embarrassment and confrontations if they can be avoided and will go through the motions of saving face if necessary. I am the liaison or neutral territory between both sides and know all their secrets as I commute to Thailand on a very regular basis and they will constantly justify their own side of the story on both sides.

The Thai lady is sending money to her family and the Thai cook is sending money to his only to have it swallowed up by their spouses which causes great concern and countermeasures being taken on both sides. Gold chains and other form of moneys are constantly bought and sent and you all thought that THE LOCALS TRY TO SQUEEZE THE FARANG?? Any party considered to be richer and the provider is fair game mates and make no mistake about it!! Read on….

Some of the Thais ask their counterparts here for loans or trade ins, cash for gold or cash for diamonds etc. Recently two of my local friends here said that some of their friends had to rush off back to Thailand to their families and didn't have any money, so they wanted $5000 US in exchange for these three diamonds. The deal was accepted and soon after I was asked to escort them to the diamond exchange center, one of the largest in the world for their stones to be appraised. Not understanding much about diamonds I couldn't help noticing that they looked pretty dull, bland and lusterless to me, but nevertheless I eventually found the right persons to professionally do the job. I felt so sad when we received a mini lecture and course on diamonds that they were just quartz stones worth three to five dollars. So they do dupe one another also; not only the farang. There can be no generalisation made that all are liars, all are con artists etc. One has to be fair in admitting that there are bad apples in every society as some of my Thai friends are straight and true as an arrow and would never deceive anyone.

My last trip to Thailand recently was on holiday to Udon Thani and Laos accompanied by the family of one of the girls who is currently working in my country and I was really embarrassed as to the warm, high class, treatment that I was shown. They made it clear very quickly that I was accepted as part of the family and I had to fight to pay my way with constant telephone calls from abroad telling their families not to let me put hand in pocket. This was one of the most memorable joyous times of my entire life as I got to know the most fascinating people ever. Even the husband who took leave from work to accommodate me with all, suspected that I was having it off with his wife abroad and I was accepted anyway even though it was common knowledge that we were just mutual friends. All sides knew I was hurting badly from a freshly broken romance in BKK and they kept telling me as if knowing I was tortured "mai kit, mai kit! raat-ri-sawad / don't think too much, don't think too much, good night… every time they got the chance and before I went to sleep every night.

The calls from my Thai friends back home while I was in Thailand with their families were incessant, supportive and heart warming not to mention the next SURPRISE that awaited me before I went to sleep every night at different hotels which all had been taken care of for me in advance. Get this guys……. They would inform me in the evening that in approximately an hour one of their friends would knock on my door before I turned in. The friend would have travelled anywhere from one to five hours by bus just to be with me in the night as they didn't want me to be on my own, wallowing in my own misery from a broken heart. 'The friend' would be always well mannered, considerate, speaking in soft soothing tones as if acknowledging, knowing and sharing my pain with me. It would usually end up with us huddling together and if something 'nice' happened after that it was readily accepted with me, and only me calling the shots.

I will shamelessly say I have cried on many an occasion with sheer gratitude, and total submissive wonderment of such well meaning comrades in times of need and otherwise, not to mention the unlimited hospitality at home and abroad at every twist and turn.

Even after I arrived back in BKK there was this lovely lass waiting for me who had travelled all the way from Surat Thani to be with me and she was an absolute delight, spoiling me and catering to my every whim and fancy, royal treatment galore! The respect, goodwill and camaraderie is mind boggling. God save me from the bartering, unfeeling money grabbing BG scene at the usual spots as this is a far cry from the real macoy. Not for a moment meaning to belittle anyone's fun and pastimes and have a 'holier than thou' attitude, this letter was just to show that there are so many different aspects to Thai mentality and I do wish to partake in the fact that there is gratitude and respect with a great deal of payback on their side. One example would be when a friend called me in panic that the local police had caught her boyfriend and put him in jail as his visa had expired and they were going to deport him. She was crying and sobbing and it took me quite a while to calm her down and with the conversation still going on I jumped into my car and drove cross country to their aid. "MAI GLOOAH, MAI GLOOAH" /'DON'T WORRY" I kept saying. Bought a trolley bag, filled it with clothes, slippers, toiletries and food, took the $200 she had handed me to tide him over and after finding out which jail he was in, drove directly there and waited outside the premises with god awful treatment from the jailors in torrents of rain for 4 hours. It was bitterly cold especially as I was underdressed as I rushed to the scene. I was totally soaked and shivering.
I didn't budge till they let me in and it took me a whole extra hour with all the bureaucracy to finally meet up with him. Handed him all the stuff we bought with the money and after talking to the officers on duty, trying to find out more particulars and translating all the information back to him, I bid him farewell and 'chok di' and went back to his girlfriend. She was still crying and immediately reached in her purse taking out a wad of notes to pay me. I scolded her and refused the money saying that this is what friends were for. There was a bond that developed here never to be broken and my surprise came when all the Thais that lived in a compound with apartments in the area soon invited me to a surprise party they planned for me. Guys let me tell you, there is Thai food ….and there is Thai food. I have never in my life tasted such scrumptious food with the Thai sausages they hand made to absolutely die for!!! Arroy maag!

To great days and great times

Dave dreaming.

Will welcome any return mail

Stickman's thoughts:

I liked the comment about how when you break through all the requests for money nonsense then you start to meet some really decent people.