Lady Thai Pai
It's 3am. August 30th 2005. Somehow I didn’t think that I’d be able to sleep this night. I was right. Better get up and do something. Gosh I’m hungry. No I’m tired. Yet do not sleep. Perhaps it’s anger. Or rather…yes that’s it, confusion. This morning had been happy, ecstatic even. We woke late. We billed and coed over the delight of romping in the bed until the small hours. It had been just like that these past three days. For three whole days I’d been beside myself with joy and the closeness of the most important person in my life. How could it have ended up like this just twelve hours later?
It all started many years ago on Patong beach. It was early evening. She walked out of the sea wreathed in a sarong. Breathtakingly beautiful, she was fresh and sensual, Perntha saw my stare and smiled sweetly. My eyes were better then. I can still see every detail of her – the setting sun and the goose bumps popping up on her thighs. She spoke. I didn’t hear what she said, my head was spinning. I stuttered my clumsy reply; “Would you have dinner with me tonight”, “why yes, I’d love to” was her generous reply. At the time Patong was not the holiday Mecca that it is today. We found the only fine restaurant in town and dined by candlelight. Somehow we finished up in my lodgings at the Old Swallow Inn hotel, right at the southern end of Patong beach. We fell into each others arms and the night melted away. We enjoyed each other so much that I forgot that I was only a few weeks into my round the world adventure. My consolation prize to myself, for having lost my Directorship, consequent to the acquisition of our company by a predator.
Like me, Perntha imagined that Phuket Island and Patong in particular could have a great future. We decided to set up a business. It was modest, with lock up premises, but for us it was a satisfying beginning. I continued my round world journey at an accelerated pace so that I could trawl for investors in London. Meanwhile, Perntha was to return home to Pattaya, before flying off to Hong Kong with the purpose of buying stock for the business. Ten weeks later my flight landed at Don Muang Airport during a raging storm. The onward flight to Phuket was most uncomfortable. I took a mini bus to Patong, made for the Swallow Inn and, having travelled some eighteen hours fell into bed and slept.
Overnight the skies cleared. It was one of those lovely fresh days, everything looking clean green and sparkling in the early morning sunshine. A hurried breakfast saw me on the way to the business premises. All was quiet. The place was boarded up and displayed a bold notice which stated that the owner had repossessed the property. Perntha was nowhere to be found. I went to the Thai Farmers Bank and found that all monies had been withdrawn from our business account and the account closed. “What of the Articles of Association, what of our contract” I asked. The bank clerk looked at me with disinterest and shrugged his shoulders.
I arrived in Pattaya the next day in search of Perntha. I did find her. She was by now close to penniless. She had gained a considerable amount of weight. I spent a couple of days with her trying to get to the bottom of the mess without any further insight into what had happened. That was the first time that I saw that glazed over, I’m not here look that you see in the eyes of a Thai woman from time to time. I headed back to London. It was to be a long time before I would set foot on Thai soil again. Some months later I received a letter from Perntha. Although in an airmail envelope it had taken weeks to get to London. It read:
I took the money from the business account for services rendered, I hope your wife doesn’t mind!
This, I was to learn, was the closest that I would ever get to an apology from a Thai Lady.
In March 2000 I took early retirement. I had wasted another three years coping with my wife’s mental health problems, when she made a sudden, remarkable recovery. Her good health was sustained for a year at the end of which her lover at work dumped her and her mental health problems returned. I had not known about the lover. He must have been an amazing chap. I say this because he achieved that which I had sought to achieve for twenty years in such a short time. Marriage over and at a loss, I headed for Australia to visit my son. The flight stopped over at Don Muang airport for fuel. I thought of Perntha. Not the downside of the relationship. The magic. To tell you the truth I think I’m still in love with her. Oh well mai pen rai! By the time that I was due to re-board the flight I was getting into a taxi and heading for Pattaya.
It was good to be back. I stayed for a while. Got to know a few of the Brit bar owners and their gals, followed by a short affair with a hotel employee. This relationship ended abruptly when some twerp back home sent her a hundred thousand baht in recognition of her struggling financially whilst waiting for him to return! The tidy sum became a down-payment on a baan in a village not so very far from Pattaya. Will he ever be pissed off when he gets back! I stayed in Oz for three months trying to get my head around the “where do I go from here” question. In pity, my son and his wife suggest I spend my twilight years with them! Then sixty-four, and feeling fit, I just was not ready for that. So I vowed to return to Pattaya, set up a base camp, from where I would range out to rural Thailand, then to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and thus complete my exploration of South East Asia.
I had been enjoying Pattaya and around for about six months when it happened. As is my habit I was drifting bar to bar that night of February 18th 2005. I’ll not forget because it was my mother’s birthday. I was on Soi Diana when I heard a familiar voice call my name. She beamed at me as I walked into the All-In-One bar for a chat. I knew her from the big open air pool place off Soi Buakhao. Not only does she play a mean game of pool she can speak passable English too. I like her enormously, though not in a sexual sort of way, you know, good pal, always ready for a natter and a game of pool. Stood in her shadow, as it were, and some what shorter was Mrs X, the subject of this rendition.
Mrs X is not a stunner, but has a huge infectious smile with big bum and big boobs to go with it. I liked her straight away. I finished my chat with my friend and left, knowing that I would return. The next evening I went back to the All-In-One. Mrs X beamed at her apparent success. It was already late. We sat and had drinks together. Her English seemed quite good; her voice tones are very easy on the ear. I’m a sucker for not easily recognizing the difference between well rehearsed bar talk and an ability to use the English language properly. Having enjoyed the chat I took my leave. Mrs. X called out after me, “tomorrow you come and see me at nine o'clock”.
“Cheeky”, I retorted. However the next night I was back, but at eleven o'clock. My tardiness was met with a mild rebuke from Mrs X. It didn’t seem significant at the time. The third time I went to visit her I paid her bar fine. Back at my hotel we got on famously for the next few days. I was hooked. After a while I was looking for suitable accommodation for a couple that intends to stay together. I found a few places and took Mrs X to see the ones that I thought suitable. We chose our house and moved in.
We had just moved in a day or two when I found out that Mrs X is married. I was furious. I thought I’d asked all the right questions. I even requested a copy of her Bart-pra-cha-chon (Identity Card), which she provided willingly. Although I know that Nang (or something like that) means Mrs. I cannot read Thai so the Nang bit was invisible to me. Previously, in answer to my several questions her story can be summarized as, I am divorced, I have two children but they are not with me because my husband sought custody and got it. He no good, he drinks a lot and takes ya ba. He work a little bit then he stop and spend all the money on beer and ya ba (amphetamine). He yak-yak me all the time and one day he mau maak maa (pissed as a newt) and he throw me out. Then he sells baan (House) so I can’t go back. I told Mrs X that she must get a licence (Thai equivalent to a Decree Nisi), from Ampoe (City Hall to us farang) recording the dissolution of the marriage as soon as possible.
An appointment was made back in her home town whereat she and Thai husband would go to the Ampoe doo-ai-gahn (together) and sign the document. I provided the necessary funds and off she went on her motor bike. Three days later Mrs X was back with the unwelcome news that her husband had refused to sign the register for the licence. This became a reoccurring issue throughout our months together. On another occasion Mrs X went back to see a lawyer, she returned saying that the lawyer could get the husband to divorce if she would give the said lawyer twelve thousand Baht in cash. Mrs X was angry when I refused to part with the money without an invoice or at least a letter of appointment from the lawyer. So I took her to see my Lawyer in Pattaya who explained to her that a contested divorce cannot be resolved for such a small sum especially where children and property are involved. (I understand that 50-100 thousand baht is the going rate). <This is about the going rate for a mediocre to average or possibly even quite good lawyer. A very good, or "name" lawyer will cost much more – Stick>
Right from before Mrs X moved in to the house we had an agreement concerning finance. Since I’m a pensioner on a fixed income it was important that Mrs X agree an acceptable fixed income from me that was affordable. We reached the agreement at a sum many times what she could earn though just about affordable to me. Needless to say Mrs X overspent her salary nearly every month and one month she spent double. And then would still hold her hand out for money for every purchase or errand.
During her third month with me Mrs X went home for a few days. Before she returned she telephone and asked if she could bring her eldest daughter to visit. I said no problem. I would like to meet her. The next day she arrived with TWO children one girl of ten and another of five. Each child had only what it stood up in and no possessions. It quickly became apparent that a problem was looming for me. I asked Mrs X how long are they staying. She replied forever! One of the children has severe behavioral problems, even Mrs. X couldn’t cope with her. So without discussing it with me mum shipped her off to her Mother’s house, another significant cost. Within days Mr. X had reclaimed the child. By that time I’d grown fond of the children especially the one sent away. I still miss her today. Not that I need children around as I’ve raised four of my own and have eight grandchildren. A month or so later it was the turn of the ten year old to disappear. Yet another great cost. No discussion with me. When asked Mrs X explained that the child asked if she could go to her Yai (Maternal Grandmother) allegedly because I complained when she watched TV from seven in the morning until eleven at night. Both children went off with six changes of clothing and a new bicycle courtesy you know who. It was quieter then but somehow I felt something else was in the wind. <I hate to say it but you're starting to sound like a doormat here – Stick>
Sure enough Mrs X upped her over-spending. Why? What is going on? At the same time she grew ever more affectionate toward me. At first I was dumbfounded. Then cushioned by the extra attention I was getting I became blind to minute events that should have been telling me something. It all culminated this past weekend with three days of exaggerated affection and sex which I lapped up. Yesterday I had a word with Mrs X about payment of her allowance for September. It was intended to be an innocuous discussion about giving the money to her on time together with a small increase. Somehow this discussion turned to yak-yak (argument) about everything. I said to Mrs. X; "Where did that come from?” her reply; “Chan mai pood khun!” (I not speak you) not a helpful answer in the circumstances. Mrs. X stormed upstairs in a sulk.
Later she came down, went out and got on her motorbike and roared off. She had not said another word. After a while it seemed that she would not come back too soon. I rang her mobile. She answered in word perfect English which took me back a bit because chan mai kao-jai (I don’t understand) is usually a common ingredient in all our conversations. I popped upstairs to the loo, her door (she uses the spare room as a dressing room) was swinging in the wind, and outside it was raining so I walked in to close the window. When I turned to leave the room I was facing the wardrobe, wide open and empty! I looked to the side and saw that all of her possessions were packed in boxes and a suitcase. That’s odd! I went downstairs alarm bells were ringing in my head. This row must be a face saver. This exaggerated affection is it a false trail. She’s leaving. My head swam. I love this woman. I know that she has had a difficult life. Maybe she’s having a nervous breakdown or something. No. Her argument was not hysterical. Provocative yes, but not unhinged.
She is leaving. Why? Doesn’t matter. Change gear Indyuk. Get into defensive mode. I move her packing boxes to the front gate. I nip out and buy new locks. Fit them and await events. Mrs X returns on her motor cycle. Dam I’ve got it wrong I think. I expected her to arrive with a songtaew taxi to collect all this gear. Mrs X approaches the gates, take’s out her keys. Scowls. No good. “What you do! Are you throwing me out?” “No darling of course I’m not. I love you. I thought perhaps you were going to see Yai again so I carried your bags down for you, I lied. You have packed to go somewhere, haven’t you?” “No I love you I want to stay” she replied. “If you're not going anywhere why is everything you have packed”. “I’m leaving you. I can’t stand your yak-yak. I hate poo-chai (men) they have control over everything, I not like. I go but I want to come in the house.”
Against my better judgment I let her in. She free ranges around the house picking up anything that looks useful, placing them into a bevy of carrier bags. “I go get taxi now, give me money I no money for taxi” She lifts the saddle of her Honda and pulls out a piece of paper. It’s a letter to me. A rather insulting one. I’ll not publish it here because it is not her handwriting and she may not know exactly what it contains. But indeed it was a goodbye note written in less than pleasant terms. Some of the phrases did sound familiar. The final line reads ‘Just some money, you can’t buy my spirit’.
During these past six months the cash handed over to Mrs X runs well into six figures. Indirect costs like bicycles, children’s clothing, and the myriad of incidental costs were also significant. The bottom line is that Mrs. X had intended to leave. Now she is gone I notice evidence of her impending departure everywhere. It was there for me to see before but I didn’t see it because I wasn’t looking. She had goals, having nothing when she first arrived, she’d wanted a new Honda, she’s got it. Once they have the mo-tor-rot-sai they pai leh maa (come and go) numerous times a day. One really doesn’t know where they go or what they get up to. In the end you give up asking because you get sick of the lie that comes back at you. Her other goal is to build a baan, though I’d say shack, on her mother’s teeding (in her case that’s ten rai of farmland), which is to be willed to her. Since the cost of the necessary material is approximately 60,000 I imagine she has that too.
How am I? I’m glad you ask. I’m absolutely gutted. I love this woman and would take her back in a ‘New York Minute’ I just don’t know how to tell my family, who have showered Mrs X and her children with presents, that this love of my life has dumped me. I am glad however that she is lifted out of the poverty she once knew.
Some points to watch out for:-
If you bring a lady Thai into your home she may have goals that would not endear her to you so she will not tell you what they are until she is nearly ready to leave. Oh I see you thought the Honda was your idea did you?
Don’t worry about any negative behavior from her, that’s usually sincere, it is overtly positive behavior that should ring alarm bells.
Be sure to check her Bart-pra-cha-chong (Identity Card) If she has one she’s legal, if her name is preceded by Nang she is married if she doesn’t have one she might be under age or a stateless resident or an illegal immigrant. If your curious about her age that is indicated by the date of birth on the card. Also check that the card has not expired (they have to be re-issued once every five years).
Some will (read many) be in debt when they come into your life. Be aware that any of her debts can and will land in your lap one way or another.
If she doesn’t have a motor cycle you will probably have to provide it.
If you own your house do not add your Thai girl to your teeding unless you are married to her. If you want her on your teeding and she declines, find out why, because every Thai wants to be on someone’s teeding. Otherwise they can’t get HP or Credit Cards.
Learning Thai from your Thai girlfriend. Can she read. How infected with Lao and Kmer is her Thai.
If your Lady Thai is over 20 she may have left school at the tender age of nine (grade three). Sometimes they are reluctant to hand over documents because they can’t read them themselves and therefore don’t know if the paper(s) are self incriminating or not.
Multiple Bank books. Your darling is likely to have more than one bank-book. The one that you see will usually be kept in nominal funds. Her real worth appears in those that you’ll never see. If she has multiple farang supporting her in their absence she will likely have a separate bankbook for each of them.
Am I paranoid, or what!
It’s now 9am. My love has gone. I think that I’ll go to bed and cry myself to sleep. I’ve little pride or optimism left at the moment.
This woman was nothing but bad news and the BEST THING that could have happened was for her to go. You will realise that in time. This woman was BAD NEWS.
I personally think one should NOT overlook some of the things you overlooked in a relationship. Yes, we have to be tolerant, but when things are clearly not as they should be, certain things do need to be talked out – admittedly that can be quite difficult with Thai women.