Till Death Do You Part
Grad versus housekeeping and assets.
A major issue when forming a relationship with a bargirl is to figure out how and when you change over from paying grad to paying house keeping? And therefore assume ’joint and several responsibility’ with your darling. Make no mistake this is a major issue both financially, legally and emotionally.
Although Thai law has an impartial set of procedures to determine if the line has been crossed, into a permanent relationship, when a relationship has endured for say a year or two or more. Such academic legal procedures have no bearing on the practice of turning one’s relationship from that of retaining a bargirl on grad, to that of a couple living in harmony as man and wife. It is the precedence that you and your ‘wife’ have set by your own arrangements in setting up a home together that matter. Although there is no such thing as a ‘common law wife/husband’ in Thailand, the precedence of ‘partnership’ and joint property do prevail. <Are you sure about this? My understanding is to the contrary… Stick>
The bottomless pit
Your darling expects that you will always pay the bills, buy whatever is necessary for the home without a contribution from her grad (sorry housekeeping), or her savings, or indeed from her salary, if she is working. If you perish whilst in her ‘care’ she will expect to be a beneficiary from your estate yet be horrified if it is suggested, that would some unfortunate circumstance end her life, that you would be a beneficiary of her estate.
The major issues
You are confronted with major issues, of culture, language and expectation when your bargirl takes root in your care. How do you share the day to day management of your ‘joint’ financial responsibilities? How do you resolve the inheritance issue? And most importantly, how you negotiate the emotional turmoil that comes ‘home’ when you try to bring your darling across the divide from prostitute (sorry!) to a housewife that is ‘running your home properly’?
Many flash points are imbedded in these major issues.
Are you going to marry her? Many older farang don’t want to remarry. If you propose to her and she accepts too readily you should ask yourself, “Am I sure that this was my idea”! If you get an instant rejection, of your proposal, it is possible that she is already married or just wants to maintain the status quo because she sees herself as a bargirl, on ’long time’! Confused, let me explain; Short time has but one meaning, when spoken by a bargirl, it means that she will stay with you until you have relieved yourself, and have paid her. In Pattaya short time will cost you from 300 to 1,500 baht, depending on where you picked her up, her youth and her beauty.
‘Long time’ has many connotations; ranging from a day or two up to a fortnight whilst a farang is on holiday. If your bargirl states that she wants to stay with you a long time, make absolutely sure how long her ‘Long Time’ is. If she has said it in the first week or two, she does NOT mean ta-lot-bai (forever).
The extreme of ‘Long time’ is, until she gets a better offer, which may be never! Granted in a few cases ‘long time’ can be the ‘rest of your natural’, so to speak. Of one thing you can be certain; it is not a marriage, other than in her convenience. In Pattaya ‘Long time’ costs from 200 to 1,000 baht a day, again depending on where you ‘picked her up’, generally, grad is paid monthly, although it has to be said that farang operating at the bottom of the market are known pay grad weekly, often grudgingly. Sometimes these farang will pay grad late, or even miss a week's payment altogether. Surprisingly, there are many bargirls that remain in a relationship with such farang. Their eye is on their ‘main chance’ which may be anything from wanting to maintain daily free meals and a comfortable bed, through to wishing to avoid returning to the bar. If you’re really unlucky it will be ‘ripping you off’, when she has accumulated sufficient information on your valuables and/or bank accounts. NEVER, EVER GIVE YOUR ATM CARD AND PIN NUMBER TO YOUR LOVELY (Even if it is raining and you’d rather not go to the ATM yourself).
Be aware that there are a few extremely clever and devious bargirls in Pattaya. Many are, and others will end up, very wealthy indeed.
The best advice that I have is ‘Do not marry a bargirl’. If you feel that you must marry your bargirl, check out her ‘roots’ and her recent past very carefully. Start by asking for a copy of her Bart-Pra-Cha-Chong (Identity Card), ask for a photo copy of the teeding book in which she is registered and be sure to ask for a copy of her page of registration of Births Deaths and Marriages. If you do not check these documents be aware that you may waste a lot of money getting through the ‘Marriage Visa Process’, only to find out when the Embassy staff checks these documents, she is refused entry. If you find that your ‘Bride to Be’ is comparatively well off already, i.e. owns a car and a condo, try and find out what happened to the farang that facilitated her elevation to Thailand’s middle class. Don’t accept “He’s gone home!” or “He died!” Check it out!
Some of you have asked about the success statistics of ‘farang / bargirl, happy ever after marriages. I really don’t know, but as a percentage I would think it is a very low number. So many of the bargirls that have gone to Farangland from
Pattaya have come back in an amazingly short period of time. Two bargirls have told me that they’ll be back, before they left. One of them said she’d be back in three months and she was. Hers was the shortest engagement that I’m
aware of at the time of writing. I wouldn’t call that happy ever after, would you? (Case history Dooi, Scandinavia 2005)
Will you have children, hers, yours or a baby farang?
Find out about her children. The majority of bargirls have at least one child. Where is/are her child(ren). What happened to the father? Who pays the child’s care person(s) and how much. Will you bring the child into your home? Have you got children yourself, how will your wedded bliss affect your relationship with them?
The children of your partnership with your bargirl will, in your partner’s eyes, have precedence over everything and everyone, including you, and certainly other children. When she say’s she would like to have a farang baby, she is probably telling the truth. A Thai child with fair skin gets an automatic leg up in Thai life, and she knows it.
Will you live in her moobarn (village) or yours?
This is an important ‘issue’. If you provide a home on your ‘Manor’; it is likely to be in Bangkok, Pattaya or some other Thai ‘hot spot’. Living on your manor will be fine for her, especially if it is SHE that does not want to marry. Her proximity to the Bar Life will enable her as a conduit for young villagers from her moobarn to enter the ‘noble profession’ (sic). You doubt it? Unfortunately it is a fact. (Case study Wiel & Amporn Pattaya 2005)
Will you rent a house, build a house, or buy a house?
Many young Thai couples build their own ‘baan’ (house), very often on their father or their mother’s teeding. In this option the initial cost is attractively low. Sometimes such a home is little more than a shack built with fifty to sixty thousand baht worth of wood and shingles. At the upper end of the teeding shack philosophy is the more carefully designed (luxury) baan. However, it is also eminently removable and convertible to cash.
You should not fall for the shack on dad’s teeding approach. To do so will be to engage a project that is never ending and has exponential cost. Are you able to negotiate with the suppliers in Thai? If not you will never know the true cost, you’ll only know what you paid and that is not the same thing. Are you able to overrule the “Good advice” that with come from her expended family, some of whom will view the progress of construction everyday and thoughtfully suggest changes and improvements.
However, the essential disincentive to a self build on dad’s teeding is that neither the house, nor any part of it, will ever be yours. Should you have to return to ‘Farangland’ due to an unfortunate family or business circumstance, and your absence be for a protracted length of time, you may find that your self-built house on dad’s teeding, has vanished.
Protracted absence from your farang responsibilities in a Thai village is not acceptable. Your power is diminished! If father-in-law falls on hard times while you are gone he may move your ‘wife’ into his house, demolish ‘yours’ and sell its constituent parts for whatever he can get for them. (Case history, Sa Kao’ 2003) House built for 150,000 baht, constituent parts sold for 15,000 baht, of which the original builder (read funding farang) received not one baht!
Not a good idea. Thailand land law is designed to lock you the farang out of land ownership. Farang are temporary visitors to Thailand. You as a farang can never own land legally. I understand that you have probably been shown ways of getting around this law. Forget it, these intricate legal devices to get around Thai land law are also illegal <I'm not sure about this, but I still agree with you that these legal devices are cumbersome – Stick>
There are two (possible) exceptions that I am aware of:-
• You have become a Thai citizen
• You have purchased a five year VIP Visa (Cost Three Million baht)
It is perfectly legal to purchase a lease on land in Thailand. You do not own the land but you do own the lease, which at the moment can be renewed when it expires, if this is allowed for in a clause in the lease. Beneficial owners of land often keep leases sold to a relatively short term, say about 30 years or so. If you are 55+ this short lease is not a problem to you because you will likely expire before it does. However, if you want your heirs to inherit your property, a short lease will not be suitable.
Once you own a lease on land in Thailand you may do anything you like with it, save for uses ruled out in the covenants. Usually, subject to planning permission, you may build a house or houses on the land with impunity. However you cannot ever sub-divide the land. Your lease puts the land in your full control allowing, subject to any restrictive covenant, you to sell the lease and anything you have built on it at any time during the life of the lease. Note; most Thai wives will not like this option.
This is probably your best option. In Thailand one can rent good housing at very competitive prices within commuting distance of most cities. Unless you are wealthy, avoid the properties that are built for farang. Such houses tend to have extortionate rents. Good Thai for Thai property can be rented by farang and will provide the same amount of space at half the rent of a house built as a farang home or holiday home.
Your language skills.
Is your Thai good enough to tell if your bride to be can speak English or does she just recite English? Did she learn her English, German, French, Dutch or whatever, in a bar as many girls from the I-san do? If you answer yes to the foregoing question then she knows what to say to get what she wants, or to ‘light you up like a Christmas tree’ when she has done something that has upset you. However; she does not necessarily understand what she is saying, or what she has agreed to. Some poorly educated I-san girls con barely comprehend the nuances of their own language let alone yours. In fact one could say that comprehension of anything, other that village gossip, is not their strong point.
Heb farang is now heb farang sami.
Boyfriend or sami (husband), you will always be farang. Yes I know, that you know, that you will always be a foreigner. And that you will always remember your roots back in the old country. But that is not what I mean. What I mean is to her and hers, maybe the entire moobarn; you will be seen as a fountain of benevolence which quenches the need of many. You’ll barely notice at first. You’ll help sick relatives with genuine problems, your car will be called into occasional service for trips into town, yet you’ll never see yourself as the village taxi driver, indeed your aren’t, a taxi driver receives a fare for the service. Dad’s crops fail, he’ll not have a bad year, boy is he glad that the ‘farang in law is here’. You ease into your un-chosen role as benefactor. According to your wealth it might feel good at first; you’re a sort of patriarch come Samaritan resolving seemingly inexpensive dilemmas and faux pas for these lovely simple I-sanian folk. Be very careful, money always came hard to your new kith and kin. If you are not careful you’ll initiate a cash feeding frenzy that will be without end.
You will likely die in her care.
Statistically most of you would have been 55 to 65 or older when you married your Thai darling, while she was perhaps 25 to 35. Are you confident that she will be able to take care of you if your health fails? Does she know who to call if you have a heart attack? Can you be sure that she would want you to survive it?
Are you confident that your partnership ‘marriage’ will endure?
Your last marriage failed, your marriage to a wife who has difficulty in understanding your language or culture has a poorer chance of longevity that any marriage you had in your homeland.
Whose money is it anyway?
After you have settled down she will continue to hold her hand out for money, regardless of how much you give her on a regular basis. Oh you think just like your wife in Farangland used to. Wrong! It’ll be every time she goes grocery shopping, when she treats her family or friends, when she puts petrol in the motorbike of the car, when she buys a lottery tickets (and don’t think you’ll get half the winnings), and when it is someone’s or other’s birthday….!
Joint Bank Account!
Do not even contemplate a joint bank account with your Thai wife. <This is THE rule, no matter what, NEVER have a joint bank account – Stick> She will know that the money is hers. In Thailand the husband generally gives all of his pay to his wife leaving her to give him what he needs for personal expenses when he needs it. Thai wives are good at managing small sums of hard earned money and manage it well. But you’re a farang, for you the rules are different because you’re rich!
A lot of good advice here, but I would suggest that it is slanted towards older farangs who married bargirls. Still, a lot of it applies to all of us.