Stickman Readers' Submissions March 2nd, 2006

Response to “Beyond Sin Sot …”

Dear Mr. Anonymous, I have to comment on two points of your submission “Beyond Sin Sot and towards getting amply rich”.

Firstly, you wonder “Where do they get theses ideas from?” The ideas to “lie and cheat” and kick the ass of their farang boyfriend or husband once the house is built, that is.

He Clinic Bangkok

I am quite astonished because the answer is so obvious and yet, you don’t seem to see it: It is from you and other farangs as stupid as you that they get these ideas. By your idiocy, you have shown to your first “girlfriend” how easy it is to make a fortune (by Thai standards). What do you expect to happen next in a materialistic society? Of course, this woman will try to play the trick again, and others who have seen it will be tempted to do the same. You have lived in Thailand for four years by now, haven’t you? You do know that the Thai have their own system of values, which is VERY different from ours, don’t you?

Please excuse my using of harsh words, but it is you and the likes of you who are responsible that my current relationship with a Thai woman will end much sooner than I would like it to.

I have been together with my Thai girlfriend (not a “bar girl”, and not 30 years younger than myself, either) for two years now. She is the most wonderful woman I have ever met, and yet, we will probably not make it through the third year.

CBD bangkok

Just like you write, she is under enormous pressure from her neighbours in Thailand, but also from her family and especially from her mother (!!) to get rid of me. “This farang is no good. You have been together for two years now, and he has not bought you a house yet. You should get rid of him, go work in a bar and find a new one.” Said in my presence while smiling at me, assuming that I would not understand her Lao dialect.

Now you really, really do wonder where she gets this idea? Well, I can tell you. Because in her town, there have been two “cases” like yours already, so of course she considers this to be the norm.

Please let me point out that she does not have a real reason to complain, because I do give her family a substantial monthly allowance. And before anyone points his finger at me, screaming that I am not better than the ones I am arguing against, let me explain why I do that.

My girlfriend has the responsibility for two kids, One being her own, the other being her niece whose parents have both died. But when she is staying with me, which is about 9 months of the year, she cannot work and earn money to feed the children. So it is obvious that I pay for their upkeep, isn’t it? I like them too, so I won’t have them hungry and dressed in rags. Therefore, right in the beginning of our relationship, when she first came to Europe, we agreed that I would pay 10,000 baht per month to her family. If I consider all the occasions when I have chipped in something at special occasions – for example, when her brother died –, the real amount is closer to 15,000 baht.

wonderland clinic

To put this into perspective: This is more than the average family income in Thailand. It is more than anyone in her family has ever made. My girlfriend, who has worked as a seamstress in Bangkok most of her life, usually got between 5,000 and 7,000 baht, of which she sent 2,000 to 3,000 to her family. (She managed to do that by eating nothing but plain rice for months.) So one should believe that they really do not have any reason to complain about my generosity, right? Wrong. Because there are just too many stupid farangs like you out there, who show them that there could be much more to gain.

Then why don’t I just buy that house for her? Putting it in my name, of course, not in hers, so that something like your little adventure could never happen to me.

Well, there are several reasons.

– I am not poor, but the 500,000 – 1,000,000 baht required to build a decent house in Isaan is real money for me, money that I don’t spend lightly.

– I have absolutely no use for a house in Thailand. I own two homes in Europe already, and I have no plans to ever relocate to Thailand because, frankly, I have yet to discover why so many of you are so fascinated with the place. I certainly will not go there before retirement which is at least 20 years down the road.

– My girlfriend has no real use for a house, either. Most of the time, she stays with me in Europe, anyway. And her parents’ home, while being a mere wooden shack by our standards, is huge. In fact, it is bigger than my two homes combined, and the family currently occupies only the first storey. So if you have more than enough space already and you need it for at most two months per year anyway, would you even consider buying an additional house if you had to use your own money?

– Finally, even if I bought a house (after all, I would not hesitate to spend this money and much more if she needed, say, expensive medical treatment), it would not change anything. It would only show to them that their method works. Next would have to be a car (Isuzu D-Max, to be precise), even though nobody in her family can drive, and after that, who knows, additional rice fields? They have already hinted to me that this would be a good investment, knowing full well that a farang cannot buy land in Thailand.

We all know that for a Thai woman, family, and especially parents, enjoy a higher priority than boyfriends or husbands. So it will be only a matter of time before my girlfriend caves in to their demands. If any of you readers who have seen more of Thailand than Phuket, Pattaya and the bars of Bangkok has any idea how I can protect this relationship, please let me know.

Now let me come to my second point. You seem to be very happy that your girlfriend leaves the choice in the matter of marriage and sin sot up to you. Well, sorry to inform you, but you are wrong. Unless your girlfriend is very different from all the Thais I know, you have misunderstood her completely and, frankly, don’t seem to know her well.

When a Thai woman says “up to you”, there is one thing that she most certainly does NOT mean, namely “It is up to you”. Instead, she has usually given you her opinion on the matter before – often quite subtly and easily overlooked, but in your case apparently very bluntly – and expects you to do “the right thing”, i.e. comply with her wish.

Let me give you a few examples.

We are studying the movie program for the weekend. She points out one film and tells me the she likes this one. So I ask her whether she would like to see a movie tonight. “Up to you.” We go and buy the tickets for the movie that she has pointed out to me. (The negative answer would have been “I am tired”, “Can we go tomorrow?” or something along this line.)

We are shopping for a jacket for her. Always a tricky matter, because most shops in Europe simply don’t carry her size. Finally, we find one that fits her and suits her well. So I ask her whether we should buy this jacket. “Up to you.” We buy it. (The negative answer would have been “I don’t like it.”)

We are travelling and looking at a hotel room. I ask her: “Do you like it?” “Up to you.” Meaning “no” in this case. (The positive answer would have been “Ok” or “I like it.”)

This one is actually a bit trickier because, depending on the situation, there are at least two possible interpretations of the “no”: One being “I do like it, but I think it is too expensive and I don’t want you to spend that much money”, so a proper response to the “up to you” could be: “Well, I think it is a bit expensive, but I don’t know if there are any other places, and anyway, we haven’t spent much money today, so we should be able to afford it.” The other interpretation being “It is a horrible place, please let’s find something else.” To which the reaction is obvious.

Anyway, Mr. Anonymous, I wish you good luck. And please, for your own best, try to understand what is REALLY going on around you before you act.

Stickman's thoughts:

This is fast becoming a very real issue for Westerners living in Thailand. I am surprised at the number of Thai families who brazenly tell their daughter that something is up because farang hubby has not bought her a house yet. It is NOT just bargirls this is happening with either. Sure, most families are good, but some are real ratbags!

nana plaza