Readers' Submissions

Refusing To Give In

  • Written by Anonymous
  • April 25th, 2006
  • 7 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

I read your article about the waitress in Pattaya. I would like to give you a similar story.

I have lived in Thailand for 11 years. When I first started working here, my office was across the street from Patpong. I lived near the airport during the time of lots of construction. It was difficult to get a taxi until about 9:00 pm and buses were very crowded until about that time.

I don't drink. I also wasn't interested in finding a lady for the evening. I had a family and was expected home by a certain time.

I spent a few hours just strolling around, finding something to eat and then perhaps going up to one of the bars to kill an hour or two watching the go go girls and drinking a few Cokes.

Most of the women would either leave me alone or chat with me when they had nothing else to do. I spoke fluent Thai as I had been a translator in the military back in the 70s while stationed in Thailand.

One evening, a lady started to message my back. I didn't like this because this generally was a ploy to get a tip. I asked the woman behind me what she thought she was doing. She sat down right away and told me she just wanted to meet me because she had heard me speaking Thai. She said she had seen me around and just wanted to talk.

I chatted with her and one of the ladies who worked at the club came over and told me that they had rooms upstairs I could rent. The lady next to me was very angry. She told me and the lady suggesting the rooms that she was not a prostitute and was not available. The other lady said — well as long as you have been talking — you might as well get paid.

The lady I was talking to was very upset.

I asked the lady he rage – expecting her to be in her late 20s. She said she was 42. I couldn't believe it. I asked her again and she said 42. This made her one year older than me.

She explained that she used to be a maid who cleaned up the bars during the day. She did about 9 bars a day and got paid about 6000 baht per month. She said that she was offered a waitress job when she quit as the maid because the owners of the bar thought she was honest. They didn't want someone younger who would steal money from customers or someone who would go out with customers because they needed someone to show up.

She told me that with tips she was making about 7,000 baht a month. This was after money was deducted for time she took off on her own as she actually only got 2 days off a month but she needed more.

She told me she had three adult children. Her husband had been incapacitated in an auto accident. He was Chinese and met her in Khon Kaen and brought her to the city. After his accident, she had to take care of her three children and get them through school. She had only a 3rd grade education because her mother didn't see any reason to put her through school.

At this time, she had had sex with two men, her husband and a Thai guy she met later. The Thai guy she met later was poor and she didn't see it as leading to anything so despite working in Patpong, she had gone without sex for 10 years.

She told me that she hated Patpong and longed for the day when developers would tear it all down. She disliked the prostitutes and told me about their filthy habits, Thai boyfriends, various murders and thefts that had taken place in the bars.

The lady had saved about 30,000 baht — back when the baht was 24 to the dollar. She had put two of her children through college and had one more going to school. She gave me her phone number and told me it would be okay to call her.

I called her and invited her to meet me for ice cream. She came out. In the day, she didn't look as attractive. Her teeth had some brown stains and the clothes she wore were old and ragged looking.

We ate ice cream and she told me it was simply too expensive for me to buy her that. She also told me it was hurting her teeth as they were sensitive. I told her to go to a dentist and come back and tell me what it would cost to fix her teeth. She came back and told me she didn't really have any cavities. Her teeth were stained and she needed to take care of her gums. I think it cost about 700 baht to take care of this so I gave her this and the next time I saw her, her mouth looked much nicer.

The lady told me she jogged every morning at Lumpini Park. She loved exercise and she would go out about 5:00 am and run for two hours. After that she would sleep until about 3:00 pm and then get ready to work.

I became good friends with her and she would meet me on her few days off and she would offer to take off if I could cover the cost of her taking off — which was about 300 baht per night. We would just eat and talk.

She was most interested in how she could change her life. She said she had never traveled. She had never been to a nice hotel. She had never eaten in a nice restaurant. She said she used to dream of nice things but that she was now only waiting to die after her kids went to school.

One day, she told me she was going to quite working in the bar an open a Kow Soi stand. She wanted to know if I could loan her $500 to do this. She said she would pay me back (she did later).

I loaned her the money. The Kow Soi stand was much harder work than she thought it was and she decided it was not a good business. She saved up enough money to pay me back and she quit.

She then came up with the idea of me getting her a job as a maid working for a person I had just hired to come to Thailand. I told her that I didn't want her to take a degrading job like being a maid. She said it wouldn't be degrading at all. She could save most of her salary and she would live in a nice house. He was single so they got along. She helped him meet some ladies when he got her and acted like his secretary as well as his maid.

When her employer moved, I came up with the idea of setting up a factory which I wound up employing her adult kids to work.

The company was reasonably successful and it afforded the opportunity for her and her kids to do a lot of traveling. They have been to the US about six times. She now has a 10 year visa.

I came up with a new business idea and once again, hired her and her family to set it up for me. Today, that business is three years old and it is doing about $10 million USD per year. She now owns three cars, lives in very nice house and just got a condo for herself. She has over a million baht in the bank and she spends most of her time working out.

She has me photograph her in a bathing suit every year so she can see how she is aging. I think you would agree that at 53, she looks reasonably healthy.

As in your story, what makes both of them unique is they didn't get caught up in prostitution and they didn't have a Thai boyfriend managing them.

While many guys wind up loosing everything because they meet a girl in a bar, I know live in Thailand paying myself a six figure salary and running a business that has every potential of making me quite wealthy one day. I don't think it by any means the average story. The lady I am talking about is named Pong. She never got caught up in the lifestyle and never became a prostitute. She told me many stores of women stealing money from customers and pick pocketing but she thought it was disgusting and felt affection and sympathy for the people who came into where she worked.

When she met me, she made a special effort to win me over as a friend but never tried to make me her lover.

Stickman's thoughts:

More proof that they can make it without getting on their backs. Submissions like this give me a lot of encouragement.