Stickman Readers' Submissions May 11th, 2006

No Passport To Success

Have you ever wondered about one particular day in your life and how different your life would be if you had made a different choice on that one day? At the time you make your choice you have no idea that what you do will conspire to alter the path of your life and affect your family. With luck your family will be oblivious, but you will always wonder about “that” choice.

I do not really want to tell you about it but I suppose I must because I am a fellow Stickmate, just like you! I am a little scared that Mr. Stick will scold me and that you have heard many stories like this before. Never mind, we all want to read more and maybe learn one new piece of wisdom, or folly from each story.

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Kim was 6 months pregnant with her second child when her husband left her. She lives in the village with mum and dad. They are very poor. Her cousin has married a farang and she is in the “restaurant industry” in England. Cousin, Pom is a very good cook but I never found her restaurant, maybe she said restraint?

The family are happy that Kim says she will work in the restaurant. Anyway a bit of networking takes place, 2 weeks of English lessons, and a brief job description, then off to England. Mum and Dad didn’t share my curiosity about how their daughter travels around the globe without a passport. Well if you haven’t got a passport you will not need a visa! Silly me for not thinking Thai. No need if you are connected.

Oh there is one thing I should mention and that is the fee of about 1,700,000 baht. Kim is aware of the job and services she will be providing and she agrees to pay the fee. Kim now believes she has an agreement, but Pom would rather use the word contract, I may suggest the word unscrupulous, criminal, and immoral? You choose.

Kim arrives and simply breezes past the immigration officials, only hesitates long enough to pat their lovely Labradors and is a little puzzled as to why they carry white sticks, not guns. She is one of 2 girls and their minder to arrive that day.

Kim and the others are met by Pom and her husband. Everyone is happy. Kim has a chance to provide for her family, Pom and the minder look forward to sharing the fee. However, Pom has the option to reduce the fee to 500,000 baht as a one off payment. (Her husband has a very good job in a bank and can easily borrow).

So Pom could add 500,000 (paid) + 850,000 (Pom’s share of fee) = 1,350,000 baht. Thereby helping Kim (Thai family), without losing financially herself. Why didn’t she choose this option? I just thought Thai families would do this. Please do not judge Pom because someone that sniffs talcum powder is a little strange don’t you think?

Kim is looked after for the first three months. She lives with Pom, she goes to work, she parties at home or nightclub with other Thai girls, her family are sent 20,000 baht per month. The debt is a constant worry and at first she would sometimes cry about the work (but this passed). Kim was paranoid about the police, but why? They can not do anything to a law abiding illegal Thai!

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The Thai training was not very good but Kim was learning so much with work experience. Like after work hours any money obtained freelancing was all hers. And when at work she could buy clothes and goods from some men who came to receive her service (I don’t know the Thai word for shoplifter). Life was good but she would think about her boys and she became sad and lonely sometimes.

What she wished for was someone to look after her. Six months passed. Kim was on her second boyfriend. She had settled into her new life living away from London but returning at the weekend to see her Thai friends especially for the night cub experience.

The two girls she used to share a room with in London had found themselves Daddies. One man paid 1,300,000 baht and the other 800,000 baht to rid them of debt. Then proceed to keep them as wives. Neither was rich, they were both good men. The girls looked after them well but lied and cheated if money was to be gained. Both girls lied about the amount of their debt and they both sent 50% of the money home. Kim was jealous and hoped for some good fortune to come her way, fortune being the operative word, please Buddha.

4th December 2003. Location McDonald’s. Time 10.30 AM. Farangland.

Kim (Daughter) meets her Daddy on her birthday. (Did she tell me so I would buy the coat?). But I was clever because I didn’t fall for the engagement ring trick. Ha ha! I did have a lovely hour then she went to work. Also I had a date for Saturday, (clinically sick from day one, silly bugger).

Now an hour before our date Kim calls and says she has been robbed at gun point. I go but wonder if this is true, I have never seen a gun here in my years. The reason I want to see her is because I am bored and want some excitement. Well I certainly came to the right girl. She didn’t lie about being robbed. I take her to a hotel and make her comfortable. I explain I am married with one child. (Honest with a woman I have only just met but deceiving my wife). This is not a problem says Kim as she digs into her bag for some condoms. I thought she might want to sit with a nice cup of tea. (Not very sanuk.) At this early stage I had no idea about what was happening to me or Kim. She slept alone that night. The next day I took her to the station. She moved back to live and work in London.

Our next meeting (I had realized by now she was not my date) in London was 11.00 am. Kim looked a wreck. I had a coffee, she slumped across the table. At this point I said something to her. I don’t know why I said it but I knew it was true. My words were, “I should give you £15,000 now and forget you forever”. I didn’t know the baht or the exchange rate at the time but it was 1,000,000 baht! I knew she was trouble but Stickmates “THE FORCE” was with her. I looked after her as she slept (nothing else) in the hotel. I gave her some money as she left.

I think I will give her one last chance so I invite her to my town to see me. She comes and we have a truly wonderful time, until she asks for – MONEY? (Yes I am laughing too). I sometimes wish I was still that lovely naive man. I walked out very angry because I thought we were friends and I thought I had principles. My behaviour over the following years has proved me wrong though.

OK one more last chance. We meet and she looks very beautiful tonight but I am strong. I say “I have money for you in my hand, take it “I put it to her palm and gently close her hand. Then I am so clever with my words “Kim please tell me the truth. If you are my girlfriend stay, but if you already have a boyfriend you should go. Keep the money but give me a true answer” (if you don’t stop laughing I will yellow card you). So she probably had her fingers crossed, therefore technically she wasn’t lying, and anyway I had a great night, so there.

This goes on for three months. I know her game and I am in complete control. Yes and I give her money because she is my friend, the phone is so we can talk ok, and any good man would pay her rent wouldn’t they? See I am 100% in control. (Ok, you can laugh now). We have fun. It snowed one day, what pleasure to see her excitement, a Thai snow virgin in the English countryside. (Something different in every story). Daddy and Daughter spend an increasing time together and are beginning to bond.

However I know it is wrong for me to be with her. I justify my behaviour by thinking I know she is bad but I can catch her out one day and give myself a reason to finish with her. She is an illegal alien she is no threat. I have all the power. Why do I think these things but can not bear to be without her?

I nearly caught her out one day in this period. I drive to London 3:00 am Sunday and call from the car. I am lucky, she answers. I say “I come to see you now”.

Reply “no, no stay home, see me tomorrow”. She is between nightclubs and she does not want me to come. I insist and I meet her at the nigh club. I didn’t find out that day why she didn’t want me there.

During this three month period we talked about sharing accommodation and to my surprise she said she would live with me. I rented a place to be near my job and suggested she work for me as a painter. I said that she could be a workman as opposed to being a “work lady” (official slang amongst Thai in London- otherwise known as bar girl in Bangkok). Oh now Kim is very happy and we live together. This also has the effect of making the other girls jealous. In fact Pom is so jealous and worried that Kim’s debt may not be honoured that she tells her to go back to her restaurant to work! Kim packed a bag and went, reluctantly.

I was not happy. Pom had asked me to pay 800,000 baht about one month earlier to help Kim. “Me don’t make no money, you pay if you love her” were Pom’s words to me. Perhaps Pom thinks she can blackmail me. As luck would have it though, Kim didn’t want to work in the horizontal position when she could have £500 plus all expenses and entertainment and live like a farang wife. A set monthly payment was agreed between Kim and Pom. Kim returned and our honeymoon began.

Yes honeymoon period indeed Stickmates. Yes you can take the girl out the bar. Yes she can be a wife in Farangland. I gave Daughter safety and security. I was what she at 25 years wanted and needed. She gave me the things I wanted. To her credit she was committed 100%. Prepared to work hard and be faithful to me. I wanted to live this new life but part of me was unsure. I was ignorant but not stupid. We lived blissfully happy together, working daytime and leisure time just like your average couple. Daughter cooked very well and ate very very well! Thai food, Farang food, food never a problem. We went shopping together and to the pub and we watched football together. Clean the flat and do the washing. We enjoyed days out sightseeing. We laughed a lot. Her English was very good. I was even allowed to show affection in public and she reciprocated. (I never understood how a girl can have ten customers in one day but not want to kiss her man in public.)

When Daughter phoned home she sounded happier than before. Mum sent pictures of her sons and the family for me to look at and some Thai medicine for me too. A lot tablets for one ailment! Daughter was a very good worker and learned quickly. I would tell her I am helping you to help yourself. I would give encouragement.

I hardly had anything to be worried about. Just one thing though, partly of my own making. You see every second week I would go to see my child for one or two days. Daughter would go to see her friends in London and go night club. I wondered why she didn’t answer the phone. This happened two times and I was angry, I felt she was hiding something. I looked at her phone (another step towards disaster). I discovered one of her friends was a man. Just a friend she explained, always part of the gang at the nightclub. I don’t know how but I could tell there was something more sinister than what she was telling me. I told Daughter that she is to tell no more lies and have no other man but me. I asked if she had slept with her man friend in such a way that her only option was to give the answer no! I dropped the subject.

There followed 20 weeks of happiness and romance. We learn about each other’s needs and expectations by understanding different cultures. We have a willingness to help each other. We have a very strong bond. We stay away from the London scene except when we would visit together. We are both in love but neither can say why. It just is. Both have hopes and fears for the future.

To be continued.

Stickman's thoughts:

It will be interesting to see where this goes. I will refrain from making a prediction…

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