Readers' Submissions

Been There Done That

  • Written by Paul
  • August 31st, 2006
  • 5 min read


This is the story of my experiences of living in Thailand for 2 years and then coming back to Farangland. Along the way I worked for a friend in Bangkok (he is Australian also), got a Thai wife, had many business ups and downs and eventually returned to Farangland. At the time I thought I was going to stay in Thailand forever. It just did not work out that way! Sometimes it is best if your dreams don’t come true!

Firstly, a little bit of background information about me. In 2002 my marriage to an Australian was just about over. I was 29 years old. We were friends but felt nothing towards each other. I had also been retrenched. I then decided to accept a job offer from a friend to go and work in Thailand. It involved IT work – basically running a website and managing sales.

I remember thinking on the plane over to Thailand that wouldn’t it be great to have an Asian girlfriend. Little did I realise that it was so easy for your dreams to come true in Bangkok! Within 2 days of being in Bangkok I had negotiated with a freelancer to be my girlfriend. She was / is a stunning girl. Stickman has met her and can vouch for her <Yep, what Paul says is spot onStick>. Not only a beautiful girl but a real nice girl.

Within 2 years of arriving I was ready to go home for good. I was sick of the place. I was sick of Thais. I was sick of the soi rats. I still loved my Thai girlfriend – the same lady I had been with for almost 2 years. If you ever want to see the other side of Thai people, tyr selling back items that you have bought from them! It is amazing how opportunistic these people can be when they think you are desperate for money! In the end I gave all my furniture and computer equipment to my Thai girlfriend. The plan was for her to come out and live with me eventually. Again this did not quite happen!


WHAT WENT WRONG?

WORK – You know the old saying, “never work for a friend or family.” Well that has a ring of truth to it. When we were in Australia I thought this person was the nicest person I had ever met. So positive, so alive and so nice. Little did I know that the truth was not so black and white. Yes – he could be very nice, Yes – he had a heart of gold, Yes – he was a good friend. However this person also had extreme mood swings dependant on his current cash flow – or lack of it! Suddenly I was working 6 days a week (for a very good salary by Thai standards) for somebody who was moody, grumpy, upset and angry….. then he could suddenly turn to the opposite extreme. Eventually we had one argument too many.

MONEY – Thailand can be a very inexpensive place to live. It can also be quite expensive. In the west I rarely ate out. In Thailand you eat out every night. If you are not careful you end up spending a lot more than you imagined! Yes – it was great value however you actually spend more than you intended to in the first place. Internet use is far more expensive than in the west. I also think you get screwed over on the electricity and water charges in the apartment blocks.

After leaving the employment of my now ex-friend I decided to work for myself. This worked out ok for a while and then I got sick and tired of other expats trying to rip me and others off! The expat community has some really nice individuals in it (Stickman included)…. However there is a terrible underbelly also. These are people who survive in Thailand on other people’s misfortune. Although I did not fall to any attempts to take money from me I think some of the deals completed were not 100% straight either.

GIRLFRIEND – After I went back to Australia I took a low level job so that I could think for a while… time to decide what I wanted to do with my life! I took the job of cab driver. It was honest work and was a change from Thailand. Unfortunately there are no low level jobs in Thailand that pay enough to survive! Taxi drivers in Bangkok are lucky to make 300 – 400 baht a day! While in Australia the average is about 3,000 – 5,000 baht a day! During this period my Thai girlfriend came out to Farangland for a 3 month visit. Whilst I was glad to see her she soon realised how tough life can be in Farangland! Unfortunately my father, stepmother and sister refused to have anything to do with her. I was busy working the taxi for money so I would come home tired and sleepy. The Thai girlfriend decided to go back early to Thailand after only 3 weeks. To be honest with you – I was pleased to say goodbye. Somebody once said to me that taking a Thai girl to a foreign country is like taking a flower from the forest… It will soon die and wither away. She had no friends in Australia. It was not what she imagined.

Within a month of her leaving I applied for my first IT job since returning back to Australia. I got the job! It was with a government department. It was good paying but boring! I had completed 90% of my job by 9:30 each morning.

I stayed in touch with my Thai girlfriend and sent money to her. Her wording changed with me. Suddenly I was her best friend, not husband! Secretly I hoped she would find a nice farang to support her. I believe this happened sooner rather than later. In all fairness to her she told me not to send her money anymore. She told me very carefully that she had a few good farang friends.

Since this time I have met a nice Japanese lady in Australia. I can gladly say that I am still good friends with my Thai ex-girlfriend. We never split as such – she simply told me that she needed a sponsor. I talk to my Thai ex-girlfriend about twice a month. I even told her that I had a new sponsor also! My Thai ex-girlfriend said that was good to have a Japanese lady sponsor but to make sure she was really rich as a lot of “them” pretend!

Stickman's thoughts:

It has to be said that Thailand is not for everyone and you came here as a young man, only 10 or so years into your adult life, with another 50 or so ahead of you. Many would say that going back to Australia was probably a good thing. Thailand will always be here and who knows, you may decide to return and have another go at a later date.