Readers' Submissions

Women East, Women West

  • Written by Felix
  • September 12th, 2006
  • 6 min read


This FR is based on a late-night excursion in January, 2006.
The essayist Ian Buruma, a contributor to the now defunct weekly „Far Eastern Economic Review“ once wrote that as a young man he was fascinated by the idea of the Asian Woman. In his vision this was a person that was much more permissive than the pale skinned girls around him. He cited quite a few examples of famous men who had the same perception.

When I was young I had the luck to attend an international boarding school where we had students from all continents. There I learned that every girl was a mystery in herself, regardless from where she came. Nationality or race was of no importance to us.

In a certain way I always have felt as a world citizen, never as en expat. If I close my eyes I do not recognize what kind of woman I embrace, western or an eastern. I have been crazily in love and boundlessly happy with both of them at different times.

In some readers submissions I meet guys who compare a western woman worn out by nineteen years of marriage to a nineteen year old Thai BG. This just is not fair. How would these same men feel when they suddenly meet a nineteen year old western call girl after having been married for nineteen years to a Thai lady?

I remember that once after having travelled for weeks through Asia without seeing one European face I sat in the departure lounge of Don Muang when suddenly the crew of a Lufthansa flight entered. I was delighted to see the long legged stewardesses with their light, blond hair. I knew instantly that I had missed something in Asia.

On the other hand, if I am in Europe und I see a pretty Asian face among the drab masses of Europeans looking all alike, my heart beats faster.

While in my opinion it is as good to love a western or eastern girl as long as the love is hot – when the forest fire of passion burns down to embers it might be useful to be conscious of three Asian character traits, which might have an impact on a lifelong partnership. They have all been discussed here, so I just put them together in concentrated form. They are jealousy, family dependence and adultery.

The potential of the Asian Woman for jealousy is unbelievable. Where a western wife – if she found out about something unacceptable – would ask her best friend for the name of a divorce lawyer, a Japanese housewife might walk into the kitchen and muster her kitchen knives. Which one would be most suited to do the job? <Are Japanese women really known for doing this? I thought notStick>

Jealousy is a drive which does not shrink with age. One of my best friends was married for nearly thirty years to an Asian woman who had the best family background. They had three children and owned a beautiful house. One evening the wife drove home from some hi-so event, when she saw the car of her husband parked in a public place. Inside sat he, making small talk to a beautiful western woman. His wife turned her car around, accelerated and drove with all force into the other car. Both cars were wrecked. The marriage too.

I asked the wife later: “Why did you do that?”

She answered, “I do not know. I just felt the urge to do something drastic and rigorous.”

This urge seems to be a common denominator in a number of Asian women.

The concept of family in the east and the west cannot be compared. In the west the bible has told us that a wife has to leave father and mother and follow her husband. In the east the family is the most important unit of society. A husband is only an ornament. The daughter will be primarily committed to her family of origin.

Different Asian countries have different ways of integrating a Farang husband into the family. On the Pearl River I met a Canadian woman who was married to a Chinese. She had visited his family in China while he stayed in Canada. She was amazed how much she had been accepted as a family member by her married-on relatives. Her Chinese nieces came to her, sat on her bed and wanted her advice on problems that are typical for young women. She doubted that a Chinese auntie in Canada would have enjoyed the same respect. This seems to be an example of a Farang entering the innermost "circle", as described by Lecter in his September 1st submission.

Another case: A Hong Kong shipping tycoon let his daughter marry an Austrian businessman. Because he now was family the tycoon made his son in law the CEO of the airline Dragon Air. After the death of his father in law the Austrian became helmsman of the Hong Kong based “World Wide Shipping Company”, one of the biggest ocean carriers that exists.

I have been trying to collect similar success-stories from Farang-Thai intermarriages, but I found none. If you know of one, please e-mail me. I do not want to become prejudiced.

Fidelity in marriage is not an issue for many Asian women. In the feudal Asian society the concept of monogamy was unknown. A rich man could have as many wives and concubines as he liked. For the woman there was no security in such a kind of partnership. The marriage was not a pledge between two persons to stay together until death parted them, supported by God.

While the ability to love a man is in the Asian woman as highly developed as in her western counterpart, marital faithfulness is not the central focus of her life. Many Asian women have no pangs of conscience when they share their body with two or three partners in the same time span. She enjoys it. She has a relaxed relationship to sex.

It is possible for a Farang to become the lover of either a married Thai woman or even the mia noi of a rich and powerful man. But is it advisable? In Vientiane I once had a flirtatious relationship with the mia noi of one of the ruling generals. She came from another Asian country, I spoke her language, and she enjoyed my company. One evening after I had danced slow fox with her in one of the finest night clubs of Vientiane, a chum came to my hotel room and said, "Felix, you must immediately leave this country."

"Why?" I laughed.

"The general is releasing an order to shoot you at sight."

"How do you know?"

"I have my sources." (He was a news man.)

"I don't believe you. We live in the twentieth century."

"Don't be stupid. This is a lawless country, a lawless society. Move your butt."

I did.

The ease with which some Asian women enter extramarital affairs is paradox if you consider their penchant for jealousy. This is for me the greatest mystery in Oriental women. But it is the contrary of the mystified permissiveness Ian Buruma hoped to discover. It does not exist.


Stickman's thoughts:

Some interesting thoughts here. I do believe that the average good Thai woman is much less likely to have an affair once married, than a Western woman. I do however believe that while they are in a serious relationship, but not yet married, that the chances of them fooling around on their spouse are much, much higher than the comparable Western woman.