Readers' Submissions

A Sister’s Story




My brother is one of those guys who stayed at home until his mid 30’s, had the occasional girlfriend, but had no clue on social survival, conversation or general confidence. Me, I left home at 17, travelled through Malaysia & Thailand in the early 80’s and settled in London. I made lots of trips back to Thailand on route to Sydney over the following couple of decades. Life for me was one big hedonistic trip whereas my brother was in a depressed void.

One day, much to my surprise, my brother finally took the plunge and left home. This was in the early 90’s. He headed off to my favourite country in the world, Thailand. To my delight he loved it there and started seeing “Pom” who he met on Koh Samui. I knew from my various visits that Pom's background was a bit dodgy but hey, even in western cultures a lot of women see men as a “wallet on a stick”.

Mark & Pom had been living on Koh Samui for about 6 months. Mark had bought into a bar there, Pom had a son (from a previous marriage with a Thai guy) and the 3 of them seemed to have an ideal life. I visited them around '95 and it was good to see my brother and meet Pom and her son. Not long after that Pom got pregnant and Mark came back to Sydney alone to make some money. In reality he became depressed at the idea of real responsibility and wanted his mummy to look after him. He did go back to Thailand about a week before the birth.

I was really looking forward to being an Aunty, but also very worried about my brother and his mental health background and how he would behave as a father. Our parents had not been the best role models as the loving caring types. But over the years Mark had done some things with Pom that I was pretty impressed with: bought her land both in her home village and some land on Koh Samui so her ex could not claim back his child.

Within a couple of months of my niece “Nik” being born, all 4 of them went back to Sydney. Pom had a bit of English but not a lot, and here she was in a farang country with a newborn and a son of 5. No Thai support and only my brother and parents. My idea of hell. For the next 4 years she unfailingly put all her efforts into making a go if it there. Going to English classes, getting her drivers licence, looking after my brother who had another two major breakdowns, trying to feed all of them on the pitiful housekeeping money my brother handed over and generally trying to make the best for herself and her kids.

Just before ‘Nik turned 5 and they had another child, a boy this time. They packed everything up and went back to Thailand. A really good idea I thought, that way Pom could get some support with the kids, and also they would have more cultural input into there lives. They started out building a house on the land they had brought in Pom's village. But this is where it started all going wrong. Mark would stay out late, getting drunk and was very abusive towards Pom and the kids. He would come up with stupid money making scams: a prawn farm, bars, you name it, but nothing ever came to anything. He was just a lazy farang who thought the world owed him something.

He then started seeing a girl who lived in the next village and this caused all sorts of problems. One day he came home and told his daughter to get into the car and snatched the son off Pom's breast and then drove off.

Pom was frantic; she would ring me all hours of the day and night to ask me if I knew where they were. I couldn’t help her. My parents stuck to their story, that Pom asked him to leave and to take the kids with him, as she no longer wanted anything to do with them or him. I always knew this was a lie.

Mark did contact Pom again but only to harass her and get her to sell the land and house and give him back the money. Thankfully she never did do this. He would ring at other times and try and sell back her children to her. This ranged from 1-3 million baht.

Mark moved up north and had various encounters with other women, some he was going to marry, but they turned sour. He had bought all manner of things for them: cows, bulls, washing machines, motor bikes etc. Then stupidly he would go back and try to get these back and wondered why he ended up with scars all over his body from the beatings he got. Some of these times he would take the kids with him for “protection”.

Over that period he asked me twice if I would have the children. Both times I said no, give them back to Pom. Instead he sent my Nik twice to her grandparents in Australia. Both times I was never told, as they knew I still had contact with Pom. Then one day he phoned me again and asked if I would take Nik. This time I agreed. She left Thailand on her 7th birthday and flew as an unaccompanied minor all the way to me.

When she arrived she was a frightened little thing, but slowly she opened up. She told me she had 7 mummies, had gone to 5 different schools in 2 countries and was now in another country and going to her 6th school. She was a slow but keen student. Within days of her arrival we established contact with Pom who was over the moon that finally she could start a relationship again with her daughter. They had not spoken and Nik had no idea if her mum was alive or dead from 3 years.

Things were going really well for a year and Pom had a new boyfriend who would pay for her to come and see her. Around this time I thought I needed to get some legality around all of this so I went to a lawyer to get the ball rolling. Pom came and stayed with us and it was all happy families. We went to a lawyer and got papers signed so I could legally look after Nik. Pom wanted Nik back badly, but we decided it was best she stayed with me, because if Mark found out that Nik was back in Thailand he could kidnap her all over again. We had to send the paper to Mark as well for him to sign and that’s when the sh** hit the fan.

Stickman's thoughts:

Wow, this Mark character sounds like quite a so and so. And the crap hit the fan later? Cripes, it got worse than this?! I can't wait for part 2! Quickly please!