Stickman Readers' Submissions February 19th, 2008

Why I Left Thailand & A Thai Wife Gone Bad

This is the story of one farang who had decided that Siam was not to be lived in any more.

mens clinic bangkok

It took me a long time to finally come to this decision, five years in fact (since my daughter's birth).

First a bit of background about myself.

I was bored with the culture and day to day living in my home country (just across the sea from yours, Stick) and decided like many other men that Thailand offered a lifestyle with more freedom and fun without the daily rigid controls of the west; and with many opportunities to make a living as well. So I shut down my business, sold my house and bought a plane ticket. One way!

And so I moved here, after visiting frequently, to live nearly eight years ago with the plan to start a business so as to support myself. But first I travelled around the country for a year getting to know the local women (as we do).

Then one day I met a woman who for many reasons stayed. We then moved to an island of choice and "relaxed" for a year while actively scouting for locations to make an income. During that time we were married and had a baby girl. I finally found the spot, a beachside shophouse, and proceeded to open a restaurant. It went quite well for 18 months and then the media beat up of SARS killed off tourism and even though tourists were not the majority of our customer base, business died. No tourists on the islands meant no money for the Thais who were our main customers. Sure we had expat customers but they were only a small minority. So with that situation was also the daily reality of living in a third world country with a baby to think about. The hospital was a horror show, the school not much better, daily carnage on the road caused by ignorant, negligent peasants that should not have the right to drive, and the petty jealousies that one finds on any island, or in any small town community.

So reluctantly off to the Big Mango we went. To support my family I turned to the TEFL industry and did quite well with the combination of permanent gigs and freelancing (no, not at Biergarten Soi 7 for Heaven's sake) for a couple of years. What I saw in that time caused me to think even more deeply about my daughter's future.

Anyone who was or is in the TEFL industry well knows education in Thailand is a pathetic joke, but this subject has been done to death on many other forums so there is no need to go in to it here in great detail. The guts of it is that I became mortified at the thought of my daughter attending a school where the teachers and faculty are not too concerned with educating. Where Thai teachers are lazy, under educated and too busy playing at office politics. Where you have greedy school owners taking the profits for their own use rather than investing in the school. Where you have dodgy farang and Thai department heads too busy with feathering their little nests and TEFL instructors too harassed to do their jobs effectively. Where you have a culture of people not thinking; not using their brains; and institutionalized corruption, laziness and incompetence. Of course these are generalisations but the facts are that both the education industry and all other sections of the country are rife with all the aforementioned. You may disagree but so would an ostrich!

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So enough of that shit! I decided it wasn't for me and in fact knew that before I started but bread / rice had to be placed on the table.

A new venture beckoned! I started an online business that is still going today and didn't look back.

So here I was living in a nice condo within walking distance of an MRT station, earning dollars and life was good.

So what happened? Why leave, you may ask? My Thai wife! Remember her? I mentioned her earlier on. She's also mentioned in the story title!

Well she threw a spanner in the works! She decided to go to work as we were planning on opening a new restaurant later that year, this time in Pattaya and she thought it would be a good idea to earn a few more baht. So off to work in a pub she went, which BTW I wasn't exactly happy about. But she wanted to have a little bit of independence and her own money which is rare for a TG so I relented even though it meant I would have to pick up her domestic duties as well as earning a living. Anyway long story short – after some time, I don't know when exactly, she fell in with the wrong crowd and started going out after work and coming home at all hours. Night clubbing – RCA, Soi 4 Rachada and so forth, the usual spots. But it gets worse. She started to exhibit the classic behaviour of an addict, lying and neglecting to carry out her motherly duties. As I found out after awhile it was drugs (ecstasy and maybe ya ba) and alcohol. A nightmare to be sure. And all this with a daughter at home. I told her this behaviour was unacceptable for the mother of my child but she ignored my warnings (or did listen but couldn't stop and continued on, but this is not to be a discussion about the desperate compulsion of addicts and their inability to stop and help themselves) – so I threw her out. Literally. And her luggage laterally.

My wife, the mother of my child, a woman that had stood by me for 6 years (with the last year being the only problem period) without the major issues that one reads about on this forum. A woman with a great work ethic who loved having a family. It was probably the hardest decision I have had to make in my life. But for the safety and security of my daughter it had to be done! She had gone too far down the slippery slope to be saved, even though I tried.

I have learnt that a person can only be saved if they themselves want to be. Sometimes you can't lead the horse to water let alone make it drink!

So that was it for me! The final straw that broke the camel's back! I then had to think fast. As she couldn't be trusted to do the right thing or tell the truth (and the same goes for her family) I decided the only thing to do was to get my daughter to my country of birth as soon as possible. First thing to do- instruct my lawyer to organise sole guardianship of my child under Thai law (single dad's take note: his is very important to do if planning on taking a dual national minor out of Thailand in case the Thai family objects. They have stopped farangs from doing so at airport immigration in past cases). Next we had her sign the papers. She did have a choice of course. Either sign at the lawyer's office or be taken to court to have her reputation and character destroyed and then have the judge rule in my favour anyway. So she sighed and signed!

So here we are now, back home where education is free and all of the daily frustrations of living in Thailand don't exist.

Where I can trust my neighbour to take my daughter to school safely and then not to put his / her hand out for a hundred baht. Where education and medical treatment is free, teachers and doctors are satisfactory, and the state supports families. Where the people that I come in to contact with treat me not as a potential source of money.

Now I don't want readers to misunderstand me – a Thai wife gone bad wasn't the only reason. Nor were the visa regulations a lot of people are blaming for their intended or past moves out of Siam as I had a "B" visa which is / was easily obtained.

It was a combination of a whole host of factors. Thai greed and lies which are daily obstacles to surmount or work around. Pollution and bad infrastructure. Extremely dangerous roads and footpaths. A lack of intelligent cohesive laws and regulations regarding foreigners; try and open a bank account and you will know what I mean. The fact that my daughter is a Thai citizen but I am only allowed to live here for 364 days at a time and that the rules regarding visas are becoming ever more stringent were also taken in to account. Ditto for property ownership. And a biggie for me; lack of safety awareness by the population at large. The condo in which I resided is a case in point. One factor in my decision to live there was the fact it was a short walk to the MRT on a footpath that has no vendors or buildings along its length as it's adjacent to vacant land. A pleasant rarity you might think. But everyday it was a shit fight to walk it due to the ignorance and lack of concern shown by Thai motorcyclists using it as an expressway. Many nasty situations ensued.

But having said all this I still miss the place. Most Thais are friendly and are extremely flexible in a lot of situations. They are fun loving and can be nice company (as long as one doesn't mind inane conversation). They always, even strangers, took the utmost interest in my daughter. I do miss the eye candy, the convenience of getting a meal at anytime or anywhere. Now I'm back in my home country I'm cooking every meal because both my daughter and I can't eat fast food or "farang" food.

And the women are even more aggressive, overweight and ugly than I remembered them to be. But no use complaining as I knew it would be like this. I'm here for my daughter, not for myself.

Moving here was difficult; organising our household goods to follow via sea freight, finding a house to lease without being able to show employment. And the cost of everything has sky rocketed since I was here last. I can't now afford to buy the house I sold years ago. For the first few weeks I felt like an alien.

But the important thing is that my daughter is safe, in a nice school and I am not stressed. She can, at five years old, walk to the local shop which is a mere two hundred yards from our house. Unthinkable in Thailand. She can breathe fresh air and swim at a pristine beach. She can play in a park, of which there are several in the area, without the fear of a soi dog attacking her.

I have a mate here with a similar story. He left Thailand with his son three months before I did for much the same reasons so we have a lot in common and give each other support. And he, such as I do, also misses the place but we are realistic enough to know that living there with our children is not in their best interests. Especially as single parents!

A TEFL teacher I met a while ago in Bangkok said to me that it's his opinion that a farang rearing a child in Thailand is tantamount to child abuse. Haha. Ok that's his opinion but there's a kernel of truth in there.

So on balance to sum it all up there is good and bad in both Thailand and "Farangland". But as a father who wants the best care and life opportunities for my daughter and to know she is safe at all times, to know that I'm not being lied to about the silliest things and the most important things lets me know we are better off here and not in Thailand. I know the Thai elite don't give a toss about me as a foreigner and they don't give a toss about my daughter either. Let's face it; they don't give a toss about their own citizens either, do they.

To me Thailand is a place where I experienced the greatest events of my life and the worst. It will be a place to return to as a frequent visitor to meet my friends and I'll enjoy it more as such because I won't be living it daily. I'm not bitter and I do not for one second regret giving the country nearly eight years of my life. I have met some many interesting people, formed lasting friendships with some and have had sex with some of the sexiest women on the planet. And then there is my daughter. Without Thailand she wouldn't exist. She brings sunshine to my life all day, every day. Sure, we both miss her mum but life goes on and day by day she is missing her mum less and less. One day when she is old enough I will have to give her an explanation as to why I took her away from her mum but for now she thinks we're on a holiday. At her age they know more than we think but don't grasp as much of what we think they should.

But Thailand as a place that to live in full time grinds us down daily. And I know some expat westerners will take issue with some of what I have stated but never mind them I say. The Thai visa forum and Thai work places are full of pathetic sycophantic farangs who think that to live there one must suck up to Thais at all times and never criticise them or their values. More fool them I suppose. And the gogo bars are full of drunken whoremongers who defend all things Thai because they can't see the big picture as their vision is both blurred by alcohol and blocked by pussy!

The Thai economy is on a downward spiral, tourist numbers are dwindling and the citizens and residents that work there are in for a rougher time of it in the future. I don't regret the move and think it was the best thing to do. The only thing to do actually. I know of a couple of farangs with children in similar circumstances that are hanging on in Thailand for their own reasons when they should just get back home and place their kids in a decent school environment.

It has been stated by many that Thailand is missing out on a lot of its possible potential both from its exclusion of foreigners and many of its own citizens. I totally agree. Until they open up to without and within nothing will improve. Until they educate their people so as to give them the tools to think critically and to be considerate and aware of others nothing will improve. And until they allow all the classes to participate in the decision making rather than the greedy, corrupt, nasty elites then it will remain a second rate third world mediaeval basket case.

I think Stickman has said in the past (or quoted another) that the concerns of single men and married men in Thailand are poles apart. So you single men reading this keep in mind my views are that of a concerned father. Before my daughter was born I didn't give a toss about most of what I've commented on here!

Follow your dreams and thanks for listening.

Stickman's thoughts:

Excellent. I am sure some will see your writing as a rant, but to me what you said was fair and balanced.

"To me Thailand is a place where I experienced the greatest events of my life and the worst." – great quote this and I am sure many if us can relate to it.

I think what you have done is incredibly unselfish, putting your daughter's life first and foremost. I agree with so much that you say, I really do.

Wishing you all the best in Kangarooland.

nana plaza