Readers' Submissions

Ghost in Isaan

  • Written by Hawkeye
  • April 15th, 2008
  • 4 min read



I’ve been a Stickman reader for a few years now. It has been quite enlightening to read the various perspectives and experiences of those who have experienced the Land of Smiles. Much of what I have read has to do with the trauma associated with bargirls. A few of the submissions have touched on life with non bargirls. Please excuse any generalizations I may make in this submission. This is one man's point of view. Since I am married to one of these “good girls”, I have some first hand experience which seems to agree with some of the perspectives I’ve read on this site.

My wife’s parents live in the Isaan region of Thailand. They are poor and not well educated which is the norm where they live. They have seven children most of whom have abdicated the support of their parents to the farang who have married their sisters. Men married to women whose relatives live in this region know all too well of the hidden financial expectations that he marries into if he chooses a mate from a similar situation. He may be expected to pay sin sot, a regular stipend for parents, a brother’s new motosai, parents' hospital bills etc. I’ve recently been expected to contribute $600 US for some kind of ghost appeasement ceremony. Apparently, my wife’s mother felt the ghost of her mother was causing her to be ill and had to be appeased. Some kind of ceremony was necessary and you know who was expected to supply the funds or be labelled ki neow (cheap bastard). I tend to bow to my wife’s cultural expectations in order to save her face. This amount was supposedly shared by my sister in law who also lives in the USA.

In exchange for a clean house and an attentive mother who will tolerate some passionless obligatory sex occasionally, I get to pay for everything. Nothing in my socialization has prepared me for the cultural gap which I feel constantly. Things such as the difference in education and family values are a constant source of frustration. She does not want me to learn Thai for some reason. Hmmm. An intellectual conversation is out of the question and she has the annoying habit of asking me the same question over and over. The needs of my family are not important. I’m supposed to bend over and supply funds when requested. <I need read no more. Kick the slag into touch. I'm seriousStick> I think that in most cases, (good girl or not) the farang is a walking ATM and will be expected to maintain that status indefinitely.

While there are advantages in marrying a Thai woman, there are some obvious disadvantages. I am retiring to Thailand in the not too distant future and the major advantage I’ll be able to experience is the Thai female tendency to tolerate male promiscuity as long as he knows and plays by the rules. That is, I must protect her face and not treat my mistress better than my wife. I know I will not find the true affection which is beyond my reach, but at least I will be able to rent a damned good imitation and still maintain my marriage. I just have to hold on until I can get there. As you have no doubt been able to infer, I am not real happy with my marriage. In the west I would be faced with the options of living out the rest of my days unhappily, or dealing with child support and separation from my little “luke kreung” daughter who I dearly love and the financial ruin resulting from divorce. I’ve been there and done that and I don’t want to go through it again.

I guess I’m doomed to butterflying for the rest of my days. In so doing, I can avoid getting too involved in the inevitable financial demands resulting from a committed relationship commonly associated with Thai women. At least I won’t have to pay for any more ghost ceremonies, motosai or hospital bills. I know enough about how things work to avoid these pitfalls. The only thing that worries me is the possibility that I may fall for charms of one of the ladies despite my knowledge of how disastrous the consequences of that could be. I am vulnerable and I know it. The absence of passion and real affection coupled with never ending financial expectations leaves me open to exploitation. In essence, the culture of the land of smiles is both my curse and blessing. I wonder how many marriages between Thais and farang are really happy. I ponder how long it takes for him to tire of the never ending financial responsibility, lack of real communication, and in my case disinterest in anything sexual. Do bargirls stay sexually charged after marriage? How many Thai women lose interest in sex at some point in their forties and how do their husbands deal with it? How do they deal with the ghost in Isaan?

Stickman's thoughts:

To me this sounds like a NIGHTMARE marriage. I simply could not live like that. You only live once and if you're not happy, you have to do something about it. If you didn't have a daughter, it would not be so hard, but she rather complicates matters. Good luck.