Stickman Readers' Submissions July 14th, 2008

My Delightful Isaan Gambling Princess Part 2 – Conclusion

I considered not seeing Bee any more several times. I liked the fact that because of her poor command of English (almost none) we had to converse mostly in Thai. But her constant requests for “yeuum” (loan) were frustrating. I suspected she was gambling but I just had no evidence. Gambling is one of the strongest human urges. Like excessive drinking – gambling CAN (possibly but not necessarily) become addictive, especially to those individuals who already possess a “chemical pre-disposition to addiction”. Even then it is not my business to interfere in hers or anyone’s life. The fact was, she always “paid” me back – no hesitations – no buts – no delays – no excuses – no accusations.

He Clinic Bangkok

Whenever she called, it was difficult (as in “impossible”) for me to say no. I feel like the gambler who may accept intellectually that this addiction has to stop – but keeps on coming back for the exhilarating process of more punishment – just one more time. I had an obsession myself – my “malady’s” name was “Bee“ – “a puzzle I continue to be unable to solve”.

Years ago a different puzzle occupied my mind, which I defined as an “intellectual obsession”. This interest started already vaguely as a young adult and continued throughout my life. During my lengthy divorce procedure this focus intensified. Some compared my obsession to “John Nash” (A beautiful mind) – others were conveniently prejudiced and crucified me.

“Prejudice is opinion without judgment” Voltaire

CBD bangkok

I did not lose this obsession until I solved the puzzle. The process of solving this puzzle kept me sane during some very, very difficult and strenuous years. The results proved to be different than originally anticipated – I had entered unknown territory. A territory I could not discuss with others – because there was no understanding. It is like living on two different levels of reality – the cross reference is missing.

In many respects it was as in trying to become fluent in speaking, reading and writing a challenging language – like Thai, except in this case there were no established guidelines. They all had to be created. It takes effort, focus and perseverance to reach critical mass – it becomes easy from then on – but one continues to learn. In the end it is all worth it. One says “That which does not kill you – makes you stronger”.

Bee was with me the last time Thursday, May 22 – then she dropped off my horizon. I went to the Soi Cowboy gogo where Bee had danced last – but she was not there. I felt relieved – problem solved – she had gone. Her ‘phone did not answer. But she had changed her number previously so many times. Sooner or later she always called again to ask: “Yuu nai? – Khit theung Papa” (Where are you? Miss you Papa). Frequently I do not answer my phone – unless I recognize the caller. <Yes, I do this too. It often seems in Thailand that no good comes of answering the mobile to a phone number you do not recogniseStick>

June 11 in the early afternoon – after several insisting calls from an unknown number – I answered and heard Bee’s voice: “Papa – Yuu nai? – I am at home in Korat. I come see you, okay mai? Can I stay with you? – Khit theung Papa”. 5 hours later – Bee called again: “I am in taxi coming from Mochit. Mai mii tung (have no money). Can you come downstairs, wait for me – pay taxi? – reo reo (hurry).”

wonderland clinic

My obsession with the puzzle called “Bee” was ready to be solved – but the parameters appear to change daily. Was she gambling? – The answer was – yes. She visited some illegal gambling joint deep in Sukhumvit Soi 22 – and very often returned in the morning – without cellphone – without necklace – without ring – without money.

I believe in the concept: “Trust – but verify”. So when I saw Bee’s SIM – I transferred her calls to my phone. A message came in “Remember Bee you owe me 7,500 baht”. This was my introduction to my competitor PR and thereafter we communicated frequently. It was like peeling an onion – there were many layers – but sooner or later you get to the core where it feels solid – the truth. Bee told me about her 3 year old son “JJ” – and pointed at me – “You Papa” – Wouldn’t it be nice to think so.

She wanted me to talk to some “Puan” (friends) on the ‘phone, who she apparently owed money to. She described them as a nice old couple who own a store “kai kong” (sell things). The lady spoke only Thai – but the lady's husband spoke fairly glib English. Talking to him felt like wearing a condom “it gives you a sense of security while getting screwed”. Was he a loan shark? – Most likely.

Soon it became apparent that Bee’s gambling habits started as recreational gambling. She was not an addict; she just lost and then forever tried to win back. A relief for me – I will not feel like abandoning her when it is time to move on. She was gradually sucked into gambling by unscrupulous people seeing an easy victim, as I have been gradually sucked in by Bee in the process of assisting temporarily.

Bee certainly is re-established now – June 27 – much faster than I anticipated – too fast. What was supposed to be a stay of a few days is going onto 3 weeks. This new gogo has been good for her financially. She appears free of gambling instinct – which was a huge concern for me. I feel surprising pangs of jealousy. I again had entered unfamiliar territory and in this case there was no solution. Not so long ago she was fresh, sweet and enthusiastic with me. Her success has bridled her enthusiasm – at least for me. Her success came at a cost to me – my loss. But I was aware it had to happen – sooner or later – why so soon?

PR only 42 years of age said: “Money is not an issue”. – I could temporarily delay the inevitable – by offering Bee an incentive unlikely to be matched – but I cannot become 42 years old again – not by a long shot. As I sign off to whither into Bee’s background – I will always remember . “My delightful Isaan gambling Princess”.

“…the safest course is to do nothing against one’s conscience. With this secret, we can enjoy life and have no fear of death”. Voltaire

Stickman's thoughts:

The gambling issue is big amongst the bargirls and it is truly a shame that so much of the money they make ends up lost on the gambling table.

nana plaza