Stickman Readers' Submissions September 19th, 2008

Happy in Thailand (Well almost) Part 7

Back to Bangkok, our room was first through the hall from the entrance door and one day I had been to the ATM and withdrawn 20,000 baht. I must have gone to the loo down the hall, either that or when we both took a shower at night, someone removed 14,000 baht. They were generous enough to leave me 6,000, my bank cards and passport though which is why her family got the blame. After this we locked everything in a drawer except our mobiles. These went missing about a month later under similar circumstances. Now even E doesn't trust anyone and our bedroom is locked full time even from her daughter unless we're in, not that we don't trust her daughter but if she doesn't have access then there is no suspicion.

In March 2007 E gave up her job and moved up to the village with her daughter to live with me in the house. I told her I would give her every month what she had been earning in Bangkok (10,000 baht). Before she left Bangkok she asked if we could lend 20,000 baht to her friend in Bangkok and she would repay with 5% per month interest and I agreed to this. Later her cousin's daughter asked to borrow 50,000 baht and as her cousin had been good to E when she was working with a child we agreed.

We carried on with the pigs at the sty at her brother's but not in partnership. We were doing it ourselves. The land our house is on is 1 rai, 1600 M² and we had 2 sties built at the bottom of the garden but we still used the one at her sisters. We bought 2 young sows from a friend of hers that had borrowed money from us and called these Ham and Bacon. Later Bacon was renamed Houdini because we couldn't keep her in the sty and as soon as she became big enough she WAS bacon or at least pork. Later we ended up with a mature sow and 9 piglets as part payment of the loan. Now this sow was like a house side, a large white, at least 200 kg. We called her Mama Chang and really, despite her size, she was good natured but one day she trapped my leg against a wall because she was being friendly and wanted rubbing. I think we were screwed because the sow must have been older than she said but TIT and you can even screw your friends. We also bought 2 more sows for breeding from another farm in the village and we called these 2 Pinky and Perky. We also bought some of the black village pigs because I wanted them as a novelty. I don't know whether you get the idea now but I was trying to start a small business so that Thailand would pay for itself and I wanted a hobby to occupy my time and keep me fit. Speculate to accumulate.

As soon as E arrived in the village people started coming, asking to borrow money. The farang is loaded of course. I convinced E that you can't make money from working and money makes money so we went this way and within 6 months we had about 700,000 baht loaned out. Strictly illegal of course because I believe the maximum interest rate allowed is 1.75% and most of this was at 10% but this is normal in the villages. At this rate we only had to collect for 10 months and we would have our money back. E still hates it because of the stress of chasing people for money but after 18 months in business we have our money back even with the defaulters.

We were offered land to rent opposite the house, about 10,000 M² for 3,000 baht a year so we grabbed it for 10 years but insisted on a legal document. TIT. Someone had ducklings on the land with nowhere else to put them so we bought them, about 60, and kept them in a pen. It had 6 ponds that we cleaned out and made into 5 (20,000 baht for the machine). The owners had just about cleared the fish out but we pumped the ponds dry and let her family take what was left. They spent hours sifting the ponds taking everything no matter what the size. There is something with Thais and fish. We limed the ponds to kill everything that was left and kill any bugs and bacteria and the ducklings escaped and we ended up with 10. We built another 4 pig sties in a hurry on the bank between 2 ponds and used bamboo. Big mistake because the pigs just chew it up and we spend too much time repairing it.

We employed E's sister to work for us for 3,600 baht a month to do the hard work in the land across the road but one day E heard her talking to a neighbour about her and I thought there was going to be fisticuffs. She was finished on the spot and we looked for someone else. The young guys in the village must be the idlest bastards on earth. They'd rather sit on their backsides all day and play with their fighting chickens than earn a few baht working. They all want jobs to earn money but none want to work for it. One guy that owed us money wanted a job to pay us off and he lasted one day in the sun. The next day he had a fever and then he did a runner to Bangkok. Another one (I called Strong boy because he was always trying to prove how strong he was but was short on the grey matter) was so unreliable he was unemployable because he was always breaking tools and had the Thai book of excuses for not turning up to work. He was supposed to work 6 days but Saturday was his fighting fish day. E eventually found a woman about the same age as her and she's done quite well and has been working for about a year.

To be continued.

He Clinic Bangkok

Stickman's thoughts:

It's an interesting lifestyle you lead up there. I personally couldn't do it but I know many like to get back to nature, so to speak.

nana plaza