Readers' Submissions

A Real Thai Soap Opera Yet Again!



It’s good that I get to school early in the morning because this gives me time to write down the latest chapter in the ongoing Thai soap opera involving my wife’s family. Many people have said it here before. I certainly have said it a time or two. When you marry a Thai woman, you marry her whole family…every last one of them! So cue in the Wurlitzer organ music and get ready for another slice of Thai life. This time the main action doesn’t take place down in Buriram, but right here in Lampang; to be specific on my living room floor where my 15 year old niece likes to sleep. Yueh isn’t really my niece. She’s my wife’s niece, but then who cares about trivial technicalities. For all practical purposes my wife and I are her de facto parents.

Yueh has been living with us for over six months. Her mother, sister in law # 2 (please read A Real Thai Soap Opera to meet the cast of characters that are my wife’s family) asked us to take Yueh in. Hopefully we could provide Yueh some better alternatives than she could have in Nong Ki. After much deliberating my wife and I agreed to give it a shot. It would be nice to have someone available to watch our little boy from time to time. Yueh is actually quite a sweet girl. She is very smart, industrious, but painfully shy around me, even though I have known her for over 10 years.

It took a hell of a lot of running around on my wife’s part to set things up. Yueh needed to be enrolled at a high school near our home. This meant first getting her on to our household register. This is an official Thai government booklet that lists everyone residing in a particular home. As is typical in Thailand, lots and lots of paperwork were required. We fixed up what had been Sam’s bedroom for her, since he was sleeping with us anyway. Yueh’s mother promised to send “some” money to help defray expenses, but I wasn’t holding my breath. In essence, we would be raising this girl for the next several years, and we would be paying for everything: food, clothing, school expenses, etc. Aren’t we nice folks? Well actually, we are! My wife especially wanted her niece to have a chance to become more than another laborer. Yueh had expressed a desire to go to nursing school. She would certainly have a better chance of getting into a nursing program if she attended a better high school than she would have gone to in Buriram. Oh well, having her around would be like having a daughter in the house….sort of.

Up until now there has never been the slightest problem. As I’ve said, she is a quiet, studious girl. She’s had quite the life here. Unlike the shack she’s grown up in, here she’s had a house free from vermin, a refrigerator full of food, running water, (hot water!) UBC, DSL etc. We even bought her a pretty nice used motorcycle. My wife gave her a generous amount of lunch money and a mobile phone. Of course it was moi who was busting his hump seven days a week to pay the bills, but I’m not complaining. In return Yueh did housework, gardening, babysitting when needed and other odd jobs. She has been doing well in school. Often when I get up at 5:00, I find her in our library studying. She’s made some nice friends, both girls and boys, whom she often brings by.

Fast forward to about 1:00 this morning when my mother-in-law got up to use the bathroom. Oh yes, my wife’s mother has been living with us for the past six months as well. She arrived shortly after Yueh did, having finally had enough of her lazy excuse of a husband. You know, sometimes when bar girls say “Thai man no good”, this is exactly the kind of fellow they are talking about! It’s actually been nice having her around. She loves our little boy and she is a human dynamo when it comes to gardening. We now have a bumper crop of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Well anyway, while she was up she went to investigate a “strange noise” in the living room. By the way, this is all according to my wife who filled me in on these events this morning. I thankfully was blissfully asleep through this entire episode. Apparently my mother-in–law got the surprise of her life when she lifted up Yueh’s blanket and found her asleep in the arms of a boy! Thankfully they were both clothed, or she might have had heart failure! She immediately ran to get my wife, who gave the two lovebirds the surprise of their young lives! I was left to snooze on, thank goodness!

Okay, here is the story, as well as I can understand it. Yueh claims that she and her friend had not been having sex. Apparently this boy is one of her friends from school. He has no parents, and lives with some distant relatives. That day there had been a big argument and he ran away from home. He called Yueh that afternoon with his situation, and the two of them came up with scheme. He worked at a local hotel until midnight. Yueh, whose job it is to lock the front gate, instead kept it and the kitchen door unlocked. The plan was for him to leave around 4:30 in the morning. Somehow they would come up with a long term plan. Unfortunately my mother-in-law’s full bladder turned out to be their undoing. What followed was the kind of hysterics reserved for soap operas of the TV variety. Angry whispered accusations, tears, threats etc. I continued to snooze on. Thanks for thick walls and the whirring of the air conditioner. My wife says she actually got out our camera and took a picture of this poor boy, just in case future identification was required. This kid must have been shaking like a leaf! Meanwhile my mother-in-law went up one side of Yueh and my wife went down the other. My wife’s mother was pissed, and she had good reason to be.

Here the plot thickens. It wasn’t until last year that I learned that the man I always thought of as Yueh’s father was not her biological one. It turns out that sister-in-law # 1 had gotten pregnant while a teenager. The real daddy promptly headed for the hills, never to be seen again. “Thai man no good!” In the end it was my mother-in-law who wound up taking care of the new baby Yueh. Then about a year and a half ago my sister-in-law wound up with another unplanned pregnancy, although one started with her husband. Guess who again had to take care of a baby? That’s right, dear old mom. I think that’s one reason why she went berserk this morning. She does not need to see history repeat itself again.

As for my wife, it was disappointment that dominated her emotions. “We’ve done everything for her” she cried to me as I got ready for work. My wife is a very conservative woman, with real traditional Thai values. My teerak came to our marriage bed a certified virgin! She can’t understand why young people want to fool around. Wow, she really is in some ways extremely naïve. When hormones are raging, that’s all young people can think about! Hey mine were, and so probably were yours. Actually mine have never stopped!

So what’s the next vignette in this little saga? I’ll find out when I go home. I know that both my wife and mother-in-law will be calling Buriram pronto. Will little Yueh get sent packing? I doubt it, and frankly I don’t know what would be served by it. First of all we don’t actually know that she was doing anything more than cuddling. Only a doctor’s exam would reveal the status of her virginity. Even then, even though Bill Clinton might disagree, there is sex and then there is SEX. I told my wife to calm down and look at the big picture. Yueh has said that if sent back to Buriram, she will quit school, and just go to work. That would be a crying shame. She is a bright girl. I’d hate to think of her stooping in the fields or toiling in a factory. She really does have the potential to have a professional career. In the end, sending her away wouldn’t solve a “boy problem” if indeed there is one. It will merely change its location. I say let the girl stay. Take her for a doctor’s exam if that will make everyone happier. If needed get her birth control. I vote for the injectable variety and leave out the “forgotten pill” factor. In any case I can hardly wait to get another earful of it all……repeatedly, when I go home. Well not really of course, but I know my wife will be building up steam all day, and I will be the lucky recipient of her opinions whether I like it or not! Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of True Thai Tales, coming soon to this very website!

Stickman's thoughts:

Having met the girl in question, I agree that it would be a great shame if she had to return to Buriram.

So she likes boys? So what? It is completely normal. She simply needs an adult she respects to have a motherly chat with her about what can happen if precautions aren't taken. If she is told to stay away from boys, the complete opposite is going to happen and she may well become the village bike. I hope your Mrs. was able to have a good chat and that the outcome is positive.