Mr. Wirry’s Thoughts
I firstly have to admit to being an avid reader of many of the submissions which I am bound to say vary greatly along the spectrum of excellent, good, informative, indifferent, bad and complete crap! However on the whole most enjoyable, entertaining, informative and certainly some are very educational.
Whilst there are many topics and subjects that can be, and are, discussed because of the widespread experience of your readers' times and dealings with the Thai people in the Kingdom of Smiles, I would like to try and elucidate on my thoughts of whether or not Farangs do the Thai people any particular "big favours" by settling and living in the LOS with their wives and girlfriends. This is a fairly narrow subject but I am sure you will agree encompasses many facets of the Thai / Farang relationships and I will try not to deviate too much in my ramblings, ranting and rages!
Firstly I think it is important to give a potted history of my background and connections to the LOS. I am a 53 year old semi-retired lawyer from England but originally hail from Gods Country, Scotland! I am married to an Isaan Thai and currently live
in the province of Khon Kaen with my wife and Thai family of three children in a small rural village which goes without saying is a rice and sugar beet farming community. We reside in a modern, by rural Thai standards, three bedroom house with
a shop attached. We also own rice fields (compulsory!!), a Toyota truck and the usual fleet of motorbikes! I have lived in this situation for the past year or so and during this time I have taught English at the local village school on a voluntary
basis which is all legal and above board I hasten to add!
I have been visiting the LOS for the past 5 years, initially as the tourist who found himself aghast and simultaneously flattered whilst strolling down Bangla Road in Patong Beach for the first time, and latterly, after having gone through the usual failings of falling in love with the first bar lass who smiled at me and the Boxing Day Tsunami, I found my wife working in a local restaurant in Phuket city. Eventually, and after a lot of bureaucratic nonsense from the UK Embassy, my wife was granted a visa to live with me in England. At that time I was working full time as a lawyer in the North East of England and earning a decent living. The very laborious point I am trying to make is that when my wife lived in England she quickly discovered that the "streets were not indeed paved with gold"! A bubble very quickly burst!
I am positive that my wife, and no doubt many other Thai girls who marry Farangs, think that we maintain the same lifestyle when we are at home as we do on vacation. So my point is "do these three week millionaires who vacation in Patong Beach, Pattaya etc really do themselves justice when they are throwing their money about like no tomorrow and eventually, rightly or wrongly, end up taking Thai woman back to Farangland"? And to places that are completely alien to the Thai culture, especially the "peasant" one in the northern provinces where most of these girls come from. ( I mean peasant literally and not in any derogative way). The cultural and language difficulties are very often gulfs apart. Do not get me wrong as there are many Farang who care deeply about their partner's needs and requirements and try and cater for them as best as possible by, for example, contacting other Thai people in Farangland and by seeking out religious places of worship. However, albeit I had been visiting the LOS approximately three or four times per annum up to obtaining a visa for my wife I have to say I was not prepared for the sea change in her lifestyle. In retrospect my very simple mistake was thinking that she was comparable to a western woman which I quickly discovered was clearly not the case when on the first day at her new home she put a tin of beans in the microwave to heat up for my supper!! I like to think of myself as a reasonably enlightened and intelligent person but I was not prepared for the polarization of differences in every aspect of our relationship. Not least of all I am an atheist! Anyway we managed to muddle through most things with a smile and a laugh particularly as my kitchen had not been blown to smithereens!! However my wife quickly made friends with other Thai woman living in our region and it was then when I discovered real ignorance on the part of the Farang. There was one man who would not let his wife cook Laos or Thai food in his house as it "stank up the place" and another who would not let his wife attend the local Buddhist Temple for fear that she would be alone to talk to other Thai people. Admittedly these were isolated cases but it does demonstrate to a degree that Farang are not always the best catches in the long run, and certainly those two weren't!! What Farang fail to grasp is that Thai people by and large are more connected to their own than Farang people can ever hope or indeed wish to be. Thai people who are complete strangers talk to each other for hours on end whereas Farang do not tend to do that. Of course there are cynics who would argue Thai people mainly talk vacuous rubbish but has anyone ever listened to a group of Farang men having a conversation sitting in Bangla Road after a few Singha!!
Anyway I eventually decided I had had enough of protecting the criminal classes in my employment and we jointly decided we would return to the LOS to live and on my part a semi permanent basis. I have to say at this juncture that my wife had made many friends both Thai and British and apart from the usual odd racist remark here and there from the English chaps, she loved the north east and particular Sunderland Rugby Club.
Not unexpectedly we returned to the family in Khon Kaen to ride. See previous. Once again in my naive state of mind I thought all would be well now that my wife had experienced the not so picturesque Farangland and this would be imparted to her family and friends; or at least the high cost of living would be explained. No such luck! Whilst my family are no trouble whatsoever as both her brothers are working and everyone "chips in" for mamma and papa I did not count on the tenaciousness of her friends. One after another visited requesting loans for "this and that" thinking that the Farang has an "overflowing well of money". "This and that" mainly for gambling debt and alcohol!
Once again I admit that I did not understand that when we returned to the village and set up home etc that my wife would now be viewed by her peers as having a much higher status. The village people, many of whom live in a comparatively impoverished state, seem to be of the opinion I am the local millionaire who can conjure money from thin air! This misconception I clearly blame on Farang, including myself, as we do tend to portray a better and higher standard of living than the ordinary Thai. Plus of course there are the Farang minority who it seems with the encouragement of their wives tend to flaunt their money. And this makes it very difficult for those of us who do not.
Plus when local people observe our higher standards of living the families then "encourage" the young women to migrate down south to find their fortunes and as many observers will confirm all they find is the cynicism and hard truth about "tourist
I hasten to add that I do not divest myself from blameworthiness in this respect as we have a nice house, viable shop, rice fields etc compared to the ordinary rural Thai who lives and works the rice fields for 200 baht per day, or has to provide for her children when the lazy young man who impregnated her just ups and deserts when he has had enough and she has no recourse to any government agencies for maintenance.
I could go on for ever but alas I fear my ramblings thus far have probably "nipped" the brain of Stickman and as I said hopefully a reader or two. I hope whoever reads this text takes something from it whether that be a laugh, a tear or just to comment that it is "crap" would do me!
I personally think in an ideal world a Western guy / Thai bird couple will spend time both in Thailand and abroad before deciding where is best for them. You probably need a full year in each to really know.