Stickman Readers' Submissions February 11th, 2009

Thailand On $10 A Day: A Response

I was intrigued by this submission by Tongue Thai'd. It struck home to me because recently I have been considering the possibilities of moving to Thailand as an ex-pat and trying to ‘move on’ my relationship with my Thai ‘girlfriend’. Where could we go, how would we live, how would we deal with or get round the visa problems, etc?

I have read many articles on this excellent site, and I am aware (I think) of most of the issues, and I suspect that if I ‘keep my head down’ and avoid officialdom as much as possible (same same as I do here in Cyprus) I could be OK. No, I don’t want to buy a property – despite (perhaps) the cajoling of my Thai ‘girlfriend’. I have all my worldly goods packed in one suitcase, one laptop case and a guitar and I can go anywhere. Rental is good for me, together with the ability to move on, anywhere, at short notice. Visas and that sort of stuff are, of course, a completely different matter.

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I have an assured income (courtesy of HM the Queen) which I feel not in the least bit guilty about (because I earned it and I paid for it, but I may have to write to her shortly about WTF her government guys are doing about exchange rates).

I have (maybe) a Thai girlfriend. She is, I suspect, ‘high maintenance’ (but I am guessing here, although it is an informed guess). An example: I just bought a car here in Cyprus which is an absolute beauty. 20 years old, 120k miles but if you know cars, really, really ‘spot on’. With a bit of care it will do another 100k+ miles. It cost me €1150 euros. (Mitsubishi Galant 1.6 GLS). I very strongly suspect that my ‘TGF’ would look down her nose at this, preferring a new 4×4. Not because it would do anything better than what I bought here but because (perhaps) of the ‘face’ thing. When I was with her briefly in Thailand we had a rented Honda Jazz. (Oh and by the way, ‘rented’ via a friend, couldn’t take credit cards). I thought it was a great little car but there was no doubt she would have liked something better / bigger / more ‘in your face’.

(A thought on the ‘high-maintenance thing’. On our first date she told me (in response to me telling her ‘I liked her and would like to see her again’) but ‘I am an expensive girl’. And yes, she certainly has ‘class’ even in the crappy circumstances she found herself here).

And this made me think of the differences between us, and of the Thai ‘face’ thing and so on. I am happy to live a reasonable life. Long, long ago (in a galaxy far, far away, Luke) I moved away from the idea of wanting or trying to impress anyone with who I was, what I owned, what I used to be, etc. I am just me, and if you don’t like it you can take a running jump. Whatever I was or had was in a different life.

But back to the point. I am considering – in an abstract way – moving to the ‘Land of Vertical Smiles’ because I am fairly sure that my Thai ‘girlfriend’ would not want to live anywhere else. I have no close ties (excuse the pun) to anywhere and could go anywhere I was happy.

This is the crucial bit. I have about 90k baht a month from my pension. I suspect that I could live OK on that, especially if I resisted the short-term sins of the flesh.

But – and my question is this – could I and a high-maintenance girl live on this, and could she be happy with a farang on this level of income? I suspect I know the answer already. If she was prepared to get a ‘proper’ job, and we worked out a monthly budget, I think we could do OK. But it would be an ‘ordinary’ life – home most evenings, going out for dinner or a night out as a treat rather than an everyday thing – and I strongly begin to wonder just how long she would want to live like that.

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As they say in the UK about buses ‘There’ll be another one along soon’, and, of course, I am just another farang. ‘There’ll be another one along soon’.

Or, of course, I may just have found the different one …

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Stickman's thoughts:

90k baht is plenty to live on. I would say almost all of my friends spend less a month.

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