Readers' Submissions

The Label On My Forehead: ‘Sucker’?




No, this submission is not about my Thai ‘girlfriend’ – although from the e-mail responses I have gratefully received in response to my submissions about her, it could be.

(Just as an update, the latest financial contribution passed by without even a ‘thanks’ – and I have recently learned it represented about an average month’s salary in Thailand (6k+ baht) but I am learning fast.) But she did tell me that she is competing on Saturday 14 February (Valentine’s Day for the unromantic) in a ‘Miss 14’ competition – a beauty contest I assume but she has obviously been too busy to reply to messages and give me any more of the details I asked for. She hasn’t bothered to tell me whether she received my Valentine’s Day card or not – but to be honest mail has gone astray before. I am actually grateful that my attempts to send a Valentine’s bouquet failed at the ‘PayPal’ stage. I have, of course, wished her luck in the competition. I just wonder now (in my most dark and cynical moments) whether I will be the only farang sending her congratulations if and when she wins, or commiserations (and consolatory gifts) if she doesn’t. Or whether some Thai boyfriend or husband will be ready to console/spend the winnings. I did mention dark and cynical moments, didn’t I? But I recognise – far too late, many will say – that if I did not have doubts I would not be dishonouring her by even talking about her here. The Eagles (fast favourites in Thailand I understand) sang a great song – ‘Wasted Time’ – and as I listen to the lyrics again I wonder whether that should be really ‘our song’. Or maybe I am just having a far too deep, dark and cynical moment. We shall see.

This submission is about somebody and something entirely unrelated to my Thai ‘girlfriend’, except that it is about another SEA girl and money. I may be being far too cynical here (or, you may feel, I am at last waking up to reality) but I wonder if at some time in the future scientists will discover a ‘money’ gene which is a dominant or vital part in the make-up of a SEA girl’s DNA.

I have previously talked about a former Filipina girlfriend (the one 28 going on 13) and I have expressed my admiration for her, especially since I managed to evict her. I spoke of her new fiancé and how she planned to marry this week (within three weeks of meeting the new love of her life).

Unfortunately for her (and for me) things are not going quite to plan. She has received the necessary papers from PI, including her ‘single’ paper (a big thing to a Filipina girl, but from what some of her friends have told me it does not really matter whether you are single or not, the ‘paper’ is the important thing). These have gone to the lawyer, who has promised to ‘sort everything out’. He must be either an incurable optimist – she is now an illegal immigrant here – or well-connected and expecting a big ‘bung’. (Well, after all, this is Cyprus). The wedding will be delayed but subject to goodwill all round and the application of grease to the wheels all should work out OK. Don’t forget that this is the birthplace of Aphrodite (Venus) the goddess of love, the island of love, and love conquers all …

Or not. Frantic phone calls and SMS text messages to me over the last 24 hours have suggested that the new love of her life may not be quite as good as she thought. (To be honest in my humble opinion anyone who falls in love and proposes within a week may need some remedial education but who am I to say? I have revealed my own shortcomings here.) To be sure, he is younger than me, doesn’t smoke or drink. But, she tells me, he is insanely jealous. He takes her to her (illegal) work in the morning and picks her up in the afternoon. Yesterday afternoon there was a big problem because when he picked her up there was a car waiting nearby with a guy in it, and she had to convince the fiancé that she hadn’t been talking to him, that he wasn’t a previous or existing or potential boyfriend, etc.

The messages boiled down to: despite everything (i.e. you are older, smoke, drink) I know you were the right man for me (no I’m not), I miss you (we had some nice times but I’m actually happy that you’re gone) and I think we should try again (no, we had some nice times but I’m actually happy that you’re gone). I adopted my best pained but avuncular tone and suggested that she and her boyfriend needed to discuss the issues and try to get the relationship to work. She replied with something like ‘Yes, you’re right, I will try to forget you’. (I wish I could forget you, honey, but probably not in the same way you mean it). So I breathed a sigh of relief but – and why do I say this in so many of my submissions? – we shall see.

Only now do I actually get to the actual point of this submission. Honestly, until now I hadn’t realised just how complicated my life is.

I have mentioned here before my Filipina ex-girlfriend’s niece (stay with me, it will become clearer). Her Mum was the lady who died I should have done more for. Niece graduates next month from nursing college, and as far as I can tell is a ‘good girl’, very religious and (although this is a subjective view) from the photos I have seen a real stunner. Speaks and writes very good English.

While I was with my Filipina ex-girlfriend (who was supporting her extended family back home in PI, including the ones who were – again in my humble opinion – nothing more than lazy cheating thieving lying bastards) on a couple of occasions I helped her support her niece. GBP 40 a month for college fees, room, food, spending money, everything.

Last week, I ‘bumped into’ the niece on e-mail/MSN. She graduates next month. And I really feel that she has worked against the odds and made something of herself. So I sent her a graduation gift (GBP 100, 6600+ pesos) on the understanding that she was to spend this on herself, she would not tell the family, I would not tell her aunt (my ex), just for once in her life have some money for herself.

Guess what? She spent most of it paying for Grandma to go to hospital for a check-up and treatment and the family asked where the money came from and she told them. In my terms (not hers) big shit all round. Who on earth was this strange guy who sent her money and why? (In my dark and cynical mode I wondered if they were asking themselves ‘if she can have one why can’t I?).

And, of course, my Filipina ex joined in. She told me that I had no reason to send money to the niece. No connection, now that we are ‘finished’.

Ok, job done. No more connections. Any ‘obligations’ met.

But …

Today I got many ‘missed calls’ on the mobile. And a couple of e-mails. This is the story. The niece, as part of her course, is pulling nurse duties. She left her handbag and came back to it later to find that all of her money had been stolen. She is in tears. Can I help her?

I tell her, of course, that she is a ‘dumbo’, but I have also told her that if she ever needs a friend she can call on me.

She tells me ‘please don’t tell my auntie’, I feel so stupid, and anyway, don’t worry about me, I can work this through, I’ll be ok’.

I think about the times I have spent more than £100 on booze, taxis, being just plain stupid. And I think about just what I have to do to earn that now, here.

And then I think of how lucky I have been in my life, how lucky my kids have been, and just how little this means to me and how much it means to her. For all I know, and from what I know, she is a ‘good girl’. She has worked hard and deserves a break.

I am sorry if this has rambled a bit. But it has certainly helped me to sort some things out in my mind. So, off I go to the Western Union site…..

PS: Just returned from my local supermarket. I bumped into a Filipina friend. There is, apparently, a ‘Fashion Show’ at my local bar tonight. I don’t know how much more of this I can take…

Stickman's thoughts:

Hmmm…