Who The Hell Can We Trust?
To give a bit of context to this story you may need to read some of my old submissions: 'Love and Assault in Chiang Mai', 'Billy Bunter's Asian hi jinks and other misadventures', 'Gracie', 'Love Doctor' etc.
My girlfriend who 'stars' in all of these I have called Princess. That is not her real name but that is what I have always called her (and our Farang friends also know her as Princess), it is much less of a mouthful for the mortal Farang than her real name.
I met Princess at the SP Hotel in Chiang Mai about 4-5 years ago when I first started travelling. She was very young then and had never had a boyfriend before. She was horrendously shy and it took me a long time to gain the confidence of her family and friends. I now get on very well with her mum and she thinks I am wonderful.
To shorten a very long story, we have travelled a lot in Thailand together. She has always been a great guide, friend and confidant. I even brought her to Australia a couple of years ago and she stayed with my sister and her family. They all liked her and she had a wonderful holiday.
I have been back about three or four times since then to travel with her. I even took her to Cambodia and the temples at Siem Reap.
We have spent many hours talking about our future and the possibility of our great friendship turning into something more positive.
Like all young Thai women (she has just turned 26) she longs for the day to have children. I have been married before and have two delightful daughters who live in Australia – aged 16 and 19 years of age. I had to be frankly honest with her and told her I have my kids and certainly don't want to go back to diapers at my stage in life (early fifties).
During my last trip to Thailand (Feb-March 09), we had another long talk and decided that we would always be the best of friends but sadly said goodbye to anything involving a permanent partnership. She said she would love to marry me but cannot marry a man who is unable to give her children. I said that I would like to have her as a future partner but am not prepared to father kids.
When I left in March this year I furnished her bank account with 50,000 baht. I was happy to do that because she has been disadvantaged over the years – she has had many months off work because of our travel together. She is an accountant and had a very good job at the Kassikornbank, which she had to leave when she wanted to come back to Australia with me. Unfortunately she was never able to get back into that company again. Even re-sitting the same exam she could not compete with the new influx of graduates coming through from university.
She has consequently only had jobs working for crappy money in restaurants and the service industry. Rather demeaning methinks for a girl with a degree.
I have often felt responsible for her and have been very generous to her over the years that I have known her. Money for a new computer, mortgage payments, phone, travel expenses paid for etc.
However please don't label me as a fool who parts with money easily or one who grants her every wish. I am very frugal with my money and have a good savings account that I have worked very hard over the years to obtain so I don't like draining it unnecessarily. I have said no to her on more occasions than I have said yes, regarding the granting of her wishes.
In fact when we parted this year and I gave her the fifty big ones I told her that was it – she had to start her new life and I had to start mine.
Over the 4-5 years I have known Princess I have only had the odd time when I wondered if everything was all above board. Typically being a Westerner in Thai culture you never ever really know the bottom line. I speak a bit of Thai but not enough to truly know what was going on around me.
However if one wanted to choose a good Thai girl then Princess was it. I was the first boyfriend she ever had and she was so dreadfully shy I never doubted this. She is a Christian and regularly attends the Hope Chiangmai Church. I used to go along with her on many occasions and met many of her friends. Not only is she not a bar girl but I cannot even get her into a bar on any occasion for any reason.
I do not drink alcohol as well, but do like to go to the odd bar to listen to live bands. She will not go with me because she said they are very bad places for a good Thai girl to be seen in. In all the years I have known her she has never even tasted booze, been in a bar, smoked cigarettes or has any tats. Not that the abstinence of these things make her a better human being, but I am using them as an example to illustrate that she is different from the usual bar girl in the stories of ripped-off farangs that we so often read.
Earlier this year she had a contract for three weeks and went with a troupe of Thai cultural dancers to China. They paid her air fare, accommodation and food. I think she was paid around 15 – 20,000 baht. Whilst there she told me she met a Thai who owned a large prosperous restaurant in Shanghai. Apparently he took her details and told her that he may call her when he had work available.
About a month ago she told me, whilst we were talking on Skype, that she had been contacted by the Thai restaurant owner in China and he had work for her. The pay was 30,000 baht per month and she was excited to go. I thought with the money I had given her that she had enough funds available to pay for her air fare, visa, health fund, spending money etc. She called me the next day and said she needed money for her ticket to China. I said an emphatic no and reminded her of our arrangement to go our separate ways but be good friends.
She called me again that night on Skype and was crying because she had to let this great opportunity slip by – she could not afford the ticket to fly to China. I said no again and told her I had been very generous to her over the years but there had to be an end to all of this.
This went on for several days until I finally relented. <You stupid sack. These girls need to be taught to plan. NEVER let a woman play the guilt card – Stick> If only for the reason that I still had a certain amount of residual guilt over her losing her good job at the K. bank several years ago. I sent the money over by Western Union and received an email from her saying she had the funds and that she was grateful.
About four or five days later I got an email from her saying she was in China and was settling in ok. She has always written to me over the years and never goes longer than about a week without one of us just dropping a note to keep in touch. I had not heard from her for well over three weeks so decided to ring her yesterday.
Fortunately there is a teacher who works in the primary side of the high school where I teach who has a Thai wife. She is a well educated woman who is held in very high regard in our school. She has lived in Australia for years and is more Western than Thai. She does casual teaching so I often say hi to her when I see her at school. She still obviously speaks fluent Thai so I asked her yesterday to ring Princess' mum and ask her if she had heard from her daughter. Just to tell her that Khun …. was worried because he had not heard from Princess and wondered if the family had any contact from her in China.
I called her mum's phone and her 21 year old brother answered. I mumbled away in my poor Thai but he got the message "Princess Sabaidee Mai" – (sorry don't know how to spell phonetic Thai) – I wanted to know if his sister was ok. I passed the phone over to my colleague and noticed that she was repeating several times my name, Australia and Princess (all her family know I call her Princess). There was a long involved conversation with my colleague looking very confused. I picked up words here and there but could not fully understand what was going on. My friend finally finished and told me what all the hullabaloo was about.
Apparently Princess had been phoning her mum every few days. The family said that she had flown to Australia and they believed that she was staying with me and working in Australia. The brother insisted that she rang every few days and told her mum that she was fine, was enjoying Australia and her new job with Farang …..
I was so angry that she would do this and put terrible stress and doubt in the mind of her family. Her mum is a wonderful lady and you will read in 'Love and assault in Chiang Mai' how she literally put her body on the line to protect me when I was being attacked by the mental lunatic in my story. Her mum thinks the world of me and I have never and would never betray the trust of her family.
My colleague said her brother was very distressed and confused. Of course he would not think that his sister would lie and she had never mentioned China and the family knew nothing about China. It is terrible now that nobody really knows where she is and what the true story is. I just hope her mum does not think that I have lied or dragged her daughter over here and she has met her demise or something.
I have read many many stories on Stick's site (I have read all the stories everyday for over 5 years) and always thought that Princess was different. I have thought many times that the guys deserve what they get because they went out with bar girls. I felt smug that I was gong out with a good Thai girl and that she would never do anything dishonest to me.
I smell a big rat now because I remember thinking at the time how can she be earning 30,000 baht a month serving in a Thai restaurant in China? However I never really had reason to doubt her, so after I had decided to help her with the ticket, I gladly parted over the money knowing that it would help her with her future.
Now where the hell she is or what she is up to or was there ever a 'China' who would ever know?
My Thai colleague had a long talk to me and filled me in a bit more on the Thai culture. She said that if Princess came from a well-to-do family in Thailand that she would never do or never need to do anything like that to get money. However she said the poorer the family that the girl comes from the more temptation to bend the truth a little to get what they need (Princess comes from a poor family in Maerim on the outskirts of Chiang Mai).
She also explained how huge a deal the saving face thing is in Thailand. She said that most Thais can see straight through each other and they don't get away with too much in their own country with their own people. However when we throw the foreigner and money into the mix, along with having to save face in the family or community – then she said you had better be prepared to hold on for the ride.
Most of my ramblings in here are rhetorical. Of course nobody has any answers to the specifics of this scenario. However if there are others out there going through similar issues – then I rest my case – "Who the Hell can we trust"
This Princess is quite the hussy, believe me. You really out to contact a certain Mr. Kelly who met her in Chiang Mai and took her all over the country. I do believe a certain Mr. BKKSW did a feature on her too. Princess is not all she appears to be!