Stickman Readers' Submissions July 9th, 2009

Mee And Her Senior

I'm responding to Korski's submission entitled
Mee and My Dad: Some Rambling Thoughts

Actually I was going to respond to the story by Farang Dave and the video therein but it was Korski's piece that got me even more motivated. First of all let me say that I agree with most of his opinions and in that context I think the run of the
mill responses like Farang Dave's and the “train wreck” theory is an oversimplification of the subject. What maybe considered a “train wreck” to some maybe another's Nirvana.

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I- as Korski- feel that we're all entitled to live our lives in any way we choose without having to justify it to anyone, even to our family.

Let me be a “Devil's Advocate” and please bear with me but I think that the video was an unfair representation of the situation and its principal players.

1. The son who made the video misrepresented his primary purpose of going to attend the wedding of his Dad. His agenda was to make a documentary to advance his career as a film maker and in this he succeeded admirably, winning a prize. The reunion with
his Dad and mending of fences was a bit of a farce…if you really want to do that you don't make a movie with a crew filming your every minute and then cut and chop the footage to suit the mood and leave some relevant details on the cutting
room floor because it does not suit the end product and the messages you want to convey to say a jury of the film festival. How can the viewers like us really know what went on behind the scenes, how can we make judgments like Farang Dave who
only has snippets of these people's lives.

2. The wife, Mee, was pictured in an unfavourable light and the film didn't show her positive sides, such as a loving mother to her 2 sons and a good provider to her parents. The problem with farangs making movies or writing stories about mixed marriages
is that the pieces are usually made from a farang perspective without making any effort to understand local cultures and customs. In this case it was even more pronounced as the wife is a tribal girl and her predicament of having a couple of kids
in her teens and being abandoned (I'm making assumption on the basis of her age and tribal customs of Lahu or Lasu) would put her in a desperate situation. Why do you think so many of these tribal girls end up as prostitutes in the North
or indeed trafficked to other places. Putting it into this context can one really blame Mee for latching onto a generous farang and marrying him? If they eventually have a family, as the husband suggested, why should we assume that she'll
kick him out after an argument. Don't we all have arguments with our spouses from time to time?

3. Watching the video you couldn't fail to see that the consumption of alcohol was instrumental in the husband's way of life and affected his decision making. The wife also was inclined to indulge in that with him and indeed in this upcountry
tribal lifestyle it's usual to be inebriated a lot of the times. I mean what else is there to do in such remote outposts of tribal areas? I think the husband found his Nirvana. A good looking wife he can feel young with and a ready made family
to give him kudos. As long as he still has his wits about him as evidenced by his outburst at the wife when she spoke out of turn everything should be apples.. Of course I'm saying this “tongue in cheek” but hey, who is to say
that this guy should be back in Blighty freezing his arse off looking after a arcrhitic British wife of an appropriate age because that's what society expects of him?

4. With respect to the age difference that Farang Dave seems to be all sixes and sevens about 'cause he has an older wife…who cares? There are many farangs in exactly the same situation living in Thailand quite happily. I knew many. If you gonna
do this Thailand is the right place for it.

5. At the end of Farang Dave's story Stick was quick to support his observations in his comments. Ok Stick, let's see, you're in your thirties and the husband in the video was in his late fifties (like Korski). With all due respects you
need to wait about twenty years before you understand people in the twilight of their lives doing things which may look incomprehensible to you. Let me point out that the father said to her son that he sees his commitment to a new baby if it comes
as of 16 year duration, to someone his age it is a lifetime…the son didn't understand this either. The point that I'm making is that a man who is approaching 60 is entitled to grab whatever happiness he wants albeit temporary in other's
eyes. If it seems stupid that he should spend a lot of money that he can't have control over, i.e. Thai real estate…so what, he maybe quite prepared to do that for momentary happiness. Korski alluded to this too. What Korski should understand
is that basically he is no different from this guy because his 3 months stints and the money he spends for many years already in SE Asia is just another way of spending your money. In actual total it maybe the same and both are unrecoverable.
Korski likes variety and this guy likes same same.. the end result is that both are happy checking out one way or another. Lets hope it's not immediate.

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In conclusion I'd like to say that before we make judgmental comments about senior citizens doing their own things in Thailand lets pause and give them the benefit of the doubt that they're not always utterly stupid and that all they want is
the grab a bit of happiness and they're willing to pay for it. Not unlike some mongers. Horses for courses. And lets have a bit of compassion about former prostitutes such as Mee who wasn't planning to be pregnant so young but her tribal
background never let her have a chance. Try and put yourselves in other people's shoes before you walk a mile.

Stickman's thoughts:

In response to point #5, me being 20 years younger than the fellow in the video is irrelevant. By your logic I am unable to pass comment because I have not yet reached that point in my life. I think the marriage will go south based on what we saw of *her*, what I know about Western men in Thailand and what I have observed of similar relationships – nothing to do with him! He could have been invisible and I would have said the same. I don't see his age as relevant in any way.

I agree we should not judge what others do because, as I have said a zillion times before, only we know our particular circumstances. No-one else does, sometimes not even those closest to us.

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