Readers' Submissions

The Story of Deng Part 3

  • Written by JP
  • August 20th, 2009
  • 10 min read


In 1992, I hung up on my Thai wife, and ended a period of my life that prepared me perfectly for the years I have had since. Like many newbies passing through BKK I had gone to Patpong out of desire to try something once, and like some, got hooked. I returned a second time, and nearly lost my way. There are no excuses, I was 25 then, but not stupid. Like a drug addict, I knew it would end bad, but could not be told.

I escaped being a casualty, got my life back together in Australia, also a foreign land for me, and things were good.

I cannot remember exactly why I wrote Deng a letter, because at the time I was planning on building a house 70 km from Melbourne, and finally making it permanent with my girlfriend at the time. I think I moved house and found a box with all my junk I still kept from my last trip. I found a scrap of paper with her Bangkok address, and wrote a short note. Two paragraphs of TVM, everything is great, have a nice life.

I got a reply a few weeks later, in perfect English (found out later written by some Canadian dude who did it for many bar girls), with a semi-naked picture. I was nearly busted too, because my girlfriend had wanted to open it, but I said I wanted to read it at work and she never saw it.

My relationship then hit a bump, as my Greek girlfriend although pleased I had put a deposit on a piece of land, suddenly decided it would be too far from her mother's place, or something daft like that. We sometimes drove to Sydney to catch bands that didn't play in Melbourne, so I was kinda bewildered that suddenly 70 km was a long way.

Out of the blue while this was all falling down, an old friend from New Zealand looked me up. He was really into going to India and wanted me to go with him. This set off my girlfriend, and I realized that I liked being in far away places. and it was not going to work with someone who was scared of being an hour from her mother's.

My friend and I arranged it. I got my deposit mostly back, minus the usual, saved like hell and arranged to meet my buddy in Bangkok. He was coming from Perth. Somewhere in all the planning I wrote again to Deng, told her a friend and I were going to be in BKK for a few days…

A few months later…

I met Deng at a guesthouse down from the Malaysia Hotel the day I arrived. She was not looking the million bucks I had remembered, and her usually lavishly decorated room looked depressing.

I suggested we get a big room because my friend would show up the next day. Deng appeared to be with someone, but I was fine with that, because I was planning to go find something new when my friend arrived.

Well, later I found she was using H, and had not been working. But, my friend was here and we were set to go out. With Deng with us it was totally different than I had remembered, and our first night in Patpong was a heap of fun. My friend ended up with one of Deng's friends, Deng and her friend went up to our room, and I went to cruise the Malaysia Hotel lobby which in those days, was kinda good to find something around 2 in the morning.

The next day when we all met up again Deng was feeling pretty bad, her friend had gone and I got the sad story. Something had happened at home and she needed 10,000 THB or the like. It was a no brainer, she had helped me escape Bangkok before so I was just returning the favor. Besides I had a wad of cash ready for a long haul through India with my friend.

After we got everything organized for our flights to India we had a few days. So I had not seen Phuket and suggested we head down there. It was cool with my friend, and Deng was going to come with us as she had an old friend there living in a bamboo hut on Nai Harn Beach. It sounded awesome, and when we got there it was. Empty beaches, hardly any people, awesome to us too new arrivals. Deng wanted to catch up chatting with her friend, so my mate and I hired a motorcycle to ride around the coast looking at all the beaches.

An hour later I was lying in the road being helped up by tourist police. My friend dropped the bike and we had slid a very long way, him, motorcycle all on my right knee and side. I was so badly hurt we had to go back to town and got a big room at the On-On Hotel, not my choice, but hey, I was not doing so well. I forget how Deng had found me getting my injuries seen to at the hospital. Later my friend shows up, more bad news the motorcycle was lost.

Well, had I been five or ten years older, just a little bit alert the bells should have been ringing to get the hell out of Thailand.

I was unable to travel back to BKK, and had terrible trips to the hospital each day to fix my injuries. The cost of the bike accident, and the lost time caused a change in plans. My friend was off to New Delhi, and I would go up country and stay with Deng's family. I wanted to get the wounds healed and get back to Australia. What could go wrong?

A week or so later, having said farewell to my friend at the airport, I was in the North East. It was fun, and I was thinking, “At least I get a little adventure.”

Everything was going great the first night, big feast, lots of friends and relatives, and Deng was introducing me as her boyfriend.

A day later the police arrived. Deng was arrested and was going to be taken back to BKK. Hmmm, what to do? Well, I was not going to stay alone in a village called Kutchum! So here is the funny thing, I travel back to BKK on a bus with Deng and two policemen, who had to deliver her to the court, which I remember was not too far from Khao San Road.

It was some charge about which I was never sure, but my friend Deng was seen the next day and carted off to jail. I visited her in the jail, stayed ironically in the same guesthouse I had first stayed in the year before and pondered what to do.

The details are not important, but over the next ten days, and with a loan of money sent by my friends in Melbourne, with the made up story, that we were going to get married and move to Australia, I got a call from the court to pick up some papers and head out to the jail to pick up my bride to be.

It was an emotional moment. Deng was flabbergasted. I felt like I was James Bond or something of the like. I remember the officer at the court telling me as he gave me the papers, “I am worried you will regret this.”

Six weeks later I was a smiling fool sitting on a plane back to Melbourne, married, bank account number in Yasothorn, and this weird fantasy of bliss filled future days living in the NE of Thailand once I had made a stash back in Melbourne.

I would spend ten out of twelve months working every job available. I lived cheap, boarding, in lodgings or with friends, walking to work, to save a dollar. I did work in Auckland, Melbourne and Brisbane over the next few years, convinced that the next time I went back it would be good, it would be like in my dream.

I even took my Thai-wife to live with me in New Zealand, but doing overtime four nights a week and some weekends, life was miserable for her. I cannot remember making love to my wife after marriage very often, the odd time she was drunk or in an extremely good mood. We had a daughter in 1989. I remember the night she was conceived because it was the only time we did it that year. I had just finished watching Ben Johnson win the 100-metre sprint gold medal.

At the end, I just could not put up with the way I was treated every time I came back to Kutchum. I confronted my Deng. Her face was cold and heartless. She told me how she had had so many rich guys before, and was so unlucky to have ended up with me, sending her just 300 A$ a week. She told me about some rich guy at the Washington Post, and bragged famous people had been her customers. I wondered where her rich guys were the 10 days I spent in BKK lying to everyone to get her out of jail.

Now 300 A$ seems quite a small amount, but in 87, 88, 89 it was really going for it to keep that up, long hours and no frills to save that every week and still put aside the bit for my ticket back. I was told in very straight terms. It was my job to go and work and send her money. She didn't have to be sweetie to me anymore because we were married! WTF!? So, like a dope, thinking I had done something wrong, back I went to work.

Another visit, she told me, the nicer I tried to be with her, the more she hated me! Like what the hell?! Yet every time I was headed back to BKK to catch my flight, she became soft again, and it was just enough to renew my hope.

I lost all my friends in the end. They gave up on me. I deserved it, for being so stubborn, but I am a person that cannot stand being wrong. In the end, I had no choice, I was so totally wrong. The result is that somewhere in a go-go bar in Patpong is my Thai daughter.

16 years later I am married to a Taiwanese woman. I used to be her children's tutor. I have a great wife who loves me unconditionally, and we have raised her children these past 15 years, as well as my son born in 2001. I am blessed finally with some good fortune.

I am a resident now of Taiwan. It is a new life and new friends. I am not called a foreigner much, as I speak Chinese quite well. As I learned Chinese I forgot how to speak parsar Lao.

And that marriage to the Thai woman, turns out it was not even valid. The one reason that my third child is so much younger than his stepbrother and sister. I was foolish to let it go so long without checking. To believe something impossible for so long, dang it I was the dumbest of the dumb.

Well, that is basically it. I think after reading Stick, I felt it is a story I needed to let people in on. Some people find happiness when the whole world has fallen down around them. If Stick had been available to me in 87, who knows where I might have ended up?

I am 49, and happy. I would not swap where I am now for anything in the world. Is it because once you have been to hell, everything afterwards is kinda good? Yes, I think it is.

Stickman's thoughts:

That's a sad story.

I wonder if you have ever had any desire to find out what happened to your daughter. If you have, drop me an email as I know someone who is very good at finding such people.