“We used to laugh at Grandpa when he'd head off and go fishing, for in the evening he’d often come back with a young whore on his arm.”
Attaboy Grandpa. Man after my own heart.
As a teenager, one of my most vivid memories was of my Grandma on the back of my Lambretta Scooter, urging “faster”, “faster”, “faster”. Cut from the same cloth.
A retiree myself, I love South East Asia, living a lifestyle incomparably better than I could even dream of in my native UK.
Resident in the Philippines for two years, I relished its magnificent islands, treasured its warm friendly playmates. Miss it still, if the truth is told.
Even better, in the mountains of Dalat, Vietnam, for five years now, I have found my own personal Nirvana. Just one precious commodity, my language, enabling me to rise above the norm.
In Chiang Mai, I adored its charming wais, killer smiles & night markets. In Veerachai Court there were old paraplegics & stroke victims, living a riotous life with their wives / nurses? Interesting, to say the least, as this may well be my own fate one day.
In Sihanoukville, Cambodia, I found a nest of old Grandpas, having a whale of a time. Wise old birds, not for them the trials of matrimony, each had a set of rotating girlfriends.
SEA Asia Culture
For me, is full of fun, joy. We old ‘uns are respected, sometimes even revered. I like being different, I like being a rebel. I like the cheery his in the mornings. I like being able to camp up my incompetence, folks rushing from everywhere to help when I really don’t need it.
Everywhere I look, costs are below 10% of those in the UK. Just got a shiny new porcelain tooth for $70, had a student lunch for 50c, cracking good nosh too. My hotel room with huge windows & scenic views costs just $120 per month. More like $2,000 for such a room in Blighty.
Best of all, everywhere I look there are girls girls girls. Warm, friendly girls. Spice of life, keeps me feeling young.
But I nearly lost all this through a wholly ridiculous attempt to find happiness through buying a young Filipina wife. It cost me my health & nearly my life. Par for the course, I was hardly alone, for all of my age group & disposition met the same fate.
The journey started back in the mid '90s when I owned a taxi company in the pleasant environs of Surrey, England. A good portion of the daily traffic was fetching poor old ladies to & from town. Poverty stricken, abandoned by friends & family, a weekly trip to the town for a cup of coffee their only social contact. If you don’t believe me then take a look at the zimmers on youtube.com.
Horrible, cast a lasting impression on me for I was coming up for retirement too. Sod this for a game of soldiers, buggered if I’d settle for this.
But where to go? I’d traveled the planet for generations, landing in a strange country with no contacts & a language barrier not so easy to manage. Always with an eye for a bargain, I picked up a travel book from a charity shop for just 50 cents, Fodors as I remember. On the front a picture of a pretty young Filipina, all anxious to wed a foreigner, apparently, determined to escape a life of poverty. Inside a description of an island called Camiguin which caught my eye.
A check on the internet showed just how beautiful Camiguin was & the purchase of 80 pen pal names from loveme.com brought forth sacks full of vibrant letters which became a joy to read.
Called for a recce at least & a trip to Camiguin confirmed how beautiful it was & how lively my pen pals turned out to be.
The die was cast. So be it.
After all, I am a KIND man, I’ll take care of her.
What I should have asked was “If I was desperate for money, with a hungry family to care for, and no other available options, would I, and my entire extended family, marry a grizzly 90 year-old, still worse a horny middle aged one with a paunch?” Well, yes, probably, praise to the Lord for being saved. But could I deliver on what she would expect from me, a husband to “love, honor & obey her”.
That’ll be the day. Sorry to disappoint you my dears, but neither can they, neither can they.
Back in Surrey, contact with 40 or so Anglo-Filipina couples brought forth the first warnings of things to come, for most of the young fathers were uncertain if their wives / children would still be there in the morning when they woke up. Most of the old ’uns bewildered & confused at finding themselves enmeshed in a world of lies & deceit.
Question: How do you know when a Filipina is lying?
Answer: When they move their lips.
But life in Camiguin just had to be better than a pensioner's life in the UK so it was still, go, go, go.
At pension hour + 36 I duly found myself in base camp, Cagayan de Oro, from which to visit pen pals all over the Visayas. Flight schedules permitting, it would have been earlier.
The first 6 months were mostly joyful, the island scenery & facilities breathtaking, the Jeepneys & ferries a delightful way to travel, terrorist threats in Southern Mindanao a long way away, a no go area in any case. Foolish to go there, wouldn’t dream of doing so. Resident in Phil for two years the only danger I faced was from feminine wiles, live electric wiring hanging in the streets & the ever lunatic driving customs.
But three or four worldly wise, experienced expats troubled to visit me, in the presence of pen pals, to warn me that if I did indeed marry then Auntie Reina would politely request funds to buy a mobile phone as a wedding gift for a school friend, and if I demurred, big trouble would ensue. It would mushroom into mob rule, whereby Philippinos come to each other's aid, be they right or be they wrong. I would be confronted by an angry mob of 5-year olds masquerading as adults, served with an infantile court case as part of a blackmail onslaught. Disconcertingly, my pen pals didn’t demur, neither did the dozens of other expat marriages I met in the next two years. Give her $1,000 per month, no more troubles, came the universal refrain. I should be so lucky.
Thoroughly bemused & confused I felt that I just had to see it through. At the time I was a member of a US Church famous for its impeccable moral values and in due course I married a highly regarded & respected church member in High Church. But its moral values were lost on its leaders, who continued their womanizing, cock fighting, drunken ways.
When the shit hit the fan my church leader, laughably, read out in court a “Strictly Private & Confidential” letter I’d given to him as sole evidence of criminal libel against my wife. Such letters being obligatory in the event of marital strife. At first I just cracked up, unbelievable, but the expats assured me that even a judge would be incapable of distinguishing who owns what or be able to tell the difference between private & public communications, such is their mentality. She was after $200,000 in compensation, half to pay off judges, gaolers, police, the church leader who tried to nail me & dozens of other “witnesses”.
The US leadership of my Church of Impeccable Moral values, wonderful hypocrites, refused to intervene, throwing me to the wolves, advising me to leave the Philippines immediately. So too did my expat community, ominously warning that my Church might take out a contract on me if I continued to hang around, causing trouble. Costs just $1,000 to get someone rubbed out, apparently. “THIS IS THE PHILIPPINES”, they screamed at me.
So I bailed out into the void, the unknown, uncharted waters of Vietnam, a blessing as it turned out. A very, very lucky shot in the dark.
There were those who survived this oh so typical marital typical onslaught by claiming Baranguy (Village Government) Justice, signing a separation agreement & giving them, directly, half the hubby’s income to keep her family at bay. A sensible way to separate warring parties.
Met a couple, actually, both happier than a pig in shit to revert to their bachelor ways.
I was going to launch into a fusillade about the horrors awaiting those who follow the Philippine tradition of building a new dream house rather than buying an existing one. But enough is enough, not at all of a negative disposition, I don’t actually have a problem with the Philippines. It’s a great place to vacation & party.
My only problem is with foolish old codgers like me who try to buy a Philippine wife.
Grandpa, all the pleasures in creation await you in this part of the world, it’s a vibrant, life giving area in which to live.
So why don’t you just stick to fishing & whoring, much to commend it.
The challenges of making a cross cultural marriage work should not be underestimated and there are many issues most don't even consider – such as, in some cases, the family emerging with their hands out as soon as the knot is tied! Curse Western women all you like, but I don't know that I have ever heard of a Western bird's family ask the groom for money!