The Coming Of Master Jay
My life has changed substantially in the last two years due to my visits to LOS and acquiring a Thai bride. The near future promises to continue this process in grand style. I will retire soon, at the young age of 50. I am very grateful for all my good
fortune, but as the event draws near I find myself experiencing a nagging sense of trepidation. I continually ponder who I will then be and perhaps more daunting WHAT WILL I DO WITH MYSELF? Humans fear the unknown the most.
Before meeting teeruk, I spent my evenings stoically seated alone in my chair watching the History Channel with a frosty in hand and only my ever-faithful German Sheppard for companionship.
Since coming to Farangland my teeruk and I have settled into a pleasant routine. Teeruk joined the mix and filled the void in my life. Most evenings we have cocktails together. Me watching TV with her beside me wearing head phones watching Thai soap operas
on her laptop via DooTv, which has been a great solace for her as she adjusted to life in the west. Some evenings however her mood would become brooding and
serious. Her thoughts would drift to her 2-year old son still in LOS who she missed devoutly. Teeruk works a low-paying job and sends more than half her monthly wages to her mom in LOS for support her son, “Jay”, and her family.
On seeing her down moods I would say “No problem, let’s bring Jay over now”.
I like little kids and parenthood is one of the few things I genuinely know I am good at. Teeruk would give me a vague reply saying her mother felt Jay was too young to emigrate and it should wait a few years. I was perplexed by this logic. They say the
basic human personality develops by age 5 and if I was going to be Jay’s dad I wanted to have some input on the process. How could leaving him in a small village in Nakhon Phanom province be in his best interest? In other separate conversations,
teeruk indicated she wanted to save up 150K baht for a down payment to buy her mother a car. This went on for months before I finally realized what should have been obvious all along and that was grandma was not going to let the Jay go until she
had a car! WTF! Isn’t it bad enough I had to pay grandma 100% of the sin sot before teeruk was allowed to board the plane to Farangland, now my wife had to purchase her own son?
Teeruk works at McDonalds here in Farangland at minimum wage and after sending money home every month it would take her more than a year to save up the needed down payment. Teeruk was too proud to tell me this or to ask me for money. She was too determined to do it herself. However, waiting that long to bring the little guy over wasn’t going to work for me. I offered to donate a 150K baht to the cause with the understanding I would no longer give teeruk the monthly stipend I had been providing. Teeruk was grateful and agreed. I figured I would break even on the deal after a year and a half.
The process of getting grandma a car then began. I figured she would get a decent used car for perhaps 300,000 baht, but no! Once again I, the dim-witted farang, sorely comprehended entirety of the situation. It seems grandma would lose face driving a used car when everyone in the village knew she had a daughter in Farangland. Grandma needed a NEW Toyota extra cab pickup truck at a cost of 650K baht. WTF! Here I am driving a used 11-year old economy car with 140K miles on it and grandma gets a new truck more expensive than anything I have ever owned! But it was not my place to complain as it would be teeruk’s responsibility to make the monthly payments for the next 6 years. My exposure ended with the downpayment. So a truck was then selected and a bank loan acquired, which is yet another thing I do not understand. Grandma is a poor up country rubber farmer with no collateral or recognizable income stream to support the application for a loan. Yet a loan was granted after the downpayment was made. Apparently having a daughter married to a farang and living in Farangland counts as collateral. I can now proudly claim that I have contributed to the chaos and peril of the roads of Isaan. Did I mention my mother in law does not know how to drive?
Now that the boy’s ransom had been paid we needed grandma to be true to her word and supported the release of her hostage. I reviewed the visa requirements on the farang embassy’s official website regarding the need to obtain the consent
of the biological father. Teeruk was never married to Jay’s father who I shall refer to as “Papa Somchai”. When teeruk became pregnant, Papa Somchai wanted her to get an abortion, but she refused. Being a gentleman, Papa Somchai
wanted to help teeruk out with her difficult situation so he thoughtfully kicked her in the stomach to induce a miscarriage. When that enlightened bit of medical intervention did not work, Papa Somchai walked away without giving a single baht
of support. Given his unique approach to parenthood, teeruk did not want Jay’s biological father involved in the visa process. The embassy website stated the father’s signature to consent to a child’s visa was not necessary
in cases where there was no legal marriage and a Thai court awarded sole legal custody to the mother. With this in mind we sent grandma to the courthouse in Isaan with the necessary documents. The Thai court subsequently declared teeruk Jay’s
only legal parent. I submitted the paperwork for the little guy’s visa and teeruk’s demeanor improved markedly. The embassy responded surprisingly fast and the date of the boy’s visa interview was set. All was well in the
Teeruk hopped on a plane to Bangkok and stayed with her sister in a Thai style apartment (one room, noisy, biting bugs, no privacy, squat toilet, sleep on a mat on the floor and no air-con). After living in Farangland, teeruk’s sensibilities had grown and her perceptions of Bangkok changed drastically. When I talked to her on the phone she was absolutely miserable and complained about Bangkok. Ironically these complaints came from a girl who once lived quite contently in Bangkok. Now however, she declared Bangkok to have horrible traffic, to be too hot, too noisy, too dirty, too crowed and too chaotic etc. I had to laugh. When she first came to live with me at my semi-rural chateau in Farangland, she literally cried for the first week complaining it was too quiet, too sparsely populated, too cool, had no traffic and was too peaceful! After just a few days in back Bangkok she confessed she badly missed air-conditioning, clean air, the quiet, clothes washers and dryers, privacy, our big bed, western plumbing, her car and the anatomical gestures of a certain farang man. She was well on her way to becoming a farangized!
Not wanting to be indifferent to her plight, I secretly set about finding accommodations for her at a western-style hotel. On short notice, I was able to get a great rate at the Swissotel (which is awesome!). I called teeruk with the good news intending to surprise her with my magnanimity. Surely she would be most grateful and shower me with praise for being such a good husband. However, when I informed her of the arrangements I made she became very cross and stated she did NOT want to stay there. She said she was disappointed I had made the reservation! WTF! Yet again I failed to comprehend the intricacies of Thai culture. Teeruk stated the Swissotel was for rich people and she would not fit in. Rich people wear beautiful clothes and would immediately recognize her as a poor Isaan girl. Hearing her protests brought to mind all the sloppy dressed farangs I remember seeing at the Swissotel walking through the lobby wear shorts, a T-shirt and black socks with sandals. On a practical note, teeruk is very frugal and stated she did not want me to spend the money. Mind you I never once heard such words come from the month of my ex farang wife during 18 years of marriage. Teeruk can make a satang scream and so she stayed at her sister’s sweat box apartment.
On the appointed day teeruk dutifully arrived early at the embassy with Jay in tow. While there she struck up conversations with other denizens in the waiting room. One Thai girl was in low spirits since she was there for a “re-interview”. The embassy staff had doubts regarding the veracity of her alleged relationship with Khun Farang. The embassy wanted to see more documentation in the form of previously posted cards from him, their email and call history during their months apart. The Thai girl had little to show her pending examiners and was not feeling optimistic. (Visa fraud from LOS has been a serious problem. One immigration officer told me Thai women pay farangs US$ 10K and up for bogus marriages to gain a visa). Teeruk then chatted with a farang man and his Thai fiancée who was holding a mixed race child. The farang was the father of the child, but his fiancée was not the mother. It turned out the farang had met the child’s biological mother in a bar and fell for her, hence the mixed race child. However, the biological mom could not adjust to rigors of domestic life and fled the scene (and her child) for the solace and tranquility of the gogo bar, smoking, drinking and gambling! Given the situation, daddy farang paid gogo mom a million baht to go away and sign over her rights to the child.
When teeruk’s turn came, she calmly strolled in to face the inquisition; confident her farang was a smart man and had taken care of all. Jay behaved himself and the interview went fine until it came to the matter of the biological father. The consular officer informed teeruk she needed Papa Somchai to come in person to the embassy and sign over his parental rights for Jay the leave Thailand! WTF! That’s not what the embassy’s website said! Apparently, the regulation changed in 2010 and they had yet to update the posting. Teeruk departed the embassy and returned to her sister’s hovel feeling most dispirited. The success of the entire enterprise rested solely on the good will of Papa Somchai. Teeruk and grandma would have to go hat in hand to him and beg assistance. Grandma despised Papa Somchai, because he had gotten her daughter pregnant, dumped her and most importantly not paid a sin sot. Why should he? That’s what farangs are for. I learned of these troubling developments during a late night call. After the call I went to bed with the unsettling contentment of knowing I was on the other side of the earth and there was nothing I could do. The outcome was up to providence.
At 3:30 AM the next night, teeruk called. I answered, full of apprehension, expecting to hear Somchai refused to sign or demanded big tea money for his signature. The obvious blackmail scenarios flashed through my mind. I faced the very real prospect of having wasted a great deal of money on a fruitless cause and forever having a distraught Thai wife who would perpetually grieve the absence of her young son. However, teeruk exclaimed all had gone well! Papa Somchai arrived at the embassy on time, signed the papers and was not paid for his cooperation! Shocking! I was relieved and puzzled. Teeruk stated she asked Papa Somchai if he wanted his son to have the life of an impoverished up country rice farmer or have all the opportunities and education a life in Farangland had to offer? Papa Somchai did the right thing by his son. A son he may never see again. Too often on this forum we Stickites rail against what we see as the moral dispositions of Thai men; Thai men most of us little know or understand outside the Thai girl’s mantra “Thai man no good!” Please allow me to take this occasion to give Jay’s bio dad credit for doing the loving thing for his son. That one single act may well be the most significant event in Jay’s entire life.
The visa was obtained and teeruk returned to Farangland with the ultimate object of her affection. Now she can be the one thing in life she always wanted and that is a mom to her child. Jay turned 3 years old on his third day in Farangland. The little guy can’t speak English yet, but we have plenty of time for that. We, as a family, have settled into our domestic routine. My 19-year old daughter has been outstanding with Jay and is excited about having a little brother. Teeruk is acclimating herself to being a full-time parent and I am enjoying the chance to be a dad once again. I’m old enough to be Jay’s grandfather and teeruk’s dad. Most of you guys would recoil at the prospect of having a 3-year old in your house. Not I. It’s sort of a second chance for me.
The other night I was seated in my chair, watching the history channel, frosty in hand with teeruk by my side. Master Jay was pretending to be his favorite TV super hero “Ultraman” from a Japanese kids show about a guy who fights Godzilla
type monsters. I observed Jay in full Ultraman mode charging across the room battling invisible monsters and single handedly saving humanity from certain doom. After his victory he crawled up on my lap, rapped his little arms around my head and
stared me down face to face as only a true super hero can do.
Jay: “Phom rak Khun dad.”
Me: “Phom rak khun Jay.”
Like I said at the beginning of this submission, I’ve been wondering what to do with myself when I retire. Now I think I know.
That's a real heart-warming story, and we really do need more positive stories like this!