Readers' Submissions

My Time In Thailand

  • Written by Leo
  • October 4th, 2011
  • 8 min read


Firstly, I would like to mention that I feel that most of the stories about people and their misfortunes in Thailand are due to the people and surroundings they choose to stay.

I came to Thailand 6 years ago after a long relationship ended with my high school sweetheart. I was 27 years old and planning to come here to visit a friend in Phuket that opened a business on my way to Europe to gain international experience as a chef.

After I was in Phuket for the first month I got the fever as everybody else has mentioned on this site, however it was more with the people and the area I was living.

One day a friend I had met offered me a job to join him working as a chef for a newly opening hotel as his second in charge and I took on this position.

I worked in Phuket for over a year until I got offered a better position with an international company. Now many people have expressed their issues with Thais, but let me tell you that the international companies are very much the same in their ways, (without death threats).

After I was with this company for a few months the hotel opened, everything was going fine until the first political stand of the yellow shirts at the airport happened. Times were tough and we were suffering low occupancy. I was ordered to fire 15 of my Thai staff, which was very hard as they were low earners with families to provide for.

Then it happened, the international brand started hammering down on saving in all areas. My kitchens were not up to standard, many hygiene issues were not taken care when I addressed them to my superiors, walls in refrigerators were cracked and walls in the kitchens due to cheap labor and finally after this someone had to be the scapegoat.

My superior was very smart though as every time I addressed him with these issues he did not go to the big boss and when I went to complain I was yelled at and told that I should have addressed these issues earlier. My superior did not pass on my requests and basically held me responsible for everything.

After that I resigned and got another job only to have this international company not paying me any of my holidays or public holidays that were entitled to me. This because they said in the beginning I am an executive and do not need to scan in, but then they said after resigning that there is no record of me working. I could have taken legal action as my work permit and visa showed that I was employed by them but I thought better to move on.

When I was in Bangkok for 1 month in between jobs I met the lady who is now my wife. It was totally by chance as I decided to spoil myself and go into a hi-so salon to get my hair done as I was bored of the cheap and clueless salons here.

We befriended and about 2 weeks later she agreed to meet me. I did not know that her parents and brother would be there the first time I went to meet her for lunch but I realized later that I needed their approval (even though she was 29). After that things went great, I got a new job and my girlfriend and I started to date more.

After about 3 months of dating she fell pregnant, and this was a big issue. She was worried that her parents would kill her and me if they knew about us having sex. We talked about it and then after that we went and spoke to her parents. I told them that I promised to take responsibility and they accepted me as they saw I was a hard worker.

Although they accepted me I did not yet have their 100% blessing as I was a westerner and they were of middle class Chinese Thai background which usually they would have preferred their daughter to marry one of their type. I was the first Farang she had dated and her English was not great, but I managed to learn Thai due to working with vast numbers of Thais on a daily basis. I then bought her a nice diamond ring, proposed to her and after I did this, her parents were much more open to me.

I did not pay any sin sot for my wife as her parents said they preferred that I take good care of our newly coming family and use my money wisely. Her parents even put down the deposit of 500,000 baht for our newly built home. Her parents even paid for all of our furniture and built on extra to the house a big western fully equipped kitchen because they said they want me to cook western food for them.

Now we have been together for a few years, we just had our second boy 2 months ago and life is normal as it would be at home.

We do have our ups and downs, we did get married quickly, but this could happen in any country. I do not hate western women; actually I am quite attracted to all types.

There have been times where the cultural differences have been a very big issue, but the support her and my family have given to work our way through the hard times has been amazing. My wife’s mother comes over nearly every day to help with our boys even though she has her own work to do. The auntie comes all the time to help, and without her family’s support I am not sure if we could have made it this far.

I currently live near Bang Yai and I drive into Bangkok every day to work. Some days I come @ 5am and go home at 3pm and som days I work from 11am to 9pm. I usually cane come in within 45 minutes and if traffic is bad maybe 1 and a half hours. When I was living in Sydney this was a normal traveling time for many people needing to work in the central business district.

I am not sure what I will do in the future if we will move back to Sydney or not as living in Sydney is very hard if you want to own a home. I do love Sydney and to me will always be such a beautiful place and if my family wanted to go I would still go. I now speak Thai almost 100% fluently. I know when to be polite and when not to take shit from somebody. It is true that if you screw somebody around the wrong way they can be nasty, but if you portray yourself as a decent person this is very unlikely to happen to you.

I have seen many friends here eaten away by the after night delights that are on offer in many of the red light districts. All of them have come here with the attitude that they can do anything that they could not do at home and they have all left empty handed, drug addicted or penniless after supporting hookers.

Many of my friends do not believe that I do not support my wife’s family; many people do not believe how much my wife’s family has helped us. Not all Thais are money hungry leeches and if you are a good catch for a good girl at home then you will be a good catch for a good girl here. Just don’t expect all girls to fall at your feet and one main factor that has helped me is that I take time to understand the people, learn the language and I manage my distance carefully with whom I think needs to be close or far.

I now have 60 staff working for me and all of them are workers with good attitudes. I frequently go and join them while working and offer my assistance. Even though they display “Greng Jai” to me I still always roll up my sleeves and help. I conduct training myself with them and show that I personally care about them.

I am sure there will be encounters I will not like in the future; I know I do not have any rights as the Thais do. I will get pissed off at the amazingly stupid things that never cease to happen, but for now this is where I choose to be and it's up to me to make my surroundings pleasant as it would be in any country. I do not have a back up plan as has been mentioned many times here, but I am only 34 and am earning enough money at the moment to take care of my family very well and save at the same time. And if needed I can make the transmission home and do the same.

One thing Thailand has been great for me is that at my age I could not be working in this position for a good hotel back at home and that being a tourist hub I have many more hotels to choose from to work.

I am glad to share a positive experience on Stick because there is actually another side here and a lot to offer in this country. There are ups and downs in every country and I hope that there are more westerners out there that could share some positive experiences.


Stickman's thoughts:

Well done for being successful!