Readers' Submissions

Lost Opportunities? Stuff That – Just Do It!



Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

It's been a while since tapping out a submission – but I was strongly motivated by the recent sub by Codefreeze titled “Should You Move To Thailand?” This submission struck a chord for me – yet, even though I've done many of the things in Thailand that Codefreeze laments on not having done or having seen others not do – there are still things that I would like to change so very much.

My situation is one of relative comfort – retired but not rich by any means, yet I am able to visit LOS at least once (and sometimes twice) each year. Of course, it's not my ideal – that would be to live there permanently in Bangkok – but we make do with what we must and tell ourselves that is the best available under the current circumstances. Complicated health issues now dictate that I cannot expect or afford the same treatment in LOS that is freely available where I presently live.

There are the dark periods when you look back at what has been and the analysis begins of how you could have changed things if only you had done this or done that – but the thing that sticks out most of all is the wasted time spent in conforming to expected behaviour by our elders and peers at specific moments in life. At age 17, it was my ambition to build a boat large enough to live on and set sail to wherever life would take me – but there was no illusion of becoming lost in the fleshpots of South-East Asia at that time. All I wanted was the wide-open spaces of the ocean, fair seas, kind winds and blue skies to take me to wherever, just for the excitement of going and not knowing what one would find.

I had always been close to boat-building yards in my early teens – hung around them like a bad smell – and was even offered an apprenticeship with one of the larger yards – but I made a cardinal mistake. My choice for employment was to accept a job that was extremely well paid and secure compared to that of a boat-builder – and that was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was to enter a serious relationship at age 19 with a girl, become engaged and then to marry at 21. In retrospect, it seems a sinful waste of opportunity for any person at age 19 to even think about tying oneself down for something about which you do not even have the faintest comprehension – quite apart from making an informed choice. Both of these foolish actions determined the course of my life from then on – and the attraction of the sea became less important as time passed by. By age 24 I had two children with her, a mortgage for a new house – and there was no turning back the clock.

Was I happy? No – but I found release in a string of extra-marital affairs while moonlighting as a musician and tried to tell myself that I was happy. Let me tell you, it is not successful to try telling yourself lies. The “Id” is far more powerful than the conscious “You” can ever be. So the die was cast and disaster was the inexorable outcome. But you're on the merry-go-round – sell the house, buy land, sell the land, buy more land and draw plans for the ultimate house on acreage – the one that never got built (in that first marriage) because she no longer trusts you. Then it's into the renting cycle and the down-hill spiral. Hello divorce.

Fast-forward to Thailand, 30 years later, and an insatiable love for Asian women long before ever having gone to any Asian country. I don't know where that came from – all I know is that it seems as if it has always been with me. What I do know is that the boat would have taken me to Asia. Would it have been to Thailand? I don't know as it was not specifically on my radar at that time. Would it have been to Vietnam? Probably not because of the political situation there following the Vietnam conflict. Would it have been to Japan? Perhaps – that would have been my preference in retrospect. But it doesn't matter, because whatever was supposed to happen would have unfolded regardless – provided I had followed the instinct of the “Id”.

My son is 46 this year but has never married, still lives at home with his Mother and has no regular girlfriend – compared to me who has been married 3 times and had several long-term relationships in between. We got together for a few Thai beers on Christmas Day 2011 when I tried to convince him to turn his life around while there still was time for him to do so. My suggestion was that he take a trip to Thailand, Vietnam or Japan to find a good woman to show him what life is all about – because he truly has no idea what he is missing by limiting himself to fat, useless old curmudgeons and “boilers” with attitude. I told him it didn't matter which Asian country he chose – just go – for a holiday at first, to see what he is missing. How I wish someone had said that to me when I was 17. OK, 46 may be a bit late for him – but it's better than not at all.

His response was “Yeah, well I wouldn't mind going to America – I chat on-line with a few girls in New York, Cleveland, San Diego and Portland, Oregon.” Nuff said – for sure he will get neutered by some fat, low IQ Harpie!

So I thought I better drop the advice that US Immigration will shortly be introducing mandatory cavity searches on arrival <wicked chuckle> – with the hope this might dissuade him from that line of thinking. Whether that rumour is true or not doesn't matter – although I did see it on one of the World-News-Service telecasts. Now, would they lie to you?

From what I have seen it seems that affinity for Asia comes down to “horses-for-courses”. I doubt my Son will ever go to Asia – and perhaps that may be just as well for him as he strikes me as a bit of a red-neck xenophobic and could quite easily come to a sticky end with a bad attitude like that. And yet, he was always very courteous and respectful to my Thai wife back when we were married.

I agree with most everything that Codefreeze wrote in his submission. Life is for living, not for being a slave to the dictates of others who would merely use us to climb higher by standing on our shoulders – and then kicking us in the head when their hands are firmly grasping the ankles of someone above them and they have no further use for us. Why would any sane person commit their life to a job they mildly hate so they can pay off a mortgage; keep changing the car every second year; feed, clothe and educate a tribe of kids who will never show gratitude or a spark of initiative to break free from the chains of conformity?

Had I gone to an Asian country in 1965, lived on the boat long enough to get the feel for the place and to look for some kind of employment – and then sold the boat – I would have been set for life. There are no limits to what could be achieved by remaining free from commitments that drag you down and attempt to drain the life spark from your soul.

In spite of what others may advise contrary to my advice – just do it. Take the leap of faith and expand your horizons and experience life that you will otherwise only dream of as a young man – or may experience as an old man when it is too late. Live life – don't dream about it – and why agonize over whether you should choose to hook up with a bar-girl or a mainstream girl? They will both give you different experiences – mostly pleasant, if you keep your wits about you and treat them well. After all, isn't life about living the experiences? It's never been about money and power – only the corrupt or misguided focus on those two areas – and that's their big problem.

Final words of advice: Don't – ever, when young – get caught in the trap of buying that car. It, and all of the ones that will follow it, will keep you poor and prevent you from maximising your financial potential to enjoy the dream. Don't believe me? OK, then go ahead and buy it – sure, it will also make it easier for you to find that local “stunning angel” – but you will rue the day you made those two cardinal mistakes when that “stunning angel” magically transmogrifies into that grotesque “Harpie”.

My biggest regret is in settling for less than I dreamed of in exchange for the lie. Dare to be a rebel – and live! Go and live in Asia while you are still young enough to appreciate it – to hell with security – the concept will bind you down with chains, suffocate you and limit your imagination. Just do it!


Stickman's thoughts:

GREAT stuff! In my observations, one characteristic that truly happy people so often share in common is that they are true to themselves, a trait that is, in my opinion, not always that easy to find amongst the general expat populace of Thailand where so many try to present themselves as something they most certainly are not!