A Trophy Wife From Thailand
In 2001, I was living in Australia with my Thai girlfriend [I’ll call her “Pee”] and our little boy. Finances were tight, but livable, and as far as I was concerned, we had enough to be happy and not be short of the necessities of life. However, Pee wanted a bit more and volunteered to go to an agricultural area to pick fruit with the itinerant workers. I saw no reason to object to this; any money that she earned would be hers and she knew it. Just for the record, Pee was born in December 1975.
So, on the 6th December, Pee departed for a town called Cootamundra which is in the general area of a fruit-growing district called the “Riverina” where she had arranged to stay with another Thai woman called Sao, and go hunting work from there. The little boy was left in my care.
Wisdom is easy when it is laced with a large amount of hindsight, and I was seeing off a very pretty woman when I put her on that train. I did say to her at the time something like “You are my good girl, please remain my good girl”, but don’t quote me word-for-word on that little detail, I might have the exact wording or I might be a bit off the mark. However, the general sentiment is obvious.
I don’t know if my parting words above were a result of prescient knowledge, guesswork, or something else, but Pee did not “remain my good girl”. Ten days after she had departed home, I received a phone call from her telling me that she was now living in a small town called “Wombat” near another larger town called “Young”, the cherry centre of this state, that she was happy there, and would not be returning to live with me.
I was not only surprised, I was also devastated.
I phoned and spoke with Sao and her Australian husband and then I got the bigger picture. Terry [not his real name], the man who owns the orchard where she had gone to work, had noticed her on the first day that she had been there, and had courted her with his wallet. He had taken out a group of workers to the Chinese restaurant in Young to have the evening meal on the second night that Pee was there, and shown the contents of his wallet by paying the bill and dropping a large tip. Pee and Sao were both in that party.
Soon, Pee was in the sorting shed, separating the sub-standard fruit out as it went past on the conveyor belt, and by the 16th December when I got the call telling me that it was all over, she was in Terry’s bed.
The devastation of abandonment hit me hardest on my mother’s birthday, which she just happened to share with Pee; 27th December. I could wish my mother a happy birthday, but not the little boy’s mother; I sincerely wished Pee to hell.
In a phone call between me and Pee, I asked her to come back, and she told me that even if she split with Terry, she would not come back to me, she would move forwards to “better things”. That really hurt me.
My brother is a lawyer [don’t condemn me for that], he sees a lot of these “family” situations, and he provided me with the advice that “there IS light at the end of the tunnel”. And he was dead right, but not for the reasons that he had in his mind.
The bamboo grape-vine thrives in the Thai community in this town, its tendrils reach as far as the fair Kingdom of Thailand, and probably a long way beyond. Thus, the story that I had been deserted by my girlfriend arrived in the Amphur town where the ex-girlfriend was registered, and a seed that I had planted a few years earlier sprouted, took root, and flourished. I’ll tell about that a few paragraphs further on.
On 21st January, I received a letter from a woman called “Min”, and over the next few weeks, a heap more letters from other women who all lived in the general area of the Amphur town where Pee is registered. All of these women [and some were really young girls] were suggesting that I might like them to come here to Australia to live with me. I had suddenly become a popular commodity! I’ll cut directly to the events that matter, and not bother with irrelevant details; Min came to visit me, and we married in 2003. As I key this, she is sitting in the lounge, perhaps 2 metres from me, hands in the wai position, watching a monk chant on Thai TV, which comes in by satellite.
The reason why I selected Min in preference to all of the other wannabe women is perhaps best shown in the letter that I was required to write for the Immigration section at the Australian Embassy when she applied for a spouse visa for Australia. It reads:
I first met my (now) wife, Min, on Saturday 13th April 1997, in the town named Nxx, in Khon Kaen province, Thailand.
The reason I came to be in this small provincial town was because my de-facto spouse of the time wanted to spend Songkran (the Thai water festival holiday) with her mother and younger brother who live in a small village some 7 kilometres east of Nxx. We arrived there on Thursday 11th April.
On Saturday, my de-facto wanted to go into town and have a manicure and pedicure, so I drove her into Nxx, and she found a salon where she could have her treatment. This salon was owned and operated by Min. When Min discovered that I am a native speaker of English, she wanted to practice her English with me. I was quite amenable to that. I even decided to have her give me a manicure to extend the lesson. I found Min charming and much more polite than my de-facto.
We saw one another occasionally over the next 11 months, perhaps once every 2 or 3 months when I could get away from my employment in Bangkok, then in March 1998, I moved to Amphur Nxx, and we saw one another on a very regular basis. I would travel from the village to town almost every day to purchase food and other items, and as Min’s salon was located in the market-place, we would invariably either meet, or see one another in passing if she was busy with a client.
Soon after I commenced residing in Amphur Nxx, I was introduced to Min’s daughter, Pim. I discovered that Min was extremely protective of Pim, and would not allow her to go anywhere other than school unless accompanied by a member of the immediate family.
Before long, I commenced making Min’s salon a “port of call” on my daily visits to the market. I simply enjoyed Min’s company and conversation. My de-facto was not pleased with this, but as my relationship with Min remained platonic, there was little she could do or say about the matter.
I am unable to put a date on this particular event, but at a guess I would say that it might have been August 1998. I was sitting in Min’s salon, and told her that I had to go to Pxx (a town 22 kilometres west of NXX) to get some durian, as the NXX markets had none. Min suggested that I take Pim, who would be able to help me choose the best durian. The significance of this particular incident is that Min had started to regard me as a member of the immediate family where trust was concerned. Min was correct; Pim was able to tell which durians were the best.
Another incident which has definite significance in our relationship occurred at about the same time. Min was giving me a manicure and I told her that, in all sincerity, if I had not already made a commitment to my de-facto of the time, I would be interested in a relationship with her (Min). Immediately I said that, the cuticle clippers drew blood. I added that as I was already committed, it was not possible for me to commence a relationship with Min.
In March 1999, my financial position dictated that I return to Australia. I did so, accompanied by my de-facto partner and our son.
From then until January 2002, I had no contact with Min except for a visit [without Pee] to Nxx between 16th May 2000 and 30th May 2000. During my visit, I saw Min daily, but the relationship remained platonic.
In December 2001, my circumstances changed dramatically. My de-facto spouse abandoned the relationship in favour of a man with a much larger bank account, and left our 4-year-old son with me. News of this abandonment filtered back to Nxx, and within a few days of this, Min wrote a letter to me. The letter was brief and to the point. Essentially, it said that she knew that I was newly “free” and that if I was interested I could phone her, or write to her, and she gave me both her phone number and mailing address. Within 3 minutes of receiving that letter (received 21st January 2002), I was talking to Min on the phone.
I re-affirmed the comment I had made about being interested in a relationship with her if I was not otherwise committed, and she stated that she was interested too. Since that telephone call, we have been committed to one another, and I expect that we will remain so.
Min visited me in Australia in July 2002, and it was during that visit that platonic relationships were set aside.
Some of the details that have been revealed, since our commitment, relating to Pim are worth mention. The incident when Min suggested that I take Pim to Pxx was prompted by something that passed between Min and Pim. Pim has never known her biological father, and had fixed on me as a father-figure. She seems to have mentioned to Min that she would like a father like me, and this makes me feel that, psychologically, she is closer to being my daughter than just a step-daughter.
Pim is the result of a technical rape. Min tells me that Pim’s biological father put a drug into her [Min’s] drink in order to facilitate him having sex with her. I believe the drug was Rohypnol, which is known as the “date-rape” drug. While this is of little relevance to my relationship with Min, it is of direct relevance to the application for her permanent residence in Australia. It explains why she was legally able to have the name of the biological father removed from Pim’s birth certificate, denying him all rights of access to the child.
Min and I married on 22nd February, 2003 – Pim’s 13th birthday. My birthday gift to Pim was a father, something that she had never had before.
Min came to Australia on 9th August 2003 and departed for Thailand 12 months later. She took our son with her, Don, born 22nd June 2004. I look forward to their early return.
And I remain committed to the relationship.”
Now that I have shown the letter above, I have got ahead of the story by several years, so we go back to February 2002, when the little boy’s mother, Pee, tried to take him away. More good advice from my brother told me to not let the mother take him anywhere without a court order in place stating that he had to be returned. In short, no court order and I could expect no return of the boy.
The Family Law Court of Australia is a busy place. Legal proceedings were commenced in January 2002, and our case over custody was heard in November 2002. The decision was delivered in December the same year, and he went to live with his mother. I got to see him half of the school holidays, every second Christmas, and Fathers’ day, but it was a sad situation. I couldn’t go visit him any day after school; he was living nearly 600 kilometres from my home.
I just had to get on with my life and make do with the little time with the young boy I had been given by the Federal Magistrates’ Court [where the case had finally been heard].
Time passed, I got married to Min, we had a son, and then another of my brother’s predictions came true. Pee and Terry separated.
Pee must be notable for her lack of anticipation. In the first year that she was living with Terry, they went to Thailand, and visited Nxx, staying in the house that I had purchased for Pee. Seems that it didn’t suit Terry, not good enough for him. The following year, they travelled to Thailand again, and because Terry didn’t like the backwater town life, he stayed in his 5-star hotel in Bangkok while Pee went to the village. Bad move, Pee.
Somehow, Terry found his way to the base nightlife of Bangkok and got snared by a bargirl. They exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and the game was on. Back in Wombat, all went well until Pee found a phone bill with a Bangkok number on it. Being the sweet suspicious soul that she is, she dialled the number, and of course it was Terry’s girlfriend. I can just imagine what the exchange was like, and I presume that anyone else can do the same. I actually know what the confrontation between Pee and Terry was like; I had a “spy in the camp of the enemy”. The young boy had changed his allegiances. Pee confronted Terry with what she knew and what she had guessed, and there was an almighty argument, during which every bit of crockery in the house was smashed on the tile floors of Terry’s home. The young boy was somewhat traumatised by the event, and, the next time he was in my care, he declared to me that he did not want to live with his mother any more.
Thus, when the pair actually separated, I immediately launched a law suit to get the young boy back.
I see no point in going into details of the legal action, but I will say that Family Law here now states that the courts must use the “equal time” principle as a starting point. I got full custody, allowing her access every second weekend. More than she deserves.
Pee is not a woman with education. She got the standard primary school education available to all children in Thailand for free, and after that, she was packed off to Bangkok to work in clothing factories. Give her a broken sewing machine and she will be able to fix it if she has access to any needed parts. She may be uneducated, but she is clever enough. When I met her, she was working in the Itokin factory on Sathupradit Road, making clothes for the Japanese market. Sadly for her, the fruit-picking here is seasonal, and not especially lucrative, and there is no clothing manufacture industry here worth mentioning. That does not leave Pee many other employment options.
I think that it is fairly clear where Pee is likely to head. Waitressing would not satisfy the expensive tastes she acquired while she was living with Terry, a man with a multi-million dollar business; he produces, packs, and exports fruit when it is in-season in this country, and imports and distributes it when out-of-season here but in-season in other countries. His business turns over 8-digit amounts of dollars each year. She could literally spend any amount she wanted when she was with him. But that situation has slipped through her fingers, along with the money.
Pee lived with Terry for 4 years, so she has an entitlement to a certain amount of “palimony”, and Terry gave her a new car when they started their relationship. That car now constitutes her palimony; it probably cost about $AUD 40,000 when bought new. Not a bad deal for 4 years “companionship”.
The young boy now returns to me every second Sunday evening, and tells me what is happening with his mother. She tells me that she works in a restaurant, so I asked him about her working, and he said “she says that she works in a restaurant, but I don’t think they serve food there”. You just can’t fool a canny child.
So here I am, today being the 10th of June, 2007, and I ponder over my most recent contact with Pee.
There has been a sub-tropical cyclone here, it came in on Friday, the 8th and is almost blown out by now. Pim, my stepdaughter, was supposed to work on Friday night, and I drove her through hell and high water to get her there, only to be told that there would be no customers that night because of the cyclone, so there would be no work. I drove her home by a safer, more circuitous route, where I knew there would be no high water, but there was the hell of fallen power lines. At 1 AM on Saturday morning, the entire power supply to this city failed. Telephone networks had failed earlier. Internet failed. In some places, water supply was “interrupted”. In some of the towns in this region, cars [containing people] were washed off bridges, and in one country area, a road collapsed, taking a family of five to their death in their car. I count myself as lucky to have been able to get through the deep water without having my car fail me.
Pee wasn’t so lucky. She drove her luxury sedan into water deeper than it could negotiate, and it sucked water into the air intake. Anyone with a mechanical bent knows that that is instant death to the motor, and generally requires either a complete engine rebuild, or a replacement, to set matters right.
Saturday morning, I got a phone call from Pee. The conversation revealed that her house had no electricity, it was cold and the young boy wanted to return home [to my house]. Could I come and get the boy? Can you drop him here? I asked. Then I discovered that she had no car.
So off I go to Pee’s home, and there the story of her car was told. Because of the unusual circumstances and weather, the car-rescue service that Pee uses has a 3-day back-log for attendance of stranded vehicles; they will get to her car some time tomorrow. Pee asked me for advice, so I gave it as best I could. She then asked me if I would help her as she really needed a car. I agreed to give limited help, but that I had my family to think of first, emphasizing that she is not a part of my family.
And so, the phone conversation that I had with Pee not long after she abandoned me and her son comes back to mind, where she stated that she would not come back to me, she would move forward to better things. I really don’t believe that she has moved on to better things, her situation looks somewhat gloomy to me.
That line from the song “Eye in the Sky” haunts me: “Don't say words you're gonna regret.”
I have to wonder whether she remembers those words that she said 5 years ago. Probably not, it’s not in her interest to remember something that trivial and irrelevant.
Pee is a really good looking woman, even at the age of 31. She was my “Trophy Girl”. Now I know better than to have a trophy girl; have a trophy girl and not just the red-blooded males, but also the pink- or blue-blooded ones will come looking for a piece of the action. And sooner or later, someone will offer something that you can’t supply. My wife, while not beauty-queen rated, is definitely attractive, and has a figure second to none. I’ll take my wife before the trophy any day – now that I know what to expect from a trophy.
Where does this all lead? I have two offspring from my first marriage to a farang woman. I have absolutely no doubts that I am the biological father of both of them, no doubts whatever. I know that there is a bastard daughter in Chaiyaphum who may or may not be mine [most likely is mine]. I may never find out, and I really don’t care. There is the young boy who is in my care, and I have serious doubts about whether he is really the fruit of my loins or a grudge baby. There is my step-daughter, and then there is the little boy 3 YOA whose paternal link can not be doubted. This 3 YOA boy comes from my Thai wife, and looking at family photos, he appears to be almost identical to my father’s father, complete with not-black hair colour, which is unusual for a child with a Thai parent.
So we can look at the two children who either are not mine or may not be mine, Pim, now 17 YOA, and Pee’s son, 9 YOA. Pim is not mine, but I treat her as if she was mine. She was part of the deal when I married Min. Pee’s son is the one for whom I fought in the courtrooms.
So why don’t I get DNA testing for paternity? The answer is easy, the problem is complex.
If I am not his father, and I am fairly certain that I am not, everyone concerned would lose if the matter was proven. The biggest loser would be the young boy. He would lose perception of having a father; I am the father he has known since his birth, and to actively pursue proof that I am not his father would probably devastate him.
What I would lose would be minimal, so my loss would not matter compared to the loss that the young boy would suffer. I just could not do that to him.
I can be his “dad” whether or not I am his biological father.
I will eventually do the DNA tests, but only when the boy is old enough to understand the implications of the matter, and the results will not cause him any grief.
Being a parent is a serious responsibility. Being a not-the-parent can be an even more serious responsibility.
The separation of Terry and Pee was an interesting event, and it wasn’t just because of Terry having another Thai “contact”.
It seems that Pee’s mother had been “playing cards”, and had hocked her farm to pay for the losses. Pee was pressured to take care of the debt, and was putting her fingers into the petty cash for large sums of money. Terry didn’t get to have a successful and lucrative business by being a blind fool where cash is concerned and he noticed that there was money missing from his cash float.
One weekend, Terry and Pee came to this city to collect the little boy after he had spent a week with me, and Terry went back to Wombat with one of his friends, dumping Pee here with her car, but not much money. She needed somewhere to live and a source of money, so she fell back on [a bed?]. That was when the little boy made his comment about her working in a restaurant where they didn’t have any food.
So much for the “Trophy Woman”.