For Young Canadian With a Thai Baby
Let me say first that I quite agree with (most of) Stickman’s thoughts.
Secondly. I think that always in such situations it helps to know and understand where any advice is coming from, so a potted history of my experiences.
I am a white Caucasian (farang) from Britain and was 52 when I first came here in 1996, not having even heard about Thailand’s ‘sex industry’ – there was no internet to study as there is now and, when I travel (usually alone) I always avoid people who I might ‘know’ i.e. I only want to meet, and learn from the locals. I came here on an archaeological ‘dig’, in Korat, and spent a few days in Bangkok first. Within 24 hours I met the lady who would become my wife – just two months later, on my second visit. God only knows why it happened so quickly – I’ve been asking myself ever since, and asking others who were similarly ‘seduced’ (I don’t mean ‘sexually’ – which I wasn’t – but it’s the only word that has all the right connotations. Beguiled?) but there is certainly something other than mosquito larvae in the water here.
We didn’t have children but I did take care of her two children who were then aged 9 & 7. We were together eight years during which I paid generous monthly allowances, and having to put up with mid-monthly requests for more, followed by threats of suicide etc. After a few years, as I gradually learned the true cost of living in Thailand, I slowly reduced the amounts I was being conned out of until my wife realised it was all going the opposite way to what she had planned, and she walked out – one night when we were all asleep. I was left with the children for five months until her family arrived to ‘rescue’ them, all amicably conducted – and her sister informed my wife had been banished from the village as a result.
Just before her disappearance I had retired, designed and built a home for us in Isaan, and immigrated here. After the divorce I never saw her again, although my ex- played havoc in Britain by phoning my friends, relatives and business contacts to tell them all what a ‘shit’ (her term) I was before remarrying, in Britain – apparently for the fourth time, according to my Thai divorce lawyer. I did once visit the children, and left some money, but was later told it had been handed over to my ex-, at her demand.
I still live very happily in Thailand – 98% of my social life is with Thais – and I bear no animosity to my ex. She just did what she was brought up to do although having subsequently discovered Thailand’s ‘sex bars’ – which I also knew nothing about for that first eight years. (Don’t worry, nobody ever believes that claim but I’m teetotal and it is true.) – I have to say very few of the ladies I’ve since befriended have been as ruthless as my ex.
Sorry, that took longer than I expected but does, I hope, demonstrate my viewpoint. And so on to you.
As I said, I agree with most of Stick’s thoughts but, with your permission, and meaning no disrespect, I would like to make one small observation. When I was finally divorced and single again, during a long drive (to visit Thai friends) a farang friend listened patiently to my story and subsequently said: “I don’t understand how someone who is clearly intelligent, educated and well travelled could have been so naive.”
Well, at first I felt offended – nobody had ever said that to me before but, after a few days’ thought, I had to accept he was quite right – I was naive, to have come to Thailand knowing so little, and unaware of how little I knew. To have married so absurdly quickly, which I would never have done back home. To have offered to give her money, not having a clue what things cost here. And putting up with all sorts of unpleasantness for far too long, mostly because I tried to hold on to a dream – a dream that wasn’t even mine. THEY have the dream, and they do everything in their power to make us believe it’s actually ours.
It is said that ignorance of the law does not constitute innocence. I would suggest that naivety of a culture does not excuse us either.
It is my feeling that you were tricked, quite deliberately, and the child, whether genuinely yours or not, is being used (poor girl) as a weapon and is likely to be brought up to do the same as her mother. I have to say I’m intrigued why you wish to take the child to your country. Can you really give her a better life? In theory, of course, YES, but in practice might this be but another part of the dream. You say your financial situation isn’t the greatest and single fathers can have a lot of problems and expenses. And will you agree to allow the child to maintain contact with a mother who, forever and a day, will use the child as an emotional, and financial lever against you?
Thai ladies are never satisfied – I have never met a Thai person who was content in the sense we understand it in the west. Perhaps westerners have more to be content about but it has been said before that it is difficult to see a bargirl playing with an iPad, while supposedly ‘at work’, and accept she’s there because of poverty. Perhaps it’s normal these days to ‘need’ the latest gizmo but. If you can’t afford a Ferrari, try a Toyota Supra – you don’t have to have Apple products (and I say this as a lover of Apple computers). Back home I owned a Mazda MX3 which I loved, and even looked like an 80’s Ferrari from some angles(!). I would have liked a Maserati but I couldn’t afford it – and I was content.
Most of this tome is designed to help you work out a solution for yourself, which I feel is better than ‘you should do this’ advice. First, nobody can tell you what you should do and anyway, such emphatic advice often comes from people who wish they themselves had done what they now recommend – but didn’t!
However, in a nutshell, if I still have your attention, I can only bow my head and say, all things considered, you might be best to sever all further contact with both your child and her mother. Maybe, one day, when she’s old enough to meet you on her own, you might be able to express your feelings to her, like a long-lost uncle, ‘returned from the sea’.
Or, maybe you can try wresting the child from her mother now which will never be easy – and what do you do when the woman turns up on your doorstep, unannounced, to make trouble with your local authorities, neighbours, new family etc. (see above.) – would you want to live with this constant fear? In your country she only has to inform the police her daughter is being ‘molested’ and you will be investigated! I presume if she can prove she has a child in your country she will get a visa to visit – and you’ll be lucky if you get away with just paying her travel expenses – to get her to leave.
Or thirdly, you can leave your daughter with her mother, and hope for the best. You can send money as you are determined to do, and perhaps make occasional visits – though expect to be charged additionally for visitation rights – regardless of whatever rights you can get from the Thai courts it is so simple for the mother to take the child somewhere else when you visit and your 2-week holiday will be ruined, and a further waste of money. Will you want to submit to these control games such women invariably play because, make no mistake. the lady who entrapped you is a very clever schemer, and quite ruthless. And bear in mind: any money you send will be used by the mother / family as they see fit and little of it will actually be used to help your daughter.
In response to your submission:
* Don’t get too wrapped up with whether the woman was ever a bargirl – in my opinion the ‘bargirl’ mentality (to be blunt, of greed and deceit) is part of the Thai psyche, whether they work in the bar-scene or not – these ladies do not suddenly learn to be greedy, ruthless and deceitful as a result of working in the bars, although they do usually polish their skills in that environment.
* I think very few office ladies earn more than 14-18,000 ฿/month. [Stick may know better.] <Plenty earn twice this in Bangkok these days – Stick>
* I find 99% of Thai girls insist on condoms – bargirls and ‘good’ girls.
* I’ve only met one(1) girl who admitted to being on the pill, or knew anything about them.
* Your lady was not on the pill – deliberate deceit.
* She also deceived you with the morning after pill.
* I greatly sympathise with the pronounced cultural differences of the advice you received, which is partly why I say you have to know who is offering advice.
* Such ladies only lose face, when pregnant, if they fail to trap you – it’s an economic, not moral, stance.
* It is normal for many Thai ladies to claim ‘love’ on a first date – it means nothing. Some years ago I had a lady in my room and we were interrupted by her phone. Without pausing in her work she said, “Sorry, I must speak with him” and proceeded to tell the guy that of course she loved him but was, at that moment in the hospital with a friend who had just had an accident, and would call him later, while trying to tell me to stop laughing. – and she then actually offered me a 500 ฿ discount for the inconvenience. On the one hand unexpectedly honourable – on the other, a ruthless deceiver.
* The $9,000 sin-sot confuses me – did you agree to give this amount later? How did they happen to have this much lying around?
* The ‘disagreements at the time’ were caused by you being overwhelmed – she knew what she was doing.
* Your entire paragraph starting: “In dealing with her, I found it impossible” to be an identical summary of my own experiences – for seven years. Call it ‘The Culture Gap’.
* Babies often vomit – to suggest an allergy is very clever of her!
* You have probably been paying more for a baby than her mother has been earning for herself – babies just need diapers, not Ipads.
* Whatever you pay must be in a separate account, sent from your bank to hers, where she is unable to alter the amount. I would suggest in your own currency – gains and losses in exchange rates to be taken by her – it won’t kill her. The baht is unlikely to get very much stronger (we hope), and could easily weaken – let her benefit from it. But do warn her of future fluctuations.
* You are already supporting the family!
So, finally to your main question. As I said, I agree with Stick’s thoughts: You sadly met the wrong person. She was bad news when she had sex on a first date without protection. This was entirely calculated to entrap you. Though your writing indicates you are accepting of this, maybe you also need to accept that any support you provide for the girl cannot automatically be expected to be used for the child’s upbringing, especially when you are paying too much.
With my ex-wife’s children I paid, amongst other things, 5,000 ฿/month for the buses to and from school before discovering the school provided free buses. I was told the school had just changed their policy. When we were in Britain I gave the same amount for books and uniforms which I later discovered cost less than 7,000 baht per year! I was told the government was now subsiding this.
Children’s clothing in Thailand is not expensive, and nor is food in a small village. It is difficult to put a figure on this but one lady I knew here who was working in the bars briefly but got out before she was too affected by the environment, and is still a good friend, once told me she was sometimes sending as little as 2,000 ฿/month back home for her 9-year-old daughter and own mother. She was not ashamed of this although I did have a slight suspicion at the time that she might be looking for a handout but, for two years she has since regularly visited me for short holidays, and doesn’t even ask for the bus fare. Though of course I do give it.
But this is where I tend to differ from Stick. I would use this figure of 2,000 as a benchmark (I suspect the grandmother might have done some farm-work to supplement it). The upper figure is harder to pin down. The usual monthly earnings quoted by most Thai women I have known range from 5,000 (in farms, and village markets), to 6,000 – 9,000 in factories, to about 12,000 (in Bangkok malls) of which no more than a third ever seems to get sent home to Mum, for the children – usually two or three which seems to make an upper figure of 4,000 as not being at all unreasonable by their standards. In my opinion, even if you wanted to be very generous, one single baby / small child surely cannot cost more than 5,000 baht/month – in a village environment.
Therefore, I would send 2,500 baht – and wait for the screaming to start, which will probably be quicker than a New York split-second – the time between the traffic-light going from red to amber and the guy behind hooting. You might also then find the mother will simply tell you to come and collect the poor girl or else, every month she will bother you with pleas for medical, clothing, educational etc bills. However, even if you go as far as Stick’s 7,500 figure you will still receive regular and continual pleas for further sums. It never sticks [sorry] at the agreed sum. [See this week’s other submission.]
I would also suggest you create a new bank account in a different bank to your normal wages/expenses, a new, web-based, email account with a different host company, and a different phone-number/company – assuming you really ever want to speak to her again – which is unadvisable. I think it is essential for your future sanity that this control-freak can only contact you when it suits you to do so.
If she knows your home address, MOVE! [Sorry, just trying to end on a joke.]
I also wish you good luck in dealing with this unfortunate and traumatic hiatus in your young life. Remember you are better out of it because you can do nothing to improve it – she won’t want you to, and won’t allow you to. Maybe in the future (in a galaxy far from here) you might even return to Thailand. Not everybody is as ruthless as the one you sadly found, and nowhere’s perfect, but there are a few of us who do still manage enjoy very pleasant lives here.
Best wishes. Martin-in-Thailand.