Stickman Readers' Submissions June 27th, 2014


I recently overheard two ladies speaking with each other and there was a bit of semi-aggro banter going on – nothing serious – just little personality clashes over relatively-trivial things. Finally, one of them said to the other "What makes your problems always so much bigger than mine?" The other person shot back with this answer: "Because they're mine!" After hearing that, I sat down and thought about what that second lady had just said – and I began to realize that I had probably heard the most honest answer that anybody had given to another person.

With personal interaction, doesn't it all come down to how one person sees things – points of view accrued from whatever life has thrown at an individual. It doesn't make one person right and another person wrong – it is merely how life has moulded us to cope with given situations based on our life experiences. In my last submission, I stated fairly plainly that I could not live in a Thai village – and I questioned whether anybody could be happy living in an isolated location. My statement was that they may be "satisfied" living there but does being "satisfied" equate with "happiness?"

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The bar scene has never been the the be-all and end-all of life in Thailand for me. Sure, I often liked to sit in a beer bar when in the mood (usually during the afternoon) – but I always sought out the company of the Mamasan or one or two of the girls to talk with and buy them a few drinks. The bar-fine was not a big deal to me and it is not something that I focused on. I haven't needed or wanted to bar-fine a girl for quite some time now. I usually have always avoided starting a conversation with Farangs in a bar as I see it a bit like defeating the purpose of being in Thailand. If one wants to talk with Farangs, why come to Asia? Perhaps it's a bit different for me because I prefer Thai music and I like the conversations with Thais. Too many times I see a couple of guys (usually the same two) starting their drinking session at "breakfast" around mid-morning, then they may grab a bite of something to eat along the way home, then adjourn to wherever it is they are domiciled – sometimes in the same sleazy accommodation – to sleep off the effects of the booze, only to repeat the same pattern in the late-afternoon/evening. It seems to me that they are living in "God's waiting room" and it is just a matter of time until the Grim Reaper comes calling.

This is not what I would call "living" – never mind questioning if they are "satisfied" or "happy". The sad part is that they do this day after day – week after week. What is the point of coming to Thailand just to waste the last few years of life in this way of "existing". Is it any wonder that a fair proportion of them end up taking that swan-dive off one of the upper balconies?

Going back to that exchange between two ladies in the first paragraph, the operative word is "honesty" – and all people deserve honesty from others but not too many get it. When I hear bullshit in conversation, I do one of two things – I call them for what it is or I pick up my drink and walk away without responding. I cannot be bothered with crap.

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It took me a while to know that I could not live in Thailand unless I had a good Thai female partner – the reason being that it has always been my aim to have a long-term relationship with a Thai woman who had the same regard for honesty and happiness as I have myself. Anything less than that appears to me to be a waste of life. In this situation of considering a long-term partner, there also exists the matter of physical compatibility and temperament. Reality has to be the operative word here in knowing yourself and human nature well enough to make an honest assessment of a likely match. Not everybody is a Brad Pitt or an Angelina Jolie – so it often comes down to a trade-off in being honest again with yourself. If one is a male with a fat gut, doesn't tub too often, wears unironed market-stall tee-shirts and fip-flops and is covered in tatts – he is very unlikely to attract his female dream. The same rules apply to the woman. What it all comes down to is convincing yourself that it is sometimes better to compromise to have something that may not be "perfect" as a partner – but it may be infinitely better than living alone. Realistically-appraising an appropriate "match" is not something that is usually high on the agenda of most males in Thailand – and it is for this reason that many settle for a bar girl (often a different one each time). I don't see anything wrong with bar girls – but, if you are looking for long-term stability, you are looking in the wrong place, generally speaking. Sometimes you can be lucky – sometimes!

In past times, I often told my friends that I would be happy to have a different woman each week – the sentiment most likely coming from my bad habits engendered by years of playing around when working in bands and still married. Some time back, not sure when, a dramatic change came over me by realising that what I had always wanted was one good partner/wife to travel together through thick and thin for the rest of life. That hasn't happened for me – probably karma coming back to bite me – because I did throw away good opportunities for that to be. One day you look in the mirror and you think "Who the Fxxk is that looking back at me?"

What I'm saying is that age creeps up on us without us even being aware of the changes in appearance. There was a scene I remember from a TV show where this really large guy (Harry) was thinking of marrying with this lady who was somewhat of the same stature – both were excessively-obese and he was quite unhealthy with blood-pressure problems. The guy had a really nice nature and truly wanted to do "the right thing" by his girlfriend – so he went to this young, spunky friend that he knew from professional contact – and he asked her "Can you answer something for me?" She said "Sure, I will try – what is it?". The guy began by saying "If you were looking for someone to date and maybe take it further than that, would there be any chance that you could even be interested in dating someone like me?" Of course, this put her on a difficult spot as she certainly did not wish to offend this guy – but she chose her words carefully. "Gee – you are a really nice guy, Harry and I have met your girlfriend recently and she is a lovely person. I think you are very lucky to have found her. To answer your question, I really do think that our personalities are so different that it would be very unlikely that I would date you".

This was obviously something he did not want to hear – but he took it well and said "I'm really not sure that I love Angela enough to marry her – and we are due to be married this coming Saturday. What do you think I should do?" His young friend replied "I know that Angela really does love you and she is looking forward to being your wife on Saturday. You know, Harry, sometimes the right person only comes along once in this life – and, if she can make you happy and you have love for each other, what else matters in this life? I think you should marry Angela".

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He thanked her for the advice and left that office a happy man. Harry and Angela did marry on the Saturday and their life turned out just fine.

What I am trying to say is this: Sometimes we come halfway around the world looking for something that we have already left behind in the place from where we came. Instead of walking away and going to Asia to find "Miss Perfect", is it possible that we could have saved something far more worthwhile if only we had put in just that bit more effort to repair what we already had?

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