When One Thai Wife Is Not Enough
Engineers don’t write long reports,
Unless they can’t write short ones
This is an account of my personal quest for a second conjugal Thai partner which, I must hasten to say, ended rather badly. Motivation to write it was primarily by a brilliant post on Stickman’s site “Why I Never Married A Thai”, where the writer asks readers’ experience with their Thai marriage. I shall then take liberty to paint, on the backdrop thus provided, my own immersion with a soul of Thai woman. I must admit though, my marriage alone, no matter how unusual, would not make me invest the effort were it not for a mouthful and then some I have to say about the added bigamy part.
Acting only on my own obsession with the idea, controversy is expected as Western tradition muddled by “sins-are-us” Christianity constructs relegates polygamy into penitentiary for sexual deviants. However, for a while now, history events have been moving in different direction. In both the Western and Thai cultures, serial polygamy is the legal right, equivalency of at least five different sexual orientations is openly broadcast, and definition of family has become rather plastic. Plus, in Thailand, polygamy was enshrined under civil law until 1935, is still free to practice and indeed was never made illegal.
Search as you may, there indeed is no ethical, religious or legal basis in Thai culture for any censure against a voluntary union of multiple adults and any potential abhorrence shall thus be deflected as hypocritical.
To provide some grounding I shall start with my background. But before I begin, I must stress with all vigour that this bit deals with my marriage to a Thai wife and is neither a bragging tantrum nor a commercial for a Thai bride – far from it. Yes, I consider myself lucky beyond reason. And I find my luck even more striking after I have lived with Thais for a range of years, interviewed, hired, worked with and supervised a number of Thai professionals, had a line of Thai girlfriends and have retired to live in Thailand. But it is exactly all that ground hard traveled that makes me feel justified to say that I was like a first time gambler who wades drunk into a Las Vegas casino, pulls a random leaver and collects a jackpot, and that a rational farang shall think it hundred times over before marrying a Thai. Let no one be misled here to believe otherwise.
I first visited Thailand in 80’s. As most men coming from ascetic utopias like Canada where the only worse thing than having sex is to ask for it, it felt like I died and came to heaven. Never before had I seen the spontaneity, cheerfulness and kindness the Thais take for a given, saying nothing about women. The vertigo is palpable, and it is easy to get hurt at the end. Yes, it is mostly business, but then what is not? You are pampered with a near-flawless illusion of the warmest feelings past your mom’s own arms, and to avoid taking the Thai art of emotional superficiality and mimicry for the real thing, you have to be a real pro at that game. Very precious little few of us ever are. For that, an occasional fling does not do. I wanted a Thai wife. But I was married and having a second wife was nothing more than a fleeting dream never meant to be realized.
Every dog has his day
Some 10 years later my Western marriage ended. I soon realized that, even if I cared, to find someone among my own kind was a task well beyond the market. Recycled mums already transformed into rotunds of flesh, ill-kept, fuzzy, domineering, litigatious and crude. I was in a good shape of martial art buff, with hurried consulting career yet to come to its full bloom. I wanted a slim Thai girl who speaks English, can read a book, walk mountains and swim half a mile, takes initiative, guides her own life and solves its problems, is truthful and faithful – and is easy in bed and easy to look at. I already hear the roar of laughter from all those who know Thais; for the most, the un-Thai qualities to be sure, of course but for the good looks part.
Then came the picture from an ex-colleague of mine with business in Bangkok. Four pretty girls sitting on a green couch, all eligible. The second from left held her body ram-rod straight, with a poised “ready to take on the world” smile. A few exchanges later she confidently cruised through belittling interviews at the consulate, got a 3-month visa and came for a looksee. She was like a fall into a deep well. While she flat refused living in Canada she promised upon leaving to find me a job in Thailand. Sure baby, no problem, just go ahead. To my speechless surprise, a few months later there was an interview and then a 5-year contract with a project in Makhtaput. That was 20 years back.
My fairy-tale Thai wife has quickly proven remarkably efficient, and utterly un-Thai. She ran the house, and I must also say me, with dedication of a business owner, no task left unattended as she would rather lose a limb than suffer loss of face reporting failure. Her approach to life adorably artless – all issues black and white, all relationships friend or foe, all events happening in the now, all problems get an instant attention and receive instant solution. No breach is permitted between thought, word and action, pitiless honesty and no regrets. Love is a value earned through mutual respect, admiration, honesty, and trust. Sex is “not to make a porn movie”, but to harvest as many orgasms as quick as they may come and get on with life.
How does this work beyond household? When my career was about to run its course we decided to retire in Thailand. While I was still busy with my Middle East contract, my wife in less than a year turned a neglected patch of land into what has become a well-groomed 100 rai fruit farm today – from buying, clearing, road, power, water, fencing and treeing to a worker’s cottage, all utility buildings and a fully furnished and decorated classy family house. I have worked with teams of engineers all my life yet would not be able to pick a single one who could handle the same task with the same degree of quantity, quality, cost and time efficiency – including myself. And this was a real estate secretary, with just 2 years of university abandoned for lack of funds, working all alone.
They say though, a lasting bond between a man and a woman does not arise with lights and ecstasy, blowing of trumpets and beating of drums. It is hammered out of shared tacks of pain and despair at moments of crises that give a true taste of perpetual insecurity gaping underfoot. Such a moment came with the 90’s demise of the South- East Asian economies. My Thai contract holder, rather than negotiating the exit went, with duplicitous mendacity common to Thais in pinch of uncomfortable reality, through several debasements of contract terms until there was next to nothing to hold onto. Squeezed out, I had to run, all net worth pinned down in collapsed Thai assets or plain gone, and no credit. In a snap, I had nothing to show for 25 years of work and I folded. As I did see it, my life as it had been was over. And all that time, my fresh mint Thai wife stood by me unflinching, fighting the battles one by one, propping up my buckled self-esteem with her dharma sermons like a seasoned arahant. Until I shook off the slimy shell of self-pity, borrowed from a friend and started over. What followed was the most successful 15 years of my career, and my life.
Back to Canada, my Thai gem wasted no time idling. Her mission as she saw it was to free me from all the life concerns except making money and there were no worldly power to stop her. She watched every penny with tenacity that would put the old Scrooge to tears. When settling in, she never asked for help with as much as a phone call. The only “what??” I never unraveled was visits to her homeland so frequent that to accumulate the 3-year residence for citizenship took her 5 years. But when, 2 years after, we moved to the Middle East – I will call the country the Happy Land of Allah, or Olallah – the trips stopped as abruptly as crucial for life they had appeared to be in the time before. Go figure.
But, even with such a non-Thai wife, some of flips common to most Thais are indelible. I will deal with them at the end. Here, I shall only delve on the one she keeps well alive: the famous Thai “Yeah-but”, simply because this flaw will keep conjugal parties on pins and needles the time throughout. “Yeah-but” is the habit of invalidating a given fact or fact–based claim with a claim based on mere opinion, wish or whim. As there can be no reasoning with the Yeah-but mindset, there is no compromise, and thus no true meeting of minds.
During her setting up the farm, my wife asked me to prepare many sketches and step-by-step guides to help her overcome the lack of technical training. All that for naught, for two reasons: First, the Yeah-but mind, unwilling to learn and follow, mistakes motion for action. On its heels comes the “we are Thais” tribal brag, forget the stupid farang. In my absence, local talent was invariably allowed to replace engineered solutions with local constructs ranging from ridiculous to borderline dysfunctional. And since the golden standard of Thai culture is never to admit to any mistake, clashes over every rework to carry out after were a million.
How can you compromise on anything you ask? You just don’t. You get some and you give some, you take it, or leave it. As they say in the insurance business, you can either have a lion roaring in the field, or a sheep bleating in the office, but not both.
A crow with the chilli in its mouth
I know, likely too lengthy an intro to the intended topic of second wife, but for reason. Lest a self-assertive woman like my wife is first recruited for the experiment, you get nowhere in a hurry. How can you go it, then? Without getting off-track it shall suffice to say, by small steps one at the time, over a long time, with never-ending reinforcement of the primary relationship. What helped was the attitude, often seen in Thais, my wife harbors for occasional escapades: “… but don’t bring any disease home, and don’t fall in love”.
I leave to armchair psychologists to tell me where my life-long longing for a second wife came from but it has been there, smoldering deep under the fire blankets of social taboos from as far back as I remember. But first attempts had to wait until I got my contract job in Thailand, and they were not more than learning lessons into psychological sides of 3-way relationships. Yes, we have 1.4 billion Muslims on this planet where such concerns would be considered trivial. But to imprison a sexually mutilated woman under the black tent and sell her into the arrangement is quite another matter than culturing a relationship that must remain voluntary and rewarding to all parties to it over a length of time. Therefore, we both had some unexpectedly tough emotional hurdles to pass.
To me, loving two women at the same time with the same passion comes as wholly natural and as intensely rewarding as heart-breaking it is to see the woman leaving. Not so for my wife. The hardest part was getting around her deep-set worry over losing me to a newcomer. It may be that, for a large percentage of Thais, sleeping around is recreational activity, as much accepted as is drunk driving. But falling in love with another woman is the notorious red line at which all alarm bells go off. Yet, for reasons as nebulous as her long escapades to Thailand prior, my first wife would still go along with the idea.
Of course I cheered my wife’s support; what can go wrong with the incisive and task oriented Thai mind dealing with another Thai mind? Actually, quite a bit. You never know what’s really going wrong until too late. You are simply left out. The strange “we are Thais” camaraderie just shuns out any foreign interests, neither condemning nor approving, irrespective of a self-practiced moral ground. The net outcome is the veil of moral plastic fog under which the preservation of status quo receives care to the point of ridicule. Sure as death, every single girl we tried would entertain another man as soon as left alone. You send the girl to learn English classes, and she brings her classroom confrère to your home and he steals your cellphone and gives her gonorrhea to share around. The Yeah-but is, “she has 3 children, enfeebled father and stressed out mother to feed, we cannot let her go”. Or with the last girl, when all the district already knows a man is crawling up the balcony into her bedroom for nightly pleasures, and his wife begs your wife to help. You learn only long after the fact. And what Yeah-but covers that breach? “Well I thought you would not believe it anyway”. Unavoidably then, a good part of the story below has been pieced together from scanty comments over a period of months, which just deepened and prolonged the agony.
As I go through my story I want you to keep in mind that I like Thailand and the people a lot and certainly enough to have chosen Thailand above all other places for my retirement, making hefty investment into a fruit farm to keep busy. I do not look at the country through the prism of its nightlife. I had aplenty opportunity to observe life exploits of dozens of Thais through my Thai wife, her family, relatives, neighbors and friends and then some more yet in my professional career as managers, coworkers and subordinates.
Although I have witnessed numerous cases to concur, I would still wait a while before siding with their women in saying that the majority of Thai men are no good, that they do not care much about their parents, families, wives and children. But an awful lot of Thai men I met and worked with came across as narcissistic sissies woefully unequipped for much life hardship, easily swayed into pursuits of terrestrial pleasures to the detriment of everything including them. A modest statistic of my own – in my job I interviewed over 30 Thai engineers, hired 5 and ended up with one who could live up to Western standards of professional ethics.
Over the years, as I have met dozens of Thai women outside the bar scene, it became an unavoidable conclusion that grave majority share with a metronomic regularity identical character flaws which are so clear, uniform and so pervasive that they must be considered cultural phenomena. Taken singularly and short term, these may range from amusing to annoying. However, taken as an interlocked whole they would manifestly lead to a demise of any long-term relationship. The narrative which follows is the case to the point.
Of course the failings noted below are found in Western culture. But they are prevalent among Thais to a degree that I would have never ventured into the relationship with my wife should I be aware of them ahead of time. Even being aware of them now makes me shiver like a survivor of near-death experience at the mere thought of colossal undeserved luck of bumping into a Thai woman so manifestly un-Thai.
After we moved to Olallah, in all I have made 3 full-hearted efforts to give bigamy a go, anteceded by 3 door-knocking affairs when on job in Thailand. There can be no doubt the cultural setting of Arab ambiance helped considerably. Even more so did my wife who, albeit of no particular motivation of her own, was extremely helpful at setting things up, in her usual straightforward and frank way. Surprise it is, all these affairs share among them commonalities so significant that they differ only in situational details. As it would be wasteful to deal with each of them singularly, I shall then elaborate only on the last of them, which incidentally epitomizes in the most cartoonish way all the pitfalls encountered with the rest.
To begin with, all the girls engaged in this project would be classified among farangs as “good girls”. They had high school education of some kind, held regular jobs, and could speak some English. None smoked, doped, drunk or gambled – and none was a “gold digger”. They were scrupulously clean, pleasant, cheerful, charming, attractive, and hard working. All came from families of deadbeat father, freeload siblings and a stressed-out mother-slave-to-all. All previously had a deadbeat hubby-by-cohabitation and children in care of their mother-slave. All enjoyed sex but, with one notable exception, just receiving. As with many Thai girls “good” or “bad”, they didn’t care much for orgasm claiming that their Thai partners never bothered. Sex to them was just an obligatory part of the “we are Thais” mantra when socializing with their own kind, a triumphant expression of freedom taking precedence to all concerns with material security. And – all were fiercely independent and resistant to any incursion of outside restraint.
The last two girls stayed about 2 years each. Like most Thai women in Olallah they came in search of money but, in their cases, without useful qualification and therefore no work permit. Not that such an impediment would be an absolute bar. You frequently meet a Thai woman working in the Middle East illegally since Thais are granted a one-month visa on arrival that is easily extended by another month. After that, the woman would just exit and re-enter the country for another two months. Needless to say, having no work permit, pretty much all such cases come to ply their trade under the cloak of Thai massage banner and service their own closed circle clientele.
However, to get a work permit you must have a guarantor (usually the business owner), and this often requires unpaid sex, particularly when the girl just drops in hoping to get the job locally. Of course, the more insecure she is, the longer her guarantor will take to make fringe benefits last, and the girl still pays all the fees. The majority of novices must therefore be assumed to come to the country educated by their veteran friends with a full knowledge of the process.
Well aware of games being played I would never try to engage a girl in such a place for the purpose in mind – nor my wife would let me anywhere near. Choosing a girl in Thailand and bringing her into Olallah is difficult when she is not yet your girlfriend and trusts you enough to agree. The only practical way was to find a novice who just came to the country on her own, on a wing of prayer for a lucky strike that it will somehow work out. Here, of course, my wife’s help would be essential.
The last two girls engaged in my bigamy venture were of this category. I was able to secure at my own cost a housemaid work permit via my company and so they were legal. Each lasted about 2 years, became good friends with my wife and was given every respect, support and care owing to a wed woman. Starting with English language school. To take care of the family back home both received monthly support that was well above market: the former 35,000, the later 20,000 Baht. Since I worked a contract job spending some 4 summer months in Europe, each traveled with us, all expenses paid. While the initial engagement was for 2 years both were guaranteed the right to equitable division of matrimonial property if the arrangement was satisfying over an agreed period of time and they agree to stay until I go.
Aiming to go distance, I did not rush things. It took many weeks before I felt comfortable to take them on a “honeymoon” trip. I have made it abundantly clear to each from the very start that the engagement was to be my second wife – with the same privileges and same expectations as of my first wife. Explicitly, I asked and obtained a resolute promise to: 1. Speak only the truth. 2. Be always faithful to me. 3. Not to break our trust. 4. Not to make us lose face. Naïve? Oh yes, the big way, and even more so in light of all my forgoing experience with Thai women. How many of previous encounters you ask were able to meet this standard? None. But like any other engagement, you must start by stating your contract values.
It was pretty clear from the beginning that the first of the two girls would not make it. She was into men in the most hilarious way, eyes ever probing the crowd, casting smiles, openly bragging about the men’s reactions. Confronted over it, she always laughed it off as a joke until she was left home alone over weekend. Her visitor stole $400 cell phone, paid with gonorrhea and the chips went down. But my wife’s “we are Thais” mindset didn’t fire her. She just reduced the girl’s monthly to make her pay for the phone and medication. Then, when within a month my nephew visited, the girl walked right into his bedroom. However, the “we are Thais” magic made it good once more – until, within days, she become rude and walked out on her own, causing major stink regarding her work permit. But freedom always exacts its due. She never again held another legal job in Olallah, nor sent any money home. Booze and men kept her happy for some months on until she moved to Pattaya to a beauty shop. Now over forty and transformed into a booze-silly lard ball with nothing left of her beauty, she still dreams about a rich farang knight to take her to the Moon and back on gossamer wings spouting booze, sperm, and money. As they chat away with my wife as before she would even have a gall to ask the job back. No hard feelings, “we are Thais”.
We still chat often, able to laugh it off. Yes, she betrayed her wows and her contract, but there was no pretence, no playing of games. Her way was blunt and transparent. She just didn’t know any better and it was a matter of time before she would self-destruct. Our intimate bond did not flower into deep passionate entanglement and, by remaining superficial, yielded rather flat and boring experience. But, on the positive side of things, there were no emotional injuries upon us parting.
It is much evident yet much resisted truism that a good sex is at least 80% psychological in nature. In absence of soul immersion, it reduces to a mere stimulus-response exchange of body fluids with not much life past the act. The hard part is, padding that psychological bank account calls for mutual devotion to the purpose, admiration, respect, tolerance and trust. That takes time, which most folks are unwilling or unable to give, falsely believing that the biology governs and a right pill will always bridge over emotional bareness. True, thrill of first encounter is always there, but as soon as the psychological account is found empty the would-be partners rush for a door. Then, the ultimate of what sex can truly be is never suspected, let alone glimpsed. Psychology is our most potent aphrodisiac but takes a lot of focus, and that is why most conjugal liaisons drown the mankind’s most natural of pleasure quests in booze and body fat, and end up joyless, sanctimonious sex-loathers.
Needless to say, by the time we cleaned up the mess after the gono-girl, my wife would have nothing to do with the idea. But her position was, if it means so much to you, find someone at the arm’s length, go it slow, we will see what happens. My first thought was Philippinas: same mind structure due to the same religious indoctrination, better grasp of English, and generally known as keepers. The initial effort was deceivingly easy, as scouting a couple of dating websites produced over a dozen of candidates. It was meeting them that prove unsurmountable. At the end of my visit, I met only five. It is one thing you see on the web, and quite another in reality. So, after I rejected the fat, the ugly and the stupid, I was looking into a lovely face of slim, well worded 35 year girl who – and you have to trust me on this – never had sex in her life and never wanted to have one because it is not what good Catholic girls do!
But the dating websites did yield a different kind of surprise. A Thai girl already in the same city – who was my wife’s friend! Wow, what a lucky coincidence I thought. My wife was in Thailand at that time, so I took the girl for a vacation trip. Truthful to venerable Thai spirit so common among her kind, she made me feel like the king on the castle. Then, she told me about her cancer. A sucker for bad tidings I am, I felt enough compassion to help her with surgery bill – next to find out that she had an Arab sponsor who “used to be” her boyfriend, and a heavy ox cart of ill repute trailing behind her. That by itself was enough to call it quits. But by that time my wife totally panicked, worried sick I was about to leave her “for a whore”, and called up an ugly confrontation with the girl. And of course, in the celebrate “we are Thais” way, where there is never a topic intimate enough to be left private, she likewise made sure that her Thai “friends” would learn about her ordeal. But she did not stop at that.
Angel who came from God
It was several month later. Out of the blue, my wife announced that there is a new girl in town looking for a job; quiet, tall and pretty. And we will go to meet her at Costa Coffee this Friday morning. The first we met, I went under an instant spell that, I must say, lasts until this very day. The girl was a centerfold stunning beauty; Angelic innocent face adorned with interminable dazzling white smile that slices man’s heart like a hot knife goes through butter. Head confidently up, shy eyes probing the ground. Tall, well-formed, lean, delicate, yet strong body held straight and proud, and endless endless legs, like a Divine Being of Buddhist temple statues. Let’s then call her Thaehp (เทพ) shall we?
Thaehp’s English wanting, her sister-in-law, who brought her, did the talking. It is perhaps this moment when a brief discourse on the art of dot-connecting is due. As we relate to one another in this world, we often hear a faint ring of alarm bells somewhere deep in our consciousness, see a faint flash of yellow flag coming up. Something just does not sound right. But, mostly obsessed with our own thought process we hardly ever put a dot on the risk matrix, let alone connect the dots. To our own detriment of course, because how else will the true image of situation emerge if not by connecting these dots into contours of contradictions? Alas, if we ever do so, it is usually well after the main event expired and the dust settled over the ruins.
The first yellow flag (YF-01) thus willfully supressed was the character reference of the sister-in-law herself. A card gambler addict with a binge of unpaid debts scattered throughout Thai community, living with a line of non-contributing Arab boyfriends, a deadbeat mother who abandoned two sons to the care of Thaehp’s family with hardly a penny of support to their welfare. And then the yellow flags there were a legion.
The in-law sister explained that Thaehp is looking for a job because her common law spouse left her for another woman, with 3 children in a tow and a huge pile of debts of his own to repay. Thaehp graduated from business management school and always worked hard, last in a car factory. She hates noisy places, going out, never drinks, and has never had another man. A devoted Buddhist, her only passion was temple dancing, hence the nice figure. Everything she does she does for her children. There is another offer from a mixed Thai-Arab family looking for a babysitter. Yes, they promised to arrange the work permit no problem, and the pay is 15,000 Baht. Then, totally out of blue, she confided matter-of-factly that Thaehp, even after 3 children, has barely a stretch mark on her tummy and she already had her tubes plugged as her mother (of 6) did not want to have any more kids to look after (YF-02). Do I like the girl she asks?
Is the Pope a virgin? Never in my life have I come this close to couple up with a woman of such an appeal. But will she take the offer? Leave it to me, my wife says, takes Thaehp to the side, explains the situation and offers 20,000 Baht, English classes, all expenses including annual stay in Europe and clean, company issued work permit. Needless to say, she briefs Thaehp into the past failure as the venerable “we are Thais” tradition would command and, getting as usual worked up half way into the first sentence, spills all sassy details particularly stressing “promise me no more gono or worse”. Thaehp is outraged at a mere mention of that, she is even more scared and would never do such a thing. Second day, she accepts the offer.
From the first day, Thaehp was everything a high class girl could ever be – well mannered, friendly and pleasant, easy going, quiet, modest, no fuss, always smiling, diligent, hardworking and scrupulously clean. She would fit equally well into a stylish restaurant as well as a desert camp, hike mountains, trek vadis, swim in the sea, visit mosques, castles, palaces. Even my forever highly suspicious wife would fall for her head over heels. She dressed her up, had her hair done, took her along, made her the most trusted companion. She even referred to her as “the Angel who came from God” (เทพที่มาจ่กพระเจ้า).
I was not to rush things and it took many weeks getting used to one another before I thought us ready for a honeymoon trip. We went to mountains, trek canyons, went through caves, and spent the first night together. “I am happy now”, she said. But, it took some months more for her orgasms to begin kicking in.
As far as I can say even today, Thaehp and I were a perfect match. She was the full complement to the “lion in the field” I was married to, counterbalancing the brush, rush, hectic, assertive and loud leader with the calm, meek, submissive and quiet follower. While my lion’s roar made the field tremble, Thaehp made the home a calm sanctuary of peace. She made it so easy and effort free to fall in love with her I have never noticed how inextricably deep I have allowed myself to intertwine my soul with her magic.
But would I replace my wife with her? Never crossed my mind and Thaehp never dropped the hint. Her lion’s roar is the way my life has always been, albeit it sometimes hurts my ears, scares my heart and scars my soul, I am hooked. I bow with humble respect and deep admiration to infallibly just and fair achievers. They must come first, they are the true salt of the earth and without them, there may be no followers.
The dream times continued to roll on during the two summers on my hobby farm in Europe, wherever we went, whatever we did: trekking Pyrenees, biking Austria, picking berries in Tatras, Oktoberfest in Munich, Adalbert Gans of Saltzburg, planting trees, flooring the attic, cutting wood. The second summer, my lion was not with us, busy with setting up the farm in Thailand. When I entered the kitchen, Thaehp stood by the dining table, telephone in hand. “That was my sister. She wants me to work for her. But I told her I want to stay with you.” “Stay to burn me”, I asked, “and I will leave you half of the farm”. Put together here was one million dollar offer. She agreed on staying as a farm manager first for 5 more years. “My brother is back from jail, I want to be far away from him”. What?? – (YF-03)
Yes, there were more yellow flags, more dots to connect, the family history coming out piece by piece, but all were left hanging in the void. First the 3 sons: two already taken away by parents of Thaehp’s ex-husband (YF-04), the youngest, only 2 years old, in care of Thaehp’s cousin since birth, and now left without Mom running from – debts?? (YF-05) Then an older sister who stole the family land deed, run away and tried to sling it; or the two layabout brothers, one on drugs, the other in and out of jail since his teens, both feeding off the old mother-slave, making babies and beating their wives (YF-06), all of the family parasitizing on an adopted sister who made it the big way by becoming a mistress of an affluent Chinese, now running a thriving restaurant “spending money like water,” said Thaehp with admiration (YF-07). But asking ourselves how far this apple rolled off the family tree we never did. Oh the mind elated by love…!
But enough fooling with the flags. The challenge, I am afraid, is much bigger and more widespread. Thaehp typified a modern, social network integrated digital mind, a remote-programmable NWO-ready microchip. We see the type across the entire spectrum of Thai womenfolk, from the most uncouth bar girl to the loftiest corporate consort we meet on BTS, the body of a cotton doll, face bleached by life in shadows, eyes glued to the Android every free minute of life as if the true wisdom could enter the brain effort-free through the shine of its display. No interest in the world about, no recognition of reality past Facebook banners, nothing of substance to talk about; and definitely no book, or even newsprint. Here was her hand-held husband, under her full control via flashy icons, safe to talk to in a speakase of infantile stickers and toddler babble. If you long for an intellectual spark and stimulating chat, you better look elsewhere.
Eating in the house, shitting on the roof
At the summer’s end, Thaehp and I returned to Thailand. She stayed back home a couple weeks to get a driver’s license; I went straight to the farm. It later got a telling name: Jing Reet Farm (สวนจิ้งหรีด). Whatever happened to her in Pattaya, by the time Thaehp came, she was a different person – morose, unsmiling, unsocial and mum. She was flown in and my wife sent a local hand to pick her up – an already married rural existence with no fixed job, a lottery ticket seller reputed for boozing, charming local ladies and popping meth. I will call him Gig (กิ๊ก). As we realized long after everyone in the local village already watched their escapades with great delight, this was the seed of troubles ahead. As soon as Thaehp put her bag inside the house, the two took off “for shopping” and returned back late at night. First come first serve indeed. Gig’s wife went hysterical. But our trust in Thaehp, built on her 2-year long irreproachably flawless behaviour did not permit to register any alarm. The full story, beyond any belief if not for eyewitnesses, had to wait until after Thaehp left the farm as she turned into a mean tyrant and bullied everyone on the farm into silence.
As soon as we gone back to Olallah there came daily rendez-vous, weekend trips around the country (pictures posted on the Thaehp’s Facebook cover), night joy rides to the district town, Gig climbing to Thaehp’s bedroom at night, muddy footprints all around – or popping in for a quickie during the day when her co-worker was gone, leaving suck marks on Thaehp’s neck for everyone to admire. “I run into rakes in the barn”, explained she. Sure, that happens to everyone. “Do you know where your husband is tonight?” teased the villagers Gig’s wife; “his bike is at the fence of farang wife’s farm water tower, come and see”. To appease Gig’s wife and impress his family, Thaehp ordered our two Lao workers, with our machinery and fuel, to harvest Gig sister’s cassava for a week – for free. Just as if this hanky-panky was not enough, behind our backs Thaehp brings in her niece, pill popping 17-year high school dropout khatoey. The girl soon gets into one of local women in a way so public that her husband threatens to beat her, so she has to run. A real cool family tree – but we didn’t hear a word of it until much much later.
In about 2 months, still suspecting nothing, my wife had to go to Jing Reet on farm related business. As soon as she arrived Gig’s wife came over pleading for help to save her marriage. Yet, so strong was our faith in Thaehp’s moral profile that she stood up for Thaehp innocence and dismissed the plea.
With my wife leaving to the farm, I asked Thaehp to join me in ME for a month. “I miss you very much too”, was her reply, she packed up and came in a flash. What a gal! But, as always becomes obvious in bed, she was a different woman from the one she was in Europe just 3 months back, body responses groomed by another man. I even told my wife “I think this is the last time I have seen her.” Still, for the rest of her stay Thaehp was as before. Once again, she worked hard on her English and nippily lined herself up to her previous illusory image – all but for a hug, wave or even a look back in farewell at the airport upon leaving.
When Thaehp returned to the farm my wife confronted her over Gig’s wife allegations. “Oh ignore her, she is an idiot… We are just friends…” She admitted to going out with Gig at night but there was nothing more to it. “He is married with two kids to feed. What about the villagers? What about my farm reputation?”, said my wife. “It’s all gossip… I really don’t understand those people… I don’t give a damn (ฉันไม่ สนใจ หรอก)…”
My wife started prodding but met only silence, the farm staff too scared. But she went through the expenses and behold there was an unusually high fuel and food bill. Would the two good people be really gallivanting at our expense? “I don’t know anything about that” said Thaehp. As soon as my wife left, Gig wasted no time to throw a welcome back party for Thaehp – in his own house, his own wife catering. He then took Thaehp back to the farm and went to “sleep in a friend’s house”.
Just a couple of days after my wife’s return there was a phone call – the Gig’s wife, all in tears. Her husband and Thaehp were about to take a trip to Pattaya – in our truck – to pick up a special wheelchair for Gig’s crippled sister, “not to be had anywhere else he says”. Now if your life bores you, just make a fool out of my wife. She grabbed the phone and got going. She first tried to freeze farm account but found it already empty. Now she got red hot mad, remote-seized the farm truck, and arranged a telecom with Gig, his wife, Thaehp, and her farm co-worker to force direct confrontation.
How naïve is it from a native Thai to forget the illustrious “we are Thais” factor and hope to confront Thais with their own mess! Gig simply got drunk as a skunk right on the spot and did not utter a word. His wife broke down unable to face Thaehp, denied her previous allegations and declared it a misunderstanding. And so, there was nothing the Thaehp’s co-worker could say. “You see, Gig’s wife says there is no problem”, said Thaehp smugly and accused my wife of overreacting. The next morning she moved out leaving the job and the farm hanging in the void. As we were told already: “I don’t give a damn”.
Gig went into a tailspin. The poor bastard called my wife begging her to keep Thaehp, promising that he would get a job elsewhere and leave Jing Reet village for ever. What a gentleman! He made further spectacle out of himself at Thaehp’s departure insisting at all costs to drive her to the bus station albeit drunk senseless. But she would not as much as look at him, already cold as a stone.
The next day Thaehp’s co-worker and Gig’s wife entered Thaehp’s vacated bedroom to clean up. Grimy beddings unwashed for ages, the toilet a pig stall and the balcony full of mud prints. “These are my husband’s shoes”, said Gig’s wife. God only knows what happened to that high-class super-clean girl of the 2 years prior. But the money she took from the farm account she left all there in the room.
The whirlwind of events swept me off my feet. Being some 3000 miles away, not knowing any of this, and of course impervious to any of the yellow flags witnessed, I kept on nursing an unshakable belief in Thaehp’s innocence, those evil villagers doing a gross injustice to her. We kept on calling her, begging her to change her mind and return. Although she apologized “in case I have done anything wrong” Thaehp insisted on her innocence. After a week she agreed to come back after taking a month off to let the dust settle. But, even before she told us, Gig already held a drinking party at Jing Reet celebrating her second coming.
I needed to get the story straight from her. Before she was due to return we spent one week at the Ambassador City Hotel. As ever, she once again was as attentive, warm-hearted perfect wife as if nothing ever happened. Her story did not change – there was no story. Only when I asked her why would she get tangled with a loser like Gig her usually very calm voice went into a sharp pitch and she slipped with blazing eyes: “He is like my father. When he is drunk he is so funny!” Here it is, all selection criteria in a nutshell.
On the way to Jing Reet we stopped overnight in Bangkok to pick up my wife. Thaehp withdrew into a shell and hardly looked at her. At the Japanese restaurant my wife puts her eyes on me and says with a frosty calm: “They found mud prints all around her balcony. Gig’s wife said it was her husband shoes.” What?? And she just forgot to tell me?? This “We are Thais” crap again! I lost it, banged the table, yelled back “Fire the bitch” and stormed out considering the case closed. To my utter disbelief, Thaehp caught up with me in the front, voice drowning in genuine concern: “What happened with you?” “You fucked Gig, everyone in Jing Reet talks about that, you are a sick liar”. “It is not true. I have never done that. I told you,” was her soft reply. There was no energy left in me to absorb any more of this drivel. “Good night” I said and went to the room with my wife convinced that I would find in the morning Thaehp gone home to Pattaya.
But none of that. She was there all right, all curled up around her cellphone, face rock hard and dark, not talking, not eating the entire 7 hour trip. Her somber mood and hunger strike continued into the next day. She was found out and she knew. When I went to her she just laid there, the body abandoned by the mind tied in knots of its own. Third day I took her aside, read her a riot act and told her to leave the farm the next morning. She burst in tears: “I am not a prostitute; I do not sleep with men for money”. That knocked the wind out of me. And sleeping around with losers for free, that’s noble social service? “You agreed to be my wife. Is every wife a prostitute when she gets support? The money is for your work. You got my word – you stay, you get half of property. If you have better offer – hurry up, go get it.”
Then I went to tell the verdict to my wife hoping for support. But how naïve of me to forget the inglorious “we are Thais”. She burst out without thinking: “You cannot do that, we just took her back. We will talk.” Talk we did. Not that it would make things much better. I reminded her of the promise she gave me, and of her breaches. Why she would not say straight that she is not cut out for life on the farm, and if she now loves Gig then she needs to go. “I don’t love him, I don’t love you, I don’t love anyone”, she blurted out. “Call it love or no love, being like the last 2 years, that’s enough! Just 4 months back you promised 5 more years. Do we still have a contract?” I wanted to know. “Things change”, was the comeback. “So how long before you leave again?” I prodded. “I go nowhere for at least 2 years”, was the answer. “And then what?” “First of all, I need to be happy”, was the mysterious conclusion. So, we reconfirmed: 1. Speak only the truth. 2. Be always faithful to me. 3. Not to break our trust. 4. Not to make us lose face. How about Gig? “We did not talk since I left Jing Reet”, she said as expected from her. So she stayed.
Once again, as if by an act of magic, Thaehp re-aligned herself to her old warm, lovable and inviting self in a flash of a moment. By the time I had to leave back to Olallah illusion of the super wife was fully restored, her adventures demoted to an innocent mistake blown out of proportion by human malice, all hurts forgiven and forgotten, and trust reinstated. I had only 6 months left of my contract before retiring to the Jing Reet farm and so I left a week later; my wife to follow only a few days after. The rest of the story is pieced together from random narratives of farm hands, neighbours and merchants who, terrorized into silence by her threats, shouting and inclement behaviour, dared to speak up only long after Thaehp left for good.
It took Thaehp just a couple weeks to pick up another local layabout, a penniless booze loving hobo with no education, no trade and no job who, when not roaming the country in search of opportune income, lived off his farming mother. I will call him Guy (กุ๊ย). Now what selection criteria Thaehp applied to this hero? When her brother came to visit, he brought his wife along, and she spelled that out in clear: ”How did you manage to find this guy? He is a faithful copy of your dumped husband.”
The World Soccer Cup was underway. Thaehp started to bring Gui into house to watch and drink. Within a few days, she shamelessly nudged her co-worker out of the house and moved her new playboy full time in. With Gui happily parading himself in nothing more than boxer shorts around the house early morning, his clothes hanging on the wash line, good tidings about the new idyll underway at our place quickly spread. The locals begin to call our house “Jing Reet Hotel” (โรงแรมจิ้งหรีด – in Thai meaning a seedy hourly-room hotel). Well, we were forewarned: “I don’t give a damn”.
And the abandoned champ Gig? At the end of longan season our helpers, themselves local farmers, held a bit of celebration and invited Thaehp. Poor Gig waded in and tried to strike conversation but did not get far. As his nature dictated he quickly got stoned, took his shirt off, threw it at Thaehp and prostrated on the road begging someone to run a truck over him. His wife had to be called to collect the poor bugger. Thanks god Gui did not come. And Thaehp just sat there face of stone, observing his clowning with scientific curiosity fit for famous Dr. Pavlov carrying out pain resistance experiments on his dogs. If he was not told before, he learnt it now: “I don’t give a damn”.
We inherited with the farm a strange and unwanted peculiarity which I have never witnessed myself but which almost all local women and in particular kids who stayed overnight in our place went through. They claimed being visited by an old couple in white robes, either just staring, or talking worriedly about the farm which they said used to be theirs. One morning my wife wakes up and says: “The old lady came to tell me: ‘Both ladies are leaving the farm’.” She called Thaehp that day and asked about her plans.
Surprised, Thaehp admitted she wanted to leave to Pattaya without telling anyone; just sneak out and go. Her boozing brother once again beat up his wife who ran away leaving Thaehp’s mother without care. To get Thaehp back, her adopted sister offered her a cashier job at 30,000 Baht and free food for all of the family. Wow, is that not sitting pretty! But she told Thaehp: “There will be no running away, the restaurant can wait. You need to give the owner time to find replacement”. They agreed on 6 weeks.
Then my wife called the Thaehp’s co-worker. She admitted thinking about leaving but when she heard that Thaehp is about to go she agreed to stay put. “I just had about enough of Thaehp’s yelling at me and everybody around here,” was all she said.
While I was not particularly surprised, my personal reaction to that confession was mightily miffed. Who is this girl, going within half a year from 5 year pledge to 2 year – and then planning to run away in the middle of night? So I called her and asked her plans – is she really leaving for good, or will she ever want to come back? As predictable as sunset her reply was exactly what I wished to hear: “I also want to come back.” “Let us go together to Hua Hin for a week before you leave”, I asked. “I will be there”, said she.
From all the time Thaehp and I have ever spent together, that week was the most memorable as it was outdoing my wildest dreams about a flawless honeymoon. From the first moment we met at the airport she was the dearest, most attentive, caring, loving wife. Before, she would refrain from any public show of intimacy. This time, for most of the bus trip she would hold my arm with one hand, the other hand on my inner thigh, the head on my shoulder. For a week we cruised the country, its hills, caves, waterfalls, temples, resorts, restaurants and shopping malls. Any bad memories and suspicions of the past were quickly overplated by the fools’ gold of the newly rekindled illusion of genuine relationship. Whatever game Thaehp played – and why – the satisfactions she played for were not the most certainly of material realm.
Then came the morning, the last day. We had breakfast, went for a beach walk, returned to the room and made love. As anyone who has ever experienced sex stimulated by deep psychological absorption would attest, there is no more powerful aphrodisiac beyond love haunted by a specter of an impending farewell. I mentioned that and Thaehp added she never experienced orgasm before Olallah. We took shower together, dressed up. I then came back to her leaving and the promised return. “If you mean it I say again that my million dollar offer is still on the table.”
She cast a long empty gaze at me, as if I had just spoken in Ancient Greek. Then, a dark bolt flashed ocross her eyes. As if in deep trance she stood up, pulled down her panties and – no lies – asked me to shave her pube! Now you Thai ladies who are reading this, is this possibly some new fad under the “we are Thais” heading how to say NO to one million dollar in a grand style that I have missed? To be sure, this pressing last wish was the most certainly not meant to please me. Nor it was very likely meant to please her Jing Reet play thing since Thaehp did not return to work until one week later – without telling anyone. What a gal!
Past this moment, I ceased to exist as if at the flick of a switch. She packed, moved pictures taken together from her phone to mine, cleared up chat history and buried her face in the net game barely giving me a look. The time to go, she went out and called a taxi to the bus station where she went out to buy tickets and stayed away until the last minute. As I suspected, the seats she bought far apart. Back at the airport, she accompanied me without a word to the gate as if making sure I am really leaving. Then she disappeared in the elevator without a single look back, me standing there with the mind eviscerated by the meanest of all grand finales, unable to put two coherent words together.
The injury however did not stop there. My brain was a total mess. Having returned to my team in Olallah I found myself utterly useless. After a few weeks of struggle I could no more tolerate my non-performance, fired myself from the job incurring a loss into tens of thousand dollars and retired from my career. No wonder my wife was totally disgusted and threatened to leave me, no more dharma sermons. It took a year before I am up to writing this in a quasi-dispassionate manner.
After my return to Olallah my wife left for the Jing Reet Farm for job handover. What she witnessed is no less amazing than the fact that she managed to keep it under wraps and let me simmer in ignorance of Thaehp’s crafty deception until Thaehp was long gone and even then, only by drips and drabs. The house, that had not seen a mop for ages, was crawling with dog ticks spread by Thaehp’s equally neglected golden retriever she brought in and let to roam about against our explicit request never to do so. Gui cruised through the house with confidence of a rightful resident, cooking her meals and keeping her company whenever she was off work. Thaehp’s working hours reduced to a trickle. She spent every free minute outside the farm with the lover boy, returning to the house late enough to avoid all contact. The last days in full went toward gathering best fruit she could find that she took without asking. Her truck packed full, she dumped her beloved dog on Gui’s mother and left him crying after her to no end. Goodbye Gui got was the same. She left the farm without a word of farewell. As all shall know by now, “I don’t give a damn.”
It took my wife a week to rid the house of dog ticks. However, it was the Thaehp’s bedroom that became a real hit. As with the aftermath of the Gig’s affair, a couple of local women came to clean up. While the room itself was just as dirty and the bathroom as slimy as seen before, it was Thaehp’s bed that made her an instant folklore legend. Tacky covers, bedsheet on the side where Gui used to sleep gray, his pillow smelly and black. And under the pillow Thaehp’s panties still moist in the crotch, a parting memento of her world view mantra “I don’t give a damn.” Where disappeared to that super spotless high class lady of Olallah? My wife, faithful beyond grave to the “we are Thais” ethnic spell, never uttered a word of revulsion. “She is very brave. As she has done, so it will come back to her,” was her only rebuke.
Moaning like the Thaehp’s abandoned dog I left Olallah and moved to the farm, utterly ignorant of all these romps. Since my wife flat refused to talk about Thaehp it would likely stay that way were it not for a couple of aftershocks. The first from Thaehp herself. For two months after parting she kept calling farm workers – was her old job already taken? So we chat. And you know it, all was just as she said before. I even planned a visit. But on the eve of going my wife finally blinked and gave me a full brief of Thaehp’s Jing Reet career – from a divine star to a country slut. Finally, all dots connected and all loose pieces fell into place with a slam of nausea. As the fog of Thaehp’s karma talk lifted, what emerged was just an ornate make-believe temple built over a sewer. Human self-debasement really knows no bounds.
The second was from my cousin coming to Pattaya for R&R a few months later. He met Thaehp when we still lived in Olallah and when told she left me and is now back home he asked her phone, eager to add her to his vast trophy collection. After a nice chat over a meal in her sister’s restaurant and walkabout intro to the family, Thaehp took him on her motorbike and to his hotel. So it seems that all went well again.
Some would sure say by now so what, you just fell for another Pattaya whore. But that would be a copout. The pre-condition for that word is quid pro quo – service rendered in return for some material gain. Look as you may over Thaehp’s antics, this motive is patently absent. What I see is a peculiar mix of Good Samaritan and Robin Hood. As her good deeds outreach the selfless gift of sexual gratification for the most needy at the bottom of social barrel, they also include a selfless theft from “haves” for sole benefit of “have nots”. They also necessitate a willful breach of any oath, promise or agreement that may stand in the way – and with it a cavalier dismissal of any concern about repute, property, safety, health, and life of both of her own and of those who held her in trust. Regrettably, the only word that fits here is felon.
What goes around comes around
กรรม ใด ใคร ก่อ กรรม นั้น ย่อม ตาม สนอง
This is the only verdict I care to pass. Thaehp is merely a product of a specific view of the world widespread among Thais which, in her case, had been allowed to reach the full rot nurtured by boundless arrogance in a milieu bereft of all social censures. This, no doubt, is an incendiary claim. But if not for lack of room and time, it can be corroborated by my observations of over two dozens of Thai women and men I have come to know in capacity both private and formal. The sample size may not be statistically significant. However, its profile cuts across the Thai society from corporate figures, engineers, high school teachers and students to girlfriends, my wife’s buddies, rehabbed bar girls married overseas, all way down to loose-foot dolls in the Walking Street. Small as it is, I trust it be good enough for personal judgment and forward guidance.
Leaving the bountiful topic of sexual proclivities for another pen, let’s first take inventory of the most salient manifestations of “we are Thais” mindset. Then, we can work backward to their philosophical origins under guidance of the famed Buddhist maxim “As you think so you do, as you do so it becomes”. I am not claiming that these phenomena are exclusive to Thai social scene, but that only in the Thai life both public and private they are elevated to the much cherished cultural laissez-faire:
1. Face must always take priority over facts
2. There are no lies, only personal truths
3. The judge of right and wrong is good feeling
4. Contracts are exchange of pretences
5. The worst of all bad manners is reality check
6. Problems are best solved by running away
7. All relationships are merely for convenience
8. All guidance comes from wish and whim
Who lived and worked with Thais for a length of time would agree that these factors are so common and run so deep that they will eventually force you to relegate the Thai mind into the realm of the inscrutable and declare it unsafe for any coherent and lasting undertaking, business and marriage alike. Yes, life is all about compromise, but what compromise is to be made here, and at whose cost?
The Buddha teaches that there is a one fundamental defilement of mind which gives rise to all the others and holds them in place. This root is ignorance (avijja). Not a mere lack of knowing, avijja is a fundamental darkness shrouding the mind. It can co-exist with a vast accumulation of itemized knowledge, and become enormously astute and resourceful. Rather than merely obscuring understanding it takes on a dynamic role of a shrewd deceiver, conjuring up a mass of distorted ideas which the mind grasps as facts of the world, unaware that they are just its own deluded constructs. Its source is intellectual laziness.
As we heard from Dr. Stephen Covey, “all things are created twice” and this impediment then corrupts final product the same way it mares its first creation, which must happen in mind. A classic case is a Thai builder who shows up for work with inadequate or plain non-existent tools and carry on his task in stubborn contempt for all things plumb, plane, straight, or right angled. So you lend him your good tools and buy a plumb, bubble balance, angle iron – only to find the tools abused and no measuring device ever unwrapped. No matter the protests and clashes, that mind would always know the best or else.
Over years of hesitation, I finally accept that intellectual laziness is the fundamental weakness of Thai mindset. More than often, it also takes the center stage as the cultural primary, bringing into existence a number of secondaries that become manifest wherever that mindset imprints itself into the world about.
The first secondary is: There is no standard – no objective criteria by which to judge anything. In the West, the ultimate judge of any proposition is the word around us. Since 1620 publication of Novum Organum by the chief architect of the Western world view Sir Francis Bacon, our mindset has been molded in the spirit of his key axiom “Nature, to be commanded, must first be obeyed”. Nature’s facts and laws – i.e. formalized relations among facts – are the ultimate arbiter, and the scientific method Sir Bacon postulated is until this very day our only way to sort out right and wrong regardless of our personal comfort, pride, risk or – face. Simply, truth is the recognition of reality for what it is, and the outside world is its objective basis.
On the Thai side of things, the Buddhism demotes Nature into the Empire of Demons. Three cardinal principles apply, vilifying all existence as intrinsically unsatisfactory (dukkha), impermanent (annica), and non-substantial (anatta). This may well be the ultimate truth and guiding light for a starving mystic of self-arrested mind living from labors of others, but it cannot but fail when applied to a practical task of man’s survival – qua homo – on this Earth. In absence of an absolute arbiter, reality about us and recognition of it becomes infinitely pliable and malleable by an emotional upswell of wish and whim from within.
Once there is no objective basis all facts become weightless and then it follows that there is no right and no wrong, no truth and no lie, and therefore there is no consequence. Yet oddly enough, if the Lord Buddha added anything truly innovative to the pre-existing Brahmanism apart of still disturbing concept of non-self (anatta), it was the principle of consequentiality. Buddhist votaries have been told for over 2000 years that, “As you think, so you do, as you do, so you will become.” Yet, this principle seldom seem to pierce the Thai cultural bias against the need ever to ask “And then what?” let alone to ask “facts on ground”.
When there is no perceived consequence of one’s actions, why shall I care? Then I don’t give a damn gets elevated to the universal placebo fit for any dilemma – like a derisive meaning “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” given to that Buddhist maxim “Mind over matter”. This attitude is surely manifest throughout the land at every cast of eye: Roads bordered with projects left somewhere mid-way between demolition and construction, wild laydown yards alternating with equally wild dumps, houses of the flashy new gilding the decrepit old, all shaded with millions billboards, carpeted over with wild weeds and shrouded in acrid smoke of forever burning garbage, agro and forestry wastes. Thailand of Thais is nothing short of an environmental disaster. Not so though Thailand for foreigners. Every tourist escapade is meticulously built and beautifully maintained, as if only monetary interests can justify cultivating beauty. But how about Thais, would you care to ask? “Well, we are Thais” is the common smiley reply you receive in return.
What exactly does this “we are Thais?” mean in the context of absent-minded reckless destruction of human habitat? I only hope it does not mean that “we Thais and our children don’t deserve any better”, only that “we Thais just don’t give a damn”. Yet, this premise must remain unspoken, or there be no “face”.
This brings up the biggest self-delusion of all -“face”. Obsession with “face” rules supreme in all exchanges from the most private to most public, rising from the fact that, in absence of reality check, perception is 99% of reality. There never is a lie big enough that would not be conjured in defence of self-image which, to be perfect, must as a matter of course provide the like crutch to – your face! Higher grade lie, increasingly more daring and more ridiculous is always at the ready to paper over the lie that just exposed – until you either give up, or get ostracised, or both. There just can be no room for fools.
The acclaimed benefit is politeness, but the denied part is never ending discord. A true win-win is a product of logical value-based compromises. In the sooq of illusions, every compromise means a “loss of face”, directly undermining the self-image and perception of self-worth, which is self-esteem. “Face”, then is not a product of self-made character and self-made life, but a self-perception painted by judgments of others.
That is too much of lofty reasoning and calls for some vertical testing. On the local scale, our village leader got elected by a rather slim minority. More to it, he is the first generation resident. He will never be forgiven his win. No matter how small a betterment he negotiates for the place, supporting it means conceding to his authority and losing face. So the whole village still burns garbage around houses rather than paying 50 Bath monthly for its collection and sanitary disposal. A trifle argument you say? Here is another.
Thailand has become a parliamentary monarchy in 1932. Since then, the never ending strife between political parties necessitated 12 takeovers of public life by the military, i.e. one coup every 6 years. Forget all that fluff talk about democracy. The mentality that cannot concede individual defeat for common benefit of cooperation with a winner is evidently unfit for self-governance by common consent.
Every party must come to an end.
As they say in NY, if you live in it, drive in it or make love to it, is by far cheaper to rent than to own. That’s the rational brain speaking. But the man’s heart bewitched by the magic once lived cares not of logic. It slaps the mind into silence with the incessant blitz of imagery: the slim silhouette crossing at distance the sunlit mountain top, the naked swim in vadis, the calm resolve fighting brush fire, the dazzling smile across the dining table, the firm arms around my neck, the fragrance of the earlobe, the gentle love cries at my ear. And somewhere at the heart of hearts there still persists the all-irrational adoration of the vile magician’s trick so cheaply conjured out of thin air, and made to last beyond grave.
Women, it seems, seldom fall into this trap – unless self-made. I sincerely doubt that Thaehp, as she goes through her life mowing men like spring wheat would ever realize what havoc she is leaving in her wake – or ask what damage is she doing to herself. But is ignorance really bliss?
Was it all worth the trouble and the aftermath? Oh yes, definitely; every minute of it – while the going was fun, forget the fallout. Who has never tried would not come close to believe let alone suspect how profound is the uplift that a parallel conjugal partner can add to your life happiness. A voluntary self-restraint by all parties is the most salient. There is not a single opening for a two-way squabble; simple presence of the third person is a sufficient deterrent by itself. Also, it is immensely more motivating and decidedly more fun to go after doing things in three. Al parties strive to put the best foot forward for one another, and there are no “laterz”. As for the sex part, for myself I found a mere presence of two wives amazingly rejuvenating and stimulating. And I don’t mean just frequency, but quality of the encounter. But the greatest reward is a psychological feedback which reinforces the fruitful behavioral pattern that keeps it all going at the first place. But for the guest wives, all I can say is their self-righteous “we are Thais”. What of all worlds’ treasures against the unhinged urgings of the two-petal tulip!
Per force, my quest for the parallel conjugal relationship ends here. I have been made enough of a fool for this lifetime. But the question with which the quest has begun keeps on nagging: Is the second wife nothing more than an ephemeral dream, to be relegated among those romantic longings never meant to be realized? It may as well be a project for the next life. Let’s hope this time without another Thaehp.