The life in Three – Enter the Godsend Girl
How under the ruse of love trust has been defrauded, lives knowingly, willingly and callously put at risk, vast injury inflicted, property embezzled, and peace forever destroyed.
CONTENTS — สารบาญ
- When the wishes are horses เม่าความฝันกลายเป็นม้า
- A blind chicken and a kernel หาเข็มบนภูเขา
- Laugh today cry tomorrow ชั่วเจ็ดที ดีเจ็ดหน
- Angel who came from God นางฟ้าที่มาจากพระเจ้า
- Eating in a house, shitting on the roof กินบนเรือนขี้รดบนหลังคา
- Bad wife makes you think until dead เลือกเมียผิดคิดจนยิงตัวตเย
- I just don’t give a damn ฉันไม่สงใจหรอค
- Dancing with mots ends in flames เต้นรำกับผีเสื้อราตรีในเปลวไฟ
- Indictment ข้อกล่าวหา
- When the wishes are horses
This is an account of a personal quest for a second conjugal Thai partner which, may I say, ended rather badly. As it was primarily inspired by a brilliant post “Why I never married a Thai”, with the writer asking readers’ experience with their Thai marriage, I shall take liberty to paint, on the backdrop thus provided, my own immersion with a soul of Thai woman. I admit though, my marriage alone, no matter how unusual, would not make me invest the effort were it not for a mouthful I have to say about the second wife bit – and then some.
Acting out solely on my obsession with the idea, polemic is expected as most folks, evangelised by Christian “sins-are-us” industry, relegate polygamy into purgatory for sexual deviants. However, for a while now, 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 practiced and indeed has never been 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 would-be 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 vigor that this bit that deals with my marriage to a Thai 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 startling after I have lived with Thais for a range of years, interviewed, hired, worked with and supervised a number of Thai professionals, had several 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 hundred times before marrying a Thai. Let no one be misled to believe otherwise.
I first came to Thailand in mid-80’s. As most men from ascetic utopias like Canada where the only worse thing than having sex is to ask for it, it felt like coming to a different planet. I was instantly entranced. Never before had I seen among my own kind the spontaneity, cheerfulness and kindness the Thais took for granted. The vertigo is palpable, and it is easy to get hurt at the end. Yes, it is mostly business, 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 farangs 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.
- A blind chicken and the kernel
Some years later my Western marriage unraveled. I soon realized that 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 ship shape of a martial art buff, with a hurried consulting career yet to come to full bloom. I wanted a slim Thai girl who speaks good English, can read a book, walk mountains and swim half a mile, runs 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 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 3 month visa and came for a looksee. She was like a fall into a deep well. While she flat refused Canada she promised, upon leaving, to find me a job in Thailand. Sure baby, no problem, go ahead. To my speechless surprise, 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 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 receiving instant solution. No breach permitted between thought, word and action, pitiless honesty and no regrets. Love is a value to be 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 roll in and get on with life.
How does this work beyond house? When my career was about over 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 accomplish the same task to the same degree of quantity, quality, cost and time efficiency – including myself. And this was a real estate secretary, with just 2 years of college, 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 meltdown of South Asian economies. My Thai contract holder, rather than negotiating the exit went with duplicitous mendacity common to Thais in pinch of trouble through several debasements of contract until there was 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 her visits to homeland so frequent that to accumulate the 3 year residence for citizenship took 5 years. But when, 8 years after, we moved to the Middle East – I shall 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 among 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 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. Here is how it works:
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 insurance business, you can either have a lion roaring in the field or a sheep bleating in the office, but not both.
- Laugh today cry tomorrow
I leave to armchair psychologists 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 in Thailand, and they were not more than learning lessons into psychological sides of 3-way relationships. Yes, we have 1.6 billion Muslims on this planet where such concerns would be laughable. But to imprison a sexually mutilated woman under a 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. So, 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 lover 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 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 unspoken as her escapades to Thailand prior my wife would still go along with the idea.
Of course I cherished my wife’s support; what can go wrong with the incisive and task oriented Thai mind dealing with another Thai mind? Actually, quite a lot. You never know what’s really cooking 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 a veil of moral plastic fog under which 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 alone. You send the girl to learn English, 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 at night, and his wife begs your wife to help. You learn 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 wait before siding with their women in saying that 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 worked with came across as ethically weak narcissistic sissies woefully unequipped for much of life hardship, easily swayed into detrimental pursuits of terrestrial pleasures. 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 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 a 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 2 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 brutally 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 boring monotonous 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. And – all were fiercely independent and resistant to any outside restraint.
The last two girls stayed about 2 years each. Like most of 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 ME illegally since in all GCC countries Thais are granted 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 upfront, most of such cases end up plying 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 a job locally. Of course, the more insecure she is, the longer her guarantor will take to make fringe benefits last, and the girl still ends up paying 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 would my wife let me. Choosing a girl in Thailand and bringing her into Olallah is difficult when no mutual trust exists. 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 venture were of this category. I could secure 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 properly wed woman. Starting with the English 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 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 the agreed period of time and they would agree to stay.
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. 3. Not to break our trust. 4. Not to make us lose face. Naïve? Oh yes, the big way, and even more so in the 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 walked out with a new friend, causing a major stink regarding her work permit.
But freedom always exacts its dues. She never again held another job in Olallah, nor sent any money home. Booze and men kept her happy for some months on until she moved to Pattaya. 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 on gossamer wings spouting booze, sperm, and money. As they chat away with my wife she would even have a gall to ask the job back. No hard feelings, “we are Thais”.
We still chat, 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 parting.
Needless to say, by the time we cleaned up 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, we will see what happens. My first thought was Philippinas: same mind fundamentals due to the same religious watermark, better grasp of English, and generally known as keepers. The initial effort was deceivingly easy; scouting a couple of dating websites produced over a dozen of candidates. It was meeting them that prove insurmountable. 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 because that is not what good Catholic girls do!
But dating websites did yield a different 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. True to the 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 settled her bill – next to learn that she had a local sponsor who “used to be” her boyfriend, and a heavy ox cart of ill repute in tow behind. That by itself was enough. But by my wife panicked, worried I was to leave “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 months later. Out of the blue my wife says, there is a new girl in town; quiet, tall and pretty. And we go meet her at the Costa Coffee this Friday morning. The first we met, I went under an instant spell that, I confess, lasts until this very day. The girl at 33 was still centerfold stunning; angelic innocent face adorned with interminable dazzling white smile that slices man’s heart like a hot knife marshmallow. Head confidently up, shy eyes pinning 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 Thaephee (เทพี) shall we?
Thaephee’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 add up. But, mostly obsessed with our own thought process we seldom put a dot on the risk chart. To our own detriment, because how else will the lie emerge if not by connecting these dots into contours of contradictions? And if we ever do connect them, it is usually well after the main event expired and the dust settled over the ruins.
The first yellow flag (YF-01) thus willfully suppressed 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 Thaephee’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 Thaephee is looking for a job because her common law spouse left her for another, with 3 children in tow and a huge pile of debts of his own for her to pay. Thaephee graduated from a commerce 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 Thaephee, 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 grand-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 go along? Leave it to me, says my wife, takes Thaephee 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. Sure as death, she briefs Thaephee 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”. Thaephee is outraged at a mere mention of that, she is even more scared and would never do such a thing. The next day, she accepts the offer.
From the first day, Thaephee 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 wadis, 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”.
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, Thaephee and I were a textbook match. She was the full complement to the “lion in the field” I was married to, counterbalancing the brush, hectic, assertive, short-tempered and loud leader with the calm, meek, submissive and quiet follower. While my lion’s roar made the field tremble, Thaephee 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 nor Thaephee ever dropped the hint. The lion’s roar is the sermon of life and, albeit it sometimes hurts my ears, scares my heart and scars my soul, I bow with deep admiration to high-fliers. They must come first, for 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 barn 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, Thaephee stood by the dining table, her mobile 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 all together here was one million dollar offer. She agreed on staying first as a farm manager first 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 Thaephee’s ex-husband (YF-04), the youngest, only 2 years old, in care of Thaephee’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 doping, 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 them 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 Thaephee 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 flags. There is another challenge, equally troubling and more universal. Thaephee typifies 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 classy corporate consort 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 toddler babble and infantile stickers. Ask for a selfie, yes can do. But if you long for an intellectual spark – good luck!
- Eating in a house, shitting on the roof
At the summer’s end, Thaephee 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 Thaephee 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 seller reputed for boozing, charming ladies and popping meth. Since he soon proved to be exceedingly good at scaling balconies at night, we shall call him Romeo (โรมิโอ). As we realized long after everyone in the local village already watched their escapades with a great delight, this was the seed of troubles ahead. As soon as Thaephee put her bags inside the house, the two took off “for shopping” and came back late at night. First come first serve? Romeo’s wife went hysterical. But our trust in Thaephee, built on her 2-year long irreproachably flawless behavior did not permit to register any alarm. The full story, beyond any belief if not for eyewitnesses, had to wait until after Thaephee left the farm as she turned into a tyrant and bullied everyone into silence.
As we left back to Olallah there came their daily rendez-vous at our house, weekend roaming around the country with pictures fronted on the Thaephee’s Facebook, night joy rides to the district town, and before long Romeo was climbing to Thaephee’s balcony at night – or popping in for a quickie during the day when her co-worker was gone, leaving suck marks on Thaephee’s neck for good laughs. “I run into rakes in the barn”, she explained. Sure, that happens on every farm. “Do you know where your husband is tonight?” teased the villagers Romeo’s wife; “his motorbike is at the fence of farang wife’s farm, come and see”. To appease Romeo’s wife and impress his sister, Thaephee sends our two Lao workers, our machinery and fuel, to harvest Romeo sister’s cassava for a week – for free. And as this hanky-panky was not enough, Thaephee brings in her khatoey “niece”, a pill popping 17-year dropout. The he-girl soon gets into one of local women in a way so public that her husband threatens to beat the kathoey up, so she has to run. A cool family tree – but no one said a word.
In about 2 months, still suspecting nothing, my wife had to go to Jing Reet on farm related business. As soon as she arrived Romeo’s wife came over pleading for help to save her marriage. Yet, so strong was our faith in Thaephee’s moral profile that she stood up for Thaephee innocence and dismissed the plea.
With my wife leaving to the farm, I asked Thaephee to join me in Olallah for a month. “I miss you very much too”, she replied and came in a flash. What a gal! But, as always comes out 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 Thaephee was as before. She even worked hard on her English as before and nippily lined herself up to her previous illusory image – except for not even a look back in farewell at the airport upon leaving.
When Thaephee returned to the farm my wife confronted her over Romeo’s wife allegations. “Oh ignore her, she is an idiot… Romeo and I are just friends…” She admitted to going out with Romeo at night but there was nothing more. “He is married with two kids to feed. What about the villagers? What about my 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 staff too scared to talk. 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 know nothing about that” said Thaephee. As soon as my wife left, Romeo wasted no time to throw a welcome back party for Thaephee – in his own house, his own wife catering. He then took Thaephee back to the farm and went to “sleep in a friend’s house”.
Just a couple of days after my wife’s return to Olallah there was a phone call – the Romeo’s wife in tears. Her husband and Thaephee were about to take a trip to Pattaya – in our truck – to pick up a “special wheelchair” for Romeo’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 Romeo, his wife, Thaephee, and her farm co-worker to force direct confrontation.
How naïve is it from a native Thai to forget the famous “we are Thais” factor and hope to confront Thais with their own mess! Romeo simply got drunk as a skunk right on the spot and did not utter a word. His wife broke down unable to face Thaephee, denied her previous allegations and declared it a misunderstanding. And so, there was nothing the Thaephee’s co-worker could say. “You see, Romeo’s wife says there is no problem”, said Thaephee 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”.
Romeo went into a tailspin. The poor bastard called my wife begging her to keep Thaephee, promising that he would leave Jing Reet village forever. What a gentleman! He made further spectacle out of himself at Thaephee’s leaving 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 Thaephee’s co-worker and Romeo’s wife entered Thaephee’s vacated bedroom to clean up. Grimy beddings unwashed for weeks, the toilet a pig stall and the balcony full of mud prints. “These are prints of my husband’s shoes”, said Romeo’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 Thaephee’s innocence, those evil villagers doing her a gross injustice. We kept on calling her, begging her to return. Although she apologized “in case I have done anything wrong” Thaephee insisted on her innocence. In a week, she agreed to come back after taking a month off to let the dust settle. But, even before she told us, Romeo already held a drinking party at Jing Reet celebrating her second coming.
I needed to get the story straight from her. Before her return to the farm, we spent one week at the Ambassador City Hotel. As ever, once again she 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 Romeo 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. Thaephee 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 saw mud prints on her balcony. Romeo’s wife said it was her husband’s shoes.” What?? And you just forgot to tell me?? This “We are Thais” again! I lost it, banged the table, yelled back “Fire the bitch” and stormed out, the case closed. To my utter disbelief, Thaephee caught up with me in the front, voice drowning in genuine concern: “What happened with you?” “You fucked Romeo, 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 bunk. “Good night, and good packing” I said and went to bed certain that I would find Thaephee gone home in the morning.
But none of that. She was there all right, all curled up around her mobile, face rock hard and dark, not talking, not eating the entire 7 hour drive. Her somber mood and hunger strike continued into the next day. She was found out and she knew it. At night, 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 next morning. She burst into 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 asking, that’s a noble social service? “You agreed to be my second wife, not my prostitute. You are paid for your work. Plus, you stay, you get half of property. You have better offer? Hurry, pack up, go get it.”
Then I went to tell the verdict to my wife. 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.” And talk we did. Not that it would help. I reminded her of the pledge, and of her breaches. Why she would not say straight that she is not cut out for the farm, and if she loves Romeo then she may go. “I don’t love him, I don’t love you, I don’t love anyone”, she blurted out. “Love no love, being like the last 2 years, what was that? Just 4 months back you promised 5 more years. Do we still have a contract?”, I probed. “Things change”, was the reply. “So how long before you leave again?” I prodded. “I go nowhere for at least 2 years”, was the answer. “And then what?” “Before all, I must be happy”, was the enigmatic closeout. So, we reconfirmed to: 1. Speak only the truth. 2. Be faithful to me. 3. Not to break our trust. 4. Not to make us lose face. How about Romeo? “We did not talk since I left Jing Reet”, said she as expected. So she stayed.
Once again, as if by an act of magic, Thaephee re-aligned with her old warm, lovable and inviting self in a flash. By the time I was leaving back to Olallah, illusion of a super wife was fully restored, her adventures demoted to an innocent mistake blown out of proportion by human malice, all hurts forgotten and trust reinstated. I had only 6 months life in my contract before retiring to the Jing Reet farm and so I left a week later; my wife to follow just in a few days. What followed after came out piece by piece from random narratives of farm hands, neighbours and merchants who, terrorized into silence by Thaephee’s threats, shouting and inclement behaviour, dared not to speak up until long after she left for good.
It took Thaephee just a couple weeks to pick up another local temple dog layabout, a penniless boozing drifter 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 Hobo. Now what selection criteria Thaephee applied to this hero? When Thaephee’s 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. Thaephee took Hobo into house to watch and drink. Within days, she shamelessly nudged her co-worker out and moved her new playboy full time in. With Hobo parading himself in nothing more than boxer shorts around the house early morning, his clothes hanging on the balcony, good tidings about the new idyll unfolding at our place quickly spread. The locals named our house “Jing Reet Hotel” (โรงแรมจิ้งหรีด – Thai expression for a seedy hourly-room hotel). Well, we were forewarned: “I don’t give a damn”.
And the abandoned champ Romeo? At the end of longan season our helpers, themselves farmers, held a bit of celebration and invited Thaephee. Poor Romeo lumbered in and tried to strike conversation but did not get far. As his nature dictates he got quickly stoned, took his shirt off, threw it at Thaephee and prostrated on the road begging for someone to run a truck over him. His wife was called to collect the poor bugger. Thanks god Hobo did not come. And Thaephee 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 Romeo 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 Thaephee the same day and asked her plans.
Surprised, Thaephee 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 Thaephee’s mother without support. To get Thaephee back, her adopted sister offered her a cashier job at 30,000 Bath and free food for all of the family. Wow, is that not sitting pretty in Pattaya! But she told Thaephee: “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 Thaephee’s co-worker. She admitted thinking about leaving but when she heard that Thaephee is about to go, “I just had enough of Thaephee’s yelling at everyone here,” was all she had to say.
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 go”, I asked. “I will be there”, was all she said.
From all the time Thaephee and I have ever spent together, that week was the most astounding. She 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 to my arm with one hand, the other hand on my inner thigh, the head on my shoulder. For a week we toured 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 Thaephee played – and why – the wins 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 Thaephee added to the fires that she never knew orgasm before Olallah. We took shower together, dressed up. I then came back to her leaving and her promised return. “If you really mean to come back, I say again that my million dollar offer is still on the table.”
Let there be no mistake: this is not about mere money in the bank. This means a 25,000 Baht monthly support until my demise, plus inheritance of 50% share of farming business generating some 30,000 Baht net monthly income, indefinitely.
She cast an empty gaze at me, as if I had just spoken in Ancient Greek. Then, a dark bolt flashed across her eyes. As if in deep trance she stood up, pulled down her panties and – what?? – asked me to shave her pube! Wow – this lady surely knows what matters the most in life – AND how to say NO to one million dollar in style! Or was the pleasure of having the exiting contender groom the Golden Gate for triumphs of a next hero so intense that it killed all voices of reason? One thing is sure though, this pressing last wish was the most certainly not to please me. Nor was it meant to please her Jing Reet Hobo since Thaephee did not return to work until one week later – without telling anyone. What a fun-loving gal!
Past this moment on, as if at the flick of a switch, I ceased to exist. She packed, sent pictures from her phone to mine, cleared up our chats 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 to buy tickets and was gone until the last minute. The seats were bought far apart. Back at the airport, she took me in total silence to the gate as if just making sure I am really leaving. Then she disappeared in the elevator. Not 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 did not stop there. Having returned to my team I found myself utterly useless. My brain was a total mess. After a few weeks of struggle I could no more tolerate my no-show, fired myself from the job, and retired from my career, a loss of income into tens of thousand dollars. No wonder my wife was totally disgusted with me and wanted to leave me. 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 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 Thaephee’s crafty deception until Thaephee long gone. The house, that had not seen a mop for weeks, was crawling with dog ticks spread by Thaephee’s equally neglected golden retriever she brought in against our explicit ‘no’. Hobo cruised through the house with an air of a rightful resident, cooking her meals and keeping her bed warm, just a wall apart from where my wife slept. Thaephee’s working hours all but vanished. The last days went toward gathering best fruit she could find that she took without asking. Then she left the farm without a word. Her truck packed full, she dumped her dog on Hobo’s mother and left him crying after her to no end. Hobo got the same. 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, a real hit was the Thaephee’s bedroom. As in the aftermath of the Romeo’s affair, a local lady came to clean up. While the room itself was just as dirty and the bathroom as slimy as seen then, it was Thaephee’s bed that made her an instant countryside celebrity. Tacky covers, bedsheets gray, the pillow where Hobo used to sleep smelly and black. And under the pillow Thaephee’s panties still moist in the crotch, a farewell 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 life to the “we are Thais” ethnic spell, never uttered a word of revulsion. “She is very brave. As she has done, so will it come back to her,” was her only rebuke.
- Bad wife makes you think until death
Whining like the Thaephee’s cast away dog I left Olallah and moved to the farm, still ignorant as a newborn. Since my wife flat refused to talk about Thaephee it would likely stay that way were it not for a couple of aftershocks. The first from Thaephee herself. For two months after parting she kept calling farm workers – is her old job taken? So we chat. And she was as before. I even planned a visit. But on the eve of going my wife finally blinked and gave me a full brief of Thaephee’s Jing Reet pride parade – from a divine star to a village slut. Finally, all dots connected with nausea. The fog of Thaephee’s pretentious grandeur gone, what emerged was a fool’s gold temple built over a sewer.
The second was from my nephew coming to Pattaya for R&R a few months later. He and Thaephee had met during his visit to Olallah and when told she left to go 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, Thaephee drove to his hotel with him. “Before all, I must be happy”, right?
Some would surely say by now so what, another Pattaya whore. But that would be a copout. What whore would run this kind of social service? Where, in the Thaephee’s entire soap opera, is there the least trace of material motive? Plus, her version of selfless good does not stop with free laundry, booze, food, bed and sex for social dregs. It metastasizes into selfless lies and selfless theft, and selfless breach of any pledge standing in the way. Here is a bizarre twin of Good Samaritan and Robin Hood joined at the hip.
What chokes the throat till this day is a mudball of filth, disgust and humiliation, not to swallow, not to spit out. This is not about the parting. It is all about the how. The antics so public, so juvenile, so stupid. If you want to go, do you have to make it a slut parade? An exquisitely attractive woman fit for worship by any class of man she would care to keep, running wild in public view with temple dogs. But Heavens why?
No human motive, be it anger, jealousy, envy, passion or greed can be found. Is it then nothing more than a perverse joy of crushing man’s heart after you first made him love you beyond grave? A mere power trip in psychopathic absence of empathy, remorse and shame? And for that, she casts to dogs all concern with repute, property, safety, health, and life of both her own and of those who trust her. Now how is that for a wife material? Words fail here.
- I don’t give a damn (ฉันไม่สงใจหรอค)
Now I am sure most Thais would say, why the fuss? My Thai wife does. That’s because the disconnect is metaphysical and beyond reach of the world view most Thais embrace. Thaephee is a mere product of that same philosophy. Only that, in her case, it reached the full rot nurtured by unparalleled arrogance in settings bereft of all moral restraint. This, no doubt, is an incendiary claim. But if not for lack of room and time, it can be corroborated by life exploits of over dozens of Thai women and men I have come to observe in capacity both private and formal. The sample size may not be statistically significant. However, it cuts across the Thai society from corporate figures, engineers, high school teachers and students to girlfriends, my wife’s buddies, ex-bar girls married overseas, all way to loose-foot dolls in the Walking Street. Small as it is, I trust it be good enough for personal judgment and guide.
Leaving the bountiful topic of sexual proclivities for another pen, let’s first take inventory of the most salient social ‘malfestations’ of the “we are Thais” mindset. Then we use of the famous Buddhist golden standard “as you think so you do, as you do so you become”, to track them back to their philosophical origins. 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:
- Face always take first priority over facts
- There are no lies, only ‘personal versions of truth’
- The worst of all bad manners is a reality check
- Actions best spring from wish and whim
- Judge of the right and wrong is a good feeling
- Contracts are exchange of pretenses
- Relationships are just for good times
- Problems are best solved by running
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, what’s here to take home, and at what 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 (อวิชชา). 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 only source is intellectual laziness.
As we heard from Dr. Stephen Covey, “all things are created twice” and so this impediment then corrupts final product the same way it mares its first creation, which must happen in mind. A classic archetype 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 unwrapped. No matter the protests and clashes, that mind would always know the best or else.
Over years of hesitation, I finally resigned to accept that intellectual laziness is the fundamental weakness of Thai mind. More than often, it also takes the center stage as a 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. To the Western mind, the ultimate judge of any proposition is the word around. 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 rights and wrongs regardless of our personal comfort, pride, risk or – face. Simply, truth is the recognition of reality for what it is, and its objective basis is the outside world.
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 (ทุกข์), impermanent (อนิจจัง), and of no substance (อนัตตา). This may well be the ultimate truth and a 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 the much disturbing concept of non-self (อนัตตา), it was the principle of consequentiality. Buddhist votaries have been told for over 2500 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 ever asking “And then what?” let alone for “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 a universal placebo fit for any dilemma. The Buddhist maxim “mind over matter” becomes “if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. This attitude is surely manifest throughout the land at every cast of eye: Highways bordered with projects abandoned mid-way between demolition and construction, wild laydown yards alternating with equally wild dumps, sidewalks for anything except walk, driving drunk whichever way one might fancy, flashy new houses amidst piles of garbage, black top roads non-drivable just a year after laid, all shaded with millions billboards, carpeted over with wild weeds and shrouded in acrid smoke of forever burning plastic, agro and forestry wastes. Ever wonder where all smiles have gone? Thailand of Thais is a disaster in progress – environmental as much as political. But not so with Thailand for foreigners. Every tourist zoo is meticulously built and beautifully maintained, as if only monetary interests may permit cultivating beauty. But how about Thais, would you care to ask? “Well, we are Thais” is the common smiley reply in return.
What exactly does this “we are Thais?” mean in the context of the 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 crowning 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, pretense IS reality. There never be a lie big enough to conjure in defense of the self-image which, to be perfect, must as a matter of course provide the like crutch to – your face! Higher the grade of lie, the more daring and more ridiculous lie is instantly at the ready to paper over the lie just exposed – until you either give up, or get ostracized, or both. There just can be no room for fools.
The acclaimed benefit is cosmetic politeness, but the denied part is never-ending discord. A true win-win is a product of logical value-based compromise. But 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 soft-painted by judgments of others.
That is too much lofty a reasoning, so let’s do some vertical sensing. On the local scale, our village leader got elected by a rather slim majority. More to it, he is the first generation resident. He will never be forgiven his win. No matter how small a betterment he tries 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 among political parties produced 12 takeovers of public life by the military, i.e. one coup roughly every 6 years. It’s like one coup following each election term of 4 years. Forget all that fluff talk about democracy. The mentality that cannot concede individual defeat for communal benefit of cooperation with a winner is evidently unfit for self-governance by common consent.
- Dancing with mots ends in flames
As they say, if you live in it, drive in it or make love to it, it is 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 reason into silence with an incessant blitz of emotional imagery: the slim silhouette crossing at distance the sunlit mountain top, the naked swim in a vadi, the calm resolve fighting farm brush fire, the dazzling smile across the dining table, the slim arms firm around my neck, the fragrance of the earlobe, the gentle love cries at my ear. And somewhere at the heart of hearts there still lives 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. I doubt that Thaephee would ever realize what mess she is leaving in her wake – and at what cost. For all her cheap karma talk, she be forever unable to track her rotten life to her foul actions and then to her warped mind. But is ignorance really bliss? Here is what the Ultimate Authority (Dhammapada) says: “Unskillful mental states are preceded by mind, led by mind, and made up of mind. If one speaks or acts with an impure mind suffering follows him even as the cartwheel follows the hoof of the ox.” And that is where the final judgment must be left to reside.
Was it all worth the trouble and the aftermath? Oh yes, every minute – while the going was clean, forget the risks. Who has never tried would not come close to suspect how profound an uplift a parallel conjugal partner can add to happiness. A voluntary self-restraint by all parties is the most sociable. There is no opening for a two-way squabble; simple presence of the third person being enough of deterrent. Also, it is immensely more motivating and decidedly more fun to go things in three. All parties strive to put the best foot forward for one another, and no “laterz”. As for the sex part, for myself I found a mere presence of two wives amazingly rejuvenating and stimulating. Particularly in quality of the encounter. But by far the greatest reward is a psychological feedback which reinforces the fruitful behavioral pattern that keeps it all going at the first place. But the guest wives? Who can ever tell? All I can say with certainty is to repeat their self-righteous war cry “we are Thais”.
Is there any practical advice you ask? Useless – this is the realm reason may never enter. Plus, reason has no power where there seem to be only shifting sands and no bottom. Truth be told, Thaephee’s soap opera act is mind-boggling only because of its flawless deception and brazen folly but it is far from unique. It is archetypal for disturbingly large percentage of Thai girls I have come to know. Here is the puzzle I share with my wife: It boggles our mind to see endless procession of good-looking hard-working girls drawn like mots to a burning flame to career losers who hold them for slaves, abuse them, neglect their children, and the instant another victim offers herself, take their money and leave. And the girl never learns. She runs from loser to loser like a bitch in heat, tells each of them how much she loves him and believes that too, serves him and asks nothing. But as soon as she meets a farang, she insists to be showered with gold, SUV’s, houses and fat monthly sustenance – which she often recycles to her lifestyle and her losers on the Thai side of life without a pause. Go figure.
Per force, my own quest for a parallel conjugal relationship ends here. But the question with which it all began 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?
- The Indictment
It is the First of Natural Laws that the man must always seek and follow peace because peace is the first precondition of one’s survival. The chain of reasoning is plain:
Everything we need to sustain our life must first be produced, as nothing is given to us in nature for free. But, no one can produce all the necessaries of life by oneself. In order to acquire the values that sustain our life, we must meet in marketplace to obtain knowledge, take part in division of labour and exchange one’s production.
To obtain our sustenance, we have only two ways open to us – contract (a free will agreement), or force (or its intellectualized forms of fraud or extortion). The former is the only foothold of peace, the later the method of war. And it is everyone’s first duty to maintain peace which is, giving value for value and worth for worth. All peaceful relationships among us are contractual in essence. Even generosity must be paid for in gratitude.
Contract is a good faith agreement about exchange of value to be perfected in time to come, entered knowingly, willingly and voluntarily in a meeting of unforced and informed minds.
Trust is faith in a good will of the promise to be fulfilled, and is foundation of every contract. Be there a breach of trust, there can be no good will, no meeting of minds, no sharing of knowledge, no division of labour, no exchange of value and no peace among men. Breach of trust is the first rung of every crime.
Crime is a non-consensual transfer of value by the use of force, fraud or extortion against person, property, repute, knowledge, trust, or the right, held by another.
The crime of the breach of trust has been committed, property embezzled, a vast emotive injury inflicted, lives knowingly, willingly and callously put at risk of death, and peace destroyed.
For as long as there be a claim unsettled, the parties to the broken contract remain in the state of war. But the nature of Man commands peace which, to be restored, demands recompense to the party injured, to a creditor’s full satisfaction. For there be a return to peace, the first and the least of the remedies must be an apology. A rational mind offers apology without asking as it naturally tends to peace. But the mind whipped by arrogance to cloak the crime is ever more in rush to escalate the war than to restore peace.
The only satisfaction sought is an apology, which has been requested. Accusation of slander has been the only answer.
Then, what of the stalemate where remedy is not forthcoming and injury persists keeping minds at war? In moral offences – where no written contract exists, where injury sustained is chiefly psychological, where the only actual material damage is a low-class theft, with more grievous damages remaining potential and not actual – the recourse to justice is not available as the cause is of insufficient gravity for juridical action. However, in natural law, the injured party has the right to seek recourse to, and redress by, moral revulsion of, firstly, the offender’s intimate acquaintances and, failing that, the offender’s peers.
Seeking recourse to a moral compass of offender’s closest acquaintance has been attempted but was in vain. Birds of a feather flock together. Henceforth, seeking recourse to moral sagacity of offender’s peers is the right that remains held without prejudice and pursued without respite.
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