Stickman's Weekly Column November 30th, 2003

Stickman Weekly 23/11/2003



S

Whether to register the marriage, where and why – benefits and otherwise

Interview Loogai's' mother again

The opening piece of this weeks column should NOT be looked at as a definitive guide to the legalities of marrying in Thailand. It merely raises a few points on some of the complicated issues surrounding marriage in Thailand.

Stay in Thailand long enough and it is likely that you will eventually settle down with one of the locals. Irrespective of her age, background or experience, if she feels that the two of you are really serious, she will look for some long term commitment. Marriage.

Getting married in Thailand raises a whole load of issues, many of which you wouldn't have to consider in your own country.

It has to be understood that there are different ceremonies along the path to marriage in Thailand. Typically, there is the engagement ceremony where the groom to be goes to the house of the parents of the bride to be and requests her hand in marriage. This is actually a full, although usually quite short, ceremony where the groom formally asks for her hand in marriage and offers a diamond engagement ring and perhaps some gold (although this may come at the wedding ceremony later). This should not be confused with the less formal way that a Westerner might visit his girlfriend's parents with a view to asking for her hand in marriage.

Next is usually the traditional Thai wedding ceremony which starts early in the morning with the feeding of monks and is followed by the stroll along the street, and the game playing.

There may be an evening ceremony too, which is a little more Western in style.

If you have been through these steps, you are married. Or so you thought. You may be married in your mind, and you have definitely just handed over a shitload of cash, but

But what about getting that marriage registered? Is it a good idea, or not? Well, first of all, if you get it married, you would then become legally husband and wife, which as my understanding goes means that in the case of matrimonial breakdown, you and your wife would split everything 50 / 50. And when one is married to a Thai wife, that probably means that she will do ok out of it, given that the usual scenario is for a farang husband to bring more into a marriage, from a financial point of view, than the Thai wife.

Up until just a few months ago, Thai women who were married and registered the marriage were forced to change their surname to that of their new husband

Marriage is one hell of a big deal, and one should think long and hard about all of the possibilities. If one is somewhat nervous about the prospect of the relationship going bad, then one absolutely should not be getting married in the first place!



Where is this pic?

Last week's pic

This week's pic

It was the fortress on Pra-Artit Road.
How good are you?
Last week's picture was of the fortress on Pra Artit Road in Banglamphu and was taken the week before on the night of Loy Kratong when there were throngs of people there. Remember, just the FIRST person to get it right wins the prize! This week's pic is once again outside of Bangkok…and this week we have a new prize, a book from Frank Viskay called Everything But Die, pictured here. Due to the cost of postage out of Thailand, the prizes offered this week are only available to the first person to get it right who can provide a postal address within Thailand. So, if you think you know it and want to claim the prize, make sure you state clearly that you are Thailand based. Please note that you do NOT need to send your address to me when you answer the pic. If you are first to get it right then I will notify that you have won and only then will an address be necessary.

FROM STICKMAN'S BAG OF EMAIL:

More visa run options.

For the guys who are in Isaan and wants to do a visa run by themselves I can recommend Chong Jom (not far from Surin), the neighbouring country is Cambodia. The visa costs 1200 Baht and the fee for returning to Thailand immediately (fee for NOT playing casino) is 100 baht. Or Chong Mek (not far fram Ubon), the neighbouring country is Laos. They now have visa on arrival and the cost is 1500 baht (and there is no casino at that border). It is really hassle free and this must be the best border I have ever been to. There are also almost no foreigners, which means that the whole procedure are done in less than half an hour. The same goes for Chong Jom; no foreigners. The latter is a really small border post.
Wanna work in Thailand?
I have spent time trying to get a rental apartment in Jomtien at Xmas. No luck. Email unanswered websites that wouldn't let you in. Strangers asking for bank details. There is an opportunity there for someone. Hell, in London there is a guy who rents luxury apartments then sublets to tourists.
Selling one's daughter.
I heard the story of a girl in Korat who will be going to work in her aunt's beer bar on Beach Road in Pattaya upon graduation from high school. Not the first in the family to follow this path. Poppa guaranteed a boon companions loan for b100,000. Friend skipped town once he got the cash. Daughter going to work in "factory" to help pay off insurmountable debt. All females in family know truth of employment. Have heard similar stories about lifelong friends that skip out leaving someone else holding the bag. Where is this girl going to work? I wont say. Unfortunately a lot of the girls really are just off the farm and only in town a couple of days. Will she ever pay off Poppa's debt. I doubt it. Most girls get caught up in expenses related to bar work and can send very little home to the family.
If it weren't for the women and the food…
I'm a recent arrival from California, living, working now, and learning about the Thai "culture". These people are truly amazing!! How could the PR and the reality be so far apart? It's like the US government, saying this when it is exactly the opposite. I don't want to sound superior or hypocritical, but for crying' out loud, these people take the cake when it comes to bigotry, lying, scamming, unnecessary violence, reckless driving, and just generally corrupt behaviour. Their only saving grace, as you say, is the "Never mind" attitude, the great food, and beautiful women. Also, at least the corruption is mostly up front, instead of being masked behind slogans like "Justice For All" or "In God We Trust". If you know before hand what to expect, it's not so disappointing when you get screwed. Was there ever a time when Thais had personal integrity, or have they always been the lying, thieving, lazy, underhanded shits that I run into every day?
No Romeo at home = no Romeo in Thailand?
Many of the foreigners in Thailand, when in their homelands, cannot get the girls that they want or even a single date. That said, why do these same guys think that when they come to Thailand that they should be able to get any girl that they want? If you're successful with girls at home, you'll be successful with good girls in Thailand.
From the streets to stockbroker.
A good friend of mine, came with me to Bkk 5 years ago. At the time he had 3 shops and a warehouse in England. This man hit Bkk harder than hard. His credit cards were burning! I tried to advise as I have been a veteran of 15 years. A couple of other friends advised me to let him get on with it as I would have ruined his enjoyment (in hindsight I think they were right) he done it all, 3 shags a day, loved up took the bird back to England, house in Isaan, "mine's not a bar girl" tried Russians, got pickpocketed, drugged and robbed even kidnapped by a taxi driver, 2 years later his business had gone (with debts of 500,000 pounds sterling), though he claimed it was going anyway. He actually ended up living on the streets of Bkk. Then one we were having a beer and he said "I have ended up without a penny, but I cant thank you enough for bringing me here, I have had the best 2 years of my life". He vows never to go back to England ,and has survived 2 to 3 years without a penny. He is now a financial adviser!! Yes, boiler house and still alive.
Bars should close earlier?
I don't expect to make many new friends for saying this, but I actually agree with the 2.00 bar closing times. I live in an oppressive authoritarian state (England) where most pubs still have to close at 11.00 p.m. Coming to Thailand and being able to drink until 2.00 a.m. is a luxury. There are three ways of dealing with early closing times. One is to do what many Brits do which is drink very fast so that you are rat-arsed by closing time. Another way is to have your home or hotel fridge well-stocked with beer for after hours revelling. The third method, my preferred one, is to start early, preferably with dinner, around 7.00 pm. After, I have a beer in 2 or 3 bars then retire to my hotel room for a leisurely shag. After, there is time to go back to the bars to wind down pleasantly till closing time. I also have to add that there are 1 or 2 secret late drinking places in Bangkok which have naughty ladies too. The taxi drivers know where they are.

A British fellow has taken a long time to research and prepare the script for a ghost movie that he hopes to make in Thailand. He has ham a lot of progress establishing the commercial potential, and hopes to start shooting in March next year. He has raised around 80% of the finance, but there is still an opportunity for investment by smaller investors. A website giving initial information about the project and the potential for feature film investment in Thailand can be found at: de

Yes, it would appear that the lower prices for Guinness are indeed city wide. The Bull's Head Pub and The Dubliner both offer draft Guinness for 160 baht and Kilkenny for 180 baht. I still can't be sure whether this is permanent or not. some places say the prices will remain at this level until the end of the rugby World Cup which would indicate that Guinness is a major sponsor (but they are not, Heineken is) and at least one other venues, the Bull's Head has said these prices will remain only until December. Now as to the price of Guinness and, Kilkenny a new company (Diethelm) has taken over the distribution, and have said that both beers will be on promotion until the end of November. Some bars such as Shenanign's in Pattaya even had a promotion here during the World Cup where they gave away Guinness until England scored and gave away free T-shirts and hats. But for a time they ran out of Guinness completely for two weeks and Kilkenny, for Six weeks. An Irish bar running out of Guinness, fancy that! Not wonderful given that they had seven adverts for Guinness and five for Kilkenny painted on the Pub Walls! Diethelm have said the present price will remain until 2004 meaning that customers should be able to get their dose of iron at a reasonable price.

Driving past this week, I notice that Pink panther in Patpong has changed its name to Pinka Panthera – adding an "a" to each name of the name. Seems a strange name change and I wonder if it is related to licence issues?

Know those toilets stuck in behind the gas station on Sukhumvit Soi 4? Well, emptying one's bladder or bowels is not the only reason that folks go there. No, before you think that the girls of Nana are peddling their wares there, there is actually a different reason to go there. That is the place where some girls go to get their body piercings done. A friend barfined a girl in Nana and after she had changed into her regular clothes, they sat there and watched some of her colleagues dancing. A few of her colleagues had body piercings and this girl became a little envious and decided that she would like one. But while her friends had navel piercings, she decided she wanted something more risque. She told my friend that they were off to get her…you know what pierced. My friend was a little confused when she made a call and told him to come with her and led him to the toilets behind the gas station, nestled in not far from the Nana Hotel. A Thai fellow comes along with piecing contraption, she tells him what she wants and right there in the toilet, she drops her drawers. He whips on the surgical gloves, drops to his knees to have a closer look at her nether regions, applies some spray, presumably thier an anti-septic and then goes to work. In no time, she is the proud owner of a piered clitoris. Apparently these toilets double as the body piercer's office. I guess rents in the Nana area are too high for him to have his own piercing studio…

I can confirm that the strong rumours about Pretty Girl bar in Nana Plaza falling into another district, outside of Nana Plaza, are quite untrue. But despite it most definitely being part of Nana Plaza, the girls in Pretty Girl are most definitely dancing topless, while all of the girls in other bars are well and truly covered up…

What is it with all of these firework's displays up and down the river? Every night earlier in the week (and perhaps later in the week though I wasn't home every night), from my apartment window we saw the most amazing fireworks displays over the Chao Praya River. Mrs Stick hypothesized that it might be to celebrate some hi-so marriages but I don't agree. It seemed too co-ordinated to me to be that. Anyone know?

It’s when you know you have hit a nerve, raised an issue and argued it to a point where you have them cornered. They're like a beast stuck in the headlights that knows that it can't go anywhere. And then they play what they think is their trump card…you don’t understand Thai culture! How I hate these words and how crass they are. Believe me, when a Thai says these words, in virtually any situation, you have them absolutely cornered. To me, these words signify that you have won the argument – but they'll never admit that, and in a final effort to win, they say this!

Subway Nana has their Grand Opening on Tuesday November 25th from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. Get A FREE 6 inch sub (any type) when you order a medium drink (with unlimited refills) for 29 baht. Their Subway Sandwich Artists will make a fresh sub in front of you in only 20 seconds – but expect long lines on this Tuesday when there is this special promotion, as they are serving around 400 people a day now. Better get there early… I'll sure be!

Talking about Subway Nana, they now are open 24 hours and are cooking your favourite omelette, any filling you like, from midnight to 11 a.m. as well as serving their fresh giant sandwiches. From what I hear, they seem to be getting a very good late night crowd.

Huge conjecture in the staffroom at work this week over which is the best ISP in Thailand. For 5 years I have used Loxinfo, now called CS Loxinfo, and seldom have I had a problem. In fact I find the service and speed not only good, but the access from anywhere in the country excellent. Even up in Isaan, the connection speeds are good. Jest save all of their dial in numbers on your laptop hard drive and you can get online anywhere in the country.

As far as I know, the closest place to exit Thailand overland if you are resident in Bangkok is at the crossing into Poipet, Cambodia. Officially, the cost of a Cambodian visa is $US 20 and indeed the visa says $US 20 on it. In the past, they Cambodian Immigration service at the border would accept either $US 20 – which had to be in US currency or 1,000 Thai baht for the visa which can be bought there on the spot. Now that the US dollar has depreciated in value, they specify 1,000 Thai baht only Cambodia and they won't accept $US at all. It appears to be a scam and what the immigration guys do is simply change the baht into $US, which should give them $25, and put $20 into the government visa fund and keep $5 for themselves. Given the numbers that must be passing through on a daily basis, thy must be amongst the most highly paid people in Cambodia. While I couldn't be certain, I believe that you can still get a Cambodian visa for $US 20, using US currency, at the Cambodian embassy on Rajadamri Road, that is if you can be bothered trekking there twice, the first time to drop it off and the second time to pick it up the next day. In fact it would seem that many of the merchants selling various goods in Dodgy City, that is Poipet, will not take $Us – and prefer baht. Can't be many places in the world where the local currency is preferred over greenbacks.

Mrs. Stick's Corner

Each week, Mrs. Stick is pleased to answer your questions about Thai / farang relationships and general issues that baffle the average Westerner in Thailand. Mrs. Stick likes to think of herself as an open-minded Thai lady so go ahead, ask anything because you won't shock her. Please send questions for her, via me, at the usual email address. Two questions will be chosen each week and answered in the following week's column. The responses are hers and NOT mine although I may attempt to correct her English from time to time. Please note that I may not necessarily agree with what she says and unfortunately, she doesn't have time to reply to your inquiries via email. Questions to her have been a bit thin recently so don't be shy to send in your queries.

Question 1: What is the level of homosexuality among Thai women? It is an accepted part of the society. I mean is it acceptable for a married Thai woman to have a lesbian lover or to have sex with another woman on the side? It seems that some of the girls I've known don't seem to think there is anything wrong with this, but it is something I cannot accept.

Mrs Stick says: Y

Question 2: I am in love with a Thai woman here in the States who got a divorce from her Thai husband in the past year. We have known each other for about 5 years. I too just got a divorce. We both have children from our marriages. She and I email each other every day just "talking" about things. I love this woman and adore her. What is the "Thai Way" of telling her my feelings and romancing her?

Mrs Stick says: I

P

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Special thanks this week go out to Long Dong Don