Stickman's Weekly Column March 27th, 2005

Are The Successes A Small Minority?


StickmanBangk ok .com


After "How can I get a computer related in job in Thailand?", the next most common question I am asked is, "How can I find a Thai wife?". Often it is made all the more humorous by some sort of comment, such as one from a reader this week. "Oh, I have never been to Thailand before but I hear Taipei is nice at this time of year."

If my email inbox is anything to go by, Thai women are highly sought as wives, prized even, by many Western guys. And it seems that guys are seeking a Thai wife because they perceive that she would be a better wife than a Western woman would.

But is the perception matched by reality? Do Thai women make better wives or are these guys getting themselves into something that they might later regret?

I sometimes think it would be difficult to find two groups of people who are as different as Thais and farangs so surely the idea of a perfect marriage between a farang and a Thai is going to be difficult because of these differences.

About half of my Western friends in Thailand are married to Thai women. Their experiences vary but on the whole most seem reasonably happy. Seem being the critical word because you never really know, do you?

Farangs are individual by nature, whereas Thais like to feel that they belong to a group. Farangs speak their mind, irrespective of the subject, whereas Thais will avoid confrontation and even avoid certain subjects altogether. Farangs are generally more concerned about the inside, doing what they feel is right and having a level of integrity whereas Thais tend to worry more about the outside, how others view them and the whole issue of face. The place of family and their influence on marriage, issues of money and a zillion other factors are all so diametrically opposed that on paper at least, you have to wonder how it can ever work. How many farangs can truly accept the idea that monks need to come and bless their new house or new car? How many farangs can truly accept that they must provide or even hand over a good chunk of their hard earned to their wife, yet at the same time the wife may very well consider close family members to be much more important than her husband.

How many Thai wives can truly accept their farang husband refusing to help out with her brother's debts, or his hospital bill? Some farangs even deplore the idea of waiing their wife's parents and other senior family members. How can such a huge act of disrespect, to both her and her family, not have a negative effect on the relationship?

Blinded by love and in no small part by a brain that lives in their pants, many farangs are aware of the reasons why Thai / farang relationships and marriage are so difficult, yet they still pursue them.

To me, the bottom line is clear. When you look at the fundamental differences between Thais and farangs, these marriages shouldn't work, they really shouldn't.

There are couples who despite words to the contrary, are not truly happy. Constant fights and arguments are reported, or even worse, observed, and they often concern one of the usual suspects – money, family or face. No-one wants to admit to their buddies that their wife of a relatively short time is someone with whom they are simply incompatible, but often they don't need to, because their friends have seen the problems and worked it out themselves already.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am out of touch with what is happening in the West and I gather that in some countries divorce rates are running around 50%, so one could therefore speculate that this is not a Thai / farang thing at all, but simply something that is symptomatic of the times, and the world we now live in. But thinking back to my life in New Zealand, most couples seemed to be happy and so many of the dramas that you see on a regular basis in Thailand just didn't seem to occur. So, in my limited experience, Westerners seemed to be generally happy in their marriages but Farang / Thai couples never seemed to have quite the same level of happiness, or for that matter, the same level of commitment.

What about Thai / Thai relationships? How are they? Now this is where things get interesting. In my very limited observation of Thai / Thai relationships, they seem to be turbulent. There seems to be constant arguing, disagreement, backstabbing and so often, issues are resolved through violence, and not through dialogue. Sometimes the cynic inside me wonders if they just try to get as much out of the relationship as they can for themselves. I have noticed a distinct lack of harmony and simply haven't seen the same level of commitment in Thai / Thai relationship as I have seen in similar relationships in the West. I have often felt that once a Thai couple were married, they stayed together as much as anything because they didn't want to end it due to the perceived shame, irrespective of just how bad things may have got. This particular aspect sounds a bit like the West 40+ years ago.

Marriage with a Thai woman requires much, much more work than farang / farang marriages and in all but a few relationships, there seems to be issues. One or both partners never truly seems to be happy. Given that many farangs like the perceived laid-back lifestyle in Thailand, are they prepared to put in all the extra work that such a marriage needs not just to succeed, but even to survive?

Or I am being overly pessimistic? I only have a couple of friends who have actually had marriages with a Thai woman truly go sour, and in both cases, they were living in the West when it all ended in divorce.

In conclusion, there are Thai / farang couples who seem to be truly happy and have a great marriage – and in these cases, they are probably experiencing the sort of dream relationship that is only possible where one partner has truly embraced the other's culture. Either she studied abroad, usually to a very high level, and has got not just an understanding of, but has truly embraced Western culture, OR, he has truly embraced all aspects of Thailand and Thai culture, and is truly happy to do everything the Thai why. I think in the relationships where both partners are constantly making compromise, that compromise is often so much so that neither party are ever truly happy. When compromise becomes sacrifice, how can one be happy?

WHERE IS THIS PICTURE Competition?

It was the Erawan shrine.

A little lane.

Last week's pic was of the Erawan shrine. A zillion people got it right! This week's pic is somewhere else in the big city, but attracts a slightly different crowd to the Erawan shrine. (Dirty Derek, no prize for you!) Each week the first reader to correctly state where the pic is by email to me wins a 500 baht credit from Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. Please note that the credit MUST be claimed within two weeks and you MUST state in the email that you are Bangkok based. So, to claim that prize, you must be in Bangkok at some time in the next two weeks. Top British thriller author Steve Leather has very kindly provided some copies of his just published novel, "Private Dancer" to give away. So, for the second person to correctly state where the pic is, a copy of the book will be sent to you. You MUST state that you are in Thailand and be able to provide a postal address somewhere in the Kingdom.

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

Shifty eyes.

Just read this week’s article and I thought of another way to pick a ladyboy. They often seem to have shifty eyes when walking in the street and more often than not look pissed off. Just sit in that Italian restaurant on the corner in Patpong and watch them coming into work. Their eyes are darting everywhere and they have this mix of pissed off snobbishness. Have you noticed this?

Whose sample was that?

I was sitting in Boss Hogg's on the 2nd floor of Nana at around 23.30 when 4 policemen walked in front of Pharaohs, then a couple of guys from Lollipops brought out a table for them and a few chairs. Then a guy in civilian clothes came with a couple of bags, then a couple of more police came, then another table, then someone produced some sheets of paper, then a couple of more police, then a couple of girls from Lollipops started to queue and a couple of other girls (just sort of ambled along). The civilian guy put some plastic gloves on and gave some of the girls some urine sample bottles and the girls ambled away to where ever they wanted with absolutely no control and came back with a sample which was duly tested and thrown away. At this time there were around 14 police hanging about Pharaohs and the two tables drinking cola and about 5 of them were working. These were not what you could call spot checks as only the girls that came to the table were checked. They came of their own free will from nowhere in particular and also no one could really tell if the sample in their jars were theirs! That is not what I call drug control. So what was it? Also another thing, how come there are so many deaf street vendors between soi 4 and soi 9 I saw at least 12 people signing to each other?

I couldn't. No bloody way! Could you?

This question / comment is somewhat related to your March 20 column. I know I could never go with a ladyboy that has not completed their post-op transformation, yet becoming involved with a person who has completed a physical sex change does not seem so out of line. Particularly if that person seems to be themselves in their "new clothes", so to speak. {Their newly acquired physicality would match the psychological one they were born with.} I know I am not gay; it's normal for me to be a heterosexual male. Do you know if the dude in your story felt the same way? He may have felt the LB who transformed from male to female finally became her true self. Thus, he accepted it and acted accordingly.

Ignorance.

My Thai wife arrived in this country (USA) almost 2 years ago and I prepared for her arrival in many ways, but I was careful to stock up on Thai necessities from the local Asian market. I love to cook and so didn't mind learning a few Thai recipes, and as my wife is a good cook too, the variety of Thai dishes we can make is adequate. I slowly started throwing in few Western favourites and she always ate what I prepared, but with a marked lack of gusto. Finally we had a serious talk about her seeming lack of interest in the food of my country. I asked her how she would feel if on our trips to Thailand I insisted on eating Western food only. She seemed puzzled that I would ask such a silly question. I told her I wanted her to try more Western food and she blurted out "but it is so horrible!" She KNOWS that Thai culture is superior to any in the world, as Thai food is superior. She later told me, as a explanation of her views, that she viewed the USA as a technological wonder, but that she didn't consider us very civilized!

Other Asian?

In answer to the guy's question about Thai girls only wanting Thai food, I think his horizon is a little low. Western women are used to eating western portions of meat along with cheese and other items that Thai women are not. I think if he said to a Thai woman let's get some Chinese or Vietnamese food he would get a positive response but the thought of (and physical reaction) eating a big steak or veal parmesan covered in cheese is unappealing to people whose idea of a portion of chicken or pork is 3-4 ounces.

Dial 0800 GOGOGIRL.

I still visit the gogos but with my newfound stability, my experiences are completely different as are my techniques to meeting women. I will share some with you. I now own a mobile phone. One technique is to scour the gogos and beer bars collecting mobile numbers. Since many bargirls have limited English skills, I’ll often send out a mass text message (SMS) from the comfort of my bed inviting them all to come to my condo. The first one to ring me back gets the prize. Another advantage is that they will gladly pay their own barfine (which I repay to them when they get to my room) in order to get out of the bar. Once they’ve spent their time with me, I am noticing many girls gladly accepting personal cheques in lieu of cash. I’ve already written out about 5 and tend to tip a little higher when not using cash.

How quickly Thai girls become Americanised.

My friend and I stopped by a local Thai restaurant for lunch. The place was swarming with attractive Thai ladies in their early 20's who were obviously here on temporary work visas. I thought it would be a rare and pleasant surprise for the waitress if I ordered my meal speaking Thai. After all, in Bangkok girls are always overjoyed at my attempt to speak their language. There was no reaction from the waitress as I spoke my order in Thai. I was shocked. What happened to the famous Thai smile and eye contact? We finished our meal and left a decent 15% tip. As we were climbing into our car, we see our waitress running towards us waving her arms and yelling that the tip was too small! Against my strong protests, my friend gave her an extra few dollars to calm her down. Outrageous!

The place to be this coming Friday, April 1st – and no, this is not a Stickman April Fools Day prank – is the grand opening of the new club and beergarden, Sin, on Sukhumvit Soi 4. I checked this one out before I wrote the column because of the history of this place. The odd couple have gone and the venue is under new management. It’s looking sexy. The same crew that built The Ball in Hand, previously known as Megabreak, have taken the venue to a new level. This place really needs to be seen to be believed. Unlike most venues around Nana which are knocked up Thai style in a few weeks, this place has been put together farang style over the past six months. Located next to The Ball in Hand, the new music venue looks like it will bring the club scene in the Nana area up to date. Expats looking for a nice club in the Nana area have always been forced to take a walk to Q Bar, Mystique or the like. The music club has the normal over-the-top luxuries like leather sofas and chairs, an amazing sound system, dance platforms, padded walls and a massive aquarium suspended above the bar. I wonder what will be swimming in that….? Wait and see! They have opened up the top floor and roof to add a pool table lounge and a very large beer garden / restaurant. Last week I was concerned that such a rooftop concept would be a bit of a rice cooker in the Bangkok heat and humidity, but they have equipped it with a mixture of air-con, fans, table umbrellas, fixed awnings, and a large main bar awning that shades you in the day then retracts at night giving a unique open, rooftop experience. Being three floors up, there was even a nice breeze which I didn’t feel at street level when I walked into the place. A number of backlit waterfalls and stone carvings added some great atmosphere with the reflections of the water lights and the night time Bangkok skyline. Make no mistake, this is far from your average bar beer. And if you were a Woodstock fan, you’ll be pleased to know that they have taken on the cooks from Woodstock and a head chef all the way from London (goodness only knows who made this decision because the Brits, while good at many things, are not known for their culinary skills (poor old Marc down at Eden will be rolling his eyes at the thought of an English chef especially flown in!)). Seriously though, the chef is supposed to be pretty good. It’s only about 100 metres from Nana Plaza, so I’m sure Woodstock fans will be make that walk for the food alone, but they’ll no doubt enjoy the atmosphere too. They promise they’ll have the best English breakfast around, but not the most expensive – quite a claim to make, but I'll be up for trying it out. I think the count is FIVE plasma TVs for sports and another four pool tables added to the existing TWELVE already in the complex. I’ve never seen pool tables made of stainless steel, and to be honest, I never really knew that such existed, but they’ve put in two x 9 foot authentic Brunswick challenge tables made out of the shiny stuff. Stainless Steel pool tables might be a bit over the top in Nana, but I have to admit, this venue does know their pool and they are the premier pool venue around. Oh, did I forget to mention that there will be FREE FOOD AND DRINK from 21:00 – 22:30 on the opening night! Only a fool would miss this opening on April 1st. Cripes, even I’ll be there so if you ever wanted to tell Stick that he's a prick, April fool’s day is the day!

There are some interesting shows in the Egyptian quarter. Many young, nubile actresses on the stage at the same time. Nudge nudge, wink wink, I'm sure you know exactly where I mean.

A banner is up stating that Hollywood Rock, that is the Hollywood bar on the ground floor of Nana Plaza, advertising a gogo dance contest on the 31st of this month. I know no more than what was on the banner. Apparently competitors are coming from Patpong, Soi Cowboy as well as Nana Plaza. No time or other details given. It is good to see a special event being held in Nana Plaza, doesn't seem to happen much these days.

At last, a bar with common sense. The Londoner has a notice up stating that they have wi-fi access available. They also say that it is offered FREE to customers of the bar, which is just as it should be. Full marks and a big thumbs up for doing what other bars should have done a long time ago. Some other bars in town have wi-fi access on the premises…and it can cost up to 200 baht an hour to use, even if you are a paying customer at the venue!

One of the large neon signs on the balcony at Nana Plaza for CARNIVAL bar has lost the I and V so that it now reads CARNAL. It sure made me chuckle.

Will they? Won't they? Well, it seemed they DID already. The new Hillary bar is open on Sukhumvit Soi 4 and very nice it is too. Yet another pool bar in the neighbourhood, I am sure it will do very well indeed. Located opposite Bus Stop, they are doing a brisk trade already. It is very nicely furbished with stained teak panels, four pool tables downstairs, a fair sized sports screen, and with facilities upstairs too. The pleasant atmosphere and surroundings fit in well. Well worth a visit to see Soi Nana's latest addition. Wow, Soi 4 might actually be moving a little upmarket…

Following on from my concerns that discretion may have been compromised at the Eden Club, I can confirm that the ever service-minded Marc smashed through part of the back wall and made a small exit / entrance at the rear of the bar….and this was some two months ago. So many customers now enter the establishment from soi 9 which is almost always empty. So for the guys who don’t want to be seen, look for the little sign on the door in soi 9 with those two magic words, * EDEN CLUB *.

As usual, Diamond A-Go-Go was overcrowded this weekend and why wouldn't it be with 45 baht draft beer and a lot of good looking dancers who really can, and do, dance.

In the same neighborhood, Carousel A-Go-Go was also crowded. There were lots of ladies but unlike Diamond, not so many lookers. There was no showing and the draft beer is a bit dearer at 60 baht.

The weekend crowd on Walking Street appeared to be somewhat thinner than a week ago. Rising temperatures and humidity along with daily rain showers may be discouraging visitors of late.

Other than unprecedented traffic jams, the Pattaya Music Festival seems to have gone down without any major hitches. At the same time that major construction work was underway on Beach Road and Second Road, hundreds of thousands of visitors (not the million predicted by promoters) converged on Pattaya last weekend for the star-studded music fest, bringing even foot traffic to a total stop in the beach area. The Mrs. wanted to go down and see it but when I mentioned the inevitable crowds, she agreed we'd be better off in Bangkok that weekend.

It would seem that Soi 7/1 is going the way of Clinton Plaza, Soi Zero, Sukhumvit Square and all of those areas which start off with just a few bars but before too long constitute a new bar area, an area that might not quite be as happening as the "big three", but still significant, and worth a night out. Word has it that all of the properties from PP Beer Bar to the end of the soi have been bought and will become beer bars soon making Sukhumvit soi 7/1 the newest nightlife lane in Bangkok.

In the most asinine, dumb move yet, the authorities down at the Pong have plans next month to expand the night market. The move will add a THIRD line of stalls to the present two. It's hard enough to walk around in its present form and now they are going to add to the confusion a whole new bunch of vendors selling the same counterfeit crap the lane is already overrun with. Patpong has been making a bit of a comeback in many punters' minds, especially as in most bars a standard drink is under 100 baht, making it cheaper than the other two major bar areas, but this announcement will NOT help at all. It was the bloody market which screwed up Patpong as a nightlife area in the first place!

The former KFC at the Suriwong end of the main Patpong soi is now a silver centre with all the stalls offering silver jewellery and trinkets. Just great! Now in addition to the gold shops that the girls all love there is another outlet for them to try and get you to buy them some goodies. But every cloud has a silver lining – silver is MUCH cheaper than gold!

When Club Electric Blue first opened, the owners were good neighbours and even installed sound proofing material in the wall between their bar and Crown Royal, the bar next door. For a while things were good and no music from Electric Blue escaped into Crown Royal. But now Electric Blue has joined the louder is better crowd and their music is so loud not only can you feel the bass vibrations through the wall, you can actually name the song being played in Electric Blue while sitting in the Crown Royal. My guess is that this happens when the owner is in Pattaya, but when he is present in Bangkok, it most likely doesn't.

I have been told about an interesting sounding after hours venue. Let me first state that I have never been there myself so all that I know about it is what I have heard. It has been described as a late night venue, one where you can go for a few drinks and a dance OR, one where you can go and purchase the services of a lady for the night. Sort of weird that the two go together, but anyway… Apparently its called SD Disco. As for directions, it is on Rama 1 Road, in Soi 5. From MBK, go along Rama 1 to soi 5 which is on the left. There is a bank on the corner. Turn left into the soi and from there, go along the soi about 300 – 400 metres to a point where you will see many tuktuks and taxis parked. The bar is on the right, on the main soi 5. The taxis apparently park on the small sub sois. Apparently there is an old grey neon light with the letters SD although they are not lit up. It's in the middle of a block of Chinese shophouses, all commercial, so there are no residents to be bothered by the sound. There are a few people sat outside but inside it is said the place is full of nice girls, both farangs and Thais. All drinks are 200 baht. Apparently it is open till late and then at 6 AM, upstairs opens up and there is a BIGGER disco club inside. A lot of apparentlys because I have never been and odds are, I probably won't. Still, if you really want to party late, it's another late night option.

You do hear about the odd theft by the ladies of the night, but generally speaking, they're not that common. My theory is that as much as anything, crimes of theft are punished VERY harshly in Thailand – you're off to the monkey house if you get caught! This week I heard a rather amusing story of an attempted theft that was thwarted by the smart farang who refused to be a victim. This middle-aged American who was new to Bangkok took a girl back to his palace on lower Sukhumvit. He went into the shower, stripped off and started to get himself ready for the main event. He thought he heard his apartment door open so he popped out of the shower to see who it was. The girl who had come back to his apartment with him had gone and a quick survey of the apartment revealed that his camera had gone to. In his birthday suit, he ran out of the apartment and down a couple of flights of stairs to the ground floor. He saw the girl in question just leaving the grounds of the apartment complex and just at that moment, she looked around, saw him, and started to run. He took off after her, still wearing nothing. He bolted down the soi and within 50 metres he had caught up with her. Nude, and dripping wet, he picked her up and carried her over his shoulder back to the apartment complex. The security guards had caught sight of what was going on and he beckoned to one of them to come back to his room. When he got back there, he emptied out her handbag and lo and behold, there was his camera! He checked through all of her stuff, and as that was the only thing that was his, he let her go. Should he have left it at that, or taken it further?

This week I met up with Benjawan Poomsan Becker, the delightful Thai lady behind a series of Thai learning resources, and is, amongst others, the author of "Thai For Lovers". Benjawan has been living in the US for several years. We talked about many things including the number of Thais living in the US. As she works closely with the Thai community in many capacities she has a good idea of the number. I was surprised at her estimate. 600,000 Thais. Wow, that is like 1% of the population of Thailand living in the US!

For teachers in Thailand, it is the jobs at the international schools that are the most sought after. English teachers average around 30,000 baht per month whereas international school employees probably average about three times that but can earn more than 5 times that! There are some downsides however and many international school teachers have a clause in their contract that states that they must not enter dens of sin. Nana Plaza, Cowboy et al are well and truly off limits. Be seen there and you're out of a job. So what does the average international school teacher do if he has an itch to scratch? He goes to the Hard Rock Cafe, of course! The bastion of American culture in the heart of Siam Square is the home to not just those American favourites like apple pie, but also a bunch of hookers and the Had Rick Cafe is not off limits to international school teachers…

What I thought would make quote of the week comes from that sly old dog, Gordon, the main fellow over at TalesOfAsia. "If we judge those who are polite by what they say, and those who are considerate by what they do, Thais are polite and farangs are considerate". I really liked that one.

But sorry Gordon, that was well and truly beaten by Ricky at Diamond A Gogo. "Our monthly baby oil bill is more than the electric bill…."

For Kiwi blokes with a Thai other half, the following may be of interest to you:

I specialise in helping clients who have had problems with NZ Immigration, particularly those who have been turned down for visas or are overstaying in NZ now, especially those who are in settled domestic relationships. Other cases include married or de facto couples where the Thai partner of a NZ resident or citizen seems unable to obtain a visa. I visit Bangkok 6 times a year and can help with all types of visas. Contact Tim Spooner in Thailand on (09) 1185638 or in NZ on (021) 1199083.

(Remember, if you have a business or service that you feel is of benefit to readers, do let me know because I am more than happy to give you a mention.)

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in farang / Thai marriages is the dowry. Many refuse to pay it, some – like me – paid it but only after it was explicitly stated that it was for sure and to be returned in its entirety. Others happily pay it, some even pay a small fortune, even for reformed bargirls, an oxymoron if ever I heard one.

The HIV positive kraut is back! Remember that one legged beast who had reportedly preyed on innocent village girls in Chaiyapum province, offering them tidy amounts of cash in order to bed them? Apparently there are 400+ such girl of whom reportedly close to 100 contracted HIV. Well, he was found guilty of overstaying his visa of all things, served a couple of months in the local monkey house and was duly deported. The one legged devil may have been deported but he was NOT blacklisted, that is he was not made persona non grata, and was therefore able to return to Thailand. He returned not just to Thailand, but to the province where he was spotted and has apparently been arrested again. It looks like this time he will be deported for good…good riddance. To me, what is interesting about this story is that it seems you can commit a heinous crime, be deported, but return right away. Thailand would be well advised to address this, because such undesirables should surely be made unwelcome on a more permanent basis.

Ask the Sticks (Still here!)

Mrs. Stick is here to answer questions surrounding anything that confuses you in Thailand, particularly issues of the heart. Please note that for general bargirl related questions, Mr. Stick might answer them. It has to be said that Mrs. Stick is not your stereotypical Thai woman. She is not Buddhist and she is not shy to criticise things about her own country and culture, although having said that, she remains proud to be Thai. Mr. Stick will try and answer the questions which Mrs. Stick is not so sure about. Just one thing to consider. Mrs. Stick is a middle class woman from a middle class background and with all due respect to her, Thai people in one class do not always know what is going on in another class. She'll do her best to answer all questions but remember, she'll be looking at it from a middle class point of view!

Question 1: Often in passing, I’ll overhear Thais in conversation and usually can only make out the word “Farang.” Maybe my ears are just sensitive to the word but do Thais speak so much of us Farangs? Do Thais find the topic that profoundly interesting? I doubt they are discussing me as they don’t look at me or know I’m eavesdropping.

Mrs. Stick says: It depends on the people themselves, but if they have anything to do with farangs such as they have a farang boyfriend, husband, client or boss, then perhaps they will talk about farangs. Or if they have never seen a farang or seen just a few, then perhaps they might talk about farangs. My friends and colleagues may talk about farangs but that is probably because we work with farangs and some of us are in relationship with Western guys. If it is on the street, Thai people will see you as being different to them and may comment. If there is a special issue or event, then it is more likely they may talk about farangs too.

Question 2: I have a Thai girlfriend who is of course very nice. Not a bar girl, she works at a cotton manufacturing shop that is very upscale. I do not question that she is nothing but a regular working Thai Woman and I am thankful of that. I have known her almost one year. She comes and stays with me at my hotel and goes to work very early in the morning and I do not question her employment but she says often that I can not go to her work, I can not tell her sisters or nieces or family in general that she stays with me. She has her Mother's approval to see me. She says if I go to meet her Mother that I have to take a friend. I think that this is, and she has said this, that she does not want Thai people to gossip and her co-workers as well. Is this because if they see her with a farang before she is married that they will think she is working at night and is a bargirl or some other quite honourable thing I do not understand. She is very social conscious and does things that make me think she is trying to conform to proper Thai society. We do not hold hands some places and even at the airport when she sent me home I only kiss her on the cheek. I think I have a good girl but request some Thai insight into your world.

Mrs. Stick says: If things between you and her do not work out then it will become an issue that she will not be able to wash away. Thai men will think that a Thai woman who has been with a farang is really "sleazy" and they would not consider her because when choosing someone as the future mother of their kids, they would now consider that woman unsuitable. In terms of the family and visiting them at the family home, if you go and visit them and things do not work out, believe me, the neighbourhood will gossip about this forever. It will never go away. The reason she wants you to take a friend this that it implies that you are just friends and helps to protect the family. You have to understand that she is just trying to protect both herself and her family's reputation in case things do not work out.

Last week I mentioned the possible removal of the Ask The Sticks section from the column. The overwhelming response from readers was that they enjoyed it, felt it was sufficiently different from other parts of the column, and that they wanted it to stay. So, as long as the questions keep coming in, Mrs. Stick will be here to answer them.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Thanks go out to Claymore, Dave The Rave, Nick Rob and Bkk Grasshopper.


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