Stickman's Weekly Column July 10th, 2005

A Thai Businesswoman


StickmanBangk ok .com


Several months back I was contacted by a Thai woman who wanted to place an ad on this website. It was the first time a Thai national had contacted me to place an ad and I was intrigued about her business. Pin, as she called herself, was a young, attractive Thai woman with a very good command of English who had set up a personals website. I perused the site and as it seemed genuine enough, so I gave her the all clear.

Funnily enough I had contacted many personals websites in the past trying to solicit advertising – and none were interested. (Crazy, because it really is a perfect fit.)

Anyway, I met Pin and was blown away. Here was an extremely attractive woman who oozed sensuality, yet was refined and somewhat sophisticated. I was impressed by her confidence and her beauty, and it was almost as if she had all of the best aspects of a farang woman and a Thai woman all rolled into one package.

It is seldom we get a Thai female's perspective on this site so I thought it would be interesting to interview her. We met up this week for a chat and she revealed a bit about herself and her business.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you have come to arrive where you are today as a successful Thai businesswoman.

I am not sure if I am successful or not.

You seem to be.

I am friendly and honest and open and very happy with what I am. I don’t kiss ass. It is just the kind of person I am. I think some guys may have been pissed at me once when he asked me advice about Thai women. He had just had a break up with a Thai woman, who he was married to. He wanted me to help him find a woman. I asked him how it didn’t work with his last one and he said there was a problem with money and they didn’t trust each other. I told him that if he wanted to have a relationship with someone, he should not go to a bar alone. And if it is about money, I told him that Thai people have to earn some money, some way.

In Thai culture we have to earn money and support our parents one way or the other. Maybe $200 a month would be enough to support the woman. That way everyone would be happy. I told him that NOTHING is free. That’s wat I told him. It’s true, I’m being honest. There is no way a Thai woman will be with anyone for free. She has to earn some money from you or she will “work” for it…. She cannot stay at home and do nothing. She will get money one way or the other.

Why is your English so good? How much time have you spent in America and what did / do you do there?

I have been back in Thailand for a year now so my English is not so good. My English is deteriorating, getting back to how it was before.

I do like Americans, personally.

Why?

I think people there are honest and friendly, for me that is. I do not know for others. I think they are crazy and they like crazy people. They try to want to be friendly but actually I do not know if they want to be friendly or not.

You must have farangs hitting on you all of the time. (She is seriously sexy.)

Some of them do but I don’t. There are three different types of guys. This is my opinion. I am not looking for a serious relationship. If you read the website, I say I am married. Actually I'm not, but I say that to keep guys away.

Group one are the guys who are really lonely and they want to marry someone and take them back to the west.

The second group are the guys who want to move to Thailand. They want to live in Thailand and find a date or a girlfriend etc.

The third type of guy is the type of guy who has money, maybe a business and travels around the world . They are not that serious but they want someone. They are the three types of guys who come to me.

Which is the target?

All of them (and she says this with the unmistakable glint of a hunter in her eyes.)

Are any better than others?

If they are good looking and they have a good business and they travel, then they are most likely not looking for a serious relationship until one just comes along… They will have high expectations for the girl they met – highly educated, good looking, pretty, I guess. They will be choosy.

Tell me a little bit about your business, your business model, and how it differs from other introduction agencies.

1st. I think is very important that I let my client choose where they want to meet each other…maybe they want to meet in my office but maybe they want to meet outside somewhere at the mall…they can meet wherever they feel comfortable. Other agencies might not let you do that. Or they will let you but you have to pay extra money for that. The reason is because they cannot control your conversation. They might try to give you the reason that you should be meeting at their office because they think women will feel comfortable meeting you in the office. Or the agency will help with the translation. But we all know that they just want the percentage of the dowry money if things work out and you decide to get married. Bangkok Mates will never do that.

2nd. I personally feel confident enough that the women on Bangkok Mates can speak English. And I have always told them that if they feel scared or nervous about the meeting they can always bring along their friends.

3rd. Since online dating site has a lot of scams, you might not really know who you are talking to. After a while people get tired of doing this. I want to provide a better service, to make sure that you will get what you looking for, with the fee that I charge they will be able to see the women live on the webcam from the Bangkok Mates office. Bangkok Mates also provides phone conversation. That way you can hear and see who you are talking to.

4th. I have never paid the women to go meet my clients unlike some other agencies.

5th. Please note that Bangkok Mates is a dating agency NOT a marriage agency.

You have to be careful because sometimes the guys think that the women they can do anything with the woman they are trying to date.

Example?

I have one client from the US. He is a woman doctor, what do you call them, a doctor who operates on women, delivers the baby etc. I made an arrangement for him to meet five women in one week and then they met at the coffee shop. I would bring the woman to introduce him. The woman could speak English, not perfect, but good enough to communicate so after I introduced them I just wanted to split because they’re doing fine.

The next thing I know the woman is calling me up and saying she is in a room, the hotel room, with the guy and she is crying. I ask her why she is crying and she told me that the guy she had met had asked her to come to the room because he had something to give her. So she went to the room and I asked her if he tried to rape her and she said no. She said he wanted to check her “insides”. He just wanted her to take off all her clothes – and all the while he would like he was innocent.

I asked her for the phone and when I spoke to him I threatened that I would go to the police and say that she raped him. It’s a good thing that she called me because I took care of it. He didn’t do anything to her in the end. That’s a bad experience I had. If he really wanted to do that why did he come to me? He could just have gone to the bar to get a girl to do that sort of thing.

Are the agencies all the same?

No, they’re different. I only introduce people to meet each other. I do not get involved with the dowry money. I do not pay the girl to meet the client – some agencies do. They split the money with the girl. Often they want $800 if she gets married. I tell my clients if he only wants to meet one woman that is fine, he does not have to meet many women. It is up to him. I do not sell email addresses because all the woman do not necessarily have a computer. Sometimes the pictures of the guys scare them away. It is better to meet in person because they can communicate then.

I have talked to some clients by email and have told the woman everything he said in the email and that he is a nice guy. They ask for a photo of him and when they see it they suddenly wonder if they want to meet the guy!

On client from another agency was looking for a pretty woman and ummm, there’s two types of woman. One is pretty, and one is a nice woman. One is nice, but they do not have that much education. Maybe they have a kid or something like that. The really pretty women are jaded because every guy wants to meet her. If I have 200 women, perhaps the best 30 women get to go out often and they become jaded really quickly if the client is not what she expected.

Sometimes nice women do not have a chance to meet a nice guy because, perhaps, she is not pretty enough, but she remains a very nice person.

Another thing is….a client wants to meet 5 women, I will make him pick three, and I will pick two for him. He ended up liking one of the girls I picked for him.

What about these singles parties you run?

The first party there were like 60 party people who showed up. It was like almost 40 women, many brought friends. I didn’t know what people expected. I wanted people with a good job to come along and meet others, have fun, and make new friends. It ended up that some women thought they were going to find a boyfriend or a husband but it didn’t work that way. So, maybe, the women didn’t think it was good or that she wasted her time. The guys however seemed to have lots of fun!

I have heard of another website that did something like this, but I don’t know about it. Some clients had been to that party and told me a bit about it. The women who went to that party said that she would sit with the guy and they felt like a prostitute. They felt bad. The guys were old and didn’t dress nicely and just come over and touched her. That is what some women told me. They don’t want to go to that type of party again. They liked mine and thought it was more professional.

How do you “recruit” girls?

I have lots of friends and they talk. I get tired of the women who call up and say they have heard about the service from a friend. They want to find a rich, good looking boyfriend who is not too old and who has a business. I can’t deal with that kind of woman because every time a woman says that to me, I ask them if they are a supermodel. Sometimes these girls are not pretty and they think that the guys who come here all have money and are the ATM machine. I tell them to wake up and that they are dreaming!

I will tell my clients which women have got attitude. I know from talking with her how the women have talked to me. If she has got attitude, I’ll tell the guy that she has attitude and that he should know that!

What do you think about these Thai women who are only money hungry and who seek out to cheat farangs of their hard-earned cash?

From my perspective? Not good of course, it shouldn’t happen and people shouldn’t do that. I think men should be careful. The man should never be so cheap. But then he should never spoil her either. He has to be smart about it. He has to give her a good amount to live on, not too much, not too little. If it is too little, she will look somewhere else and if it is too much it will spoil her.

What do you do to ensure that the girls who are on your books are bona fide girls looking to meet Westerners for genuine reasons, and not prostitutes or girls making money in the sex industry?

From talking to the girls, I find out about their education. If I am going to ask all of the women if they finished elementary school, they will not find a boyfriend. A low education does not mean that they are a bad person and a person who finished a master’s degree could be a prostitute. You never know. I look at everything, the credentials she’s got, the way she talks, the way she dresses, everything.

I don’t know the guy’s side of course. I do the best I can to screen them too. I get a copy of the guy’s ID or passport, driver’s licence or something.

Why do you do that?

Just in case something happens. Just to be safe to make the girl safe and to let the guy know that he cannot run away if he does something. What if he rapes her or something? Just in case! All my clients are really happy to give me that. They give me their business card, a copy of their passport or some ID.

You are thorough but I am surprised to hear some guys would be willing to give you this.

That information is not going to go anywhere. I keep it and save it. It is not going to go anywhere.

When I first met you, it was like 2,000 baht for three introductions and now it is $US400. That is a phenomenal increase! Why did you hike the prices for your service?

For most guys, they met the girls in the office and then it seemed like they didn’t want to meet there and they wanted to meet outside. I had to meet the woman and then take her to meet the man, somewhere outside, a coffee shop or wherever. And also before, when I said 2000 baht, it didn’t include translating or anything like that. If a guy pays to meet a women, he wants to know about the women before he comes so I am very happy to get her on the camera, on a webcam, so you can see her through the webcam, to show that it is her.

You have a webcam in the office?

Yeah, sure! Any translating as well is covered by the fee. Also, I will take pictures of the girl and send them to the guys.

Do some guys ask for naughty pictures?

Some guys complain the girls do not have enough sexy pictures, have too many clothes and not enough skin. I agree. I know what guys what to see. It is hard to make good women take off a little bit of their clothes.

They’ll do it!

You think?

Sure they will! Come on, spice up your business!

I mean the good women, they work in an office. It is hard for them. They worry that they are not good looking enough, worry about people who will see it, you know. They do not want the guy to think that she will do anything to get him. Maybe I should talk to them more and get some more pictures, some naughty ones?

Your business will soar if you can do that. You'll be a millionaire in no time!

Really?

Life is not always easy for farangs in Thailand. Few understand the language well enough to really know what it is really going on and it is a sad fact of life here for both those resident, and those on holiday, that they will be ripped off. This site likes to ”out” the scammers and the con artists whose intention it is to rip Westerners off. Come on Pin, give me the goss. Which companies rip people off?

Some companies will not allow couples or meet outside because then they do not need to use their service. They charge the women $800 of the dowry so they do not want people to meet outside of the office because they cannot control what happens next. I would not charge my client if they pick someone who is not available to meet them. I will sit down with them and help them to select someone new. If some woman is not available I will ask him to meet someone else. If he cannot find someone else, he’s only charged for the girls he meets.

What do you do for kicks? Play sport?

I do crazy things. I go and teach English at a school Rachaburi with my friends. I go to see movies, often. I like to play games.

What sorta games?

I dunno…with my friends. And go online. I like to sing at karaoke too.

Why don’t you make naughty movies or webcams etc. There must be big money in that.

That is illegal. That is low class. I would never do that.

Come on, you're a businesswoman. Anything for money, right?

There are too many girls out there doing that already. One guy asked me why he should pay these rates when he cannot touch them and cannot have sex with them. If he pays these rates, he can sleep with girls in other places, such as the bars. I tell them that this is an opportunity to find a woman who he can sleep with for the rest of his life. Maybe it is a bit much but it is true! With that amount of money he would only get on hour or one night anyway. I think he got the picture.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Having a relationship with a Thai woman is very hard. If you think you want to marry her and bring her to your country, it is very hard. If you think my service is expensive, wait until the whole process starts. You start by applying for a visa to get her to your country. Once you get her there you have to try and get her to fit in. It is expensive and very, very hard.

Some guys think that when they come here and get a woman and go back it will make him happy because he has a woman. Nothing has changed for him except he has got a woman waiting for him. For a woman, it is very hard because she has left the country, she has no friends and she might not have the ability to stay in the country. It is a lot of work because you maybe have to put her into school and do a whole load of stuff for her. We helped one girl go over to Chicago and she was crying because her boyfriend was at work during the day and she didn’t have anything to do. I told him that he had to take her to do things and also encourage her to do some things alone, go shopping etc.

I just want the guys to realise that there are good and bad women out there. If the guy is smart, he’ll figure it out, who is bad and who is good. If he really likes the woman I am sure he can find ways to make it work.

But I hear so many stories of people fighting over money. That is a big problem.

Are Thais money hungry?

There are Isaan women and the city women. I’m from Isaan. I’m from Sa Kaew, close to Cambodia, near Chanthaburi.

I speak the Laos language and I ran away from home when I was 13. I have had a tough life. It is not fair when the guy is trying to think Isaan women are not good or that they have a bad education and that the city women are good. You know why? It is true that women from Isaan are poor and have little education. It doesn’t matter because if you love somebody, but what I am saying is that sometimes the city women may have money, they do not need more money, and because they can get a better husband they do not really love money.

So Isaan women are ok?

For me, I think so. Maybe not for other people, but I think they are ok. Isaan women don’t need that much to fulfil them. The city women needs more, you know what I mean?

Are we finished yet? I have a client at 3.

A few hours later, the following email came.

I know my interview with you today it was kinda crazy. :)…..but I am being honest. And I hope when people come to me they know that I am doing honest business too.

After meeting with you I come back to my office and met my client. He is married and his wife is not living in Thailand. But he has to live here because of the business. He told me he wants to meet a nice women. He is sick of going to the bar to find girls.

He wants someone who can go out and do things with…I just think he is very nice man but lonely.

I think he deserves a nice women who he can go out and do things with…even if he knows that I have to be honest and tell the women that he is married. But if she still want to see him then I think that should be her choice… I want people to be happy with whatever they do.

Because if they happy…I'm happy.

What I'm trying to tell you is that I remember telling you that my service is not for someone who is married. I want to change it… It could be for any person who wants to meet nice people as long as they not looking for one night sex.

That’s all…does that make sense for you?

Also can you please write about the rates on my site? I want them to know that my service is different from the other agencies.

And so the interview with the somewhat mysterious Pin came to an end. It was a strange interview with a few things revealed that I didn't know, and more than a few things said that contradicted info on her website. Some questions were also brushed aside. Mmmm, unusual. I don't know why, but I just can't help but feel that this is not the last we have heard of Miss Pin…

WHERE IS THIS PICTURE Competition?

It was Rainbow 4.

Somewhere in Bangkok.

Last week's pic was taken in Nana Plaza, looking across at Rainbow 4. I was surprised that less than ten people got it right. I can only assume that Stickman readers don't frequent Nana or such places… There are three prizes available this week, one for each of the first three people to email with the correct location of the pic. The first is a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. The second prize is a signed copy of Steve Leather's cult novel set in Bangkok's bars, "Private Dancer". The third prize is a beautiful hand-cast, crafted sandstone sculpture offered by BKIThailand – for this prize, you MUST be in Bangkok. Unfortunately, these prizes are only available to people in Thailand now – either resident or tourist. If you would prefer one particular prize over the others, please do not be shy to tell me!

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

A bad reflection on the locals.

The gentleman who got beat up by the two Thais because he remonstrated at the 3 baht charge for the loo. The reason they beat him up is because they knew they could. From birth Thais are now taught by virtually every institution and association and social myth that farangs do not enjoy civil rights and can be beat on. This IS a reflection on Thais and Thai culture.

Visitor charge rip-off.

During my most recent visit to Bangkok, I stayed in a somewhat more respectable hotel than I normally do. The place claimed to be a three-star hotel. As I brought back a lady of the night, I was informed for the first time that the hotel had a visitor charge. This was the first time in many trips to Thailand during the past several years that I ever had to pay the dreaded VC. After all, I normally stay in hotels that are full of hookers where there's no VC. Since it was rather late, I paid 500 baht for the VC. While I was given a receipt, the gal's ID was not checked let alone kept by security unlike in many other hotels. When she left the hotel (it was just short time), security never called me to check on whether it was OK to let her leave. So, for 500 baht I got no protection at all. I would have been better off finding a short time hotel for the session. A total ban on bar girls, as apparently exists at some high end places, makes sense if the hotel caters to couples and families. But, a VC is simply greed.

Two years down the drain.

Want an Asian girlfriend? Don't go to Asia. Well, Thailand at least. I returned to Britain earlier this year having spent over 2 years teaching in Thailand. During that time I dated perhaps twenty Thai ladies in their '20s (I'm a handsome 31). These ranged from middle class white-skinned Thai Chinese ladies, most of whom, despite their weak attempts to disguise it, seemed embarrassed to be seen out with a Westerner, and some of whom treated me like a short term hobby or something to make their Thai boyfriends jealous, to dark skinned "peasant" girls, most of whom threw themselves at me in a most unromantic way, expecting never to pay their way on dates, and clearly seeing me only as a merit scorer or private banker for their family. I gave up on these shallow creatures. I preferred the Thai Chinese girls physically, and since returning to Britain, I have for the past few months been dating a gorgeous Chinese lass. She is 28, came to Britain three years ago to study for a master degree, and stayed on, working as a shop assistant for my local "Doctor China" herbal medicine outlet, only 200 yards from my home! She is intelligent and speaks great English (unlike nearly all of the Thai women), she is independent and open minded, (unlike nearly all of the Thai women), and she loves being with Westerners, (unlike nearly all of the Thai women). She also looks nicer than every Thai I dated. There are thousands upon thousands of great Asian girls in Britain and every other Western country. I just feel regretful that I wasted more than 2 years trying to meet a nice one in Thailand.

Rural animal.

A friend of mine, "Jungle", contracts in Africa and is away for 3 months out of 4. His wife lives in the house alone while he is away. She recently complained to friends that someone was watching her and also mentioned it to the Pu Yai Ban. In the early hours of Saturday morning the creature broke into her house and severely assaulted her. It was a particularly vicious attack and she suffered massive head injuries from being repeatedly hit with a mallet used in making som tum. She was kept alive on life-support until her husband arrived in from Africa. It was patently obvious to all that there was no point in continuing with this and she died yesterday with her husband & family attending. The animal who committed this act was able to gain entry to the house because the exterior doors were flimsy and a sturdier inner door was not locked. Surprisingly the Police have caught the creep who turned out to be a relation of the next-door neighbour. (I say "surprisingly" because normally the coppers up here couldn't track a leaking shit cart). Anyone who does this type of periodic work and whose living arrangements are similar should seriously look at the dwelling security & impress upon those remaining in the house the need to get into a routine of properly using all security measures all the time.

Phuket taxis, they do exist!

As to the airport taxi situation. It is not quite as bad as your letter writer said. Yes, there is only one authorized taxi company operating inside the airport TERMINAL. Like at Don Muang, you pay a premium but you get a newish Altis for your trip. Fares for these taxis are B400-B600 depending on distance. The meter taxi stand (like at DM) is outside the terminal building but not outside the airport itself. You just walk out into the parking lot about 50 meters and you will see them. Granted, in pouring rain, you would have to either wait it out or take one of the fixed-fare taxis. Anyway, the meter taxi guys are nice and really do use the meter. The meter price turns out to be about half what the fixed-price taxi would be. As an example, I often stay at a hotel on the Cape Panwa Peninsula. The trip from the airport to there is about at far as you can go from the airport…it is basically from one end of the island to the other. The meter taxi fare is about B260-280. The price for the fixed-taxi is B600.

The intellectual graveyard.

Regarding no intellectual stimulation in Korat. I wouldn't last a week and I am sick to death of having to defend the fact that I actually have a brain to people with no brains. Egypt has a 4,000 year history of art and literature and China has a 6,000 year history of art and literature but Korat with half a million people hasn't got one fabulous bookstore.

With cash flowing though their tills faster than blood flows through a porn star's penis, the cash flush Rainbow Group is putting money back into their bars. Rainbow 3 has re-opened for business after renovation, and now Rainbow 2 is now closed to be renovated itself.

Prices have shot up at Midnite Bar in Cowboy. Drinks prices have shot up, the bar fine has shot up and the on premises short-time room that was essentially provided free for those who paid bar is no longer free. There also seems to be sparse use of the lights on the dance floor meaning that you cannot see the girls' faces clearly when they're dancing – maybe that was intentional? One has to wonder just what the new owner is trying to do by tinkering with what has been a winning formula. I'd also question the age of some staff.

With some Cowboy bars pushing their prices up close to Nana levels, I wonder if Cowboy bar owners are aware that they are, in effect, pushing people back to Nana? Cowboy has done well over the past couple of years with a lot of bars getting a much needed make over, but with drink prices approaching Nana levels, and far, far more pretty girls to be found in Soi 4, I wonder what the attraction is for Cowboy? After all, it is not the laid back place it was say 5 years ago. Even for someone as jaded as me, when it comes to the bar scene, Nana is a lot more fun at the moment.

A sign in the toilet of Pretty Lady in Nana advertises foot massages from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM for 250 baht per hour. Are they trying to diversify?!

The newest sizeable hotel in Sukhumvit, The Majestic Grande, which is located conveniently for certain entertainment areas, is getting good reports and would seem to be a good place to stay if you are stuck for where to go, or simply looking for somewhere new to try.

Due to polite requests from some establishment owners, it is with regret that I will not be including information on late night spots in Bangkok. Some establishment owners have been nervous that their establishments have been mentioned as open late at night, beyond the 1:00 AM curfew. So, if you want to party late, simply ask one of the bargirls where to go – they're sure to know. Alternatively, jump on the sex tourist express and get you ass down to Pattaya where bars are open much, much later.

Following on from the piece in last week's column about State Tower being the best free show in town, it would seem that they are now challenging people who are going to the bar and actually limiting the number of people drinking there. If you haven't made it up there, you had better look like a bona fide customer as they finally seem to be turning away the freeloaders.

Security at the airport seems to have been beefed up, but as is so often the case with security in Thailand, I wonder just how good it really is. Last weekend, at each entrance to the airport there were soldiers in their military fatigues, heavily armed and looking the part. They had a metal detector and would run it very quickly over each person who entered. Now, maybe I am missing the point here, but I have to ask the question: Why did they let me enter the airport without paying more attention to me even when the detector went haywire when they ran it over me? I reckon I could have had a gun in my trousers and they would have let me in. Just what is the purpose of their presence? Is it for show?

And speaking of the airport, I notice that the taxi rank out the front of the airport is a total mess. A number of people I know who have come through recently have had to wait more than half an hour to get a cab, although at other times of the day there seems to be no wait at all. The original tip still applies – go upstairs and get one of the taxis that is dropping people off – you'll save the 50 baht airport surcharge and will not have to wait more than a minute or so.

An interesting novel was released a year or so back called "Platform". It was written by a French author and translated into English. Truth be told, I have not read it myself but a couple of people who have tell me that the writer has done his research. Now rumour has it that Oliver Stone may be interested in doing something with it. Wow, imagine one of Hollywood's greats involved with a production that delved into Bangkok's naughty nightlife. I wonder if such a production actually went ahead whether the Thai authorities would allow a high profile Hollywood icon to film on location?

Quote of the week comes from a close workmate who admittedly has not lived in the States for 9 years. "If you're not Donald Trump, Brad Pitt and John Holmes all rolled into one, you can't get a date in America." Does the American readership to comment?

From the only in Thailand file, a Tesco Lotus store had a new product on display for consumers to try out. The product was a toothbrush and for some strange reason there was only one sample. And yes, people were trying it out! I kid you not!

Watch out white boys because Thailand is being inundated with Africans applying for jobs as English teachers! Unlike the Filipinos, these Africans ARE native speakers but similar to the Filipinos, they will happily work for much less than the average white boy. Gentlemen from Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon are applying for employment in Thailand in real numbers and it will be interesting to see how successful they are in a country where black skin is not looked upon favourably at all. Rightly or wrongly, many Thai employers (and many Thai students) want to see a white face in the classroom. Still, good luck to these guys from Africa – many seem well qualified and highly motivated – and the cultural perspective and background that they bring to the classroom might help to break down some of the perceptions Thais have about coloured folks.

I am informed that Fr. Charlie Cotant, of the Holy Redeemer Church in Soi Ruam Rudee, has been in Thailand since 1948. I wonder if he is the longest serving farang in Thailand? I am sure that the good man has many interesting tales to tell…but I'm not sure if his is a suitable candidate for an interview on this site! Maybe I should just interview many farang's favourite religious figure, father Tommy instead?

The next Bangkokmates singles party will be held at Isaan Cha Cha Cha on Thursday July 21, 2005. For women who are members of Bangkokmates, it is free to enter the party. For women who aren't members, it'll cost you 200 baht and you'll get a fruit cocktail along with snacks. For men, if you are a member with Bangkokmates you are free to enter the party and non-members can go for 200 baht – but no fruit cocktail for the blokes!

Following on from the opening opinion piece in last week's column which was not entirely in favour of Korat as a place to live, I should have perhaps added that NOT all of Isaan is the same. Much if it would in fact be much worse! But one place to consider would be Khon Kaen which with its universities and thus younger population tends to be a place which is simply more fun.

How many caps are floating around Bangkok with "Remember M" embroidered in on the inside? While this might sound like an odd question, the following story might make you wish you had such a cap. A friend met a Thai lady and they exchanged phone numbers. She called him and asked him if she could come around to his apartment and visit him, to which he responded, "sure". She came around to his place with 4 large bottles of beer and a cap for him. She serviced his needs, left, and he has never heard from her since! He later noticed that she had had "Remember M" embroidered on the inside of the cap, a cap he wears frequently, especially when he goes jogging. I wonder how many other caps with "Remember M" on the inside can be found in Bangkok?

Civil disputes in Thailand are often sorted out at the local police station, at least those where the dispute is not too serious. It is often the same with smaller, less serous issues of a criminal matter. They too are often sorted out at the local police station. And it is very interesting to note that the agreed fee is so often the same, 40,000 baht. Just why do you think that is? Well, it is fairly simply really. 40,000 baht is the amount of money that most local bank accounts will allow you to withdraw from an ATM machine in one day, being 2 X 20,000 baht withdrawals. I don't know if there is a moral to this story, except to say that having a daily withdrawal limit less than 40K might prove useful if you get yourself into a sticky situation.

Ask the Sticks

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: I went to a restaurant recently with my girlfriend, and since the friend I was meeting there had arrived already, I decided to sit next to him, facing my girlfriend who sat on the other side of the table, alone. Next thing I know she disappears and after waiting for 15 minutes (I thought she had to move her car or something) I decided to call her. This is what she says, "Why didn't you sit next to me, everyone will think I am alone!" I always sit facing my dates when we dine out, but she insists that Thais sit next to their dates when there are 3 or more people at a table. I call this BS. What do you think?

Mrs. Stick says: I think she's an idiot! This girl doesn't have any social skills and just isn't mature. There are no special rules like this in Thai culture and this is just an individual problem. If she didn't like it like that, she should have asked you politely but she didn't do that and then handled it badly. If I were you, I wouldn't waste time with a girl like this. This is the classic symptom of bad communication in a relationship. She couldn't even tell you about this small thing. All she thought about was herself. She is selfish and self-centred and that probably ruined the whole dinner. If you don't have a big enough headache from this situation, then all I can say is…good luck!

Question 2: I am working with an extremely pleasant young lady from the west who is fresh to these shores and enjoying the honeymoon phase of her time in our fair realm, until now… The Thai matriarchs who've have been teaching at our high school longer than the Aussies have been trying to locate the 'black stump' have banded together to give her a bad time over her dress sense. They feel she is looking too and I quote "beautiful". She has spent time working professionally in her own country and feels that her attire would stand the test of scrutiny in any business arena from where she comes from – An Anglo-Saxon based culture. This has soured relationships as she doesn't want to find herself having to tread on egg-boxes wondering if she is countering the culture with every gesture or comment she makes. However, in one short week she's gone from one extreme to the other and has actually been handed a bag of second hand cast offs of old biddies' clothes which I imagine she is expected to wear. How do you think she should respond to this thought control in the workplace and retain her sanity and self respect?

Mrs. Stick says: If she is certain that she is not over dressed and that what she is wearing is not improper in a school environment, then this is not an easy one to handle. Within Thai workplaces there can be a lot of petty jealousy and many people do not want to see other people better than themselves. The way to handle this is to smile to those old cows and say that "I can wear what you are wearing now" but then also say to those women that perhaps they are not so perfect and that they should improve in certain areas too. Tell her not to let those women walk over her otherwise they will come back and it will get worse each time. She must stay calm, and also be respectful. Also, whatever she does, she should not be aggressive. If the clothes are definitely appropriate within the school environment, then she should point this out to them clearly, and point out that they simply have to deal with it. I have had similar problems in the workplace. Some people have been jealous of me and tried to make me feel bad. My attitude is that I am not going to drop to their standard but rather they have to come up to my standard.

Mr. Stick says: I agree with the Mrs., but there is one proviso. Teachers in Thailand are highly respected and are supposed to not just be upstanding members of the community, but also look the part. Teachers are expected to dress CONSERVATIVELY. This is the most important aspect of her dress.

The readers' submissions section of this site is gaining in popularity and the number of submission writers and submission readers continues to grow. A truly outstanding piece was written this week and is well worth going out of your way to read. Many years ago, I had a piece on the burner entitled "Why I'll Never Marry A Thai". The piece was never published and the rest is history. Well, a gentleman has gone and written that article and done a fine, fine job of it. If you are considering marrying a Thai woman, this article is probably more worthwhile of an hour of your time than anything else you could get your hands on! Why I Never Married A Thai.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Thanks go out to Bkk Grasshopper and Dave The Rave.