Stickman's Weekly Column January 29th, 2006

Making The Most Of Online Dating



Next to naughty bars, the easiest place to meet Thai women is online. Better than the naughty bars, you don't even have to be in Thailand. I have written a few articles over the years about meeting Thai women online but more and more guys seem to struggle to actually make a connection online. What follows are a few tips and how to be effective when chasing pussy online!

The first thing to consider is just where online do you find these women? Basically there are two types of places, websites, and chatrooms / real time messaging.

On the many dating websites users can place a personal profile with information about themselves as well as a picture. Far and away the most popular site of this kind with Thai women is Thailandfriends.com. Users can search for other users specifying certain criteria. For example, you could search for Thai women aged 25 to 30, living in Bangkok, who are single and looking to meet a guy. From there, you can send them a message via the site, or even chat with them in real time if they are online at the same time.

Then there are chat rooms or real time message systems where you can chat with others in real time. Perhaps the most popular example of a site of this kind would be Bangkokchat.org. It has to be said however that Bangkokchat has changed drastically over the last few months with persistent campaigning by a group who have effectively pushed a lot of women away from the site, warning them of the dangers of sexual predators. More about that later.

So the first thing you need to do is actually find someone online. This is easy. With sites like Thailandfriends, the search tool on the site is very easy to use. Search for other users who match your criteria and when you find some, send them a message and go from there.

On sites like Bangkokchat all of the users are in a main chat room. Simply find someone who has a user name that sounds attractive you, click on their user name, and you can enter chat with them.

OK, so all of this sounds pretty basic so far and I haven't told you anything new. Let's get into things in a bit more detail.

Irrespective of what you look like and how old you are, you will need a photo of yourself. At some point, you are going to be asked what you look like, and no picture means things will not progress past that point. And some of the dating sites actually require a picture.

The difference between a good photo and a bad photo is huge, and even a less than aesthetically pleasing person can look attractive in a good photo. The best photos tend to be taken outside, show the top half of one's body – and make sure you are smiling! Photos taken indoors, standing amongst a group, or God forbid, with an ex-girlfriend, are best avoided. A few photos, in different situations, in different clothes, is always a good way to go. Make sure you are smiling in the photos! This is huge to Thai women. They are programmed to think that someone they do not know who is smiling cannot be bad!

Sit online and wait for the women to come to you! On some websites, like Thailandfriends, girls will often do a search which specifies WHO IS ONLINE AT THAT TIME, as opposed to just necessarily searching for people by certain characteristics, such as age, occupation, location etc. So, just sitting online and being logged into that particular service increases your odds of meeting someone hugely.

Certain times of day, the week or even the year result in a much higher hit rate. First of all, the weekends, including Friday night, are a very good time to search online for your teeruk. Long weekends and other holiday periods are very good, and the holiday at New Year is absolutely the best time of all. On week days, late afternoon is good. You get the office girls on there at that time and if you strike it lucky, you may well be able to meet her when she knocks off work.

There are some people who only get online during the day, and others who only get online at night. So you need to vary your time online, or for best results, just stay online for as long as you can. Don't just for example get online only during the day, or at night, or at the weekend. Try and get online at all of these times, if possible

It's a numbers game so contact all and sundry. This is the approach that Thai women use. They will often send out a message to about 10 people, and try and chat with them all at the same time. This actually does to work. In my experience, chatting with any more than 4 people at one time is difficult. Not only may there not be enough screen on your computer monitor for all of the dialog boxes, but things just start to get too confusing. I say try and limit it to four girls at a time!

Now the girls are quite funny, and just like their bargirl sisters, will deny the existence of any other guys. They will even deny talking to more than one guy at a time. I you are chatting via MSN Messenger and they have a webcam, you can watch them as they conduct conversation with you. Watch their eyes closely and if they move around the screen a lot, it is likely that they are chatting with more than one guy. This should not be seen as a big deal at all, but it is amusing to know how these girls operate.

Use a witty, catchy email address. As corny as it may seem, Thai women love this sort of thing and it sticks in their mind. You might sound a little silly to your mates with such an email address, but you probably want to have a separate email address for this sort of thing anyway. Using words that have connotations of being cute, happy or cheerful are all good.

Your email address should be the same as the name you use on your online persona. If your Thailandfriends login and / or Bangkokchat user name is "PiercingBlueEyes", then your email address should be something like [email protected] or [email protected]. This simply helps the lady know who you are.

Don't give too much about yourself away. While it is best to be honest to keep hopes alive of the possibility of your online escapade turning into a more conventional relationship, don't divulge too much about yourself early on. Unfortunately some Thai women have proven to be volatile in relationships with Western guys and if things don't go just how they expect, spiteful actions or outright revenge can follow. If you are a local, this can be a problem so don't give too much away too quickly.

But if you're an English teacher, break the honesty rule and don't admit to it! Don't lie per se, but frankly, telling a little princess that you are an English teacher may very well conjure up an image in her mind of an awkward, spotty faced farang fresh out of university with a mop of a hairdo who wears Pratunam Market 50 baht neckties and worst of all, has a low income. Many teachers refuse to admit it, but English teaching is not a sexy job and the secret is out amongst Thai women – teachers are the bottom of the barrel locally in terms of earnings! Give yourself a pompous job title, something profound like "inter-cultural communication training facilitator" which, while being nothing more than a fancy way of saying English teacher, at least sounds a little sexy, and keeps the awful stereotype out of her mind. Then you can divulge all at a later date, at which point she has already fallen for you. (Actually, this advice probably applies to any English teacher flirting with or approaching any Thai woman in any situation.)

One of the first questions you'll be asked online is how long you've been in Thailand. Yep, they have the same aversion to expats with a number of years in Thailand as their bargirl sisters do! Tough one on how to respond!

One mistake that a lot of farang guys make is trying to talk dirty with Thai women online. Generally this approach doesn't work with Thai women, even if they are specifically looking for some horizontal action. Many Thai women consider it uncivilized to talk about that sort of thing with someone they don't know, notwithstanding that it is online, and most don't respond well to it. Even if the ONLY thing you want to do is to get down and dirty, it is best not mentioned.

If you get off on webcam sex, be VERY careful. While you might strip off in front of your webcam and show all and sundry to your little lady, thinking she is the only person who can see you, remember that all you are doing is allowing a stream of data to be sent to her computer, a stream of data of you starkers, and if she is net savvy she could record it and either play it back whenever she wants, or even distribute online. Be careful!

Get not just familiar, but comfortable, with the various real time chat programs. The program principally used these days is MSN Messenger because it is the fastest and the most stable. But you should also be familiar with Yahoo Messenger and ICQ. That means that you have an account with each of them and ideally, you have them running the whole time you are online.

If a woman wants to meet you today, meet her today! These women can be hot one moment, cold the next. And Thai women really do take rejection badly, so if she is bold enough to suggest meeting up, do it right away!

In addition to Thailandfriends and Bangkokchat, other places to try are Face-Pic.com, Match.com, Adultfriendfinder.com, Yahoo groups and of course the old faithful, ICQ. At this point in time, Thailandfriends seems to be where all of the action is. A number of readers have sent in emails outlining their escapades about girls they have met at this site.

Now I would say to anyone who was looking to find a sweet and innocent Thai woman online for a serious relationship, be careful. There are a heap of sweet girls there and girl for girl, they are a much better bunch than what you'll find in the naughty bars. But as horrifying as it may sound, some of the purportedly decent Thai women in the chat rooms are clocking up the same sort of numbers as the bargirls. Ok, maybe not quite the same as a Soi Yodsak girl, but you get the idea.

Take the case of one local fellow. He started chatting with a girl on Bangkokchat and after an hour she took the initiative and asked him if he wanted to meet up for a coffee. They met up for a coffee and within 30 minutes they were sweating it out back at is place. After the business was done, he went back home and logged into Bangkokchat under a different user name. The girl whose company he had just enjoyed was there so he started chatting with her, without her knowing who he really was. She mentioned to him that she was looking for some afternoon delight and you guessed it, she asked him if he wanted to meet for a coffee! Get the idea?!

This situation clearly highlights one of the issues of online dating, the huge number of guys that girls meet, which is actually one of the biggest, but seldom mentioned problems, of trying to make things work with a bargirl. It is not always what they do, but the huge numbers of guys who approach them on a daily basis.

Finally, don't forget that a good number of the Thai women hanging out at the aforementioned sites and in the chat rooms might be there because they really do only want to chat! Some may only want to practice their English, and that's it! They don't want to meet a guy and the thought of meeting a farang might be the last thing on their mind. Thai women like fun, but not all of them are farang hungry, even if they are hanging out in what would appear to be a farang pick up joint!

WHERE IS THIS PICTURE Competition?

It was the lawyer's office under Soi Zero.

Where is that?!

Last week's pic was taken of Mr. Ben's Law Office, the colourfully decorated law office located right next to Soi Zero. You can find more about him here. This week's first prize is a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. Prizes number 2 and 3 are a 600 baht dinner voucher for 2 to be used at Sin in Sukhumvit Soi 4. The prizes are only available to people in Thailand now – either residents or tourists, and must be redeemed within 2 weeks. You MUST say that you are in Bangkok if you wish to be eligible to win a prize.

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

Shoes stolen a common problem?

It wasn't long ago that one of my friends gave a boy his shoes to clean while in a bar and the boy failed to come back. It might have something to do with the fact that they were very expensive. The same friend recently had a boy in soi 7/1 clean his shoes but when he said the boy could only take one at a time the boy knew exactly what he meant – must be a well-known trick to those little sods.

Murderers to be executed.

Sad to say it but I always take some solace from the murder of a tourist in Ireland. This is because the authorities suddenly take crime seriously and get right to it in finding the culprit due to the horrible nasty threat to our "soft day thank God world" image and the buckets of tourist lucre it brings with it. I can thus understand why the Thai authorities have been on fast forward regarding the murder of the young English woman and why the clearly brain cell challenged defendants will be meeting their maker quicker than it takes to get a visa. Having said all that however, I wonder if the demented rush to execute has done Thailand any good? Us hypocritical foreigners may spout string 'em up in our own countries. But we are suspicious of fast track methods abroad. Privately we realise that murders happen everywhere and the Land Of Smiles is no exception. But more perturbing is being enmeshed in a system where due process takes a back seat to politics and the whims of faceless officials. A bad thing all round then.

The friendly boys in brown.

I was pulled over by Thailand's finest yesterday. "You go too fast". "Err, how fast?" "Two unred." "What, you've got to be joking!". "Solly solly, I mean 120". "No, I was travelling 95". "Tha too fast, you pay me fie hunred baht". "Too expensive, anyway, what is the speed limit?" "90, you go too fast." "Only 5 too much and this is five hundred baht?" "Yes, now what we do?" "What must we do?" "You pay or we go staishun." "OK, we can go to the station." A small silence and then "OK, you can drive on."

Spare a thought for the girls, who could well be victims too.

My Thai wife enjoys dancing at the discos in Soi Green Mango while I go and enjoy a few beers with the bar owners I know in the soi. She was with three or four of her Thai friends and by 2 AM was "happy" to say the least. She is a very friendly sort, mature, good looking if I say so myself and can look after herself. Lots of tourists and guys looking for gals. She was happily dancing and a guy tried to hit on her as they do and which she copes with well – a polite wai and "No thank you, I am married" usually does the trick. I was back by then a few feet away talking to some friends and this guy offered her a drink which she refused, but he persisted and just to be polite and to get rid of him she took a sip. Five minutes later she collapsed. Could not stand up and was unconscious. We got her out, revived her and got her home, she slept through the night and she was fine the next morning – hung over yes, headache yes, but otherwise ok. Did this guy try and slip her a Mickey Finn? I do not know – but it was very suspicious. I was more concerned looking after her than looking for him at the time and it was only in retrospect that the suspicion emerged. The girls may need to take care too maybe.

The highly paid girls of the night.

I think that the money being made by bargirls has finally reached a tipping point: Salaries, plus lady drinks, plus the requisite minimum barfines (plus 2,000 baht – or more – the next morning) are enough for a bargirl to figure that she's earned enough for the month. In other words, the bargirls who shag themselves silly for 60,000 a month are being replaced with girls who are content to take in 15,000 a month (salary + drinks + one or two barfines) for just dancing in their skivvies. (And you can bet that it has a lot to do with the bargirls' admiration of the stuck-up show girls who don't go with men at all.) You want to get the bargirls interested in barfines again? Tell the bar owners to stop paying the girls double what they could make standing behind a Nokia counter. Get rid of the boring, useless, and not-that-attractive showgirls whom they are paying 20,000 a month to do nothing except walk on stage, take of their clothes, look bored, and make all the other bargirls in the joint think that that is all there is to working in a gogo bar. Also get rid of the idiots who are agreeing to pay 3,000 baht a toss with bargirls, effectively cutting the number of barfines a girl needs to do in a month by a third from what it used to be.

Chiang Mai was yesterday's news, try Chiang Rai.

I was disappointed with my trip to Chiang Mai. Mostly because we chose to use a private driver which means the admission price to ever where was double. That pissed me off since I was travelling with my Thai wife too. Impression was generally that Chiang Mai was a tourist trap. Night Bazaar didn't have anything intriguing at all. I really could have skipped seeing that. I did get a Shin Thai silk shirt at their factory that normally costs 5.3k baht for 2.5k baht so I'll look smart at weddings but other than that if you want a laid back atmosphere Chiang Rai is better.

Great, apart from the air.

I agree with your thoughts on Chiang Mai. The south is too hot and not as friendly. Phuket is too Farangland and re-made. Chiang Mai has close to seasons and the night breeze is nice. However, the air there is worse than Bangkok. The canal loop is nothing more than a race track for tuktuk, and motorbikes that pour pollution into the air. This is so sad because Chiang Mai is a diamond in the rough especially for farangs. On every visit of more than one week. I have to get some medicine or go to clinic / hospital for upper respiratory infection. All due of course to the air. This is the only downside to a wonderful city in a wonderful area of Thailand.

Popular bar manager Ricky has secured a position heading up one of the new gogo bars in Pattaya. Last week I mentioned that Babe Watch had not quite reached the standards its name suggested and the management have responded in the best possible way, no, not by putting a price on my head, but by hiring a proven and successful bar manager, Ricky! So, if you are one of the legions who are a member of Ricky's Fan Club, do pop in to Babe Watch and see him. Now one interesting snippet is that a Westerner (the owner) gets stripped in one of the shows there each night. I have not seen this for myself (not that I want to), but it all sounds rather weird!

After some pretty average feedback, Angelwitch in Pattaya appears to be doing well for a venue that has only been running for three weeks. While the place is big, they do in fact already have 150 staff. Angelwitch claims to be the only venue that does shows in 3 dimensions using 5 meter high poles and ladders. They even bring in some of their dancers and also gogo dancers airborne. They also claim to be the only bar using state-of- the-art lighting. They are also the only place where you can relax on the 2nd floor and watch the shows live from a different perspective which can be rather interesting for certain shows, without any pillar or cross-beam disturbing your view. And last but not least, they are perhaps the only place where you can take a leak and keep watching the shows at the same time! Yep, for anyone who is into the really filthy shows, Angelwitch is a disappointment. They feel that there are enough places that do these shows, and so their shows cater to a different sector of the market. Just to correct the prices for drinks, beers are 115 baht and top shelf 125 baht.

A gentleman from the former Eastern Bloc has bought out Johnny's share in the two upstairs Hollywood bars in Nana. It has been a rollercoaster ride for Johnny who has been through some major ups and downs in Nana. A few years back he was one of the first guys to implement wild shows in Nana, has seen huge profits 2 or 3 years ago turn into losses and has been given a fairly hard time online. He now seems keen to concentrate on Big Dog's. The new major shareholder of Hollywood hails from the Czech Republic. I'd love to know how much he paid for the Hollywoods.

Erotica in Nana has a bunch of new staff, with a number of young dancers joining the crew. They plan to redecorate next month so the bar should look better soon. They run a lottery now in which customers can win barfines, bottles of JW, Chivas, Sangsom and champagne plus many free drinks. Price per ticket is 100 baht and it has been said that there is a 65 percent chance of winning a prize. It is all done more as entertainment, not really a way to make money, sort of like the ping pong ball scramble, I guess.

The once untouchable Pretty Lady bar in Nana Plaza were busted for showing! Disgusting, flesh n display in the plaza! But it looks like they will be spared closure. I guess the mamasan must have given the cops a hell of a big grin….

From the Eden Club comes word that new rooms next door to the club should be finished by the start of March. There will be 7 regular rooms as well as a party room with a 13 square metre bed!

Things down on Soi Cowboy were busy during the week and the most popular bars were doing brisk business, even more customers than can be found at say Patpong on a Friday night. One bar that was slow was Tilac Bar, maybe because the girls working there are getting pretty close to the ugly end of the scale. In fact, if I hit the rewind button and go back to the '90s, were they much better then?

A nice surprise was entering Dollhouse and finding the girls had all lost the top part of their costumes and most had also forgotten to put on their knickers! Damn!

Suzie Wong's was busy and there is one dancer there that is very good. She puts so much enthusiasm in and it is worth dropping by just to see her work. She is often the first on stage as you walk in but you can't really miss her as she is so much better than her partners in this part of the entertainment. The large number of customers in Sheba's just may be attributed to the fact that there seems to be more entertainment than in other bar areas.

Could this be the first fatality of the high number of gogo bars in the Walking Street area of Pattaya. Strong rumours have it that a large gogo bar on Walking Street will close down very soon. No name for the time being, but I think it will be confirmed by this time next week.

And if this wasn't enough, the girls in another gogo bar in that area, one with a decidedly French sounding name, went on strike and the bar was closed for two days! Who would have thought it, industrial action taken by Pattaya's gogo girls!

Many readers' fears just became reality. The authorities are blocking Adultfriendfinder when users attempt to access it via certain ISPS in Thailand.

There is a gentleman who used to be manager of a Soi Cowboy bar. I think it is accurate to say that he was not much liked by the girls, and some customers felt he never gave off very friendly vibes. The girls claimed that amongst other things, he would try and coerce them to go out with his friends, even when they didn't want to. And it was said that he was ki gong about money. At one point the mamasan left, taking with her a good number of the girls, but she returned on the understanding that she would not have to take orders from him. Not long afterwards, the owner let him go. He has now been made manager of another bar in Soi Cowboy, and his first week has not been easy. He offended one regular customer by telling off his girlfriend for eating crisps in the bar, when in fact the girl is not even employed by that bar – and was just visiting with her boyfriend! Another regular reported that he was becoming extremely annoyed by the hulking presence of a man standing next to his table giving him odd looks, and when told that this was the new manager, left, vowing not to return. After the first few days, a group of bargirls went before the owner with their complaints, saying they did not want to work with the new manager. The owner responded by firing the ringleader on the spot, and telling the girls that she was the owner and that if they didn't want to work there, they didn't have to! Lovely! This is all very strange. The owner is a very popular manager with the girls. She has a reputation of treating the girls fairly and with a lot of care and loyalty. Everyone is wondering what is going on.

Some Sukhumvit soi 33 bars have a reputation for being less than honest when it comes to totalling up the bills at the end of an evening. While it would not be correct to say that bill padding is the norm, it is far from unusual. This week a long time reader and contributor to the site sent an email confirming that such unscrupulous practices continued the latest venue to play "rip off the farang" is Napoleon club. The customer refused to pay, the police were called and the bill was finally settled at 5,000 baht, which itself is a very high figure. The customer was told in no uncertain terms by the management not to show his face there again. As if he would! Just to make matters worse, at the same time all this happened another farang was having a similar problem and he also settled his account for half of what was originally demanded. Some Soi 33 bars seem to be getting a bit carried away with themselves lately.

And I got yet another email from a reader complaining about 300 baht drinks at Wildcats in Patpong, a scam that goes back years. Walking up the stairs, the welcome boys say "come inside, 100 baht a drink" but when you order, you are told 300 baht! This bar is strictly for uninformed tourists.

The British embassy has long had a less than enviable reputation amongst expats in Bangkok but it would seem that a North American woman is doing her level best to make the Kiwi embassy, the visa section at least, as bad. Up until recently, most Kiwis have been quite complimentary of the NZ embassy in Bangkok, in fact some of us are even quite proud that our embassy treats us much the way we would expect to be treated in our homeland – pleasantly, capably, and with respect. My few dealings with the embassy in the past have always been very positive. But there is a Western woman with a north American accent – at least one guy thinks it is Canadian – who seems to be doing her best to imitate the unhelpful holier-than-thou attitude that one associates with typical embassy staff. As one of my kiwi mates said, "It just ain't Kiwi kulcha"! Too right, mate! Just what a woman with a North American accent is doing in a job that a zillion Kiwis could do perfectly well, I do not know.

Well known expat figure Doug of Bourbon Street is organising the 11th Annual Father Joe Maier’s Human Development Foundation Charity Golf Classic. Last year they raised 1,200,000 baht for the foundation and Doug hopes you will be able to help them this year. They are selling the holes for 25,000- 100,000 for a major sponsor. They are also looking for room nights, dinner vouchers to auction off and goodies to put into the goodie bags. Get your group together to play or play as a single on March 10, 2006 at Legacy Golf Club, More info can be found here.

Quote of the week comes from one of my foreign workmates. "There is no way in the world I would send a child of mine to this school. All we ever seem to do is have activities for this and that, with no actual learning taking place."

As mentioned in the lead article of today's column, the website based group which had set out to destroy Bangkokchat, trying to undermine what they saw as Westerners behaving as sexual predators, appear to have been successful. The ratio of men to women on Bangkokchat has soared to the point that any females on there are simply bombarded with chat requests from hungry guys, effectively rendering the chat system useless. RIP Bangkokchat.

When Gordon of TalesOfAsia called me this week asking about new apartments in Bangkok, he said to me that he was VERY keen to get an apartment that had CS Loxinfo broadband and not True. We then both had a rant about True! While True were the first ISP locally to offer broadband at affordable prices, users report numerous problems including the problem of old, out of date web pages being stored on their cache server, problems using the FTP protocol, bandwidth limitations i.e. slow transfer rates and slow or unhelpful customer service.

Are the days of walking into an average restaurant in Bangkok, ordering what you want without looking at the prices knowing that the bill would be reasonable, gone? Prices in a lot of places haven’t just slowly crept up, they have downright soared. And in a lot of new places, they are pitching prices really high. Take the Blue Elephant outlet in the Siam Paragon for example. A massaman lamb dish there costs 360 baht and it is not even that big. At the main branch on Sathorn Road the same dish costs about 400 baht, but it is huge. There is nothing worse than spending 400+ baht on a meal in what could be classed as a mainstream, not particularly upscale restaurant, and walking away hungry.

This week I learnt of a new term that is given to employees using the net for personal use while at their place of work. Cyber slacking they called it, and apparently there is to be something of a drive in certain workplaces to prevent employees from using the net in company time. Cyber slacking is absolutely the norm in Thailand, something that seemingly everyone who sits in front of a computer with a net connection does. MSN is the program of choice. I couldn't imagine Thai employers trying to stop their staff from playing on the net – there'd be a revolt!

I often have friends or family passing through Bangkok and they invariably have the same request – "Take us to a nice Thai restaurant." This can be a hard one. Many people like Cabbages and Condoms but to me, that really is a farangised version of Thai food and many dishes are somewhat bland (although some are excellent). There is always Blue Elephant by the Surasak BTS station, which is very good, though as nice as it is, it is almost a bit "too much". Naj on Soi Convent, opposite BNH Hospital is a very good choice, but I think I have found a new place which really hits the spot, Benjarong, the Thai restaurant in the Dusit Thani Hotel. The food is excellent and it is not outrageously priced. The setting is very nice and service is excellent. If you've got friends coming in from Farangland, or simply want to sample really good Thai food in a really nice setting then give Benjarong a go. It gets the thumbs up from me.

I am not an expert, but I would imagine a security expert would have major concerns at the security at Chiang Mai airport. Passing through last weekend, there seemed to be a few issues which made me scratch my head. I walked through a metal detector which beeped and was checked by security personnel. Asked what was in my trousers, I responded “I don’t know” to which I was told “ok” and allowed to proceed! At anther point, passengers who had been through domestic check in and passengers who had been through international check in converged just before boarding the plane and it would have been quite possible for someone who had checked in through the lackadaisical domestic check in to get on the international flight. You've got to wonder.

This site has slowly been steering further away from the nightlife industry and you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realise that my heart really is not in writing about that part of life in Thailand. Still, from an anthropological point of view it remains fascinating, hence the coverage. So, for those of you who want nightlife only, Dave the Rave is your man. Dave The Rave, the bar manager of Angelwitch in Bangkok who has provided me with some news and gossip on and off for some time now, has started his own online column. He will also be featuring pictures of girls from the naughty bars. Dave's column is the latest in what is now quite a number of online columns and sites writing and about expat related issues in Thailand.

This week's article from a foreign newspaper comes from The Observer in the UK where one British diplomat has been a rather naughty boy!

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. Please do try and limit the length of questions to Mrs. Stick to about 100 words. We get many questions that are entire stories of several hundred words which I'm afraid are just too long to run here.

Question 1: A friend of mine is getting married to his ex-bargirl with just the simple ceremony, which I'm sure you're aware of is a trip to the embassy to get authorisation and then down to some office or another to sign his life away and keep her happy. I've been told that this type of wedding is not even recognised by the UK government and so is not legally binding in the UK. But what I'd like to know is how does it hold up in Thailand? Should the worst come to the worst and they split up (highly likely) then does she have the legal clout to come after him for a settlement or is it also not worth the paper its written on with the Thai authorities? (There's also a baby on the way!)

Mr. Stick says: I think I can answer this better than the Mrs. There are 10 situations under which you can file for divorce, ranging from infidelity on the part of the woman, to one partner causing serious face loss to the other. Court rulings on divorce settlements in Thailand by the book would see a 50 / 50 split in assets that were accrued since the date of the registration of the marriage. Assets each party had before marriage would not be subject to the split. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of foreigners could transfer all of their money out of the country before divorce, effectively preventing the other party from getting their hands on it. If there is a child / children involved, then things can get very messy indeed, just like in the West. I believe, though am not totally clear on this one, that parental support payments are assessed on income. As far as the UK government recognising the marriage, I really do not know.

Question 2: My wife, my 6 month old son and myself might be moving over to Bangkok in May this year. A job opportunity came my way, which I've just about made my mind up to accept. In regards to the British girl that was raped and murdered earlier this month. Does that sort of thing happen often? Do Thai men perhaps have some sort of vindictive fascination with Western women?

Mrs. Stick says: This could be a symptom of something. With the working class, when they see farang women they see this as a symbol of sexiness, wearing a bikini, strolling along the beach, the sort of thing they only see on TV or in movies, and this may well set off some wild fantasy in their mind that they cannot control themselves and they act on that fantasy. Thailand is far from a dangerous place but you do have to be careful because like anywhere in the world, things can happen which aren't expected.

Question 3: My friend from Bangkok is having the Buddhist marriage thing happen in February in Si Saket, Isaan. Rather than go up in the minibus that he is hiring my mate and our two girlfriends are going there in a hire car so we can have a look around and maybe go and see my girlfriend's grandma in Buriram. My question is – is it Thai custom to buy a gift for the occasion? If so what would be the norm?

Mrs. Stick says: At weddings it is customary to give cash in an envelope. You should use the envelope that the wedding invitation was given to you in, which will have your name on the front. This way the bride and groom will know who gave the money and how much – and this will be noted down so that if you should get married in the future, they can give at least the same amount back to you.



Less than two months ago there were some cosmetic changes made to this site. I think they gave the site a slightly more modern look but frankly, parts of the site still look very '90s. At long last, a very major update is being worked on now, and if all goes to plan, come the end of March, the whole way this site looks will be vastly improved. Even the black background may go….that will sure satisfy a few people!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

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