Stickman's Weekly Column August 6th, 2006

Do It Yourself Investigations And The Danger Signs



It is never easy for a Western man entering into a relationship with a Thai woman. There are the language barriers, the cultural differences and the vagaries of just what is acceptable in a relationship, and what is not. As I have said so many times before, Westerners and Thais are oh so different.

If she is, or was, a bargirl, it can be a whole lot more difficult. Not only do you have all of the cultural differences to factor in, you also have that huge concern in the back of your mind that she is still working, still going with customers, or generally doing the sorts of things that a woman committed to a long term relationship should not do – at least not in our Western way of thinking.

I receive email pretty much everyday from guys asking me to check up on their Thai girlfriends. Wiling away the time before their next trip to Thailand, they want to know what she is up to, and specifically, whether she is being faithful or not.

But despite the fact that I get a large number of inquiries, only a relatively small number actually become an investigation that I undertake. In most cases, I tell the guy that he can do some basic sleuthing himself. I am always happy to give guys a few basic hints on how to work out what is happening themselves, without the need to use me. Today I reveal a few basic things you can do yourself, from wherever in the world you happen to be, to see whether your lady is being faithful, or not.

So, first and foremost, you want to check that she is being faithful. This is not so easy to do from lands afar, but there are things you can check for, certain red flags that may indicate that all is not as she says. There are countless stories of guys in Thailand engaged in a bit of hanky panky with a lady of ill repute when her phone rings and she answers it and tells her darling in lands afar that she loves him, even though her body parts are at that very moment entwined with someone else's!

If she was a lady of the bar, then the odds are that any guys she meets were from the bar environment. So checking what she is up to is not always easy, but checking if she is still working is not so difficult.

Most of the naughty bars in Thailand are open from early evening until somewhere between 1:00 AM and 3:00 AM. There is an effective strategy to check up on her that is very easy. Simply call her around 10:00 or 11:00 PM, Bangkok time. If she is in a bar environment you will be able to tell from the noise in the background. Even if she grabs her phone and goes outside, the bars are so loud that it is very hard for her to mask the sound. If she is in a bar once every so often, you have to give her a break. She should be free to go out and have a good time, but if she is in a bar every night then odds are that she is up to no good. And if she doesn't answer the phone at that time, then the odds increase dramatically that she is up to no good. Not answering her phone at that time of night indicates that she is working and unable to answer it. Remember, more and more bars, particularly the gogos, are preventing girls from using their phone while they're on duty. And of course, there is a chance that she might be a with a customer. But as already mentioned, some girls will brazenly answer their phone, even in that situation!

If a (former) bargirl ever tells you that there are certain times when it is not good to call, take that as a major red flag. Also, if she is sending you email or calling you between 2 and 4 AM, ask her what the hell she is doing up at that time of night. The answer is easy – she has in all likelihood been working. Most people are not awake at this time of night.

So calling her mobile phone is a simple way to check up on her. And it's not suspicious. After all, you are just calling her to see how she is, and if you're a soppy romantic, to whisper sweet nonsense to her.

Now if she says she is upcountry, she may claim that her mobile doesn't work as there is no network coverage. This is plausible and some networks don't have coverage in some areas. I will say though that the AIS and One 2 Call network coverage area is very good and can get a signal in most rural areas. But even if she says there is no network coverage, all is not lost. Simply ask her for a landline number. Even if she claims not to have a fixed line phone at the house – this is quite common – there will be someone with a phone in the village who will go and get her for you (for a few baht, of course). Put enough pressure on her and she will give you a contact number. If no number is given, that is a big red flag! Once she has given you a landline number, check out the prefix online and you can verify where she is.

One of the most common stories that guys tell me is that their girlfriend lost her phone for a week, it didn't work for a week, or some other contrived work of fiction being the reason why he couldn't get in touch with her for a period of a few to several days. Thai women very, very seldom turn off their mobile phone, and just the fact that it is turned off for more than a short period of time is a huge red flag.

Thai women never lose their phone and find it again later. I have never ever heard of this happening, in all my time in Thailand. I hate to say it, but handing in items to the lost and found at the local police station is not that popular! 3 – 4 years ago I included a small piece in this column about a guy whose card many cabbies had who would pay them 1,000 baht for any mobile phone that was left in their cab, irrespective of brand, or condition.

So when the phone goes off for a week, or it disappears and she finds it, or it takes a week to get fixed, then face the truth. She is bonking some punter silly. It's as simple as that!

And then there's Pattaya. Now I have to be careful what I say here, because I am a big fan of the place, but at the end of the day, a lot of what the city is built around is the nightlife.

For a girl who has worked in the industry in Pattaya, my strong advice is always to get her away from Pattaya, and not allow her back. The temptations down there are so strong, the industry so huge, that it is a danger 24 hours a day that she will get an offer she cannot refuse. You have to get her out of there. For a girl who really does want to leave the industry, Pattaya is the last place she should remain. Bangkok is a little different in that the naughty boy areas for farangs are a very, very small part of a huge city. Pattaya, well let's just say, Pattaya is a bit different to that!

If you're in regular email contact with your girlfriend, you can verify just where she is by looking up her IP address with an IP address locator, using a site like this. Simply extract the IP address from her email, plug it into this site, and it will tell you where in the world she is. One reader emailed me a while ago to tell me that his girlfriend's email patterns had changed and she was emailing him at odd time. I told him about this and he discovered that his girlfriend, who was supposed to visit him in Australia the next month, was emailing him from Norway! Just one thing to note with IP address locators is that due to the way servers are set up, they might not always be in exactly the place the IP address locator says. IP address locators work with perhaps 90% accuracy.

Girls working bar get a certain level of salary. Let's take an investigation I did this weekend. The girl in question receives a monthly salary of 7,000 baht per month. If she doesn't go with customers, the salary is cut to 2,500 baht a month. Now, with no money from customers, and a minimal salary, no girl is going to work for that level – you cannot survive on that – or at least she couldn't, living alone in Pattaya. Some bars do not compel the girls to go with customers. Angelwitch, for example, pays a reasonable salary to the dek serve staff – that is the waitresses, and with tips, they can earn enough so that they do not need to go with customers. But this is not the case in all bars. So if a girl says she is still working in the bar but not going with customers, it is likely a load of bollocks. Most bars have a minimum number of barfines the girl has to achieve. Not all bars, and sometimes not even all girls (showgirls in the flash bars are often exempt) but this is usually the case.

It should not come as any surprise, but some girls actually like bonking. They don't get bonked for a week and they get frustrated. It is my experience that those girls who are sex jut (Thai for sex mad) are much less likely to be faithful.

When you both decide that your girlfriend is no longer going to work in the bar then sooner or later she may get another job. She may tell you she has a job at an internet cafe, a hotel, or a restaurant, the sort of places where it is plausible she may work much the same hours as she would in a bar. She may tell you, possibly quite correctly, that she is not allowed to use her mobile phone while at work. Now your brain will be positively spinning. How can you possibly verify she is working where she says she is? This is easy…

Tell her that you have a present to send to her and that you would like to send it to her office so that she gains face in front of all of her colleagues. This should go down well and she should be able to give you a name of the business and address to where it can be sent. This is not foolproof, but it is a strategy. If she hedges on divulging the name of the business, or the address, then that is another huge red flag. If it is anything more than a little tin pot corner store, odds are that the place where she works will be listed somewhere on Google, and you should be able to find a phone number without even asking her. Calling up and asking for her will verify if indeed she does work there.

None of these strategies are foolproof, and if you do really want to know what is happening, surveillance is the way to go. But at the end of the day you can do a few small things for peace of mind – and save a PI's fees.



Where WAS THIS PICTURE taken?

Now with five prizes a week including one in Pattaya!

It was the North Shore Condo in Pattaya.

Where is that?!

Last week's picture was taken in Pattaya, looking across the bay at the most recent arrival to Fun City's skyline, the fancy North Shore Condo. This week's picture is back in Bangkok. The first person to tell me where the picture is wins a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. The second person to get the prize right gets a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British Cafe in the Khao Sarn Road area. The third and forth prizes are a 500 baht credit at Sin in Sukhumvit Soi 4. I am pleased to announce that I have found a prize provider in Pattaya, and am thrilled that it is my favourite bar in Pattaya, Catz, which is offering a 500 baht credit. That makes five prizes to give away every week! The prizes are available to anyone in Thailand either residents or tourists, and must be redeemed within 2 weeks. You MUST say that you are in Bangkok (or Pattaya) and able to claim the prize or I will consider you ineligible. If you have a preference as to which prize you would prefer, do not be shy to let me know! Also, if you are in Pattaya, please let me know so you can be eligible for that prize! Also, if you think you will not use the prize, please let me know – as many people would be happy to make use if it! There are plenty of poor English teachers out there who 500 baht would make a difference to!

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

Antibiotics, the magic fix all!

I have been ripped off my shopkeepers, coerced by police, and been talked down to in Thai when people think I can't understand, but my latest experience is something else! While my wife was pregnant she went to see the doctor at Viphavdi Hospital as she had the flu and was concerned for our unborn baby. The doctor prescribed antibiotics. When I later asked why she was given antibiotics when it's common knowledge that they can only treat bacterial infections, their response was, "It doesn't matter anyway as only one week's medication won't harm your baby!" We should have learnt from this first experience but didn't, and after our boy was born at BNH went back to a different doctor at Viphavdi (it's so close) as my wife had a blocked milk duct in her breast causing pain. The doctor again prescribed antibiotics even though there was no infection and said not to touch the breast or the baby could get infected (scare tactics) and he would need to do an operation to drain the milk if it doesn't get better. Paid 1,600 baht for useless medication and bad advice. Fed up, we went to Siriraj Hospital (public). The experienced and friendly nurses used heat packs and massaged the breast, and unblocked the duct within a few hours. Everything was 100% better and back to normal. And the cost for this – 20 baht for a hospital card. Yes, only 20 baht. And to think the previous doctor deliberately sold medicine unnecessarily which can harm a baby and gave completely wrong advice, simply so they would have the opportunity to perform (and charge!) for a surgical operation. I don't know how these doctors can live with themselves, even though they're being pressured by management to sell more medicine and perform more operations. This is lower than corruption, this is lower than unethical, this is just plain immoral.

One way or another, you're gonna pay!

Last Saturday I had a strange run in with the traffic police, having been stopped on a number of occasions for odd reasons, sometimes paying up and sometimes standing my ground. This one beat them all. I had driven up to Sukhumvit past the Queen Sirikit Centre and spent almost 30 minutes waiting to turn right on to Sukumvit. At last I got through the lights a second or two before they again went red and was followed by a least six other cars behind me. I got 100 or so metres up the road towards soi 23 when I was flagged down and told to pull over by a traffic cop on a motorbike. He told me I had gone through the lights on red and, despite my protestations that I had not, and that in fact many cars had followed me, he insisted I paid a 1,000 baht fine. I said no that this was not correct and he produced a card with a list of fines and pointed to the 1,000 baht. I refused to pay and he said I would have to go to the police station. As I was not about to give him a 1,000 baht I went, followed by him. Once in the station he told the duty officer that I had illegally parked on Sukhumvit. There was no mention of the red light. I pointed out that I was parked because he had told me to stop. At this point he asked for my licence which I just realised I did not have on me. There was much discussion in Thai and I was eventually told I have to pay 300 baht for not having my licence. I paid to get out of there and am still puzzled by the whole thing. It did however save me 700 baht on his original request.

They start early these days.

A youngster in a gogo this last week must have been 14 years old I'd say. The thing is, he returned the next couple of nights I was there and was barfining one of the showgirls! Is there an age limit on visiting these places? I would have thought so. I think it is not too bad an idea for a father to want to teach is son the ways of the world but this was, I agree, maybe a little too far as the boy is now going to have a rather warped sense of male – female relationships and sex for sale at a time when he is just beginning to develop.

You're kidding yourself if you think they accept it.

Thai women do NOT accept a mia noi situation gladly, especially western experienced girls (not bar type) who have been overseas and / or worked for a foreign company. Bargirls are especially less trusting of course, as they have typically been the cause of many a break up and they know that their man is most likely being dishonest to someone while being there with her, even if he frees her. It's a rip roaring dynamic. No wonder it continuously goes wrong.

Are the boys in brown leaping off balconies?

You mention now and again about the girls and the customers being ruined by Thailand's nightlife. I will tell you that in America the highest suicide rate is among policemen. Sex workers are far down the list. Daily living in this stressful world can ruin anyone. More men have been ruined financially and emotionally by divorce than were ever harmed in a gogo bar. Life is not easy for most of us. The key, as they say, is moderation. Too much food, medicine, alcohol, tobacco, television or sex can ruin people. A little of those things can bring relief and rejuvenation. The girls, like nurses in an emergency room, can see the best and the worst in people. When the strain gets to be too much they need to move on with much thanks for a job well done. Lord knows they helped me when I needed it most.

Getting back at life's inequities.

The average farang is much more well-educated than the average bargirl. Much richer. Much more opportunity in life. I am convinced that the girls don't lie to farangs out of malicious intent or because their hearts are stone cold. I think now the average bargirl gets a huge buzz, by making someone, who is more well educated and richer, believe her lies. Winning makes people feel good inside. The disparity between what people in western countries have and what they have, creates a lot of deep resentment i.e. these girls have huge chips on their shoulders. I think for them, telling massive lies to farangs and deceit are their way of getting back at life's inequities. I am now convinced that bargirls get huge buzz, by making a better educated and richer person believe her lies.

Next week is Queen's Birthday weekend and I think that we can say with 110% certainty that bars will be closed in Bangkok, and most other places, for at least one night. But Pattaya is different. A party celebrating the 10th anniversary of Walking Street will be held in Fun City, sponsored by Singha Light, and everything – and everywhere – is expected to remain open. All roads lead to Pattaya next weekend!

It would seem that the owners of Rainbow 2 and Rainbow 4 are chasing the dollar and Euro, not the yen. There has been a change in the style of music in there, from the boppy, poppy sort of thing popular with the Japanese, to '70s and '80s rock and roll, which is more popular with farangs.

Cleve, of Walkabout fame in Phnom Penh is said to have been recruited to run Roxy's, the flash new venue in Pattaya. It opened a couple of weeks back with very expensive drinks, 180 odd baht for a glass of top shelf, 150 baht for beers, but after just a few days they quickly dropped the prices, to 125 for beer and 140 for Jack and the like. These prices may be the norm in Bangkok but they remain expensive in price-sensitive Pattaya. This much vaunted venue has been hyped big time so I just had to check it out while I was in Pattaya this weekend. I have to admit that I am not entirely sure what to make of it, and it is all rather strange. There is a fancy tunnel leading down into what opens up into a large, sparsely decorated auditorium. Given how much the venue has been hyped, the initial feeling really is underwhelming. It has a modern look and there is a main stage area which is, well, a stage. The lighting system is very good, and the sound system won't get any complaints. There are two sets of girls, the gogo girls, and the professional dancers. But my biggest gripe of all is the seating. They have these uncomfortable stools for punters to perch on which really do make you feel like you're in a fast food restaurant, you know, it's like they want to get rid of you! I always thought the idea of bars was comfy seating so you stayed a while – and spent lots of money! It would seem not in Roxy's. The whole place is perhaps best described as a cross between Polo and Angelwitch – but without the crowds those two venues attract. It is good to see a bar try something different and for this they have to be applauded. But I have concerns about just how well they will do. Customers don't always appreciate fancy lighting systems and choreographed shows – they like attractive girls. This bar has that, but the seating, well, after one drink you feel like it is time to go.

The heavies were sent into a Pattaya bar to knock out one of the owner's lights this week. A bar owner from a well-known Walking Street bar was in another bar enjoying himself. He screwed up a bunch of 20 baht notes and threw them on to the stage and the girls went into a frenzy, grabbing them. He was trying to recreate the fun of the ping pong balls that you get in some bars. One of the owners of the bar he was in came over and told him to stop it and said words to the effect that "we do not like that sort of carry on here and you ought to behave". Checkbin krap, and the customer, having been insulted, was gone. Straight back to his bar he went where he rustled together a bunch of heavies who he sent back to the other bar to have a go at the owner of that bar for insulting him. The owner who had done the insulting (was what he said really so bad?) saw the heavies coming and went and locked himself in one of the toilets in his bar! The heavies arrived, entered the bar, and looked for the owner based on the description they had been given. They couldn't see him so they asked one of the staff who the owner was. The staff, completely unaware as to why they were there, pointed at a different owner who the heavies then went and laid into, and gave him quite a pounding, unaware that they had actually dealt to the wrong guy!

Complaints are coming in about the quality of spirits from one Soi Cowboy bar which is said to be pouring cheap stuff from the bottles of good liquor. Hell, any bar owners doing this must be real sharks.

Heavens Above has got rid of those mattresses they had and replaced them with more conventional seating, which can only be a good thing. I also noticed an interesting sign in there. In addition to the "no photo" sign they also have a "no mobile phone" sign. I guess this is due to mobiles having cameras on them. I wonder if this will become policy in other bars too?

It is not the most fun bar in the world, and the atmosphere is quite different to most other bars on Walking Street, but Polo can boast a number of very pretty girls. Worth a look.

If you frequently do my trick of looking for open wireless internet signals in apartment buildings, don’t get too upset if you get a connection, but the speed of the internet is slow. It has to be said that high speed internet in Thailand is not always high speed. My connection at home, while rated at 1 Mbps, never seems to get near that, and sometimes it seems to be no faster than dial up, particularly mid evening on week nights. Anyway, getting back to the point, while there seem to be open, unsecured wireless signals everywhere these days, don’t count on them necessarily being very fast!

On Saturday, July 5 in Nana Plaza a credit card was found. Miss Heather Wilkie can collect her credit card from the management in Angelwitch (floor 2, Nana Plaza).

What’s your poison? If you like Jack or Pepe you’ll love the Blues Factory on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Walking Street bar has two new promotional nights thanks to a deal Dave made with his liquor suppliers. Beginning tomorrow (Monday) will be "Pepe Lopez Ladies Night" night with Pepe Lopez Tequila at 1,200 baht per bottle or 50 baht a shot. As it's also Ladies Night, there are lucky number draws with various prizes including Pepe Lopez stuff and a top prize of Thai Gold. Music by The Blues Machine starts at 9:30 PM. Wednesdays are "Jack Daniels Rock Night" with Lam Morrison; bottles of Jack at 1,500 baht (including a JD t-shirt) and Jack Daniels with mixers at 100 baht all night.

The case against a confessed murderer of expat Steve Miller has been dismissed. Chintana Vichachai, girlfriend of the 39-year-old Kiwi, and Narathip Kachawong, driver of the motorbike during the shooting, appeared in the Pattaya Court last week where the court decided to dismiss the case against Chintana based on lack of evidence and witnesses. The case against the motorbike driver will proceed, beginning with a preparation hearing August 28. Both previously confessed to the crime, but the girlfriend subsequently recanted her confession. I think I am going to be violently sick…

Sunday the 13th is the day of the Thai food and drink festival in Battersea Park in London. Hopefully the weather will be good and as there is unlikely to be another bomb scare it should run for the allotted time of 11.00 AM to 7.00 PM. It promises to be a good afternoon out for anyone in and around town who can get along.

Things could be looking good for bar owners in Pattaya in the first half of next month, as the USS Kitty Hawk with its 6,000 crew will be in town for 7 days along with its escort ships. Not too good for the locals or other tourists though who never seem to appreciate the competition that the navy guys bring. So if you're planning a trip to Pattaya in early September, be aware that there will be a bunch of horny seamen in town.

Before you next rant and rave about the Immigration Department here in Thailand, think about what Immigration is like in other countries. A long time reader, and regular contributor, this week told me about a Thai member of his team who was in Australia recently. He was three days over his visa, so was detained at the airport for hours, missed his flight, and was told that he'd been put on a list of undesirables in the computer. Fortunately, they did not put a stamp in his passport. One of his friends overstayed by four days and has a big red stamp in his passport that bans him from entering Oz for three years. He was justifiably pissed off. His comments questioned why he couldn't just pay a fine for every day he overstayed, just like Thailand, let alone the need to essentially mutilate his passport, too? Maybe they should start doing that in Thailand, considering how long many people tend to overstay here? Thailand Immigration are very relaxed, and that is something we should be thankful for.

I have extolled the virtues of Pattaya recently, but what a nightmare it is to get to there from Bangkok at the moment. A year or two back I set my personal record of 89 minutes, point to point, that is from Siam Square to Beach Road, a brisk journey, and even more surprising that it was mid afternoon on a week day. The last three times I have driven down to Pattaya from the capital it has taken almost three hours each time. They're doing all sorts of road works and it is a real mess, and something of a stressful job. In fact heading down this past Friday it was so slow in parts that I even considered taking the journey down by taxi next time. I could just sit in the back, and work on the column, rather than waste time stuck in traffic. Funnily enough, driving back from Pattaya to Bangkok is still only a two hour run.

The British press is absolutely booming with stories about Thailand and the tabloids have gone berserk. Earlier this week the Daily Telegraph ran a story headlined, "Beware the Oriental fantasy", a great true tale of what can happen in the LOS. The second story, which was picked up in all the UK newspapers – and I am not just talking the tabloids here, was headlined "How man barbecued by his wife foretold his own murder". There were even colour pics of girls doing the Bangkok shuffle. The murdered guy Toby Charnaud won a prize for best short story in Bangkok last year about a bargirl and a hit. It is a short "Private Dancer" but scarily foretells his own murder in a very eerie fashion. Here is a link to one of the articles which appeared in The Times Of London. This really is compulsory reading. Let me whet your appetite – bargirl, marriage, gambling habits, divorce, murder, barbeque…

The 3rd edition of Heart Talk, one Christopher Moore's most popular titles, is out now. Chris has a website devoted to supporting the book. Copies are available for those living outside of Thailand from here.

When I see the server stats for this site, I see that visitors come from just about everywhere, some places in fact that I have never even heard of – and geography has always been one of my strengths. Anyway, I know we don't have a huge number of readers in Iceland, but for those of you there, you may be interested in the following. Icelandic amateur photographer Sveinbjorn Olafsson, is staging his fourth photo exhibition, opening on Sunday 6th August at "A Neastu Grosum" vegetarian restaurant which is situated at the corner of Laugavegur and Klapparstigur in Reykjavik, Iceland. This is said to be the first Thailand photography exhibition ever staged in Iceland. I wonder if there are many Thais in Iceland? Ouch, the cold would be hell for them!

A long-term reader, an Aussie expat here in Bangkok, has told me about how one of his credit cards was compromised here in the Land Of Smiles. Credit card fraud is a growing concern in Thailand with the guy at the Bank Security Department from Australia telling him that for that particular bank, Thailand is the second worst country in the world for this type of crime. And they were able to isolate where the fraud occurred – from using it at a hotel in Jomtien. Be careful with your credit cards!

A Bangkok bar manager recently down in Pattaya told me that he thought the customers were much more restrained in Pattaya than Bangkok, and felt some were even like zombies! Having spent this past weekend in Fun City, I'd have to say the opposite. I think Pattaya is much more lively, in terms of the punters themselves, than in Bangkok. Bangkok for me is about a bunch of guys going out to get laid. Just look at some guys, and the hunger on their faces. Pattaya on the other hand is about fun.

If anyone from Starbucks Thailand is reading this, it might be a good idea to put up signs in some of your branches about sleeping, or words to the effect that the comfy chairs are not for sleeping in. Oh, this note need only be in the local lingo. The Soi Convent branch would be an excellent place to start putting up such notices.

Bumrungrad is generally acknowledged as the best hospital in Thailand, although it also has the reputation of being the most expensive. You get what you pay for, I guess. But it has to be pointed out that while it may be the most expensive for some things, it is NOT the most expensive for everything. A reader pointed out that a recent procedure there cost his wife a bit over 2,000 baht, whereas the very same thing at BNH, my preferred hospital, cost 4,000. This was for a simple ultrasound scan. So, if you need to get quality medical care but don't have a bottomless chest of gold, don't be shy to shop around. The best hospitals include Bumrungrad, BNH, Bangkok Hospital and Samitiwej Hospital. There are many other very good private hospitals in Bangkok. In the central city, St Louis and Bangkok Christian are two quality hospitals that are noticeably cheaper than the bigger name places, but still very good.

For readers who don't like the white on black format of the site, there is a solution. You can do yourselves a big favour by downloading Firefox 1.5. When you open this site you can go to View -> Page Style -> No Style. And you may also choose to View -> Text Size -> Increase which makes the font size a bit bigger.

A get well soon message goes out to Grasshopper, the fellow who helps tidy up this column. Every week he tirelessly reads through the column soon after it goes up online and sends me an email with all of the typos that need to be fixed. The poor fellow is currently laid up in hospital with a broken leg. Get better soon, mate.

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. 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: I am a Japanese engineer and I have a very good Thai friend. Better to say more than a friend because we used to spend the night together and physically there is nothing to hide with each other but we are not in a relationship. I never missed to visit her and her family even my same day back trip of Thailand because she lives and works around the airport and time to time she also comes to Tokyo to visit my family and me. I am thinking of marrying her but she holds a high position in a famous newspaper company and she is the only daughter of her family. For my idea she is from a very respected family with high ranking military, police and medical background. Last time I talked with her younger brother about the matter and he said he has no problem but I better speak with her and the rest of the family. I can take other family members because they are very friendly with but I dare to open my mouth front of her military minded father who talk as book says. Do you think it is a good idea to propose her? I don’t want to lose a good friend and I am scared my act could dishonour her family's reputation. On the other hand she knows I am a research engineer and some time I do spend more the 36 hours inside my laboratory.

Mrs. Stick says: It is customary for a man who intends to marry a Thai woman to go and talk with her family with senior family members present. Many things are discussed, including the engagement ceremony, the period of the engagement, the wedding ceremony, and just what will happen once the couple is married. As you are not comfortable nor familiar with this tradition, you really need to take a respected, senior Thai person along with you to talk on your behalf. They can help translate and help you to discuss and even negotiate all the details.

Question 2: Something piqued my interest in Mr. Stick's interview about the difference between prostitution and relationships. A Thai girl friend once told me that it would be shameful for a Thai girl to sleep with somebody and not receive something from them, either in the short term or the long term. To give away her body for nothing would have cheapened her. This is the complete opposite of the western idea that sex for money is cheaping somebody. Is this true?

Mr. Stick says: Thai men do not want to marry women who have had a lot of sexual partners, and some local men do not want to marry a woman who is not a virgin. And when Thai men marry a Thai woman a dowry is payable. So if a Thai woman has many sexual partners, then it is unlikely she will find it easy to marry a Thai man who is prepared to pay a significant dowry. And with the dowry not being paid, she may well feel that she is missing out on money so she looks at other ways to make it up. But to answer your question – the Mrs. was NOT comfortable with answering it at all – *I* am of the belief that what your Thai lady friend said to you was spot on the money.

Question 3: I am a 28 year old single Thai lady, living in Bangkok. I see a lot of advice for farang guys, but I need your help please. Where can I find a professional farang guy in Bangkok who wants a serious relationship. I have 2 degrees, a well paid job and my English, spoken and written is very good. All the guys I ever meet think sex, sex, sex.
Where can I look, where can I meet guys that want my heart and brain and not just my body?

Mr. Stick says: While you specifically asked the Mrs. to answer this question, I think I am probably in a better position to answer. The first thing you need to understand is that a lot of Western guys come to Thailand for sex. It's a fact that you won't see glossed over on this site. So you can probably eliminate the vast majority of guys who just want a bit of fun. If you want a professional guy, hang out in places where professionals go. The Irish Xchange gets a lot of moneyed guys on week nights, and much less of a tourist crowd than similar British style pubs on Sukhumvit. While on one hand you might want to take your time to get to know a guy, if things go too slowly, you have to understand that he might lose interest. You also might want to consider contacting Lawrence Lynch at TPI. Lawrence is a friend and a professional and I am sure he can hook you up with someone genuine. Good luck.



Is it me, or is Bangkok getting quieter? Traffic doesn't seem to be as bad as it has been at other times, the queues in shops and shopping malls don't seem as long and the city doesn't quite seem to have the same hustle about it over the last couple of months. It is almost as if people aren't spending money, or if they are, they're not going out quite as much as they used to. Are people feeling the pinch of higher oil prices? Is the economy on the brink? Whatever the case, it does seem to be just a little bit quieter…

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Thanks go out to Mr. Write and Bangkok Grasshopper.