Stickman's Weekly Column August 19th, 2007

Thailand Online Dating


Fed up with the bars? Finally realised that they're hardly the best place to meet Miss Right? I bet the next place you hunt for a Thai woman for a serious relationship is online…

The online dating scene for Westerners pursuing Thai women has changed over the years. In the early days there were two clear options, the commercial dating sites and marriage agencies, or the real time online messaging systems, like ICQ and Yahoo Messenger.

Each had their relative advantages and disadvantages. The real time chat programs were free and you could meet someone quickly with minimum fuss. However you never knew quite what you were getting and if you were really unlucky, the person you had arranged to meet was not quite what you expected. Stories of guys inadvertently thinking they were meeting an attractive woman only to find out that she was a katoey were not uncommon!

The online dating landscape has changed and there are now more and more options online for the amorous farang to go hunting.

There are two websites that stand head and shoulders above all the others and are where the action is currently at, ThaiLoveLinks and ThailandFriends.

It must first be said that each of these websites is a commercial entity. Their business is hooking up Western guys with Thai women. That’s where the similarities end though and they are quite different.

Thailandfriends is seen by many as the latest evolution of the ICQ / Yahoo Messenger / BangkokChat crowd. Many of the women on the site are Bangkok based, speak good English and a number are what I would term “farang crazy”. In all likelihood, farangs aren’t new to them, but they like farangs and they like to have fun with farangs. Thailandfriends is, in my opinion, very much about fun.

At any one time there are approaching 300 people online on the ThailandFriends site, with a fairly even split of Western guys to Thai women. The are many great things about the site, but best of all is that it is largely free. Sign up for an account and you can start searching for women and contact them immediately. The dreaded requests for your credit card don’t come unless you choose to upgrade your membership. Upgrading your membership is a very reasonable $US 10 per month or $50 for life. The premium membership options gives you unlimited message sending and receiving capacity and the ability to perform more advanced searches for members, amongst other things.

I must say that the designers of ThailandFriends did a great job. It is really well-designed, very easy to navigate and the whole thing works very well. As you use the site, you never get that feeling that you wished there were other options – everything you need is right there! The designer of the site should be given a huge pat on the back for a first class job. Perhaps I should get in contact with him to redesign this site?!

As mentioned, ThailandFriends is the de facto evolution of the likes of BangkokChat and that means that there are a lot of good time girls to be found. While you can find women interested in a long-term relationship, take your time if this is what you're after. A number of people I know use the site as a means of meeting women for non-commitment fun, and in the words of one friend, a long time user, “the hit rate is very high”. Given that a good number of the users are Bangkok based, it's easy to meet someone online and then take things to the next level quickly.

Thailandfriends.com is not just a site for pursuing the opposite sex, but also to make friends. The site has grown into a real community and there are all sorts of events and gatherings arranged through the site. Any user can organise an event and other users can sign up to attend. A number of my Bangkok-based friends who use "TF", as it is commonly referred to, say that they have made many male friends there.

Overall, Thailandfriends is an outstanding site, and an alternative for guys looking at meeting a local lady.

The other mega-popular Thai dating site these days is ThaiLoveLinks. This is even larger than ThailandFriends, and if the numbers are to be believed, it has approximately eight times as many users! Where Thailandfriends boasts user numbers in excess of 40,000, ThaiLoveLinks membership numbering system shows more than 300,000 members!

With such a huge membership base, users get bombarded with displays of interest. With over 1,000 users frequently online at any one time, shows of interest, that is a message of interest linking to a user's profile, can come in faster than you can check out the senders' profiles. These shows of interest messages come in from women located all over Thailand and in the space of a few minutes you might have women from Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai and Chaiyaphum showing interest.

ThaiLoveLinks is fundamentally different to Thailandfriends. First of all, it does not seem to be so Bangkok-centric. Surfing through the profiles of the ladies reveals that many of them are located upcountry. In fact as a percentage, the majority of women on the site are not located in the capital.

ThaiLoveLinks differs to ThailandFriends in that (for males at least), you have to take out a paid subscription to do anything more than cruise profiles. At $US 25 for a month and $100 for a year it is not expensive per se, but the mere fact that there is a cost involved means that many people will never fully utilise the site.

Once you have signed up, completed your profile and added some pictures – just as you do on ThailandFriends, you then have no real means of contacting the female users. You can search the profiles of all of the women in the database and can send a show of interest, but you cannot send them a message. Women can send messages to men without the need to pay to do – but a guy can only read the message if he is a paid up member. The bottom line is that you need to pay if you want to do anything on this site.

ThaiLoveLinks seems to be much more geared towards people pursuing a serious relationship. Simply reading the profiles suggests that the pursuit of true love is what drives many to sign up to the site. That it is not easy to start contacting women right away means that you don’t have the same no strings attached sex scene that is so prevalent on ThailandFriends. (I'll save some of the funny TF stories for another column.)

These two sites have different positions in the market. If you’re looking for a bit of fun, try ThailandFriends, but if you are looking for something more serious, try ThaiLoveLinks.

So how do they compare with the commercial dating sites? The easiest site for me to compare these sites to is Thailand Professional Introductions, a sponsor of this column, and a site I am familiar with.

Now TPI is not cheap at well in excess of 1,000 pounds Sterling to join, but for that you get a personalized service with personal introductions. Most importantly, you get certain guarantees about the women you’re meeting. All women on TPI’s books are employed and all are seeking a serious relationship. It’s the last place to go for the so-called good time girls. None of the girls on their books are hookers or former hookers. You also get translation assistance, relationship counseling assistance and importantly, assistance getting a visa to take your teeruk back to Farangland.

But dating Thai women is never without its issues and the online game is no exception. There are the money girls out there, women who target new sign ups and send messages stating that they would like to be your tour guide with extras for 5,000 baht a day. Unfortunately the Thai government has yet to solve the dying buffalo problem and requests to buy families a new buffalo are far from rare. One woman listed her job as “selling women”, something I found rather puzzling. Another stated that her English is fluent, and that she was “ladee good look man good”. Hmmm…

And the modern phenomenon of people mouthing off online and saying the sort of thing they would never say in person is prevalent with Thai women on these sites too. Some of the women are often very different online to how they are in person so if you progress from online chat to a real life meeting, don’t be surprised if the lady you have chatted with is quite different in person!

I personally believe that the best approach on these dating sites is to set up an account, carefully fill in your profile information (make it interesting and not the usual clichéd nonsense) and then wait for the girls to come to you. They will. They really will!

Pretty women are popular wherever they go and woman with pretty pictures in their profiles get hit on big time. Such women receive 5 – 10 messages from farang guys every day – and some of these guys will be better looking than you. Pursuing women online can work, but you need something to differentiate yourself. I have always felt that taking a more passive approach, putting your profile online and then checking in every so often is the best way to go with online dating. Such an approach doesn’t appeal to the hunter, but I really do think it’s the best way to go. It’s a numbers game and with the prettiest girls getting over 100 messages of interest a week, why should she reply to you? Even if you really are the best of the bunch, it all comes down to luck.

The funny thing about these sites is that if you surf through the profiles, you find people you know! It's rather amusing to read their profiles, much of which is total BS. And remember, the girls' profiles may contain spurious information too. Many women lie about their age. 28 can really mean 33. Honest can mean devious and manipulative. Fashionable can be a synonym for heavily-tattooed.

I would like to add a few comments and tips in general about meeting women online:

1. It is highly recommended that you create a free Hotmail email account that reflects the account name you use on the dating site. If for example your user name is “StickmanFan” then you would be advised to get [email protected] Once contact has been made with women on the dating sites the next step is online chat which is usually done via MSN Messenger, for which you need a Hotmail email account. As there are a few odd folk out there, it is best to use a generic name in the email. Don't reveal too much, in terms of personal details, about yourself early on.

2. If you plan on pursuing internet dating and chatting a lot online, get a webcam. This allows the person you are chatting with to see you. Many of the women have webcams and many use internet cafes where computers are webcam equipped. Being able to see the person you are chatting with in real time helps to accelerate things. But beware that there is a downside to webcams. They allow the person you are chatting with to watch exactly what you are doing. If you are chatting with more than one person they are able to see your eyes shift to a different part of your own monitor screen as you read or type in one of the many dialog boxes you have open. And Thai women online have the same idea of guys chatting with a number of girls as working girls do with butterflying.

3. If a woman has any comments in her profile that say things to the effect of “I crazy girl, I evil, I do stupid crazy things” then forget her as a candidate for anything serious. As silly as it sounds, these women may well be genuinely crazy and that is the last thing you want. Crazy Thai women are trouble. Many Thai women will tell you that they have heard stories about women meeting crazy guys online. Well it goes the other way too and some of the women are to be avoided at all costs.

4. If you're after a serious relationship, look at 25 as the absolute minimum age. Thai women aged below 25 generally aren’t as mature as Western women and hey, let’s face it, young women are like young men and just want to have fun. Any woman who states her age as something daft like 95 when she is clearly in her mid ‘20s is also to be avoided. Either that or she is a complete moron who, again, shouldn't hold your interest.

5. If you’re looking for a woman of sound virtue then sites such as these may not the best places to look for them. As already stated, these women get hit on by serious numbers of guys. One female friend told me how she had HUNDREDS of messages from guys chasing her. She had posted particularly good pictures of herself and the guys came flocking to her.

6. Thai women are photogenic and often look better in photos than they do in real life. Many of the women with profiles on dating sites have photos taken in photographic studios – although these are usually easy to pick. In the case of women from Isaan, they benefit greatly from a session with a beautician and a semi-professional photo shoot. Don’t get your hopes up too high of meeting a princess based on a few photos. Some women also post photos that are a few years old when youth was on their side.

7. Be very specific about yourself and what you are looking for. If you are looking for a serious relationship then state that. Many women on these sites are also looking for serious relationships but give up as they meet guys who are only after one thing.

8. Get some good photos of yourself taken and post them in your profile. Ideally they should be taken outdoors in a natural setting because Thais love the romance of the outdoors. A couple of good shots of you with nature goes down really well. You should be smiling in the photos (that shows that you are jai dee!).

9. Look closely at the pictures in people's profiles as it can tell you much about them. Some of the less clever ladies have photos of them taken in various different hotel rooms, in fact one girl whose profile I looked at had herself photographed in no less than 6 different hotel rooms. Now you do not need much of an inquisitive mind to know what she was doing there.

10. Remember the BS factor. No matter what she may say in her profile, some details will be concocted. It might be that she says she is single when it fact she is divorced, or that her English is fluent when in fact it is only a couple of notches above beginner. There are always going to be questionable details so don’t get your hopes up too much before you actually meet her in person. And if you are planning on travelling a long way to meet someone on her profile, the same applies. It is one thing to chat online with someone, or even chat on the phone with them, but meeting someone in person is altogether a different experience!

Good luck!


Where was this picture taken?


Last week's picture was taken down in Pahurat, the Indian area in Bangkok, nestled in between Yaowarat and the Chao Praya River and the building featured was the main temple down there. Few people got it right. Shame on you! You should all be down there for the Royal India Restaurant, undoubtedly the best Indian restaurant in Bangkok and ironically, one of the most affordable! The first person to email me with the correct answer wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod. I am looking for new prize providers in Bangkok, ideally restaurants or cafes.

FROM STICK MARK II'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick Mark II)

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Does the web bring us together or build invisible walls between neighbours?

We now live in a global economy and I believe we now have global friendships. Your friends from the early 1990s were also pre-web residents of Thailand and had no choice but to make Thai friends, and Westerners were still interesting to pre-web Thais. Today we can maintain friendships wherever we live through frequent emails, low-cost calling cards, and flights when you can find a sale. I live in a small California mountain community of friendly people, but I have no local friends that I hang out with. I keep in touch with and visit friends, male and female, dotted across the U.S., including Hawaii, and also with those in Canada, Japan and Thailand (yes, a long time female friend, not a lover). I must observe that although I have vacationed in Europe many times, from Spain to Finland, I have never made a friend (or girlfriend) there. This despite being boyhood friends with European post-war immigrants to the U.S.

Who is on drugs?

As I started reading through your leader this week it wasn't long before the cynical and suspicious part of me kicked in. What you experienced was a mirage, in fact I would be worried about it as you witnessed two of them. Guys who have lived here for 12 years or more and were able to assimilate did so through drugs. I can't think of any other explanation. Male bonding is a very important part of our make up, and settling in Thailand we are effectually denying ourselves of this prerequisite. Just like oil and water, we are fundamentally incompatible with Thai males. But why? I think it has something to do with the fact that they immediately give off some kind of chemical reaction that they are untrustworthy. The same of course could be said about the female species, but for some reason it is completely masked by their charm, beauty and sex appeal. I wouldn't remotely even consider striking up a conversation with a Thai male, if fact if my girlfriend got pregnant and had a son it really concerns me as to what I'd have to say to him! Another point of interest is that in both of my long time relationships with Thai girls, they both actively discouraged me from having any kind of relationships with Thai men. What do they know that we don't? What an indictment, learning to be fluent in another language but still not having the tools to break through into their society.

Assimilation possible in Japan, but not in Thailand.

Interesting point you raised in the column this week. I arrived in Thailand enthusiastic about the prospect of immersing myself in a new culture. I moved there from Japan, where I had made an effort to assimilate myself. I ate Japanese food, learned to speak, read and write, and lived on tatami mats in a tiny Tokyo apartment. I loved it. In many ways, the lifestyle suited my personality more than American life ever did. And the Japanese language is wonderful, easy on the ears, with a rich vocabulary. Whatever you want to say, there are a dozen subtly different ways to say it. They have a rich and original literature as well, and everyone's nose is always in a book. In five years in Japan, I had only one foreign friend, but many Japanese friends with whom I sang embarrassing amounts of karaoke. That all changed when I moved to Thailand. I learned enough Thai to handle daily life, but never heard poetry in it or felt interested in studying it more deeply. I met few Thais who had much to offer in the way of mental stimulation and made no lasting friendships outside the foreign community. My work took me to every corner of the country over a period of five years, but I never saw a Thai lifestyle that I would like to make my own. I was a person who was ready and willing to assimilate but, unlike Japan, Thailand never showed me a way of life that rivaled with the one I already led.


The best Thai dating experience

Thai "friends".

I learned a hard lesson a few years ago. I offered assistance to a Thai friend and his family, and after that it seemed like they were just trying to use me to help out with everything! It was not in a malicious way. Perhaps they just got the wrong impression and thought that I enjoyed helping them out with everything. I now avoid contact with my "friend" and his family, because I’m just tired of them always asking me for some sort of help, even when I’m in the US (i.e. buying them something they can’t get in Thailand). But the wife and I do have a second Thai couple that we consider good friends. Just like the first family, I met the husband at work, became friends, and then introduced him to my family. We get together with the second couple whenever we can. What’s the difference between the first couple and the second couple? After some analysis, the difference is that the second couple acts more like what I would describe as farang friends (for lack of a better definition). They just want to meet with us to see how we’re doing, talk about life, work, etc. They don’t want anything from us, don’t ask for anything from us, and don’t expect anything from us (unlike most other Thais – no matter what the level of education or status – which is why I think it’s just difficult to have genuine Thai friends).

Prices up, wages stagnant.

Yes, you're right, prices have skyrocketed. But wages for the average Thai have not. In 1982 when I worked for an NGO in Chonburi, I was paid 8,000 baht a month, which was more than enough to live pretty well. Rent was 900 baht a month and a plate of noodles was 8 baht. I remember clearly that the housekeeper was paid 5,000 baht a month. Today my housekeeper on Sukhumvit 11 is also paid 5,000 baht a month. How does she and millions of other Thais get by? She, like everyone else, has a cellphone and a TV. If you can ask around, I've wondered about this. There seems to be a big lower class in Thailand, a small upper class, but the middle class is hiding.

Can you live on 30K – 40K baht a month?

To live economically in Thailand you will have to lower your standards if you want to live cheaply and exist on 30,000 – 40,000 baht per month. There's no getting away from this. I don't believe the vast majority of Westerners are able to do this. Some time in Thailand and some time in your birth country is probably the best route.

Where's my pot of gold?!

I didn't want to be too blunt, but seriously jaded is how you seem through your column. It seems you have climbed your rainbow only to find the pot of gold was not there. Your last article was very sad really…to have lived in Thailand so long, and to have come so far in language and understanding the culture only to remain an alien…but probably one who would not feel completely at home back in Farangland either. Is that how you are feeling about your life?

Cathouse in Nana used to offer a 4 hour buffet of the local loopy juice, Chang, for the bargain basement price of 100 baht. But with ownership changes and prices starting to go a bit silly in Bangkok these days, such deals seem like distant memories. Cathouse's new beer buffet, which runs from 2 PM until 7 PM, costs imbibers 350 baht for all you can drink Chang, 450 baht for all you can drink Beer Lao, Singha or Tiger, and a rather steep 600 baht for San Miguel or Heineken. It's not quite the bargain it once was… And true or not, I do not know, the rumour mill has it that Cathouse changed hands for a mere 850,000 Thai baht. A bar with huge potential in Nana going for 25,000 USD. Seems like a bargain to me.

Today is referendum day and it is not clear which of the bar areas will be affected. At the time of uploading this week's ramblings, Nana was said to be open, but other bar areas, including Pattaya, I am not so sure about.

Speaking of the referendum, it is funny talking to Thais about which way they will vote. The answer they give you is not the interesting part, but the reasons are. I have heard all sorts of crazy reasons given and it is clear as day that the local populace has been fooled by the misinformation doing the rounds. Amongst the crazy stories I heard, the best one had to be that former PM Taksin is not in the UK at all, but is currently staying with a certain Mr. Bush. See, the wonders of being able to speak Thai and the pearls of wisdom it brings you…!

Down in Cowboy, Cowboy 1 Bar is closed for renovations, which these days probably means they are installing a new set of toilets and a new sound system.

Soi 7's Biergarten might not be the most pleasant spot to spend a few hours during the day – the main downstairs areas has no air-con – but outside of the hot season it can still be quite relaxing with a very nice selection of music played, and very reasonable prices charged for drinks. As many down-market venues get close to 150 baht for a standard beer such as Heineken or God forbid, Singha, the Biergarten still charges a very reasonable 80 baht. I have also heard good things about the new mezzanine floor with pool tables too.

Ricky's new bar in Pattaya, in the spot where Honey A Gogo used to be found, will be called "Sisterz". It was to be called something rather different but rumour has it that the registration authorities did not approve of the name! Come on, Ricky, what was the proposed name?!

It is nice to write positive things about bars and every effort is made to be positive, but some bar owners really do make it difficult. A mid-week update on the recently hyped Soi 4 bar, Shakers. I can honestly say the Mars rovers are finding more signs of life. The place is totally empty. Music is playing but not a single person can be seen, not even the bartender. There was someone sitting outside the door, but everyone else was sitting downstairs watching cars go by!

Acclaimed local author Dean Barrett will be signing copies of his new book "Dragon Slayer" at one of his favourite venues, the Texas Lone Staar Saloon, on Saturday 15 September 2007 from 2:30 – 4:30 PM. The Texas Lone Staar is a Washington Square institution. If you haven’t been there before, the nearest skytrain station is Phrom Phong and from there it's about a 5 minute walk. Many Americans rave of the food there although I personally have never eaten there, preferring Bourbon Street in that neighbourhood.

Stories of farangs riding in taxis being hassled in side sois by policemen continues. A resident of Sukhumvit Soi 20 was hassled Friday before last in a modus operandi that resembled that highlighted in this column two weeks ago. The taxi was pulled over by a motorcycle carrying two policemen which in itself was strange as the taxi had been moving slowly down the soi, and there was no apparent reason for it to be pulled over. The farang in question was well dressed and looked like a neatly dressed Caucasian businessman. The cops paid little attention to the driver, but shined a flashlight into the cab and ordered khun farang out! They asked for his passport which he did not have on his person but were satisfied with a photocopy of it that he keeps in his wallet. They asked where he lived, where he had been and where he was going. He was then frisked and with one of the cops giving his balls a good stroke, while the other went through his wallet and inspected everything in his pockets. He felt that they were looking for drugs. My real concern in situations like this is that an entrepreneurial plod could plant anything and then suggest a trip to the local police station – with the alternative being a trip to the local ATM machine. The word of two cops against one farang…it could get ugly! As I have said before, if you find yourself in this rather ugly situation, it is probably best to actually request a trip to the cop shop. Being frisked in a dark alley is a seriously bad idea. You don't want to know what could happen. The taxi driver, clearly a clever cookie, was visibly upset and muttered "This is not good, this is very bad". The cops in this instance were almost certainly the real deal.

And just to show that the boys in brown are not putting all their eggs in the one basket comes the story of a farang who was picked up for the dreadful littering fine. Frequent visitors and residents know that there are stiff penalties for littering in Bangkok with a 2,000 baht fine the norm. Litter officers are scattered around tourist areas with heavy pedestrian traffic and they prey on foreigners who don't dispose of litter thoughtfully. Often the fine is negotiated on the spot, with no receipt provided. But what happened this week seems heavy handed, even by the standards of the local constabulary. Khun farang was grabbed by a litter officer for littering (he had actually dropped something), was whisked away to the nearest police station where he was fined 2,000 baht which he had to pay there and then. He was then told that if it happened again, the fine for a second offence would be 10,000 baht! Outrageous! I have never ever seen a Thai approached for this misdemeanour although I see them discarding rubbish all the time. Would someone please tell the boys in the tight brown uniforms that Bangkok most definitely is not Singapore.

Is it me or do you feel abused? I could easily write a 10,000 word piece on the issue of the local police unfairly targeting Westerners but I do not wish to write about such a negative issue in such detail. The way that the cops seem to be picking on farangs in Thailand, as highlighted by a stream of emails into this column, really pisses me off. The very people who bring large amounts of cash into Thailand which creates jobs for locals are mercilessly targeted by the boys in brown. Compare this to certain other countries in the region where the cops really do protect Westerners. Let's be straight about this. As a Westerner in Thailand, you really can at times feel like a second class citizen.

Isn't it ironic that the cinema is Siam Paragon is charging 170 baht to see a movie shown from what are termed digital prints – which is ironic since digital is supposed to be cheaper since you don’t have to deal with the film reel – and the quality of the digital prints is not quite up to that of film.

The new complex across from the Lek Hotel in Pattaya (on Dana's highly recommended list) is owned by the same people who did J Avenue in Bangkok on Thonglor.

Channel 4 in the UK are working on a documentary series about UK men who are happily married to a Thai bride. They’re very interested in featuring a family who also have children / a child / or grown-up kids still living at home. Each family will receive £2,000 after the filming for the programme is complete. If you would like to be involved, give Philip a ring in the UK on 0207 013 4206 or drop him a line at [email protected].

There's something odd with UBC's coverage of the English Premier League this seas. Call me daft, but it seems to me as if the quality of the image shown is not what it was in the past. The frame rate seems to be lower and you can see all of the artefacts of a low quality picture, the same phenomenon you see on a digital photograph that has been over-sharpened. Or is it just me? Are others experiencing this too?

I have always admired guys who have got the balls to retire early and make an effort to actually enjoy their life away from the trappings of a career and a mortgage. But many of the guys who retired in Thailand early have had a nail biting week. With the world's financial markets in turmoil, a number of these guys have been questioning their decision to retire when they did. Of course if you have endless financial reserves what happened this week will be of little concern, but for the guys who had retired somewhat early, this week has been hell. On the bright side for many, the USD continues to strengthen against the THB.

Flower and gift delivery company Gogoflorist.com seeks part time / occasional delivery drivers to source and deliver gifts in Thailand. They are looking for Thais who can speak English (or Thai speakers with an English speaking partner). The job involves receiving telephone calls from them, purchasing flowers and delivering them by motorbike or car to their local area. They are looking for people based in both urban and rural locations in Thailand. Go to the their website and get in contact with them if part time work interests you.

Pattaya businesses really do have major problems as this article proves.

A quality publication, the International Herald Tribune ran this on Thai women with foreign husbands.

And another article from the same publication about a book recently written about Thaksin.

Miss Udon is here to answer questions surrounding anything that confuses you in Thailand, particularly issues of the heart. Feel free to send questions in for her to answer and get the perspective of a Thai female. You and I may well disagree with what she says. The purpose of this section is to provide a Thai woman's perspective!

Question 1: I have a question for you. I met an Isaan girl on the internet almost two years ago. We met in person for the first time last winter when I travelled to Thailand. Since then we have fallen in love and plan to marry after my next trip to Thailand. She then plans to move here to the west where I believe that she can gain good employment. She is a "good girl" from a good family, neither rich nor poor and has a college education. Her siblings also have a college education and have good stable jobs. As a requirement for marriage she told me that I need to pay sin sod. She believes that her family may be greedy and demand a high "price" as I am a Farang. I am prepared to go through with this as it is part of her tradition, even though I really do disagree with this practice. Her second request was a little more of a surprise to me. She asked me to send a monthly allowance to her parents if we got married. She did not specify an amount yet. Is this a reasonable request in your opinion, considering that all her family have good jobs and are well capable of taking care of both parents? Thank you in advance for your help.

Miss Udon says: It's true that the price demanded for the sin sod will be increased if the groom is a western guy. This is because western guys look wealthy and actually, most have a much higher income than Thais. But in my thoughts, I think this is not a big problem if the western guy wants to meet the east in the middle. You just need to make an agreement that is a compromise. The second request continues from the first one. When you are able to pay a big sin sod that means you will be able to pay a monthly amount of support as well! That's your girl's idea. I don't know if she will work or would rather be a housewife? If she wants to be a housewife then yes, she expects you to do this duty, and take care of her parents in place of her because she has no income to do that. If you can do that then the parents will be happy to know that they have got a very good son in law and their daughter will be the best daughter in their village.

Stick Mark II says: I have strong reservations here. If your girlfriend's family are in gainful employment then I see no reason whatsoever to send money. Once they are retired, in the absence of any financial retirement plans, then your wife-to-be would be expected to send them money. But up until then, I see the request to send money to them as inappropriate. In fact it is worse than that. It is downright wrong and totally unnecessary. As far as paying an inflated sin sot goes, I seriously question that too. You are going to go to great lengths, both time and expense, in moving your wife-to-be to the States. This will increase her earning capacity and provide many benefits. The family should take this into consideration at the sin sot discussion and perhaps consider returning all of the sin sot in lieu of the great future your wife-to-be has to look forward to.

Question 2: What do Thai women and Thai families think of adoption? My Thai girlfriend is hinting at marriage and kids. The problem is not that I don't want to get married or have kids. I look forward to that. The problem is my girlfriend has a smoking hot body and I would like to enjoy it for a few more years. I have seen some terrible stretch marks on Thai women's body's especially the darker girls and was hoping maybe an adopted baby would keep her happy for a few years before she wanted her own? How do I bring this up?

Miss Udon says: Getting married, having kids, being a mother and looking after the family are all girls' dreams. When we get married the next step is having kids, sure, it's normal for girls. If you feel like you are not ready to have one I think you better talk with her directly about it. She won't be happy for the reason you gave, wanting to adopt a kid just to keep her body in shape! I think it is better to tell her that you are not ready to have one yet because you want to spend time as a couple for a few more years. And don't forget to tell her that you want kids for sure! But not so soon to make sure she did not get you wrong to not want any kids with her. Then she will understand and agree to wait longer. Don't take her to places where little half blood kids can be seen otherwise you will be bothered about this again.

Question 3: Related to a previous question regarding whether a woman, be she Thai or another race, is interested in a man for him as a person or for his money, it can be difficult to determine which is the true reason. As cruel as it may seem, there are tests that a man can perform to find out what is the reason. One test is as follows – One day, the man tells the woman "I have some bad news. I have spent all of my money. I don't have anything left in any of my accounts. I / we have to start from the beginning." Would it be reasonable to say that, if she leaves him shortly thereafter, that she was only interested in him for his money? (Yes, it is fair for the woman to have her own tests that she can perform to learn more about the man's intentions.) To reiterate, this might sound cruel, but to determine a woman's true motives, such tests might help to determine the truth.

Miss Udon says: It is true that some Thai girls are interested in money, but not everyone is. You want to trick your girlfriend about what she loves, you or your money? If it makes you feel good and clear, please do it. I know already what she is going to say. She will say "No problem, wherever you go or whatever you be I'll always here beside you." No kidding, try it! Money is not important in relationships. If we can find a nice guy to be our boyfriend, it is good. But if he is nice and luckily also rich then it's a bonus, right? When girls have choices to choose between a nice guy and a rich nice guy, don't ask which one a girl will pick. It's as simple as that! We weren't born to be money hungry. If you look back at the first Western generations here in Thailand, they were the ones who gave us money. They pay money to be with us, as you know, before GI soldiers from the Vietnam War. You may have forgotten that.

It's been quite a week for anyone reliant on investment income. Of course when the markets are in turmoil it is often a good time to buy, but everything we saw this week seems to be more of a major correction than a minor one. Whatever the case, when the markets are like this, the effects are felt right around the globe, and there has been much talk amongst expats this week of just how robust their finances are, or otherwise. Here's hoping you weren't hit too hard!



Yours,

Stick Mark II