Stickman's Weekly Column February 10th, 2008

Extorting Your Own Kind


One of the things I enjoy when I am back in my corner of Farangland is catching up with friends, a number of whom have a Thai girlfriend or wife, or perhaps both. I enjoy watching these relationships develop.

I also enjoy observing the way Thais go about their lives in my country. As we know, Thais aren't the best at keeping secrets and aren't shy to tell anyone who listen all the latest goss. Who is doing what, and just as often, who is doing who.

But there's often a reason that people have secrets, and secrets revealed can result in things getting icky quickly.

I long ago learned that the Thais living in my corner of Farangland were not shy to take advantage of their own kind and I am not talking only about the local restaurateur hiring his fellow countrymen and paying them less than the minimum and asking them to work and live in what can only be described as squalid conditions. Sadly, complaints of mistreatment are common from Thais in my country, – and the perpetrators are almost always their own kind. But mistreatment is not where the problems end. Extortion and blackmail are real problems.

Generally it goes something like this. When a Thai abroad is down on their luck and away from the comforts and familiarity of their family, they will go to another Thai and request help, often of the financial variety – with the amount requested not necessarily insignificant. If the person to whom the request is made is not willing or perhaps not able to assist, the person making the request might get nasty. It seems that one way or another, many Thais in my country are breaking one or other law. Working on a visa where work is prohibited and visa overstay are apparently the big two. The other common issue is that – in the case of Thai women married to a local bloke – she has been nipping out for afternoon liaisons while hubby is doing what he does to bring home the bacon. Basically, if the person to whom the request is made doesn't cough up some dosh, or provide some sort of assistance, they can expect to be shopped by their friend. Perhaps the authorities will be informed of their visa status or perhaps hubby will be informed of his darling's extramarital activities?

Naturally, I always considered this type of behaviour quite disgusting. Who cares if they don't have the right visa. If they are working they're probably making a pittance and that money goes a long way when sent home. All power to them, I say. My fellow countrymen get to enjoy authentic Thai food and these people get to help their families. It's a win : win situation in my mind. So it pains me to hear of Thais dobbing in other Thais, their so-called "friends". How could people be so downright nasty and manipulative?

Of course there is no way would farangs ever do this…

How naive could I be?

I have unfortunately come to realise that this is far from a Thai problem. Over the years in Bangkok I discovered, and then witnessed, that the very same things happen here. No, I am not talking about the Thais. It happens with foreigners!

The first time I heard of such a thing was a number of years when a friend said that he was going to get Immigration to deport someone because some guy or other had said bad words about him. What was said was, quite frankly, harmless, and I was amazed that he would actually attempt to get someone removed from the country for that reason. He really wanted to get this guy thrown out. Thankfully, it never happened.

As time passed by, I heard similar comments, and read the "get them deported nonsense" you frequently see on many of the online forums too. I don't know how many times I have heard it said.

What is someone thinking when they say they want to get someone deported? Why do people have to go to such extreme lengths? To me, it says a lot about the person making the threats. And of course, the reality of the situation is that it is NOT easy at all to get someone removed.

Just how one would go about it is interesting. Every time I have heard someone say that they want someone deported, they claim to known the top guy at Immigration. Damn, the head of Immigration is one popular guy with a lot of farang friends!

That this head honcho, one of the country's highest ranking police officials and someone entrusted with such a senior position, spends his time with the unwashed farang masses amazes me, but of course, these guys would never lie, would they? And of course he would act on their wishes, wouldn't he?

Somehow I think the head of Immigration is rather too busy with his duties to be concerned.

Tipping off the police in all likelihood won't work either. Informing the boys in tight brown uniforms that someone is up to no good won't likely achieve much. Unless the complaint made is genuinely serious and there is sufficient evidence provided, they most likely won't act on it. The Thai police are under-resourced and they know all too well that there's no shortage of farang loonies in Thailand.

One way to speed up the process would be for the complainant to be Thai, but even then, it would help if it was someone who has influence. Of course if it is shown that a Thai national was a victim of a crime perpetrated by a foreigner, you'll have the police's attention!

Like many Westerners resident in Thailand for a period of time, I have been told by a number of people that if I did not do as they wished then I would be deported. Yep, these words have been uttered numerous times.

A few years back someone tried to play games with me. He started by emailing me with details about my past that he felt could be used against me, and requested an outrageous amount of money for the problem to "go away". I would have dismissed it but he knew some rather personal things about me which kept my attention. Emailing under a Thai national's name, he initially had me confused. I tracked the IP addresses and discovered that he was emailing me from Bangkok during the week, and Pattaya at the weekend. That along with his use of colloquial English confirmed to me that he was a farang. He had to be someone who had been close to me at some time, or had known someone close to me. He kept telling me about his police contacts and how he could have me deported, blah, blah, blah.

I tried to fish out who he was but he wouldn't reveal his identity. I felt like I was playing a supporting role in a B-grade movie and it just got cornier and cornier. He truly believed he could blackmail me and had delusions of me giving him a rucksack full of cash on some dark Sukhumvit alley.

I didn't know who it was, but really needed to know, so I told him that I would meet him to discuss payment terms. A venue in central Bangkok was chosen by me and the time set. I had one rather large friend sitting at another table and two directly across the road. It really looked like something straight out of Hollywood!

I took a vantage point myself and waited to see who would come along. I was shocked when I saw who it was, someone I had known when I was relatively new to Thailand, someone who must have been down on their luck. I had a quiet laugh to myself, for this guy didn't pose a worthy adversary. He had been involved in all sorts of unsavoury things since coming to Thailand, many of which I knew of. I politely pointed out that it was him who had more to lose, and he quickly became slipped away into the night.

That's one of the problems here. Most foreigners are dirty, one way or another. If you delve deep enough, you'll find most have failed to dot all their "i"s and missed crossing a few "t"s. And remember, it doesn't just apply to their life in Thailand. Anyone who has a conviction in the West for a serious crime or a crime considered serious in Thailand, is not allowed to enter Thailand and can be deported solely on the basis that they have a past conviction in their home country.

Like anyone who has spent a few years in Thailand, I have a few police friends although truth be told, no-one particularly high in rank. I know I would be laughed at if I even suggested something as dumb as requesting their assistance in the deportation of someone. I think they would quickly tell me to shut up and pour the next drink. "Mai dtong serious" would probably be their response – "don't be so serious!"

As my favourite police friend said to me "Thailand sabai sabai!" The bottom line is, that even if I wanted to get someone thrown out the country – and that thought has never crossed my mind – I just don't think I could manage it. It's the same with 99.99% of foreigners in Thailand.

I thought what was going on amongst the Thais in my homeland was a Thai thing but it happens here too. Extend your Thailand adventure long enough and someone might target you too. But don't take it too seriously as it's extremely unlikely anything will come of it.

Where was this picture taken?


Last week's picture was taken near the Chongnonsee BTS station where there is a small Chinese temple-like front to a building, nearby the Rolex shop. This week's picture was taken outside of the capital. The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British Fish And Chips restaurant and the second wins a free jug of margarita, valued at 840 baht from Charley Brown's, a well-established, popular restaurant, offering authentic Tex-Mex Cuisine and delicious margaritas. Charley Brown's is located in the small sub-soi off Sukhumvit Soi 11.

FROM STICK MARK II'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick Mark II.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – What do the local lasses want?

It's often hard to know what a Thai woman thinks of a Western man. Western ideas of attractiveness don't always translate in Thailand, and you don't have to be classically handsome to meet a Thai woman. Conversely, if you are used to women drooling over you in your home country, you might be shocked to find your native currency doesn't trade well with the baht. After a year of living in the US, my Thai wife told me one day, "You're handsome." I muttered my thanks, but she went on: "No, really. You're handsome. When I first met you, I thought all farang came to Thailand because they couldn't get a girl in their country. So I thought you must be not handsome. Like, out of 26 men, you're number 26. But since we moved to the US, I can see other American men, and now I know my husband's handsome."

Thoughts on the local women.

Okay so there are good Thai women out there to meet, but what you omitted to mention was why we want to meet them, and having done so what would intentions be thereafter. On the contrary, I always specifically went to discos in the West, because I felt safe in the fact that the women who go there would not be marriage material. So now we are getting to the crutch of the matter, are you looking for a one night stand or a wife? You're already married, so maybe the concept of good girls appealed to you right from the start, however I would wager that most guys boarding a plane destined for Bangkok, their thoughts are not directed towards getting bogged down in meaningful relationships. Meeting women through referrals / introductions, I have never dated a woman through this medium in my life, it's always been a cold hard sell right from the word go, with the advantages that when it all goes pear shaped nobody else is involved. But I must commend you on your advice of presentation, not only must you look the part, but also look the business. It doesn't take a lot to stand out in a crowd in Bangkok, and when you do they'll come flocking. It's all down to taste, and if I tell you that not only have the women come up to admire my shirts but also the men, and no I'm not gay, just developed some style, all bought locally for a fraction of the price you'd pay back home. Thoughts of going through the motions and hula hoops with girls that are not on the game doesn't bear contemplating about, and then there's also the possibility that they might start wanting you as opposed to just liking you, with all the heavy commitments multiplied by an Asian factor of ten that this relationship was going somewhere.

The increasing cost of getting your teeruk to the USA.

I have not seen much mention on the site about the recent rise in fees for immigration to the US. Most all fees for each step of the immigration process have risen 60% for Americans to complete the paperwork. I have Thai relatives who would love for me to find nice American husbands, but it's very hard to find people willing to invest close to $10,000 to marry Thai lady and bring her to the US (visa, plane trips, wedding, and more). I met many men at the embassy who understood little of the real process to bring a lady to America. I could see failure from the go as they stood in line thinking that all they had to do was prove they were married and could take the lady home with them. I spoke to several as I waited for my paperwork and when they found out what the process was you could see they had no clue. The current adjustment of status in the US has risen to over $1000 for the wife and $600 for each child. Plus if you file for employment authorization it adds even more $$. This is above and beyond the fees charges for the fiancée petition. Plus to add insult to injury, if married and your wife is still in Thailand you can not claim her and children on taxes no matter how much you send in support. (If she is in Mexico or Canada you can.)


The ultimate Thai dating site with ladies from all over Thailand!

The expat mystery.

As you know, there are expats in Thailand who have been there 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years. How have they stayed out of trouble? And do not tell me it is because they do not frequent bad girls or bad bars. The whole country is a minefield of potential violence. How in the world have these long term expats managed to stay out of trouble? An elderly 40 years expat in his 60's or 70's gets no respect. How has he managed to make it? Bernard Trink would make a good interview for this. And for a dramatic example, how the hell did Boss Hogg manage to get out alive?

It's official, this is "Laundry lady week"!

Got back and got my laundry. The laundry gal offered to go with me, so here I am going home with a 45 – 55 year old. Was a really awesome time. This woman wanted it, and badly. Just a blast, and also a great massage. Decided to declare next week as bang a 50 year old laundry woman week. They are warm, know how to please, and it's just a week. If you do not declare this in your weekly, it has been declared, so does not matter; even if I am the only one to follow it, that's fine. Keep in mind there is no reason to declare a week for gogo girls, because most are worn out and not great in the sack anyway, expensive and bitchy. No reason to give a week to ladyboys either…

Putting on a uniform merely to pose, part 1.

I was surprised to see a small girl, probably aged no more that about four and dressed in a tiny majorette dress, who stands in Walking Street in Pattaya at one in the morning or later performing with a hula-hoop. She attracts quite a crowd, none of whom appeared to me to be disgusted at a kid working in a red-light district in the early hours. I spoke with a tourist policeman I met the next day and asked if that was acceptable, and he just laughed, underlining yet again how utterly useless those people are. Their only work is to put on a uniform and pose.

Putting on a uniform merely to pose, part 2.

What possible use are the so-called security guards at the stations in Bangkok? I was at a station today and I was called over by a guard to have my bag checked. But as he was playing the racist game and had just allowed two Thais with small backpacker bags to progress without a search I ignored him. And nothing happened. Thais hate confrontation of course, so would rather let a potential terrorist pass rather than make a fuss! Which, of course, is a weakness which will one day be exploited.

It's gone! Pattaya's most famous landmark has been removed. The Walking Street sign that has greeted visitors for years to the heart of the world's most famous adult playground has disappeared forever, soon to be replaced with a new high tech LCD replacement which, from the looks of things, should be up and running shortly.

The new no smoking in public place law becomes effective tomorrow and I am watching closely to see how establishments – as well as the boys in brown – go about enforcing it. The new regulations outlaw smoking not just in bars and restaurants, but also in such establishments with an outdoor area! Will we see a smoking ban at Pattaya and Phuket's open air beer bars? Perhaps, because it has already been stated that the weekend market will be designated a smoke-free area! It should be noted that some of the better establishments offering al fresco dining and drinking have been telling their customers to enjoy puffing while they can because as of tomorrow, there won't be an ashtray in sight! Fines for those who flout the law are set at 2,000 baht for the smoker and 20,000 baht for the establishment…although the boys in brown are always amenable to negotiation.

Mercury in Nana has been gutted and is undergoing a complete renovation – and frankly, not before time. That rat hole has been in dire need of an overhaul for some time. Despite the fact that the mamasan is telling anyone who asks that they will re-open within a week, I suggest it will be somewhat longer.

Both Angelwitch branches, that is Pattaya and Bangkok, have some special shows planned for Valentine's Day, that is this coming Thursday. Anyone entering the bars should expect to be covered in small heart stickers.

The new government has not played with bar closing times….yet. Most Bangkok bars are open until at least 2:00 AM. Long may it continue without intervention.

The problem of customers trying to take photo or video in the bars is increasing. In Angelwitch Pattaya it is almost a nightly occurrence and in the Bangkok branch it happens often enough to be a major nuisance for the staff. Remember, what happens in some bars is something of a grey area with respect to local laws and photos or videos taken in the bars and later posted online could put the shows we all enjoy in jeopardy. A video taken in Angelwitch made it on to YouTube back in 2006 and believe me, that caused much concern amongst bar owners. Expect to see LARGE no photo / video signs in the Angelwitch bars soon. Also, it should be remember that some years ago, perhaps 7, 8 or 9 years ago, a Westerner was set upon for secretly taking photos in Pretty Lady bar in Nana. He was savagely beaten by the bouncers. The possibility of that happening in some bars remains today.

And speaking of bar beatings, I am afraid to report that a friend of mine was savagely attacked in a Pattaya gogo bar this week. Pointing out a service issue to the mamasan, the crazy wench set the hired thugs on to him. This older, completely non-threatening gent was belted by a pack of soi dogs, shaken up and left with nasty cuts, bruises and a dreadfully ugly black eye. What makes it worse is that it happened in a farang-owned, farang-managed bar. Ain't this sort of shit supposed to only happen in the Thai-owned bars?

Catz A Gogo (Soi 16, Walking Street, Pattaya) is hosting Keith and Ja's Valentine's Day Party on, yes, you've guessed it, Thursday 14th February. There'll be a good spread of food including a 30 kg pig roast, tandoori chicken, cottage / steak and kidney pies from Bob Palmers plus home made potato salad, coleslaw and garlic bread. There'll also be a variety of Thai food with some Isaan specialties if you choose to bring "her indoors". Free shooters will be distributed amongst the guests at various points during the evening so there'll be no excuse for leaving sober! It promises to be a great party and the fun starts at 8 PM with the food served from around 8:30 so if you are in the area a visit is well recommended.

Down in Pattaya things have been pretty quiet around town with lots of Ruskies but a dearth of the type of punters for which the city is best known. The second half of January was more like August / September although the last few days have been better – hopefully not a flash in the pan.

Shark Bar in Cowboy has a very nice selection of sweeties at the moment and is well worth checking out. The happy hour price of 70 baht beer before 8:30 will appeal to those as parsimonious as me!

It's always hard to know just how well a bar is doing. Few bar managers and owners are willing to divulge their numbers. One bar owner recently let me in on just what the busiest nights at his bar were over the past 12 months. Had I been asked, I would have suggested New Year's Eve to be the biggest and maybe the night before to be second. Wrong! The busiest nights were as follows:

1. Christmas Eve.
2. Thanksgiving.
3. The bar's birthday party.
4. Super Bowl.
5. New Years Eve.

The Patpong upstairs bar problems reported on some of the very first websites featuring Thailand's naughty nightlife way back in the mid '90s still exist today. And I'd bet that the problems talked about then refer to bars where the same problems exist now! A reader advises that he and his buddies ended up in a slice of hell, a small upstairs Patpong bar, where they were presented a bill for 6,500 baht. That might not be so bad…but they only ordered one beer each – which makes the cost an unusually awkward 2,167 baht per bottle. The reader knew this wasn't right so after whispering to his mates what was going on, they put 600 baht on the table and legged it! They were pursued by goons but managed to get out of the bar and into the relative safety of the main Patpong soi. Unlike Barry, they managed to get away.

If you're in the mood for Mexican, Sunrise Tacos' outlet in Siam Paragon is doing a good trade – and it is not just Westerners enjoying it, but the Thais seem to have developed a taste for Mexican too! The Paragon outlet can be located next to Secret Recipe. They have introduced key lime Pie and strawberry cheesecake pie at the Sukhumvit soi 12 location and both have proved popular but it is the apple pie which remains the favorite.

I am told that Beer Lao is sold in the supermarket at Dolphin Circle in Pattaya and believes it's 50 a bottle, which is a little on the steep side for a supermarket but what the hell, it is the genuine article!

The Lolita's website has done the same thing as its girls, it has gone down.

More and more reports are coming in about Customs & Excise Officers at the airport. Working in pairs or groups of three, the officials who are adorned in smart, dark-blue uniforms approach arrivals after they have cleared customs, i.e. in the arrivals hall, and inquire as to whether that person is carrying any tobacco or liquor. It has been mooted that they are not bona fide officers, but I believe that in fact they are. It is my understanding that the fines for bringing in undeclared tobacco or liquor over and above the allowance are extortionate. However, it is also my belief that by giving up the goods you do not have to pay the fine – or the fine is drastically reduced. I'll try and find out just what the facts are. These officers seem to use the slightly less sophisticated method of looking at what you are carrying i.e. duty free bags – and if they see that you are clearly carrying amounts exceeding the duty-free allowances, they will take you away to one of those scary little rooms out back…

Long term readers may remember a link in this column some months back to a fascinating blog run by a Thai escort plying her trade in London. The little vixen captured many farangs' imagination with her vivid and sometimes lurid tales of life in her profession. Proving that the blog's popularity was no fluke, the enterprising lass has had the blog published as a paperback – including the end, and just what happened to her, which I believe never appeared online. At first the book will only be available in Thailand or Singapore but it is hoped that it will be available in the UK soonish.

Interest has been shown by CBS Fox, and more precisely, makers of the series "Bones", into the book "Confessions of Bangkok PI" – but the writers strike has put that on the backburner for the time being. If it gets the go ahead, I wonder if the guy on the cover will star in it? He looked creepy enough to be an ideal PI!

I'm always a fan of articles or books that delve a little deeper into Thai culture and explain things in a manner that anyone can understand. I am therefore awfully impressed with Robert Cooper's (author of "Culture Shock: Thailand") "Thailand Beyond the Fringes". This book is written in a very easy to read way yet contains a lot of really, really good advice about living and enjoying life in the Kingdom. I am VERY impressed with it.

If you are looking for an Indian restaurant to take your Thai teeruk to, consider Bollywood on Sathorn Soi 1. They advertise "fine Indian cuisine" – and they're not wrong. It's a little bit more expensive than your average Sukhumvit curry house, but frankly, it is a whole lot better not just in terms of the quality of the food, but in atmosphere and service too. Unlike a number of the mid-range Indian restaurants in Bangkok where most dishes taste much the same, Bollywood seems to have retained the subtleties of the individual dishes – and their Chicken Korma is the best I've ever had. Do check it out – and if you're driving, note that they have a big car park right outside. Oh, and guaranteed, your teeruk will think that piling the delicious condiments on to her poppadoms is sanuk mark!

Have you ever been to a full Thai cinema – or been unable to buy a ticket for a movie, including blockbusters on opening night? It seems that it is never ever a problem and just turning up, even AFTER the start time, you can still get a seat no problem. The only time I can remember a screening being full and being unable to get a ticket was the opening day of the first part of the most recent Star Wars trilogy. But that is the one and only time I've been unable to see the movie of my choice at the time of my choice.

A common theme on this site is the trouble that guys have or have had with Western women. But these guys start to smile with glee when they finally move to Thailand and see the problems that Western women have in Thailand with the local men; the way may of these women go through periods of depression from a lack of attention, greater depression from a lack of action before they start to turn to comfort food and drink and subsequently get bigger, more bitter and then slowly, ever so slowly, realise that they have to change their ways and be nicer people if they want to attract a man. Maybe, just maybe, Western women should be sent to Bangkok for a year? Man, would they change their attitude!

A reader is looking for a tutor for his son and is prepared to pay handsomely for it. The lad has chosen advanced math as he wants to study engineering. If you are interested, send me an email and I will pass it on to him. This request is for genuine, qualified tutors only.

Quote of the week comes from a Thai in my homeland, perhaps the first time a Thai has been adorned with this accolade. "Time away from the land of smiles is enough to send any Thai into a padded cell."

This article appeared in the International Herald Tribune about living in Thailand.

Here's the latest on that appalling story of a Thai cop slaughtering a young, innocent Canadian and the subsequent distortion of the facts.

This interesting story from the National Post in Canada throws the spotlight on the secrets of Western executives transplanted in Asia: elicit sex, mistresses and dysfunctional families.

Another Canadian is killed in Thailand, the latest victim was slain in Ranong this week. Another report here.

Ask Mrs. Stick

Mrs. Stick is here to help you with your relationship and culture questions and the things that baffle you about life in Thailand. She accepts questions on matters of the heart or cultural misunderstandings. Her answers are entirely her own without any influence or editing by me. She looks forward to reading and answering your questions, so please give her a big welcome by sending in some thought-provoking things.

Question 1: My friend got a Thai girl pregnant. Now her boyfriend has found out and is really pissed and wants to press charges of assault on him for revenge. They are all in Bangkok now. Do you think he can do this in Thailand?

Mr. Stick says: I can answer this better than Mrs. Stick can. If a woman is married and another guy does the dirty deed with her, the husband has every chance of successfully suing that man. How often this happens, and how successful the legal action would be, I just do not know, but I am told by lawyers that yes, people have every right to sue in such cases and in all likelihood, if it is a bona fide case, they will win! There is also the issue of revenge taken – and remember, revenge is taken very seriously in these parts. When you say pressing charges for assault, that suggests something altogether different and I am not sure what angle they are looking at. The bottom line is that messing around with another man's wife in Thailand might actually be more risky than similar behaviour in the West.

Question 2: Why would a Thai girl want to marry a Western guy and move with him to his home country; leaving her family, the lovely Thai cuisine and the warm weather behind? I really don't understand. 9 times out of 10, she will come out of the bar scene and makes more money than she will ever make in the west. I love Thai girls, but I would move to Thailand myself, instead of her to my country.

Mrs. Stick says: I think it's basic psychology, western guys want to move to Thailand, and Thai women want to move to a foreign country. We want to experience things that we haven't experienced before. I am sure there are many ladies who do not want to move away from the country. Just keep looking and I'm sure you'll find one 😉

Question 3: I read much of Stickman and know all the warning signs. I have not seen any in my wife. Sin sod, family money, background, lack of shopping, no sex before marriage, the way we met, a lack of English (this has been good and bad), wants to work when she gets to the US to help our family, all seem to point in the right direction. But I would like to ask a question to better understand wife. My Thai wife explained that she had been married before in a family wedding but her husband's parents had not accepted the marriage. It had not been registered and when we got married she was considered single. Three children later he left and married a Chinese Thai lady. She refused to be a mia noi. How do Thais separate? They cannot file for divorce. Does he just walk away and they each just say we are no longer married? What do Thai people in situation like this do with the kids? Do new wives want the children around? When this happens what is the normal response of a Thai lady towards the ex-husband? My wife made a comment that she tried not to talk bad about the father to their children. She did not wish to talk about the past husband? But at the same time she does not like to talk about my past wife? I could see at the marriage registration when they asked about my divorce it affected her, and she seemed upset at the thought of me having been married previously. Is this normal? She has always seemed very attentive, caring and loving. I can see in her when the time for me to go to the US comes she becomes very cuddly and seems to hold me closer and longer. Is this all normal and signs of a good wife?

Mrs. Stick says: In my opinion, I think your wife is an example of a good Thai woman. She is a mother of 3 children, and I think you are a generous man who accepts this fact and somehow takes some responsibilities for your wife's kids in the future. I would not worry too much about her past marriage since it was just a ceremony, no legal paper involved, and not only it was not acceptable to her ex's parents, but he also left her for another woman and married her. Therefore, her past marriage has ended. And I think it is wise of her not to talk about the past and not wanting to hear about your past marriage either. I think it's healthy for the new relationship you are having with her. You have plenty of time and / or ways to find out, in time.

I want to write positive, happy stories every week to reflect the positive aspects of life in Thailand. Sadly, it is not always easy. Yes, I know the negative tone that has crept back into the column and is a reflection of what I observe in the so-called land of smiles. Take this week for example. In the Thai language press (there was NOTHING in the English language press in Thailand) were reports of a Canadian who was slain by an assassin hired by his own wife – probably using his own money! There were updates on the Canadian killed up north last week where it appears the boys in brown had given testimony evidence that was pure BS. And then a couple of nights ago a guy I know, a friendly, gentle, older guy is attacked by thugs in a Pattaya bar. Believe me, as much as I enjoy my life here – and I do – it's hard to remain positive when writing about these sorts of things happening around me. This website has always existed to provide up-to-date information for Westerners visiting and considering staying in Thailand – and most importantly, to say how things really are. If you want to visit a place where everything appears ok on the surface and where people smile and say the right things, then you've come to the right country. But if the illusion is all you want, you've probably come to wrong the website. I call it like it is, and will continue to do so. My apologies if there is a negative tone.



Yours,

Stick Mark II