Stickman's Weekly Column May 18th, 2008

Thailand’s Wild Dating Site


The sexual revolution has reached a crescendo in Thailand as Thai women and Western men flock to a particular website where a smorgasbord of sexual liaisons are arranged in record time.

I've been sitting on the sidelines watching as those around me are going wild on ThaiLoveLinks, gorging themselves on Thai women like pigs at the trough.

And for many Thai women it is much the same, ThaiLoveLinks is something of a farang supermarket, a place where you can find a farang for any occasion.

ThaiLoveLinks has been around for a while now and claims to have well in excess of 300,000 registered members but it is the past several months where it has really taken off, a time in which its membership has more than doubled.

Western men who had struggled to meet a so called good Thai girl suddenly found themselves the interest of as many as 100 Thai women in one day – and that's going to get any bloke excited! Utter ThaiLoveLinks, or TLL as it is referred to by those in the know, and you'll soon hear words to the effect, "Don't go and tell anyone or it will be ruined!" But the secret is already out and the masses are flocking to TLL.

I was in hysterics recently when TLL was brought up for discussion on two prominent local discussion forums, both of which deal mainly with whoring as opposed to more traditional dating and relationships. In each of the discussion threads respondents quickly came on and showed enough knowledge of the site that they had clearly been using it themselves, yet they shot it down in flames, not wanting to share the spoils with others.

The star of the show and the jewel in TLL's crown is that at any time there are hundreds of so-called good Thai girls online. But then is that what the guys want? Perhaps a more likely candidate would be the "bad good Thai girl". I mean, is a girl really a good girl if within a few hours of meeting her online she is sweating it out at your condo or in your hotel room?

TLL really has taken Thailand by storm and its penetration amongst both Thais and foreigners is deep. Remember my trip to Khon Kaen a couple of weeks ago and Cat, the proprietor of the internet cafe? I mentioned to her that she should consider signing up for TLL and she made it known that she was already a member!

Talking with foreign guys using the site, their modus operandi is eerily similar. They get online and bombard the girls online with messages and attempt to engage them in online chat, first of all via the site's real time chat system, then on to Yahoo or MSN Messenger, both of which are faster, less cumbersome, and allow for the use of webcam. If she has good English and / or is exceptionally pretty they work slowly and methodically. She is earmarked as potential relationship material. But if she is not that pretty, her English is mediocre or she just doesn't have that certain something they're looking for, then it becomes a quest to get a date as quickly as possible. If a date cannot be arranged then she is ditched unceremoniously and effort is put into the next in the queue. Those girls who are deemed unsuitable or are just too difficult are not just deleted, but blocked. It's not about friendship; the pursuit of a quickie is brutally ruthless.

Now this is not to say that what the guys are doing is wrong, oh no. Many of the female members are just as keen to have some fun as the guys are.

The girls see it as a farang supermarket. Many are actually looking for a serious relationship leading to marriage but they get distracted by good looking, charming guys and end up shagging them in between potential suitors. They get a taste for the action and become addicted and so they too start to clock up numbers of guys.

The spectacular success rate that so many enjoy on ThaiLoveLinks can be summed up by comments from a friend. I mentioned that I would be writing this article and that brought the likelihood of many new members overnight. His comments and I quote "I don't fear competition especially not from other farangs. This site is so huge that the whole internet can write about it and I still will get laid from it every day."

The dynamic of TLL is rather different to other sites. If we go back several years, the quality of women you met online, back in the heyday of ICQ, was, quite frankly, a whole lot higher. Back then computers were more expensive, internet access was expensive and most of the chat programs and dating websites were only in English. So what you got was middle or even some upper class, ok, lower upper class, women playing around seeking foreigners for a date. The women you met online back then spoke decent English which was invariably better than your Thai and she was probably reasonably well-educated, quite possibly from abroad. That's when the online game in Thailand was at its peak – if you consider finding someone as a suitable partner as the measure. Far fewer net users had webcams and with broadband awfully expensive – 98% of internet users still on a dial up connection – webcams simply were not an option. In fact the chat programs were often so slow that you could only have 2 or 3 chat windows before your system became unstable and perhaps even fell over.

These days it is all rather different. Computers are cheaper, fast internet access is affordable and available nationwide and ThaiLoveLinks has an interface in the Thai language.

The reality of TLL is that the women using it are basically your average plain Jane. Most are only moderately attractive Thai women and many are looking for inexperienced farang, new to Thailand! Tell the typical female TLL member that you have been in Thailand for more than a year and she will lose interest. The women get suspicious and irritated when the farang says he has lived in Thailand for some time. She then knows that that he knows that she is not the prize catch!

Another issue is communication. English is real a plomplem for many of the ladies and even the most basic questions cause problems.

The girls are juggling many guys, and can become absent-minded. They have little or no concept of what is personal and do not respect privacy – and seemingly want to know everything about a guy while being very guarded about divulging much about themselves! The girls often ask the same questions ad absurdum, checking and re-checking your status. And many see online chatting as a form of entertainment, just like watching TV. Some girls are very surprised when asked to meet and actually want to keep everything on the net.

It's all a bit hit and miss, sort of like gambling. Some days are low and some days you get a number of opportunities.

One of the main differences with TLL dating compared to online dating in the past is that casual sex, not one night stands, but one hour liaisons, are not just possible, they are sought after by BOTH men and women. This website hosted a series of stories by someone who I believe used ThaiLoveLinks in the early days. The fascinating series spread over 7 parts highlighted his 10 week journey around provincial Thailand – and all of the women he met.

There is a growing number of money girls – those who make money exclusively on TLL as well as those who also make it sliding up to a chrome pole. The TLL community also has its share of nutcases. Perhaps the funniest story I heard was that from a friend who chatted with a Chiang Mai lass. She was very keen to know the name of his apartment building which he duly told her and forgot about. A few days later she was waiting for him in the lobby of the building with a suitcase. He didn't even recognise her when he entered his building but she said his name and the penny dropped.

But whether you'd actually want to find a wife, or even a serious girlfriend on TLL, I don't know. These girls are up to all sorts of tricks and TLL has been well and truly discovered by the more ruthless and mercenary local women who will do all they can to exploit it. It has also been discovered by those guys looking for no strings attached sex with a minimal fuss and cost. From all accounts they're getting it.

You could argue that TLL is simply the latest evolution of online dating in Thailand, but I would question that. Other Thailand-centric dating sites have a rather different dynamic. Whether we're talking about ThaiLoveLinks or whether it is simply the advent of Thailand's ascent (descent?) into a sexual revolution, I do not know, but there is no doubt that ThaiLoveLinks has taken the country by storm. It's a wild arena but I can't help but think it is something of an online mental hospital, fascinating on one hand, but full of freaks and bizarre behaviour on the other.



Where was this picture taken?


Last week's picture was the lobby of the Sofitel in Khon Kaen. It is said to be a great hotel with ALL services offered including a very nice cocktail lounge with around 20 girls. Imagine that, an international chain 5 star hotel with a brothel in the basement! This week's picture was also taken outside of Bangkok. 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 – Why stay?

Just read your Sunday 11/5 column about life in Thailand. Entertaining that's for sure, but also very revealing. Why – You may ask? Let me quote:
1. The stupid, arrogant, racist teacher wonders how it is to be a farang and not Thai.
2. The bitch on the photo giving you the finger.
3. Your info on "Square-Head" who wants the players to bow down.
Stick, how can you as an apparent intelligent and smart young man still be living in this smiling (not so much anymore as you mention yourself) hypocritical, Orwellian nightmare of a country? You are from an advanced culture, humanistic, prosperous, fair, decent society with all the qualities that Thailand does NOT have. Have you considered it could actually be a step down in evolution for you, so to say, to stay here for years on end, actually taking part in this soap opera that Thailand IMO is? You speak the language fluently now I understand so why are you then still baffled about the crazy things here? Maybe if you had a religious / philosophical background a few things would fall into place. Like, why it is perfectly normal to lie, cheat, steal, and smile at the same time! In my opinion it's the Buddhist idea of the impermanence of everything material – and most important: There's no God, no "eye in the sky" to keep you on track, and therefore no sense of conscience, morality, guilt, good or bad, as we have in the Christian cultures. I don't mean to say that everything is perfect in the Christian world, heck, we have too MUCH sense of guilt and sin. That's why we like it here in The Kindergarten, where nobody is responsible, and the only thing important is surface and face. For my own wellbeing I choose to NOT learn Thai. I let the misses handle all that stuff while I pretend to be the stupid farang! I'm retired and I'm NOT interested in participating in too much Thainess, thank you! Basically I guess it's the climate, the cheap living, and the madam of course. The rest they can keep, the arrogant, racist, immoral Thais.

What's the point of learning Thai?

After reading your weekly on how you learnt Thai, one does have to wonder if the effort, energy and expended brain matter in pursuing a language which is dead beyond the borders of Thailand is really worth it. In many respects it's as useful as learning Latin is for those of us outside the medical and legal professions and unless Thailand is going to be your home for the next 20 or so years and you can actually show some level of return and tangible benefit from it then you really do need to ask if the value versus input ratio stacks up. I learnt quite a lot of passive Thai during my stint in LOS and it's amazing what you pick up sitting in board meetings and in taxis but now I am back working in the real world again the only time Thai becomes useful is when A) I am watching Liverpool beat the crap out of Man City and I want to shout Thai obscenities at square face for being an obnoxious Thai with full benefits in my country while we still have none in his, and B) when I am trying to charm the pants off several of the Thai students at university just before failing them for sheer laziness. As you can see both of these don't actually warrant the need for me to learn Thai to a high standard as I just use what I know to take the piss instead. Even when the missus catches up with many of her Thai friends in the Thai community here in Blighty none of them actually speak Thai, either preferring instead to converse in Tinglish or Isaan begging the question of 'what's the point in learning Thai anyway!'

The thrills of the Thai ajarn!

Loved your description last week on learning Thai which reminded me of my own experience a few years back. Enrolled in an intense Thai language course at one of the top centres of learning in London. First teacher was great – encouraged you to speak straight away, full of fun and made rapid progress. Ajarn 2 literally would not let you speak and put her finger to her lips when you tried to utter a sound. All rote learning and reams of photocopied sheets. One day she said to us all, "Tell me in English what things you don't like about Thailand." Politely I refused, saying I never criticised Thais or the country. She insisted. Saying she did not mind whatever I said I could say anything I wanted. Finally reticently I said, "Well I do find some Thais a bit racist". A sound came from her akin to a squealing pig being castrated, a bellow emanated from her nose like a bull on heat and she stomped her feet like a horse. She quickly turned her back on me and did not speak to me for the next three lessons. I found another course!


The best Thai dating experience

Bargirls vs. regular girls.

I just wanted to comment on the bargirl vs. girlfriend thing. I have been to Thailand many times. I have gone to both Q bar and Bed Supper Club and been successful at picking up "free" girls. I have also met girls for free at shopping malls and at other various business establishments frequented during the course of a normal day (Foodland, the dentist etc). It has been my experience that the bargirls offer a better value for money for what I'm looking for. I also think it could be argued that some of the bar girls cared for me just as much as the free girls! The reason I assert this is what I refer to as 3rd world love. I think that Thai girls falling in love with a farang in the true western concept of the word is a rarity. In the end, after buying food, drinks all night, movies, jewellery and everything else involved with a free girl, bargirls are cheaper. I still sometimes go after women that I see because of the challenge but I am well aware that it will cost more. If it flies, floats or fornicates, it is cheaper to rent than to own.

Are we calling the kettle black?

Farang are quick to point to any number of Thai traits that don’t measure up to western standards. Sleeping, eating, lying, laziness, not holding doors open for people behind them, bad driving habits, inconsiderate behaviour. If only Thais were as perfect as farang people. But how does the tranquil Thai character relate to boisterous Brits and Russians? How does he or she see the offensive behaviour of white geezers fondling young Thai girls? What does a Thai think of scantily clad foreign women posing in front of a Buddha image at a local wat? How do Thais view bare-chested men showing off their beer bellies all over Pattaya?

The buffalo has got to be fed!

Walking down Soi Bangla a few nights ago my buddy says to me that he saw this beautiful girl in Soi Gonzo. I said let's go have a butchers. Well, it turns out (and she was drop dead gorgeous) she was a law student from Bangkok, spoke good English, was 18 and just down for a month fundraiser in the bar. We chattered for a while and I asked her what her Mum would think of her working in the bar. She just smiled and said oh she's happy, Grandma is keeping an eye on me! I turned in horror to see Grandma sitting behind me nursing a lady drink, flashing a big smile (short of a few teeth, but no doubt jai dee! I prefer them older, but really! You gotta love them. I guess that's one way of ensuring the buffalo money gets home.

Hugely contradictory messages make me unsure of whether you'll be able to relax with a stiff drink tomorrow, it being Visakha Bucha Day, a major Buddhist holiday. Nana Plaza bar owners confirmed on Friday night that the plaza would be closed but then came contradictions from elsewhere. Some bar owners in Pattaya have been told to close, whereas others are insistent they have been told by the authorities that they can open. In Cowboy there was confusion with word that the police who look after that little lane are still unsure themselves! Who knows what will happen?!

Hollywood in Nana has canned their happy hour leaving just Erotica and Pretty Lady as the only two nightspot in the plaza with happy hours. Each bar offers 80 baht drinks before 9 PM but I can't understand why so little is done to promote it. Unless you catch the small signs inside the bars advertising happy hour prices, you'd never know!

I guess Erotica had to finance their move from one side of Nana to the other but 180 baht for a lady drink is really pushing the limits of what some guys will pay. Even the Deja Vu Group of bars in Cowboy, known for their beautifully decorated bars – and pricey lady drinks – does not ask you to empty the contents of your wallet in such grand style.

Why do I moan so much about prices? Well, why should one pay 150 – 180 baht for a lady drink in some bars, whereas in a decent bar like Tilac in Cowboy, it will set you back just 100. And Tilac is one of a few bars that has undergone a major renovation – and they have still resisted the urge to hike prices.

Speaking of Tilac, I wonder if it should be renamed Epilepsy Central with the assault of flashing lights inside. It's a beautifully done out bar but I find it a bit much on the senses and seldom enter. That said, by doing so I miss their new coyote dancers. On Friday and Saturday nights Tilac sees a special performance by a bunch of coyote dancers – quite separate from the usual gogo dancers. The coyote dancers are dressed differently and are rather pleasing on the eyes.

Our Place in Cowboy is nicely laid out but has a fundamental problem; quite a few of the dancing girls are what we could reasonably describe as "well-rounded". The management acknowledge this and have seized the opportunity to try something new. The bigger girls have been practicing a belly dancing routine which I believe they have just started performing. How well-received this will be I don't know. I do wonder if this will attract a new type of customer to Cowboy?

Some of the late night venues at Patpong were closed down earlier than usual this week. You know those bars in the little soi connecting Patpong 1 and 2, not the larger soi flanked by the large-windowed Italian restaurant but the one closer to Silom Road? Bars in that little stretch were forced to close around 3:30 with a number of the local constabulary scattered through the area just sort of standing around, almost mingling with the crowds – but clearly keeping an eye on things. 3:30 AM might not sound like early closing and many venues would welcome the chance to open so late. Interestingly, the all-night beer bars down in Patpong 2 were left alone!

Shark Bar has heaps of really pretty girls but I would suggest the venue is in dire need of a new DJ given the current sound mixer's infatuation with (c)rap. It would be all very well if the crowd in Shark Bar was young. The problem is they aren't.

If you have forgotten what a smoky bar feels like, climb the steps to the mezzanine floor in Baccarra where the predominantly Asian customers are provided with ashtrays and can smoke with complete freedom. How is this allowed to take place, given that we now have anti-smoking laws in place? Business is business in Soi Cowboy and the Asian customers tend to spend a lot – I would guess more than the average Westerner. Strictly speaking, any establishment allowing smoking on the premises should be fined 20,000 baht and the smokers themselves slapped with a 2,000 baht fine. I bet no such fines have been issued….and I wonder if any will?!

Rawhide will be having a 10th anniversary party of sorts on Saturday May 24th. There will be free food and more so it may be worth swinging by and checking it out. But they will have to restock the staffroom if last night was anything to go by. About 2/3 of the girls weren't there! What happened? Did one of your randy sods barfine more than half the girls for a private party?

Soi 33 was not a happening place on my brief soirée this week. There seemed to be at least a couple of new bars, including the interesting looking Tuktuk Bar, just beyond Monet, which features half of a tuktuk mounted above the entrance. While I am sure some spots are doing well, many clearly had very few customers. The low season seems to last that much longer at Soi 33.

The Duke Of Wellington on Silom has a new happy hour. On Saturday and Sunday it runs from midday until 8 PM and on Monday to Friday from 5:00 – 8:00 PM and then again from 10:30 PM until close.

Sisterz in Pattaya is using an unusual approach to lure in customers. Their secret plan is to reposition themselves as a high-end gogo bar and they have taken the first (and only?) step by upping their prices. Barfines are up 100 baht and the previously reasonably priced 55 baht draft beer will now set you back 85 baht. Of course, nothing else has changed. The music, the girls, the decor…all remain the same, just the prices have gone up. But hey, it's now a high-end gogo bar.

Songkran is long behind us and many of the girls have gone home. Most will stay there until the next high season, the lucky ones receiving a monthly stipend from a sponsor or three. Phuket doesn't quite have its usual charm at the moment with daily rainfall making the streets quiet. Many bars are quiet and while that might put some off visiting, the flip side is that it's an excellent time to go girl shopping, short or long time, before the remaining girls get discouraged and go back home too. In Kata, Karon, Chalong and Rawai, one has their pick of the girls and there are still some cuties if you want to take one home to take care you through the rainy season. As far as a shorter period goes, my secret spies on the paradise island confirm that you can have company all night long for a thousand baht, a far cry from Bangkok or Patong prices. Barfines have climbed up in some bars from 200 to 300 baht but overall it's still a good deal.

And even sleepier still is Hua Hin where I spent a couple of days this week. Hua Hin is a pleasant enough place when the weather is good, but it drizzled non-stop for the 2 days I was there and when that happens there really isn't much to do. Bars were way down on girls and there was desperation on Soi Binatabaht one night when I made the slow stroll from one end to the other, observing that almost half the bars had not one customer. Not one! Midweek in the low season finds Hua Hin deathly quiet.

Are taxi drivers getting more choosy about where they go these days? It's started happening recently, drivers reluctant to accept passengers for no apparent reason. We're talking a short distance (<5 km) on a route with little or no traffic. One driver asked me, in Thai, for 300 baht to make this journey I do at least a couple of times a week. It's all weird and I don't know what to put it down to. The gas used by 99% of taxis has not gone up like petrol has!

I forgot to mention in last week's column that the road between Bangkok and Pattaya is pretty much done. Detours on to the frontage road causing backlogs of traffic and delays are now but a distant memory. So I guess now it's time to try and break some records. My best time from Bangkok to Pattaya is 89 minutes. To qualify that, we're talking from close to Siam Square to parked up on the Beach Road. This personal best was set on a week day, leaving work early at around 1:30 with the Mrs. in the car as the sole passenger. I know of one guy who has done similar in 75 minutes – which really is moving. Remember, it's 150 km from downtown Bangkok to Pattaya Beach. Another guy tells me he has done it in an hour – and claims that that was also from downtown Bangkok to the beach. That's doable, but unless you're behind the wheel of something Italian or German with an 8 figure baht price tag, he's telling porkies.

The boys in brown often set up traffic stops in my area and in their unlimited efficiency, they have a laminated sheet with English translations of various traffic infringements – with the corresponding fine. Funnily enough, the fellow carrying that particular card does not seem to be carrying a receipt book, although of course, my eyes might be playing tricks on me and I missed it.

All things being equal, a 22 year old woman will in all likelihood be a little bit better on the eyes than a woman of say, 28. Without wanting to be crass, I wonder if however she will be better in bed. I seriously doubt it. It is my experience that women aged under 25 really aren't that much fun between the sheets. This is my experience and your mileage may vary. Now, when guys pay a barfine, surely they are looking for a woman who is good in bed? So why oh why do so many guys go for younger women? They may look better, but is this not defeatist from the start? I cannot help but think that guys who seek out ladies aged around 20 who still look innocent are looking for a relationship, not fun in bed. And it is generally accepted that the naughty bars are not the ideal place to find a wife. If you want a bit of fun, stick with the older women. I raise this point because this week I received a couple of emails from readers complaining of poor service from service providers in their early 20s. Of course there are many variables, but aim a few years higher would be my first hint. This is hardly rocket science!

Tesco Lotus is advertising a product called a "reamer". Apparently it can be found in the same section as the "coffe". Must be some strange English product I have never heard of before.

The teacher's license issue is pissing off teachers so much that it has already driven some experienced teachers from the industry – and it is a problem that refuses to go away. After much conjecture it is starting to take shape and there are a few curiosities that are raising eyebrows. All teachers will soon be required to have a teachers license and those who don't will find that they are unable to extend their work permit. As best as I understand it now, those with a specific English degree have to do a training course and then complete an exam to get the license. This will set them back about 8,000 baht. Those with a degree in any other discipline must do a lengthier course which will be much more expensive, to say nothing of being time consuming. And what really made me laugh is that those without a degree simply have to get their employer to send a sugar-coated letter to the Ministry of Education extolling that teacher's experience and teaching skill – and they do not have to do any training course at all for the license to be issued! Unwittingly, the authorities are doing a splendid job of pushing away foreign teachers and making new, prospective teachers to the country choose an alternative country to work in. Perhaps the government is scared that the masses might actually get a decent education if the influx of foreign teachers to Thailand is allowed to continue?

Hordes of American retirees have breathed a light sigh of relief as the dollar has not just stopped falling against the baht but has turned around and is slowly, ever so slowly, creeping back up against the baht.

Are you an English teacher looking to supplement your income? An expat needs help with his internet business. Assist him with the ordering & shipping – he will pay all costs so you have no financial outlay. You will be paid a commission on all orders that are filled. Contact Tom, if interested at [email protected].

Quote of the week comes from a high-flying expat. "There are no women on God's earth as ruthless as Thai women."

It's not often that I include a link through to a site written in English by a Thai but this blog is nice and has something about it that makes it worth visiting.

This German might never see the Motherland again. Disgraceful behaviour!

Can we conclude that CNN's reporters prepared this report about the devastation in Myanmar from the comfort of Pattaya?

What's a life worth in Thailand? This Phuket Gazette report suggests it might be 300 baht.

This article in today's Bangkok Post about international schools came up with rather different findings than I would have if I was the one who wrote it!

Ask Mrs. Stick.

Question 1: I have what I think might be an easy question for you to answer, mainly because it may simply be a problem of translation. I’ve had a live-in Thai girlfriend for more than a year now and the relationship is wonderful except: too often when I ask her to do something while I am working, for example, she will agree to do it but does not follow through. I’ll get home from work and she won’t tell me she didn’t do it. When I ask, she admits she did not. Why? I ask. To which replies, “Khee giat” (I’m lazy). She has the time (she doesn’t work, being financially dependent on me) and wastes most of that invaluable commodity watching TV, reading those silly comic books, or chatting on the phone with her mother or friends. Half the time she doesn’t even perform routine housework. Why? Kee giat. I must admit, I’ve heard other Thais use the phrase, sometimes as a valid excuse for not doing something. Am I misinterpreting the term or are Thai people commonly lazy and satisfied that kee giat is a justified defence?

Mrs. Stick says: Maybe the better translation is "I could not be bothered." I don't know why she is not more diligent and why she doesn't do the housework. I shouldn't say it but I know some of us are not always hard-working and maybe that is true of her? Or maybe she is bored and needs something interesting to do? If her role is to look after the house but she is not doing that then she might just be lazy by nature.

Question 2: I have a girlfriend I love very much and would like to marry. She says she loves me too and also wants to be my wife. The problem is I want her to come live with me now but she says she can not stay with me because she is a virgin and that I have to give her family 100,000 baht as a sin sot first. The money I have no problem with, it's the fact that she will not show any affection to me at all until I give the sin sot to her family (No sex, NO hugging, No holding hands, No kissing, not even to say "I love you" to me without me asking – if I don't ask she'll never say it). When we first started seeing each other she was never like this, she did hug me, kiss me and show me real affection. I am a divorced Thai male 39 years old (4 years Thailand – 32 years in the US – now living in Thailand for the last 3 years) with my own internet business. She's a 28 years old single women from Ubon Rachathani who has been working with me for the last 3 years and has never worked in the bars. She and I have known each other for 5 years and her family and mine have known each other for over 10 years. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

Mrs. Stick says: You do not need to pay sin sot before marriage. Sometimes the man will give gold as well as the ring at an engagement ceremony but it's not normal for sin sot to be paid in advance. We pay the sin sot at the marriage ceremony and it is a big part of the ceremony with the amount of sin sot announced. The mother of the bride will make a show of walking away with it like it is a large amount and she will put on a show that it is a struggle for her to carry, like it is a lot of money. Many people laugh loudly and particularly enjoy this part of the ceremony. For a traditional lady from the countryside, physical contact with a man before marriage might be something she has been told is wrong. If she is a genuine, traditional lady then you should not be worried. You should be pleased! Just because she is different to what you are used to is not something to worry about. I think a traditional lady can make a very good wife.

This weather we're currently experiencing in Bangkok really is a drag. I don't mind the rainy season per se because it lowers the temperature and the air is a little clearer for a day or so. But what I don't like is that it makes going out and meeting friends a real pain. I don't live anywhere near the skytrain so it means taxis or motorbikes to meet people. Forget a motorbike when it's raining, but then you have the problem of the traffic jamming up. It can be difficult to make appointments on time and arriving late is something I avoid at all costs. Here's hoping this current weather pattern of scattered showers throughout the day and night ends soon.



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick