Stickman's Weekly Column June 15th, 2008

One That Got Away Part 2


We’d been chatting online for a short time and I had convinced her that we should meet. You can only tell so much about a person chatting online and you’re better off meeting as quickly as you can. Chatting with someone for a long time only to discover that they have an awkward twitch, homemade tattoos or are just plain ugly shows how wasteful online chatting can be.

So we agreed to meet. Central Rama 3 was the chosen location. A week night after work. This was actually quite some trek for her because she worked in Minburi, something I did not know at the time. If you’re not a local, Minburi is in the northeast corner of the city and Central Rama 3, while relatively central, could be easily classified as southwest. We’re talking a distance of perhaps 40 km or more. Still, she was up for it – and I knew what that meant!

Central Rama 3 was easy for me to get to and not all that far from home. Dinner, coffee and who knows where the evening would go?

She left work and took the first of FIVE different modes of transport she would need to get to Central. She SMSed me saying that it was a long way from her place of work and would it be ok if she stayed the night at my place. She would happily sleep on the sofa.

My dear, yes, I am sure we can manage that.

I scurried around the condo tidying everything up. The dishes were done, fresh towels were put out. Hell, I even scrubbed the bath and cleaned the balcony! It might not have been fit for royalty but this little vixen would be suitably impressed. Truth be told, anything bigger than a studio impresses most, but if it is clean too, well, you're immediately in the top 10%.

She sent me another SMS perhaps an hour later. She had reached the underground at Lat Prao. From there she would go to the skytrain and on to Chongnonsee before the final leg, a taxi. Everything was on schedule.

I concentrated on getting myself ready and making myself presentable. We hadn't met but we had chatted online and exchanged pics. She was only a few years younger than me and she had a confidence about her that I found appealing. She did not seem to be uncomfortable with the idea of meeting a foreign guy in a public place, a dilemna that prevents many ladies from going beyond mere online chat.

I was in the shower when I heard the phone beep and there was no way I was going to leap out of the shower and traipse through the condo for an SMS. It could wait. Several minutes later the phone beeped again. I padded out of the shower and saw that each of the SMS messages had come from my new friend.

The first message was worrisome. “Have rain too much.” I looked outside and while it was overcast rain wasn’t threatening.

The second message opened my eyes “I think no go Central Rama 3, go condo you.” Cripes, she wanted to come straight here? It was not what I had planned but I could manage it.

I called her and explained that while it was overcast, there would be no problem getting to Central Rama 3. She said that she was at Siam Square and the heavens had opened. Torrential rain was falling and she was getting wet just standing on the platform. In fact it was so heavy that it was hard to even hear her soft voice.

Again, I explained not to worry and that while it was raining over there I was several clicks away and here it was overcast, but most importantly, it was dry. "No have a rain" I said speaking Pidgin English and that seemed to appease her. She then did that most annoying of Thai traits, clicking the phone off without actually saying goodbye or anything else.

I returned to the bathroom but it was not long before I heard the unmistakable sound of the sky positively growling. Back to the main lounge area of the condo, I ventured to the balcony and looked out West where the weather tends to come from. Just a few kilometres away that unmistakable landmark State Tower had vanished. Either David Copperfield had weaved some magic or one hell of a storm was only minutes away.

The wind picked up and screamed through the condo. I barely had time to close the windows when all hell broke loose as another Bangkok rainy season storm lashed the condo. I could see residents in nearby buildings frantically closing windows as leaves were ripped off trees and flung many storeys high. In a scene not dis-similar from the famous storm in “The Wizard Of Oz”, neighbours' clothes hanging out to dry blew away, some flying so far and high that I lost sight of them!

Bangkok rainy season storms are treat to watch. I pulled up a chair next to the windows, turned out the lights and watched that bitch mother nature throw a hissy fit. I sat there, mesmerized by the show in front of me.

BANG! There goes the power. I just sat there and enjoyed the show, the loss of power no real loss. The traffic had stopped and the roads around my condo were choked up. Nothing was moving. As I watched debris being blown around I was glad to be home, inside, safe in my little palace.

The show was interrupted by the ringing of my phone. It was my little Isaan girl.

I bee-uk mot loey”, she said to me. “I am totally soaked.” She explained that she was at the nearest skytrain station, just a short taxi ride from me. The problem was that she couldn't get down to ground level. A strong wind was blasting rain right through the station and worse still, she was struggling to find somewhere to stay dry.

"Can you see McDonalds?", I asked her. "Go down and get a taxi there! It's only a short distance."

"I can’t, I get wet. And traffic it not move. You have car? You come pick me up!”

I explained to her that as much as I would like to, the traffic was not moving. Just getting out of the condo building would be a challenge, let alone reaching her.

“Why? Why you not come? I come long way. You come small way collect me!”

I wish I could have but there was no way I could. I was a prisoner in my own palace. When the weather is like this you can’t get anywhere. It was a mission doomed to failure.

I finally got the message through to her that this just was not possible. The motorbike guys would long have dispersed and there was no way I could walk that distance in these conditions. She had taken two hours to travel 40 odd kilometres to meet me and was only a couple of clicks away. So close, but yet so far.

“I hungry. I hungry!” she complained. I hate it when Thai women say that because you know they’re going to moan and groan until you feed them, sort of like a young brat manipulating parents to get what it wants.

Things were rapidly deteriorating!

I convinced her that she would have to wait for the rain to die down and then she could grab a taxi. She agreed and clicked the phone off without saying anything, again.

But the rain didn’t let up. The wind continued to howl and rain lashed the condo. We now had a full on lighting storm outside. Welcome to Monsoon Asia. But it’s hard to enjoy such a dramatic show when there’s a little lovely just a couple of clicks away who is ever so eager to dine with you.

Perhaps 20 minutes later I called her and was relieved that she had taken refuge in McDonalds. The traffic hadn’t moved in half an hour and I knew that trying to get a taxi would be a nightmare. She had managed to get something to eat but then complained that she was still hungry!

“I think I go home”, she says to me. “Bad luck for me to meet you!” I try to convince her otherwise but it is clear that she had already made her mind up. No amount of convincing will work.

But I felt sorry for her too. She had travelled a long way to meet me and she too would go home disappointed. I tried to console her, knowing that she has at least an hour’s journey ahead of her to get home, and I quietly curse mother nature for ruining the night. She tells me she will chat with me online when she gets home.

Three hours later she hasn’t appeared online so I call her. She is home, showered, dry and no longer hungry.

“You bullshit me!”, she screams down the phone line.

“What? What do you mean?” I say, now genuinely confused.

“You bullshit me!”, she repeats, this time with a nasty edge to her tone. “You lie me. I look picture you. I meet you before but you lie me!”

I am now totally confused, wondering what the hell the wench is on about. Sure, I have told a few porkies in my time but it’s something I prefer not to do and I can usually remember them. And I am sure that I haven’t said any nonsense to this lovely.

“You are friend MH”, she says.

“MH” is an old Australian friend of mine. I remember him and acknowledge that “Yes”, he's a friend of mine but I haven't seen him for a long time.

“We plan meet Country Road but you not come because it have a rain.” I think back the many years to when my Aussie friend had introduced me to a sweety who I had not been able to meet because I got on the expressway special on a rainy night by accident.

“I think my Buddha he not want me meet you so he make the rain. My Buddha have rain come two times.”

I think back all those years. I had never realised. It was the same girl!

Where was this picture taken?


Last week's picture was taken on Charoen Krung Road of the Siam Computer and Language Institute's sign with State Tower in the background. This week's picture was taken in a very central area 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. The second person to get it right wins a free jug of margarita, valued at 840 baht from Charley Brown's, a popular Tex-Mex restaurant, offering authentic cuisine and delicious margaritas. Charley Brown's is located in the small sub-soi off Sukhumvit Soi 11.

Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. The Charley Brown's prize MUST be claimed within 7 days. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per month.

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 WEEKAre you honest with family?

A recurring theme in your commentary is the rightful criticism of men marrying Thai bargirls. Your consternation of these clueless idiots who put a ring on a bargirl's finger is entirely justified. The problem is you don't go far enough. The point that you and many others miss is that marriage is the coming together of two families and not just the joining of two individuals. Western men marrying bargirls come from a family of their own. Are they prepared to tell their loved ones that they married a prostitute? Are they prepared to admit, in some cases, that they walked out on their children in favour of a third world whore? Are they willing to acknowledge that they put a younger woman and the promise of sex ahead of honesty to their family? Are they prepared to damage their relationship with those who have stood by them since they were born? It is this disingenuousness with loved ones back home that deserves complete and utter contempt.

Why pay for it?

I started going out again with Thai male friends who are well off. It is very, very easy to get to know girls. Being out in a polite looking Thai group is the best camouflage. If I go to a club, I don't drink. Thais don't understand that and keep offering me whiskey after whiskey so I say it's because of religion that I can't drink. I went out Monday and the clubs were full. Not sure how they do that. They girls are soooo addicted to whiskey. Guys just buy a bottle and let girls drink for free and the girls pay with sex later. But the way girls drink here scares me. It's binge drinking. Before closing you see many half in a coma and they need to be carried home. The others who are still able to walk literally sleep with anyone who stands around them by accident. When I was in the club, about ten girls squeezed my ass. One wanted to kiss me on the way to the toilet. I am not joking, just because I passed by her. I don't like it. Really. When you turn them down, they get really angry! I would rather have normal looking accountants than model girls who behave like lunatics.

Classifying the girls.

I've never been to a gogo bar or karaoke bar. I'm not saying I'm better than anyone else, I just think it's best to avoid heroine, cocaine, and other plainly harmful things. Some oversimplify by classifying Thai girls two ways – bar and career / good. I have learned that just because a Thai was never a bargirl doesn't necessarily make her "good, kind, loving etc". But pretty girls are not necessarily bad either. It's just easier to overlook their faults. One thing a lot of guys miss who post comments and articles is that a guy can get bored with a pretty girl too, so beauty cannot save them entirely. Beauty, brains, intelligence, and above all else, kindness and gentleness are things only a fool would give away, a combination worth spending a lifetime searching for. Hard for a girl to be ugly when she is good and gentle.

The Russians are not invading.

I doubt your latest figure about 889,000 Russians invading Pattaya a year is true. Assuming they take the plane from Russia and not the train, assuming 200 people on the average plane you would need 12 or 13 planes a day heading for Siam. Thai provides 3 flights a week from Moscow but you need more than 80. Where would the rest of them be?

Perhaps the Russian invasion is imminent?

You can expect to see many more Russian tourists because it is a working vacation for many of the girls. What other exotic vacation destination can you go to and make a living selling sexual favours. If you are caught, you can pay a fee and be released, if reporters are not present. Unfortunately, this influx of prostitutes hurts the local girls trying to make a living. I personally prefer the Russians over "lager louts" and the Chinese who walk in herds and look at us like we are monkeys in a zoo.

The Thailand effect.

This story exhibits what happens to guys once they visit Thailand. Went out on the bike this afternoon to one of my favourite haunts and was sitting down having a drink and playing some video poker minding my own business. Two 41-year old twins, decent looking for their age, pulled up next to me and proceeded to order drinks, looking at me and telling me it was their birthday. They initiated conversation with me, and we talked a bit. Please don't think I'm being uppity or anything, but they both basically offered themselves to me. It appeared literally that I had my pick. When they found out that I'm in the Marine Corps, one of them started in on how much they admire Marines and actually started to sing the Marine Corps hymn. As far as appearance goes, I would venture to say that the average guy would have been all over one (or both) of them. Heck, maybe I'm crazy? The fact is that I didn't have to give it really any thought at all. It was over before it began. This is something I've gone over before. If I had never been to Thailand, chances are that I would be knee deep in one of them at this very moment. However, knowing what I have and still can "command" in the LOS, these twins appeared to me to be nothing more than war weathered biker hags from hell. They did absolutely nothing for me. They weren't fat or anything, it's just that compared to what I've seen in Thailand and what guys like us can get, there was no way I was stooping to getting my rocks off on either one of these high-mileage wenches. I guess the point of the story is that once you've seen "the other side", there's no going back. Your eyes are opened to reality. Your tastes and even actions toward such women in Farangland are irrevocably altered. The damage is done.

Where are the microbreweries?

With the wet season here, a young man's fancy turns to beer. But where to turn for a good pint of small brewery product? We're talking "Brewed in Thailand" here, and not the big boys (local or foreign) like Singha or Carlsberg or Heineken, etc. Known venues are few. For brewing on premises, there's The Londoner on Sukhumvit and Tawan Daeng way out down Rama III. The Roadhouse on Suriwong and Rama IV don't brew their own, but were offering several locally brewed beers on tap. And there's a rumour that you can get some good small brewery stuff at Suan Lum's beer garden. Is there anything else out there? Inquiring minds need to know.

Two historic pieces of Soi Cowboy memorabilia are being auctioned off on Ebay. The two Indian ladies that have been sitting atop the Apache Coyote Bar for more than 25 years are now available at auction with all of the proceeds to benefit the Red Cross AIDS Research Centre in Bangkok. The auction can be found here.

Pattaya is currently being descended upon by the good men of the US navy who had been stationed near Myanmar, poised to help with relief efforts. Their spending will help alleviate the lack of cash in the bars and the girls' pockets in what seems to be the lowest of low seasons. They are due to depart Pattaya's fair shores on Tuesday.

Fire broke out at Ball in Hand Times Square early Friday morning, a pretty bad electrical fire from all accounts. Apparently they'll be closed for some time, rumoured to be as long as two months! Or was someone smoking on the premises? That's the big question on everyone's mind.

More admissions that the low season is biting and really hurting big name venues. Senior staff at The Londoner, a long time favourite spot of mine, say that business is well down – to the tune of a million baht a month!

What is "the Arab" up to? In each of his bars in Soi Cowboy a white sliding door, sort of like a curtain, has been erected on one side of the bar, at its boundary with a neighbouring bar. It looks really weird – and does absolutely nothing for the aesthetics of the soi. For the life of me I cannot work out what he is trying to achieve.

It seems that the smoking ban is being much more strictly enforced in Bangkok than in Pattaya. In most Pattaya bars, even the big name spots on Walking Street, you can still smoke. If you are sensitive to smoke and smoky environments then stick to Bangkok where it is much more difficult to find a bar that allows smoking.

Cowboy's Tilac Bar is now firmly a favourite. But with that said, the management have not been shy to raise prices, a trend that has swept through bars over the past month or two. The generous 60 baht happy hour drinks have gone up to 70 baht, 125 baht beers are now 130 baht and only lady drinks remain unchanged at a very reasonable 100 baht.

Thai Airways has hiked its fuel surcharges on all flights with the price increases due to kick in from the 25th of this month. The surcharges apply to all domestic flights as well as all international routes. This is not unexpected given the massive increase in the cost of fuel recently but that doesn't make it any less palatable. I mean, as I read it, return flights between say Bangkok and London will increase by about 15,000 baht and flights between Thailand and the US will increase by even more. Will there be less tourists this coming high season?

A reader who was present at a seminar held in Melbourne this week relayed some fairly disturbing comments made by the CEO of Flight Charters who stated that it was his view that within two years there would be a 40% downturn in air travel due to fuel surcharges – and probably a worldwide recession caused by the escalating price of fuel. This would then lead to higher airfares charged by airlines in order to repay the massive loans for new age aircraft. These are most sobering and enlightening comments by someone who should know a bit more about the travel industry than your average punter. Of course, the effect on the farang-dominated nightlife areas will be considerable. Westerners travel further than others to reach Thailand and while your hardcore whoremonger will travel whatever the cost, many others will not. Business owners are going to hate me for saying this but let's face it, it's basic economics. Any Bangkok business that targets Westerners visiting Thailand may find its value decrease sharply.

Down in Soi 33, I can remember venturing into Dali Bar for their sexy strip tease of Friday nights at 11 PM. They would get a really hot local model (honestly, someone much more attractive than you ordinarily find there) and she would do a strip tease to three or four songs. I thought that promotion had probably stopped years ago so it was a nice surprise this week to see that it still continues. If you want to see something a little different, and quite frankly, something a little higher quality, then check out the sexy strip tease in Dali Bar in soi 33 on a Friday night. Soi 33 used to be expensive but the drinks don't seem to have gone up in price over the last 10 years which is kind of amazing.

Have you noticed that over the years there has been a gradual trend away from the gogo girls dancing in knee length boots? Less bars seem to be providing the girls with boots these days. Initially I thought it might be a cost cutting exercise but then I remember that in many bars they actually charge the girls for the boots! A shame, the boots all add to the effect.

The dirty doctor has been playing a modern day Robin Hood. A man of some considerable size, he has been setting upon the figures with shaved heads in mustard coloured robes walking around the bar scene with begging bowls late at night. These FAKE MONKS have been begging for money from the innocent public, something in fact monks are expressly forbidden to do, irrespective of how hungry they may be! So what has the dirty doctor done about it? He imposes his hefty physical presence on them, grabs the money and gives it to the police (like they need it!). I'm not sure quite what to make of it, but whatever, his intentions are good. One should remember that Thai monks do their rounds in the morning, wear saffron robes and sandals or perhaps walk barefoot. These imposters wear footwear that looks more like bedroom slippers and of course there's the guy in Nikes.

Speaking of the dirty doctor, he does get around and here's a favourite picture of his. He suggested using it for the where is this picture competition but I thought it a trifle difficult, hence I simply run it here in the column. It was taken in one of those bars where you find plenty of Listerine bottles. Lolita's, of course!

Many locals used to have a gogo bar as their "home bar", the bar they would gravitate towards, where they knew there would always be a friend or two present, and where they were treated nicely and their regular custom was appreciated. I would suggest this is very much a thing of the past with many gogos showing an obvious preference for tourists and inadvertently pushing away locals who now prefer to make their "home bar" a less naughty establishment. Silly really, the Pattaya gogo bars know how to look after the locals whereas many Bangkok bars seem to have no idea – or simply don't care.

Wonders never cease. There was an error with my change two nights in Dali Bar this week. That might not sound unusual for the industry – except that each time the error was in my favour.

Why does Jack Coke taste so much better in most soi 33 bars than in any bars in Nana or Cowboy? I have my theory as to why – which I am sure you can guess – and it has nothing to do with the pleasant surroundings. Jack has a distinctive taste…and in Soi 33 it tastes like Jack. The same may well apply to other drinks but I pretty much drink Jack religiously so cannot comment on Johnnie Walker Black and other popular spirits.

Powelley's in Soi 33 is doing its best to change customers' perception of pricing in what was once known as Millionaires Row'. From 4 – 8 PM they offer beers for 60 baht and top shelf drinks for 75 baht. That's a good deal!

Did you know that Gulliver's in Soi 5 has a second level? But one has to wonder if it has *ever* been used?

Outside the Grace Hotel late at night is not at all dis-similar to the scene outside the Nana. Wandering into that neighbourhood for a late night kebab, I strolled over to the Grace some time between 1:00 and 1:30 AM earlier this week and the area was alive. And you know what? It had a pretty good vibe, notwithstanding that I was very much a minority, ethnicity wise. Don't be shy to check it out.

The Immigration Department strikes again. A friend spent 8 hours at the main office one day this week. I am not quite sure what he was doing but whatever the case, it may pay to take a book (or two) along if you have reason to visit the nice folks at Suan Plu.

So there I was chatting with a young lady in Soi 33 and she asks me where I think she comes from. Udon Thani is my first guess and it's a safe bet because there seem to be more girls in the industry from there than any other single province. Oh, you are close she says and asks me to try again. Nongkhai, Khon Kaen, Sakhon Nakhon are my next few guesses, the provinces that border Udon. She says no, it is close to Udon. I frown, thinking I have just named all of the nearby provinces. Nongbualumphu, I ask. NO! "Oh you speak Thai good but you know nothing about Thailand. You not Thai people like me", she says, now laughing at me. "I come from Chaiyaphum", she then says and her and a couple of friends laugh away like I am some sort of circus clown. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Chaiyaphum is nowhere near Udon and her geography was about as good as my Russian!

With the price of standard 91 octane petrol now at 41 baht, one has to wonder whether it is worth keeping a car – at least if you only use it in Bangkok. For sure, if a car purchase stretches you, then you're better off using taxis. Doing the numbers, in Bangkok driving it costs me approximately 4 baht a kilometre which is slightly cheaper than a taxi. But when you factor in all of the other costs, we have this situation that truly must be unique whereby in Bangkok it is cheaper in the long run to use taxis – even if you use them several times every day. I'll be keeping the car because I use it for out of town trips often. I do find however more and more that I use a taxi in Bangkok simply because it eliminates the hassles of parking.

Both Australia and New Zealand have an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with Thailand yet wine from those countries is so much more expensive here than wine from Europe, particularly Italy. Just why is that? And with both these fine wine-producing countries suffering inclement weather in recent times – and thus less wine being produced than had been expected, the cost of wine from Down Under is going to go up even more. Damn!

And for those of you who bring in a rucksack or a suitcase full of wine and forget to declare it, beware! Customs is now x-raying INCOMING passengers' luggage – and I bet that wine and the like is one of the things they're looking for. Remember, Thailand's duty free allowance is for one litre of alcohol. I have more than a few friends who bring in 15 – 20 bottles at a time since the cost of wine is so ridiculously expensive in Thailand. Please remember that the Thailand imposes ASTRONOMICAL fines on those who exceed the duty free allowance so it would be prudent to be a model citizen.

There are all sorts of odd rules and regulations enforced by Thai employers and many are simply a mechanism to reduce expenses by docking employees' pay. Thai employers dock salary for all sorts of silly reasons. But what I heard from a lawyer this week is that this practice is actually illegal. An employer cannot dock money for any reason – even theft! (They could of course initiate other legal proceedings against the employee). I know a lot of readers have Thai girlfriends or wives who are abused by their employer in this way so it might be worth letting them know the law and have them take a stand. Not always easy for a Thai to do, but if they know their rights then they might be more prepared to make a stand. Might.

Quote of the week comes from a friend. "Things never seem to end well for foreigners with employers or landlords in Thailand." Never were truer words spoken!

Here's an interesting summary report from a local anthropology course titled “Farang’s Wife: Relationship between Thai Women and Foreigners

Is the American porn industry sprouting out into Thailand with the arrest of this American porn film cameraman in a Pattaya hotel?



Ask Mrs. Stick

Mrs. Stick is happy to answer any questions regarding inter-racial relationships as well as cultural peculiarities that may be confusing or baffling you. She *needs* your questions if her section of the column is to remain!

Question 1: In this week’s column you let a man get away with spouting the usual politically correct propaganda (he’s probably suffered Western sensitivity brainwashing) about women being denied an education and gender discrimination in the workplace. From what I know, there are far more female university students than male students, in Thailand AND America) and also far more female managers in the workplace. Possibly girls in a poor village might quit school early, but I would think this would also apply to boys. Am I wrong?

Mr. Stick says: I can answer this question better than the Mrs. Yes, there are far more females in tertiary education in Thailand than there are males. I think the ratio is something like 2 : 1. As far as managers go, I would suggest that female managers might dominate some industries, such as education, and be managers in certain areas and departments, such as the accounting department, but when you get into positions of power, men still dominate. As far as village education goes, money seems to be the reason that village kids may "quit", be they male or female. A lack of money.

Question 2: I'm a 31 year old Australian and I have travelled to Thailand about 15 times in the last 4 years. I met a girl from Korat in the Down Under bar early last year. After the owner complained to me about the girl and her twin sister working there for 2 months and not going with any customers I stupidly asked her out of the bar and got involved in a relationship with her. She was what I like in Asian girls. I look good and I'm in good shape. Everything went very slowly and I was happy with that but we had a problem. Her sister is a 9 out of 10 and one of the best looking Thai girls I have met. I couldn't trust her but I trusted the girl I had 100% and that is why I chose her and didn't want an overly good looking girl because every other farang would be having a shot at her. Getting to my question, is there sibling rivalry between Thai sisters? Because the sister did everything she could to break us up and did succeed in doing so and doesn't even care at all. The girl I had was blind to it and doesn't believe me. But anyone with a little of intelligence could see it and yes, I did figure out in the end that the girl I had was not very smart. People could say that western sisters do it to each other but this was very well planned and when I saw her the last time, by the smile on her face, she was very happy about what she did. Or is it just a case of if the girl has a really hot sister then you will get the hot sister's attitude coming from the plain not so hot sister? Or is it just the Thai backwards thinking?

Mrs. Stick says: I never heard of a story like this in Thailand before. I think our families are closer than families in your country. We do almost anything for other family members, to help them and we avoid doing things to upset or hurt other family members. So in big families there can be someone who does things that upset others or cause problems but we all try and work together to solve the problem. You might not see it if you do not understand Thai but when one person does something bad or wrong which might cause problems for the family we all get together, or we telephone to family members in other provinces and we try to fix the problem. So, for me, it is hard to understand what happened to you. I think it is not typical and you were unlucky.

Question 3: I have a Thai wife of 5 years who insists on going to bed with her daughter at night then waking up (most of the time) at 10:30 to come to bed with me. The girl is coming up quickly on 9 years of age! This has put a strain on our marriage because we no longer get the cuddle time that is important for most married folks. My question is this: Is this normal Thai family behaviour? Do all Thai mothers do this with their children at the expense of the marriage?

Mrs. Stick says: This is normal in many families. Sometimes the whole family sleeps together. It is your wife's responsibility to look after the children and make sure they are comfortable and I hope you respect that. She is being a good mother. I think if she did not look after the children well then maybe bigger problems would follow.

It really has been one of those weeks. If something could go wrong, it did. Nothing serious, but a series of small issues arose. I was excited about the opening piece I had lined up for the column this week, an interview with "The Arab". "The Arab" is the guy behind a number of the bars in Soi Cowboy including Deja Vu, Our Place and Spice Girls. He had agreed to an interview which was to be done last week. It was delayed until this past Friday when at the last minute he asked if we could meet just for a chat – with nothing to appear in the column! WTF? Here I was, trying to give him a chance to have his say. If there is one thing I am it is a fair interviewer and I always run the entire interview past interviewees before publishing it, giving them a chance to A) check that everything was transcribed correctly and B) amend any answers if they wish. Well, "The Arab" decided that he did not even want his words to appear on the site. That's a shame because it was his chance to have his say…



Your Bangkok commentator,
Decent effort this week. Solid column 7.5/10
Stick