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Posts Tagged ‘Udon Thani’

Westerners Street or Washout Way?

16 April 2011 3 comments

A bit of hilarity courtesy of the AFP and the less-than-thorough Rachel O’Brien.

Westerners follow Thai brides to live in hard-up northeast

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’ve got spew hanging out of your mouth or whatever else, there’s some lady here who will want to take care of you,” Justin says with a grin.

Justin, please come to grips with the fact that your primary appeal, if the odds hold, is your bank balance.

“The ladies here are the most beautiful girls in Thailand, Isaan ladies, and money-wise too — it’s cheaper here to live than it is in other places like Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket,” Justin said, referring to the capital and two top tourist resorts.

Gotta wonder what exactly put those places on the map for you,  Mr Raines. Please say golf; we could use a good laugh. The next contestant, Mr Behnke, perhaps provides a bit more insight:

Ronnie said he “hit it off” with his 26-year-old wife in the southeastern resort of Pattaya seven years ago, where he was on holiday and she worked as a housemaid, but he found his first visit to the northeast something of a shock.

Housemaid: an honorable cash-based profession which leaves no traces, and very convenient explanation if you don’t want your enamorata’s visa application knocked back over an involvement in other cash-based professions such as Pattaya can offer…

Ronnie hopes the farm will boost the village’s economy, and he also offers advice to Western visitors on Isaan culture in his role as a volunteer with the tourist police — authorities he reckoned it helps to have on side.

Did you get a shiny badge, too, Ronnie? And a spiffy uniform like the boys in Pattaya? Have they promised that you’ll be Gauleiter of Isaan? Ronnie, never trust a Thai cop.

“I mean, how smart do you have to be to realise that this could be a bit of a trap?” said John Burdett, a British lawyer-turned-novelist who has extensively interviewed Isaan bar girls in Bangkok for his books.
Burdett said Thai-Western marriages could, however, work “fantastically well” — and often provide a financial lifeline for the woman’s family — if couples have the right approach.
“It’s a question of both parties, especially the men, understanding that this is a very different culture and if you want a long-term relationship you’re going to have to understand the culture,” he said.

Having read one of the author’s works the most lasting impression was one of profound gratitude that it was a loaner rather than a purchase. There’s no need to debate the painful factual errors found in works of fiction when it’s all too easy for the writer to claim embellishment for dramatic purposes. Let it suffice here to say that Burdett’s work, like so many of the Thai bar-girl novelists, is in the main a steaming pile of… embellishments.

But Burdett does surprisingly fail to miss the mark in one regard, and provides a hint: “Especially the men”. In short, it’s the male Westerner who will be doing the compromising in almost everything. The hours you keep, the places you go, the clothes you wear, the purchases you make; your Thai bride has it all planned for you.

You’ve been spotted, farang. Spotted hunched over a beer slowly-sipped in Soi Sampanthamit (Westerners Street) and the sad bar/guesthouses of Udon Thani and elsewhere, waiting for your wife to come and berate you then drag you home to the amusement of all. Spotted in the village with your beer gut spilling out between your cheap singlet and your sarong, you having lost contact with reality and mistaken your drinking buddies for friends. Spotted blindly thinking that your spending power somehow equates to prestige or even respect, and that your new family thinks of you as anything but a meal-ticket, and that your circle of expat buddies are actually people that matter.

Your delusions are understandable. You failed at life in the West — probably never understanding why — and found a measure of solace between a Thai girl’s legs. Your business of course, but we’re having a good laugh at your expense. What is regrettable is the crap that has followed in your wake, the mediocrity of a slice-of-Pattaya like Udon’s Day and Night Complex and others. Time was when Udon and the other big towns of Isaan were a good adventure for the monger and now it’s all just so much prepackaged crap aimed at the Least Common Denominator: you.