Tuesday, 30 March 2010

REVEALED: Where to meet Thai women

The next instalment in my recent series of rants takes inspiration from a great many expats, those who regularly vacation in Thailand, those who regular post to Thai Visa and, to a far lesser extent, those people who would email me in the days when my email address was listed on this blog.

All are people searching for a Thai wife.

[This, in itself, really bothers me...but that is for a future rant]

So here is Jonny Foreigner's simple guide to finding 'your ideal Thai wife'.

But before I begin, any guesses on location?

[Hint: the answer is closer than you think.]

Drum roll please...

The answer is...she is outside of Thailand.

I'm not basing this on my own experience (I met my wife whilst she was studying/working in London) but instead the following factors which negate the most common issues in farang-Thai relationships (pulling no punches).

1. She speaks YOUR language

Living abroad your potential partner is likely to be fluent, or at the least capable, in your native language which overcomes the language barrier, one of the biggest hurdles many farang face when dating Thais.

This may be intimidating to some men who like to take control, and enjoy the position of knowing their woman's English means she must lean on them. But for most of us, who aren't (yet...I WILL get there) fluent Thai speakers, the Missus' ability to speak English is crucial.

2. She isn't poor

If you meet your Thai partner when she is abroad the chance are she, and her family, are not poor. It doesn't mean they are rich, but even owning a passport and passing visa requirements is not easily and indicates family life is comfortable at the least.

The importance of this may seem harsh, but boy is it true...you try switching Western comforts for a life in a remote areas (like Issan) where life is far from what you are used to, or could even imagine. Having lots of foreign cash won't much change the dynamic of life, though granny might finally get a roof which doesn't leak. Yup, it takes a special type of person to be able to adapt to a differential scenario in Issan, or even Bangkok.

Plus, most importantly, if your women is not poor she is less likely to be after your money...the classic X factor in many farang-Thai relationships. How many men would give for that?

Probably less than you think...might be a little harder landing a women who doesn't need Jonny's big farang bucks to give her a better quality of life.

3. She is educated

Again, similar to my poverty point, your expatriated single Thai is educated to degree level (typically) such are the requirements of visas.

Her education is likely to put her on a similar level as you, giving your relationship more balance and equality.

For me, this is perhaps the most important factor. Yes, my wife is Thai but she isn't 'A Thai Wife'; in fact, if you disregard the aesthetics for a second, you'd be forgiven for thinking she was Western.

Do all men like to be on an even intellectual platform as their partner? What about in Thailand? Hmmm...I think many accept, and perhaps even embrace, the imbalance. Am I wrong?

4. She has left Thailand

Precious few Thais actually own passports, "travel broadens the mind" so if your partner has travelled and lived abroad the chances are you are getting a partner who is more likely be on a similar wave-length...of course men and women cannot occupy the same wave-length, any fool knows that.


Finding your Thai women outside of Thailand is a great deal harder than just turning up in Thailand as a foreigner. Suddenly all the men around you have the appeal of farang-white skin, domestic wages/saving, etc.

No doubt the old fellas who strut across Pattaya beach hand-in-hand with a twenty-something lass will struggle to replicate this in their own country, but, if we're trading cliches on where to meet Thai women, mine is your local bar, book shop, park or anywhere you meet local women at home.

Disclaimer: I'm not being overly cynical, just generalising. Of course, some foreigners do meet Thais who are less educated, poorer, less travelled (etc) and live happily ever after...but I suspect many expats have a different story to tell.

Btw, Thai Square in London is a great place

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Learn Thai on YouTube

There are lots of good websites to help learn Thai, but often they can be difficult to get into or stay focused on, particularly for beginners.

If you are starting from scratch, I highly recommend that, amongst other sites, you check out Bon on YouTube.

I first picked up on her when a few prominent Twitter users championed her spoof videos - which are pretty amusing, but in Thai on JaideeTV (though one is translated here on Thai101) - although cleverly Bon is using them to get attention and viewers at her YouTube channel, where I found some excellent and interesting videos for beginners.

She also has a recently established a blog (which has already racked up an impressive 5,000 + hits in March alone), a Facebook page and offers lessons over Skype - an excellent business, I'm sure.

All in all, worth a look if you're struggling to get into the basics.

(She's also made it to CNNGo too)

Here's an example, this is the first video lesson which gives some background and some (very) easy starting points.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Social change in Bangkok using Twitter

I recently posted a blog over at Social Media Thailand explaining how a pal and I used Twitter to generate (albeit small) social change in Bangkok.

Fascinatingly, we were able to bring this change about by contacting Coke's APAC Comms Director personally and directly using Twitter.

The potential for social change on Twitter is huge, and this small example just highlights what can be done.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Pattaya window into Thailand

We enjoyed a brief and impromptu one night stay in Pattaya last week.

The weather was fantastic and we love to be around the beach (and in a nice hotel) so the break is always a welcomed one.

That said, for me, Pattaya has a self-life of around 24 hours. Any longer in the city and I will start to go crazy. I love the sea air but a number of things make Pattaya a land where normality is amiss.

In Pattaya, universal logic is reversed...the older and fatter you are, the more appealing men are to the local women.

At least, that is based on my evidence during day time hours.

At night, if you are male, with a regular-ish pulse and walking (walking sticks and other assitance permitted) then any women will come after you, even if you happen to be out with your wife and young son.

Then there is good old Jonny Foreigner (not referring to myself, I hope) who is living the lap of luxury here on a month long holiday.

Jonny (me) overheard Jonny (one of them) talking to the internet cafe/travel agent manager about his business back at home (Australia, if you're interested).

He's got a lot of "boys" doing things for him...apparently...while business is going great, so great that he can afford to spent a little time out here with "my girl" (his, of course).

There's not a lot to say about this, the self-deluded, chest puffing 50 something year old who is clucking around trying to impress the none-too-interested man working the shop desk.

They say a sucker if born every minute but I'm sure the statistics from Pattaya have pushed this up for a minute. I'm not how catchy the 'a sucker is born every two minutes when we ignore the data from Pattaya, Thailand' phrase sounds?

If Pattaya is expats' window into Thailand, no wonder so many expats living out here are so f*cked up.

As for the guys sporting the 'good guy go to hell, bad guy go to Pattaya, Thailand' t-shirt...there's not a great deal I have to add.

I do love the sea air by the way.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The door policy

This is one of the funniest photos I've seen on Twitter for a while.

I've seen some funny reasons for a one-in-one-out policy in my time but this beats them all...I wonder if girls with short skirts are excused from this policy too?

To give some context, the sign was outside a bar (with internet access) in Austin, Texas, during this year's South by South West, an annual festival devoted to music, film and technology.

The focus on bloggers is such because many of the world's most popular blog personalities attend the show. The show was certainly very hyped and much publicised, to give an indication of its significance Google launched its latest feature there.

Image via Ekai