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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a ladyfriend in CM who I hope to visit for the first time in upcoming March. We have chatted with cam and have talked for over a year. In past months I’ve become to realize that there seems to be a nice connection, and though I don’t have much faith in internet-met relationships I’ll come and see. I intend to study for the SIT TESOL in CM at any rate.

She seems “real” (not a scammer) and has never asked for anything--gifts, money, nada. She runs a very small business out of one of the two houses the family owns and earns in a good month about 5,000 baht. I don't think she pays anything to the family for rent, so she's comfortable economically.

Sort of out of the blue, I sent her 2,000 baht. She’s so entertaining that I figure I end up saving a few hundred dollars a month by not going out as often with friends for a beer, movie or dinner. She seemed thankful, thanked me, and that was that.

I have a decent, professional job in the states, I’m an RN. But I also own an apartment house with three units which I call my "retirement account". My eventual plan is to, in about 5 years, sell the apartment house and retire, possibly in CM.

Currently I am several years out of a relationship that ended sadly and I figured this would be a good time to sequentially renovate the apartment house and so on weekends I travel to the apartment house, from where I work (about a 2 hour drive) stay in one unit and renovate.

She and I tend to talk about two hours in the morning and about two hours in the evening on weekends, and not quite as much during the week, and the “concept” of the apartment house seems oddly baffling to her. She always asks what I’m doing during the mid-day and I say: “putting in a kitchen floor,” or “changing a sink and toilet,” or “taking out, sanding, painting and replacing windows.”

Well today she said “are you to stingy to hire a carpenter?”

Though I did not really respond much other than to say that carpenters charge about double to triple what I earn per hour, and that I'd rather do the work myself, I cannot help but wonder. Could the 2,000 baht that I send have made her wonder if I am stingy? It’s about ½ month income for her and well, seemed right. And I do not want to set a precedent by sending 5,000 or more baht as once started…well, you know. Perhaps if something comes of actually meeting, that's a different story.

Or is it that tradesmen, carpenters, plumbers, masons, etc. are held in lower esteem in Thailand? I am very proud of the fact that I can do excellent carpentry, cabinet-making, masonry, plumbing, etc. I’m a Jack-of-all-trades, and rather good at it.

Might her perception of “being stingy” be a cultural interpretation? Or is it a hidden complaint that I did not send her enough?

The work on this apartment, if I hired tradesmen would cost about $4,000, by doing the work myself, the cost is about $700, thus I am able to save $3300, which to me is a considerable amount. I'd rather do that and save the difference.

I have been careful to let her know that I am not rich, that I am a man of moderate means. She knows that my car is a very old model and that I'm not, by any means a "rich" American.

Any thoughts or advice/suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks
 
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Oh boy, does all that sound familiar! I've a lot to say on this subject, but am on my way out, so I'll chip in with more later. In the meantime, 5000 baht a month in Thailand is not a lot - it's pretty much minimum wage. Especially when you consider that children contribute to household costs, and it is par for the course to give money to one's parents 'out of respect'.

They will always thank you, even if behind the scenes they think you are being stingy. 2000 baht in a year, in what she may hope will become a developing relationship, is not going to be considered generous, whatever your circumstances, and however hard you've tried to explain your financial/job situation.

Anyway, will be back with more later...
 

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Last time then i have Thai girlfriend it cost me 10,000 eur.
Good thing is that now i live in Thailand and another thing now i know country side named Issan :)
Never give any money for Thai GF before then she will show you that she is really like you, but even in this case, be careful and always keep on the watch.
Maybe i'm mistaken, but i know many foreigners live happy life with Thai girls, but nobody knows how is in real so happy happy or just for other eyes happy...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both. Frogblogger when you get a chance please elaborate a bit.

I'd like to be helpful and yet at the same time keep funding away from the gray zone of matrimonial prostitution. Give too much and I get the girl, even deep inside, when we meet, she doesn't find me attractive enough to create a real relationship based upon love, not baht.

My economic situation is really not bad at all. Like most Americans these days I'm a bit frantically trying to reduce short-term debt (visa credit card debt) to zero, for the wolves are sharpening their teeth as we speak, but I'm doing so. I've been told that I will lose my job within 8 months, but that could be a godsend, as it is possible I can "work" in Thailand and collect some unemployment benefits at the same time (the differential).

So, yes I could send, 2,000 a month, or 5,000 or 10,000. So, the question is what is best under the circumstances.

Her circumstances are a bit odd also, if one can truly believe. She was married (unofficially) about 8 years ago, and had a child. According to her the husband became uninterested in a body altered by childbirth and so promptly found a new wife. The parents of said bad boy supposedly has "adopted" her into the family and so she lives with the ex's sister and her brother-in-law. Her "mom" (step-mom) has set her up in a small vending business which I think provides for her and her daughter's needs except for school. The child is schooled privately, I suspect according to the parents (step) wishes. So her living costs appear minimal. About the only thing she has ever bothered to mention was her half of the electric bill and internet bill. The computer belongs to her sister who works for a bank.

I am naturally suspecting of scams, but there are few red flags and tons of green ones. She shows me her wares proudly, and her daughter and sister-in-law's daughter interact with me on cam/chat, and 4 hours chat time, 7 days a week, says a lot about use of a person's time.

So for everything says this has possibilities, but I am only interested (perhaps oh so naively said) in a relationship based upon mutual compatibilities and love, not money. (But are not all relationships based upon value for value, even if not in dollars or baht?).

I kid you not, but I have talked to more than 400 (mostly Filipino) women, and though I was at first adamant about finding one with no kids (I have none) this one has stuck out so remarkably that I've changed my mind about the child factor, even though it brings in multiple complications.

But in the back of my mind, I consider arriving, seeing that there is no true possibility of "growing in love," due to, if nothing else, an age factor (20 years difference). If that is the case, it's a no-go. And so I wonder if I start sending as much or more than she earns a month--and she starts vending less, well, when the baht ATM goes broken, that could be cruel.

I'd be there in a flash, but as contract RN I am forbidden to take more than 1 week off at a time because I have no coverage (I'm an unusual specialist in Occupational Health) if I'm gone. My company would have to pay someone a bundle to cover for me. So since my job is ending within 4-9 months I'm rather stuck here. Trying to visit Thailand within a week is impossible.

So when you get a chance Frogblogger, or anyone else, please throw out some numbers...

Thanks again.
 

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You are an RN in the US?You should have no problem getting a job,RN's are still in short supply in the US.What is your reason for sending money?It seems that she was living just fine with out it to begin with.She never asked for anyhting so I would say that she does not look at you as cheap.
You have to remember that when Thai people translate english to Thai or visa-versa many times the words they use are not correct to you and I.She may not mean that you are cheap/stingy just that "why you do yourself if you can hire someone".In Thailand labor is very cheap so it is better to pay someone then to do yourself,unless you are like me and like to do it yourself.Exampal,sort of.The wife will say why you walk if you can ride bike,why you ride a bike if you can ride motorcy,why you ride mororcy if you can drive car, why you drive car if you can hire driver?Go figure.Oh and in Issan if someone say "car" they usally mean a small pick-up truck.Many times when my wife first started to learn english she would try new words out to impress me.Many times they did not make since in the sentance.But she was trying.
Think twice about sending money again.She may really wonder why you are sending money but not want to ask you because you may not have a good answer with out losing face or looking down upon her.You may find out that you will start to be looked down upon once you cannot send it.Good Luck ^_^
 

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ok what she said is considerd a thai joke.
a thai joke 50% joke 50% not joke. really what it is is the thai way of pokeing you and nudgeing you into the direction she wants you to go but because of thai culture she is not able to just come out and say.
You see you are a farlong the meaning of which you will learn later. So as a farlong to Thai you automaticly have money (rich). So the Question is is how do thais think rich people should act? well i could tell you but i think it might be worth your time to find out yourself. Now you could tell her you are poor all year long, it falls on def ears. You are as her culture tells her you are. for you to fight this is pointless, better you accept it and learn to use it to your advantage. the thais will respect you more for it. they love when we understand the rules.

Hope that helps
thier is more i could say but lets just start with that. hope it all works out for you Good luck.
 

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I wouldn't read to much into the “are you to stingy to hire a carpenter?” comment. It could be anything from a joke to whatever.

Rather just meet up with the girl, get to know her in person, and if she still 'jokes' about you being stingy, then atleast you know what she really thinks.
 

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Oh, and also, check out the book recommendation thread, there are some good books that will help you with understanding what she will expect from you, and what you can expect in return. It is ofcourse different from person to person, but knowing a bit of thai culture will help you 'figure her out'.
 

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JS......All I would say is get a copy of the book 'Thailand Fever' that will answer any fears/concerns you may have. It is in English and Thai (can read together!!) and isn't biased against either culture west or east, it explains the differences quite clearly, just look at page 194 entitled 'he's so stingy'....lol

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for the helpful suggestions, including those who responded via mailbox. There's much to think about, and I had two people suggest Thai Fever in one day, so I purchased a copy but have yet to get it.

Clearly one has to realize that the Western "normal" way of thinking does not necessarily apply. Occasionally I suggest that a person embroiled in a legal action to: "Abandon your normal concept of fairness, for in the legal world "common sense" values often bear little resemblance to the legal concept." It seems to be the case here... Sure they make sense when looked at from one cultural viewpoint, but might not when looked at from the other's cultural viewpoint.

Hopefully in time I will see with new eyes and a cool heart.
 
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