JAMES, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
By Andrew Biggs
It’s a bad week to be male and Caucasian in the Land Of Smiles.
A firestorm erupted in the Thai media, with one story gripping the nation for almost an entire day which is an eternity in these modern viral here-today gone-tomorrow times.
On Wednesday afternoon a group that preserves Northern Thai culture called Chiang Mai Araya braved the blistering heat and staged a protest outside the US Consul in that city, demanding justice and “protection for Thai women against scheming foreign males”.
“Foreign males” … those were my words. They used that cold, nasty, brush-off of a word both vocally and on placards … farang.
Oh dear. So what have we done this time?
Well I know this may be hard to believe, but it appears an American has come to Thailand with the intent of having sex with more than one woman.
Well, I never! He did what? With how many? This is preposterous and unacceptable in the eyes of Chiang Mai Araya, which for brevity’s sake I shall henceforth refer to as CMA, and please don’t confuse them with accountants or country music.
We know the perpetrator’s first name is James but that’s it.
I can’t think of any westerner I know whose first name is James other than a former Australian Ambassador to Thailand, but we Aussies are staying right out of this one so no pointing the finger in this direction, CMA.
Besides, unless you are an Ambassador the average Australian would never refer to himself as “James” – he’d be “Jim” or “Jimmy” or “Blue” if he’d been born with red hair.
So this American James had sexual relations with more than one woman —something the Culture Ministry frowns upon in this country, primarily for fear the other guy might be better in bed. He did so after placing an ad in a newspaper claiming he was looking for a woman to marry.
Women came running, including one by the name of Thidarat who must have imagined having a foreign husband would be an answer to all her woes.
James and Thidarat dated twice before James ditched her, though he did manage to exercise his conjugal rights prematurely on both occasions.
If only James had been a part of my childhood when my mother would say: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
(For the first 18 years of my life I thought my mother was an undiscovered literary genius, uttering such lines while making shepherd’s pie in our Sunnybank kitchen, until I studied the works of Sir Walter Scott at university and got a rude shock.)
Well you can look at it one or two ways; either James was an evil schemer, or Thidarat simply wasn’t wife material.
Let’s be kind and assume the former, since Thidarat has already been through the mill.
After being jilted she went to the Chiang Mai police, but the cops, being males themselves, took no action.
Poor Thidarat’s next stop was the CMA, and so, on a hot Wednesday afternoon, defiant Thidarat held up a hand-made sign alongside the CMA leader as he shouted obscenities through a megaphone at the walls of the US Consul.
You know how Thais really like us? Just wait until a character like this James steps out of line. Suddenly the whole country is down on us like a ton of bricks.
James “destroyed the dignity of Thidarat and in doing so destroyed the dignity of every Thai woman, especially ones in Chiang Mai,” the CMA leader blasted out, full of sound and fury.
Next to him Thidarat’s sign said: “Stop Foreign Sex Maniacs Molesting Our Thai Women!”
Grin and bear it, guys. It’ll be over before you know it.
Just keep silent about this whole story in order not to fuel the fire. In particular, do not, under any circumstances, exacerbate things by highlighting any of the five following points:
a. Thidarat is almost 40 years old. Doesn’t she know about men regardless of race? Where has she been – hiding under a Chiang Mai rock? If she’s been under any kind of heavy object (other than that American), it certainly wouldn’t have been in Chiang Mai. Why?
b. Thidarat isn’t from Chiang Mai. She’s an Isan girl! She hopped a bus from Nakhon Ratchasima in the North-east and travelled the 775 kilometres to Chiang Mai to meet this guy. Is anybody’s dignity intact after such a long haul?
c. The “protest” outside the US Consul was hardly Sanam Luang-esque. I counted seven people … it is perhaps time for the CMA to do a membership drive. But as we guys keep telling ourselves, size isn’t everything and that includes protest groups.
d. James certainly didn’t force himself on Thidarat. Our “victim” met him, had dinner with him, drank wine with him, and when James invited her back to his condo, she said “okay.” One thing led to another. And if that’s not enough …
e. The event detailed in (d) happened not once, but twice. We gotta find that person running around Chiang Mai twisting the arms of innocent girls and forcing them back to James’ place for round two!
James has since flown the coop. Reporters went to his condo complex and the security guard downstairs revealed that Thidarat wasn’t the only one who’d willingly come to his condo. James’ condo was a modern day Kinsey Institute test room.
Evil, evil James.
Guys, we can learn a valuable lesson from this story, and I don’t mean to give the security guard at your condo a bottle of whiskey and a HUGE tip every New Year to ensure his silence.
Rather, It shows how little it takes for the Thais to turn on us.
There was a blip of genuine rage there this week. The knee-jerk reaction from the locals was understandable: innocent Thai women being tricked by slick-talking foreigners on their own turf.
That doesn’t go down well with either gender; Thai women are unhappy having been duped, and Thai men are unhappy having competition.
Still, we are guests in this country and we should always give the local people dignity and respect.
So guys, it might be a good idea to be a little more, ah, monogamous just until this all blows over. Don’t roll your eyes like that — it’s only for a few days.
As for Thidarat, she needs to cut her losses and make the long trek back home.
If I were to share the bus seat with her I would explain that being married to one of us is not that big a deal as she thinks it is. Men are men, all the world over. We do and say anything to score, including promises of marriage.
Like Thais who marry Thais, there are those who enjoy happy marriages with foreigners.
But there are a lot of women who soon realize we are exactly like their Thai brethren. This is especially the case in marriages that are rushed into, or are born of newspaper advertisements. Such marriages inevitably end in tears — or the popular alternative that involves a brother, a blunt object and some quicklime.
Be happy, Thidarat. Be single and happy. And James? Get the hell home.