Dream versus reality in Thai-farang marriages
Re: Marrying a “rich” Westerner may not be a “dream come true”, says BBC.
The problem is that many in this situation do not want to be educated. I know a mother-in-law that was offered English classes by the government but told them she wouldn’t take them. “Why would I ever need to learn English?” she said to her daughter. The daughter reminded her of her Farang son in law. “Oh, but he will learn Thai”, the mother replied. She had forgotten the number of times she had sniggered at his attempts to communicate in Thai with her because his tone was slightly off or perhaps the wrong word was used. She had failed to notice that he had stopped talking to her more than a year before as a result of that sniggering when he spoke Thai, and also her refusal to learn English, which he perceived as resistance to the reality his daughter was now in a dual-culture world. She still continues to try to turn her son-in-law into a little Thai man, subservient, obedient, but farang enough to ensure she always gets to order whatever she wants for dinner and shop wherever she wants when out in Bangkok.
There are always two sides to the story, and both sides need to be open to be educated before anything will work.
I live in Isaan, my wife is 39 and I am 72. I am helping her raise a nine-year-old from a previous Thai man who left for a younger woman and never gave a penny for his son. I built a house on 12 rai of land and have 25 rai close to the river.
We have been together for five years and we are very happy. My home is a little Eden with fruit trees and a beautiful garden. Her family are hard workers who do not drink or smoke. Whenever we have harvesting, the whole family comes to help. Everyone in her family is more capable than me; they know how to build from bamboo, do their own plumbing and electricity.
Had I been back in the United States I would be looking forward to a nursing home. My wife does not spend money on makeup or clothing or jewellery and has a solid moral compass. I consider myself truly blessed. We have a good partnership. That is true for the majority of my farang friends here too.
Many Thai girls who married Americans during the Vietnam war had not even finished 4th grade. Now, after living the American lifestyle, learning to drive and getting a job, they are happy to stay in the US. The majority of them do not want to go back to Thailand, even after their husbands have passed on. Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the largest in America, has thousands of Thai women living there.