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Getting married in Thailand


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When I got married to my Thai fiance it was an overly extravagant affair.  My wife's family are very well off and well, hundreds of people turned up.  It was a happy occasion, you know the type of thing, the monks chanting, the white string binding us together and I could tell my fiance was ecstatic by all the attention.  My wife is extremely generous when she goes to a wedding she often gives all the money she's got.  So when her time came around people were equally generous.  Being a foreigner earning so much money as you can imagine I was made rather uncomfortable by all this. 

There was this young guy I'd had drinks with over the years - he drank the crudest liquor and was clearly alcoholic but he was determined to share the little he had with me.  For some perverse reason I'd given him a bottle of Laphroaig whiskey - a very fine single malt whiskey that costs about $100.  My wife was furious.  But he turned up to the wedding and gave me 1000 baht.  My heart broke.  God knows how he managed to make the money.  But what could I do?  It would be an incredible insult to return it to him. 

I managed to get him a job at one of our rubber plantations.  He was extremely unreliable, but when he could work, he worked really hard.  He died not long after.

This did change me.  Often when you display kindness to people, you might not think it but it really can change them.  I know I can be completely unkind and arrogant and all that.  I can be a complete and utter prick really.  I suppose it's good to become self-aware about this. 


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When my wife and I were developing the rubber plantations.  We were buying up real estate left right and center.  I was working in Australia, flying to Thailand almost every fortnight.  My wife is extremely competent, but as a team we kind of become invincible. 

On a 'sabbatical' I'd often travel to Cambodia where a Mr Chen would renew your visa for a trivial fee.  I'd usually get a local sim card and put it in my phone.  A person started to call me, often rousing me from my sleep rather hangover.  It was unusual, they seemed to genuinely care how I was and it was like an old friend making contact with you.  Before anyone starts saying it was an obvious scam, it wasn't  If you did try to scam me, I'd would respond with a counter blow so fierce you wouldn't want to scam anyone ever again.

This person continued to call me like they were kind of checking up on me.  She started to ask me where I was last night.  It was a good question, I genuinely didn't know where the hell I was last night, but I told her I seem intact.  I started to talk to her in my fledgling Khmer and she would mock my words, mimicking my poor attempt then saying what I should have said.  I don't know about you, but I've never picked up a language so fast when this kind of technique is used.  I tried to combat it by mocking her Thai and English. 

Unlikely as it sounds, we became very good friends.  Even though I didn't know her name, and it wouldn't do to ask her after all the time had passed.  She'd call me and I'd confide all kinds of things to her. 

A chilling text came through - the police are investigating you.  I went to the police HQ, and asked why they were investigating me.  It turns out I'd been witnessed in Laos conversing with the head of a drug cartel.  He was in Phnom Penh when I ran in to him again, and of course I said hello to the guy.  I mean of course I didn't know about the drugs, he just looked like a successful business man - obviously intelligent and someone worth cultivating. 

My frequent travel was a red flag apparently.  Also they were highly suspicious of my uncanny ability to blend in with the local population, adopting their customs, speaking their language.  In fact they were highly affronted by it!  I mean I thought that was a bit much.  However they did accept they were wrong in a rather grudging manner.  They put a tail on me, which I thought was ridiculous.  I bought my tail lunch and we had a very enlightening and friendly chat.

What I didn't expect was I was being monitored in - well I'll say no more. 

The lady that was talking to me on the phone became perhaps one of my best friends.  Incredibly smart, she would challenge me, and I her.  We'd both mock each other, teach each other, laugh at something we both shared.  And like a true friend she warned me.  And I never did learn her name.  Being a Cambodian sim and the phone lost I can never contact her again.

I don't really understand how memory works.  I was staying at this five star hotel and the receptionist was this extremely beautiful lady.  She had this rash on her legs.  I went to the pharmacy and bought the medical cream.  I put it in a gift wrapped box advising her that it's just a rash, don't let it worry you, put this on at nighttime before you sleep and it will be gone in a few days.  For some reason I left my phone number - I suppose if she had any questions.  

I do miss her.  I often wonder how she's faring.  Try to do little acts of kindness.  I suppose I've lived a particularly chaotic life, exotic even - okay I admit I enjoy perplexing people, not exactly a desirable trait.  Perplexing a corrupt foreign official is like a bonus point.  Confounding them in their own language is kind of the cherry on top.

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I know I'm a kind of a mysterious person. 

Nina is my cousin.  If anyone is interested I'm the one on the desert island sending the message in the bottle. 

Also if anyone cares, I'm highly embarrassed about how people look at my physical presence, my general bearing and make assumptions.  A white supremacist would probably glorify me if I didn't eviscerate his beliefs first. 


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2 hours ago, panadolsandwich said:

uncanny ability to blend in with the local population

You're slipping, elsewhere, you are 6' 6" Nordic blonde god.  I'm guessing, not likely to blend with all the 5' 1" teak coloured khmers....

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Wrote the lyrics too.  A girl begged me to stay saying that even if I didn't love her, she would accept it if pretended to love her.  So I wrote the lyrics for 'Lovefool'. Sent it to my cousin Nina, and was rather astonished to hear it on the radio, my very words being widely circulated basically verbatim.  'Desperately pondered' is an obvious panadolism as is 'reason won't preach a solution'.  The lost in confusion part was kind or a sly dig at her preoccupation with attempting to appeal to a wider market  I was in Sweden at the time so I appeared in the video. 

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58 minutes ago, Coss said:

You're slipping, elsewhere, you are 6' 6" Nordic blonde god.  I'm guessing, not likely to blend with all the 5' 1" teak coloured khmers....

The thing is I don't pretend.  I'm serious.  I don't care wherever you come from.  Most Khmer's are incredibly flattered that I would even consider talking to them.  Also for reasons I won't share here, you can conceal your identity very effectively.  Okay I'll give you a clue. Know a cop.  I mean you do sound a little bit naive going on like this.   

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I do remember one of the conversations:

Her: Good morning how are you?  I crack open two tins of Angkor, rethink and open another two

Panadol: Well I'm great never felt more chipper. 

Her: So you don't remember last night?  Go and look at your back.  I check in the mirror and sure enough there is an inflamed bruise, most likely from a high heeled shoe.

Panadol: Nothing to write home about, how would this concern you? 

Her: So you really don't care?  Yet you ask questions of people when you already know the answer.

Panadol: Well, so what?

Her: You're already five steps ahead of them.

Panadol: More like ten steps but thanks for the compliment. 

Her: So why do you do it?

Panadol: Well I not as sophisticated as you might think, I'm just a simple guy really. 

Her: We will meet one day, I promise you that. 

Panadol: Yeah yeah yeah. I'm shaking in my boots - I mean my thongs. 

Phone hangs up.  Two hours later phone rings again.

Her: Sorry I am a bit of bitch.

Panadol: not at all, I enjoy these little tete-a-tete's

I kind of found my match - we mocked each other relentlessly.  I was just killing time in Cambodia so it became a very welcome distraction.  There was this moment where it became clear we really liked each other.  A very rare thing to find a friend from such a different background. 

Initially all she saw of me as someone exploiting people.  The more she learnt about me the more she gravitated to me.  She'd ask my I advise, I'd ask hers and it was brilliant.

Initially I had no idea if I slept with her but I undoubtedly did.  It was an amazing night of acrobatic like sex.  She was insatiable, I'd go to sleep and wake up to her riding my morning glory. 

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It was very cold evening in Korea, and my wife's sister introduced us to the Kpop group 2Ne1.  I didn't know them.  We ate at a restaurant and I asked whether they knew the Backstreet boys.  They did and kind of knew what that comparison meant.  I said I'll write you guys a song, in fact I wrote 10 songs and I think they used four.  Initially they were very cold on the idea, but my wife was like you'd be mad if you pass this up.  My writing was kind of permeating society and it was nothing to me to write ten songs in a day at my peak, often big hits.

My favourite was this song called 'I hate you'.  Initially I wanted to write it as 'I despise you'.  But I thought they would found it hard to pronounce, also most Koreans wouldn't understand it.  The line 'I'm fine living without you', was a kind of nod to how much independent Korean women are.  I find it a little bit rich myself (which speaks volumes about me) so I littered the song with all kind of veiled references. 

The song 'I don't care' I was kind of taking the piss, but I knew it would be a hit. 

The 'I don't care' part was basically because I literally didn't care.  The 'sometimes you have to act like you don't care, that's the only way they'll learn';  well that was just good advise really. 

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I was literally funding the expansion of our rubber farm project with words and pictures and tinkering with this app where you could easily write the kind of Kpop bubblegum style music the Koreans like.  I made a number of modifications to the app, well basically redesigned it as a custom one to be used for my exclusive studio.  I thought they tend to saturate the soundscape with their endless singing.  I mean for christ's sake sometimes you need a break  So I put in a lot of silent kind of breaks.  It was because I thought they sounded like they were kind of just whining all the time.  Of course I wouldn't know how to do that, my good friend Muff Richardson on my request sprang into action and in a couple of days it was there.  All ten songs delivered suspiciously quickly.  All done in a kind of fevered dream, a marathon session of 20 hours I hardly even remember drinking all those 3L bottles of Piss, whoops I mean Cass.  And the girls were really happy I came through for them, and my wife was like see I told you so, bless her.  Although she did insist accompanying me when ever I went to work for them. 

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Asleep the phone rings, I'm hoping it's her.

Her: Do you know where you were last night? 

Panadol: It is a bit hazy, look no, it's a complete blackout.  Do you know?

Her: You were walking through the slums chatting to people, acting like you owned the place. You then got into a moto and went to this part of town asking for him to wait for you.  I paid him.

Panadol: I yeah I kind of do remember that, thanks for squaring me up.   I think what happened was I got on a different moto and he took me back. 

Her: So why do you walk through slums.

Panadol: I walk through anywhere, best way to visit a city.  If I encounter a slum then I'll walk through it.  The most likely explanation was I was bored.  Still, don't really remember it.  If you are going to keep following me then I'd appreciate if you'd take the occasional photo, or even a small bit of video footage. 

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