Monday, 10 May 2010

The Money issue (you take care me I take care you)

I have been busy so please forgive my lack of posts :-)
I recently asked a question on this excellent siteThai sex-talk and Kaewmala has been kind enough to write a very good response, click the link to read it. This post is my reply, I'm still busy, got to move home, have a job interview, get ready to go to Thailand and go to work, all in the space of a week!

Anyway, here's the article;

Thanks Kaewmala for a great post!
I completely agree with you when you say that many people, either Thai or not, would feel uncomfortable with their partner paying for everything whilst they sit at home or, more likely for some, go shopping! Then, of course, there will be others who dream of nothing else!
This is the same in London and, I’m sure, everywhere else!
It is a fact that most western men with an interest in Thailand are likely to be better off financially, than the Thai women they are going to meet (and often many people in their own country too), unless they mix in the ‘higher’ echelons of society.
The first reason would be that anyone in a position to travel half-way across the world say, three or four times a year has a certain amount of disposable income.
The second would be the economic differences between the countries involved, although, when you factor in the cost of living in real terms this is often over-emphasised. For example, a one bedroom apartment in a not so fashionable part of London can quite easily cost 50,000 baht a month in rent! Food bills for a month, well you can regularly see families in supermarkets spending 10,000 baht on food, twice a month, and think nothing of it.
What is most important in any relationship is happiness. For me and my girlfriend, she is independent thinking and hard working like me, it so happens that most of her work is unpaid, she takes care of her children, her sisters children during the daytime, does everyone’s washing (her grown up nephews laughed for quite some time when I suggested they do their own!) going to the market every day and cooking for five adults and four children. In the midst of all this she also takes in work from a local textile factory (it’s a small shop-sized concern about 10km away) to earn some cash.
I work long shifts, weekends, early mornings and late nights and get quite well paid for it.
So, given that I love her very much and know exactly how hard she works every day, it would be callous for me to earn what I earn and not help out. This would be the same if we were permanently living together (apart from the fact that the nephews washing would be piling up!)
This rather detailed description of our arrangements is, often, summarized into ‘how much do you ‘sponsor’ your girlfriend every month?’ It is under this cultural blanket description of farang ‘sponsorship’ that many people organise the day to day details of their relationships.
It is, obviously, true that there are stereotypes and equally true that many will rush to confirm them. After all, they’re stereotypes for a reason!
The goal, in all of this, surely, should be happiness. Cultural differences are there to be enjoyed and it’s important that we, as farang (some have a problem with that term, but that’s a whole different and much discussed topic!) understand them but also focus on the individual.
Anyone you get involved with is a person first and a Thai person second. Equally they should be able to see through your ‘farangness’ to the individual that you are.
Semi-related to this whole sponsorship issue is the ‘Thai family’ syndrome, where are you in the ‘pecking order’?
Well, I’m number four.
It goes like this;
Sometimes I can slip behind the latest homeless baby cat/dog but only temporarily! Honest!
Oh, thinking about it, maybe I’m number five, I was forgetting about Thai soaps on TV!

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