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Village Life Experiences


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The Mosquito Patrol.

Another 'Real Village Life Experience' I find intriguing is 'The Mosquito Patrol'.

Periodically, a platoon of mosquito combatants patrols the village. This is made up of somebody carrying a bundle of pink forms, somebody else holding a pencil, another clutching a clipboard, and yet another team member holding a large electric torch. They move stealthily among the clusters of houses, flashing the torch in nooks and crannies under stilt houses - many of which are home to buffalo, cows, ducks, cockerels, chickens, cats, dogs - inspecting the area for signs of anything that might encourage mosquitoes. After the inspection a pink form is pasted somewhere on the front of the house, a column duly filled in and dated as proof of inspection and compliance. The trouble is the first soaking with rain, gust of wind or fading due to sunlight and they hang in shreds awaiting the next patrol, which dutifully peers at the paper shreds as though the information is still decipherable and make notes accordingly.

Working bravely alone, the spray man follows with a motorized gadget that produces alarming clouds of choking fumes, vapor and smoke that beats inhaling emissions from twenty trucks and twenty buses, and without so much as a facemask the sprayer walks up and down, between houses spreading his deadly cloud. Not surprisingly, the next day there comes stories of at least one villager who had to be rushed to hospital with breathing problems.

As soon as I hear his lethal weapon start up in our location on the edge of the village I slam the doors and windows shut and tie a handkerchief round my mouth, waiting for the 'all clear' to sound!

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Good-luck living in a Thai village.

Couldn't do it myself; a living death. Nothing to do and frankly the locals have only two subjects of conversation (I speak passable Thai) which is food, or, gossiping about other villagers.

If you're planning on passing the time by reading, movies and the internet, you can do that in a town, or, city. Why bother with a village?

I'm doing it because my GF wants to be closer to her family and we both got sick of town life, well, Pattaya in particular. She has two sons and all the time she has spent living with me they have been growing up without a mothers influence. Their father did a runner some years ago and they have largely been brought up by her papa and younger sister. She has always deferred to me before on where we lived and it's only right that I consider her needs and wishes. If it doesn't work then I'll consider what to do next. Different strokes for different folks.

Simon

It's almost as cheap living in one of the provincial towns as it is in a village, but, there's a lot more to see and do.

As someone said; a personal choice. Personally, I hated it due to the never-ending boredom compared to the towns and cities.

PS. Pattaya is not a typical Thai town.

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The piped water in my village comes from a small man made lake. Not drinkable. Most of the cooking water comes from the large jars. But with all the plastic that gets burned around here, I don't completely trust that water. even though I do wait for a few rains to "clean" the roof before filling. I buy bottled water for most of my water drinking.

But with all the plastic that gets burned around here.... Another recent benefit in our village is the addition of a weekly garbage collection service with modern hydraulic refuge trucks and the supply of smart blue garbage bins placed at strategic intervals along every soi and alleyway in the village. It's curbed dramatically the number of bonfires and rubbish-burning.
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Hi Simon,

I followed and commented on your recent post about loudspeaker towers in villages. Your subsequent comments made more sense and explained your reasoning for considering village life.

These are my own thoughts on the subject:

Q) Why am I living in an Isaan village?

A) I first came to Thailand in 2005, then aged 61, divorced, redundant with little money, no property or assets in the UK. In other words, just about down and out. My only lifeline hung on a single remaining endowment policy which had been hammered into the ground and would only return about one-and-a-half million baht on maturity in 2009. I managed to get a job in Pattaya with a holiday company – legally with a work permit – lived in a small rented apartment in Jomtien, earned a bit of money, played the field with bar girls, moved to the company's Phuket office during 2006, played the field with Phuket bar girls then went off to work in Bali for a few months.

In 2007 I moved to Koh Samui, worked for the original company and one night met a girl from Isaan who had just that day arrived on the island intending to work in a bar for the first time. I went to that bar every night for a week or so and kept her boss happy by spending a bit of money over the bar whilst enjoying the company of his latest recruit, so she never left the premises with any other falang. She never drank alcohol or smoked. (Still doesn't to this day, apart from maybe two bottles of Spy a year!) A while later she left the bar and moved into my rented house. At the end of 2008 we went to Phuket where I worked until the end of that year, when the job was no longer available. I hadn't saved any money because the income just covered rent and living expenses

Our relationship continued to be excellent; no expectancy or demands for money because she knew I hadn't got any! After a lot of thought and discussion I decided the best route would be to move to her village, wait for my one-and-a-half million baht insurance maturity, then spend some of it converting her parent's house on stilts to incorporate a new modern house underneath. The remaining cash would need to stay in the Thai bank in order to qualify for 'Extension Based on Marriage'. We lived up in the old house with her mama, papa and her two young sons for a year until the new house below had been completed. By that time I qualified to receive the British state pension, enhanced with extra sums from SERPS and Graduated Benefits (a left over benefit system entitled to from previous years)

We married legally in Bangkok in 2009 so my pension is topped up with Wife Benefit (which can no longer be applied for and ends in 2020!) The grand total monthly income is a very modest amount that many farangs would gasp at and cry, 'How on Earth do you manage to survive?" Which leads to the next question.

Q) How do I survive in the village?

A) I've always preferred country life. I'm fortunate to have a Thai family who are totally unobtrusive – even the year spent living together in the old upstairs house wasn't a problem – believe it or not. Now, Mama and Papa live upstairs, myself, the wife and two boys live in the modern air-conditioned house below. The parents or any other visiting family members never encroach on our space, in fact even when invited to join us they prefer to visit ma and pa via the outside back steps leading upstairs, or once in a while sit in the shade under our front porch. It's all very civilized and workable. The total cost to convert the house was no more than I would have spent on rent in places like Pattaya or the islands in just three years. Yes, If I could afford to live down south I would quite enjoy somewhere like Samui with nice beaches, but can live without the sea.

Our lifestyle is simple. Now approaching my 68th birthday I'm quite content with a routine of early morning walks along the quiet soi, (we're on the edge of the village) or down by the river that runs at the back of the house and through nearby temples with beautiful grounds. A potter in the garden, a few hours online, or watching my favorite movies and British TV shows, or writing fiction and screenplays (I did have a novel published last year as an eBook and completed a screenplay, neither likely to make money or get noticed, so please don't ask!) Sometimes a motorbike ride to the small town a couple of kilometers away, visiting the market and 7-eleven, a monthly trip by public transport to the city for supermarket shopping. And of course a few beers or something later in the day at home. Because the villagers know I'm not a rich falang, the men never scrounge beer or whiskey from me, although occasionally I ask neighbors to share a beer with me. I'm the only falang in the village; I do miss good English conversation sometimes, but wouldn't want the life spent around guzzling in bars in town too often even if it was affordable.

My wife helps out on the family farm and runs the domestic things at home. Hopefully we'll have a little money saved to take the kids for a holiday to the coast next year. It'll be a bus trip to keep the cost down.

This is a great post for its honesty, makes me want to go to live in the village right now.

Thanks Jezz I hope to meet guys like you in her village

Well done WOW

Pat :jap:

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After living in Bangkok for 30 years I wanted a change of scenery and a change of pace. Land, views, pets, toys and someplace to enjoy them so we moved to Chiang Rai. I don’t live like a villager, I just live on the fringes of a village but with my modern conveniences as well. Nice little place to live, good views from the front yard, great sunsets, great motorbike roads and mountain bike trails, and tons of other stuff I had to do without while living in Bangkok.

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Evening%2BSky%2B%2B002.jpg

Nan%2B%2B015.jpg

This one is from the 1148 to Nan, one of my favorite motorcycle roads.

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Good-luck living in a Thai village.

Couldn't do it myself; a living death. Nothing to do and frankly the locals have only two subjects of conversation (I speak passable Thai) which is food, or, gossiping about other villagers.

If you're planning on passing the time by reading, movies and the internet, you can do that in a town, or, city. Why bother with a village?

You would understand if you had young kids benefitting from an extended family on tap. Can be a pain for the falang at times but it works wonders for the little 'uns social development and roots them in something 'real'. [Fine if that happens to be available for you in the city or suburbs].

I'm a city-type myself but never regret surrendering a few years to get the sprog off to a well-adjusted start.

Oh and by the way Cities are sooo twentieth century man - get with the times :rolleyes:

Edited by SantiSuk
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Village life, good and bad, most farangs are just not cut out for it. My village is a closely backed border village of around 300 homes [huts ] and everyone is related. Great for my 2 little ones as it is really just one big family. We have no front door, only doors are on the bedrooms, people come and go all day and night. Keep my ice box in the front of the house on the soi and never had one beer stolen. Don't hear the chickens, speakers and muffler-less motorbikes any more. My brain has tuned those noises out.

Biggest problem I find is dealing with the simple mindedness of the locals. They refuse to do anything differently than their fathers did, but when I say if you want western things, cars, TV etc you need to do things in a better way, they just shrug. FIL puts bills in the car clove box with a Buddha medallion on top. They will go away, then there is a panic when they come to cut the power off or the bank is phoning demanding payment. I maybe different then many as I make my living here and know if the workers started think of tomorrow instead of what's happening now, things would be much easier. Won't hold my breath. Every thing is living in the moment, don't bother to put the rifle away, just leave it in the baby's cot. why bother having brakes on a motorbike etc. That's life. Jim

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Village life, good and bad, most farangs are just not cut out for it. My village is a closely backed border village of around 300 homes [huts ] and everyone is related. Great for my 2 little ones as it is really just one big family. We have no front door, only doors are on the bedrooms, people come and go all day and night. Keep my ice box in the front of the house on the soi and never had one beer stolen. Don't hear the chickens, speakers and muffler-less motorbikes any more. My brain has tuned those noises out.

Biggest problem I find is dealing with the simple mindedness of the locals. They refuse to do anything differently than their fathers did, but when I say if you want western things, cars, TV etc you need to do things in a better way, they just shrug. FIL puts bills in the car clove box with a Buddha medallion on top. They will go away, then there is a panic when they come to cut the power off or the bank is phoning demanding payment. I maybe different then many as I make my living here and know if the workers started think of tomorrow instead of what's happening now, things would be much easier. Won't hold my breath. Every thing is living in the moment, don't bother to put the rifle away, just leave it in the baby's cot. why bother having brakes on a motorbike etc. That's life. Jim

Jim, I enjoyed reading your comments. In trying to relate and understand your point of view I came up with these thoughts:

#1. You say your house has no front door. Our house is just a simple conversion of an old house on stilts. Ma and Pa live upstairs – with no front door. Me, the wife and two kids live downstairs in the converted section that does have a front door. Yes, locals come and go, but they make a beeline for the rear steps to the old house without intruding on our space downstairs. If invited they join us for a beer or whatever.

#2. Quote, “Don't hear the chickens, speakers and muffler-less motorbikes any more. My brain has tuned those noises out.”

Good on yer! Same for me.

#3 Quote, “They refuse to do anything differently than their fathers did, but when I say if you want western things, cars, TV etc you need to do things in a better way, they just shrug. FIL puts bills in the car clove box with a Buddha medallion on top. They will go away, then there is a panic when they come to cut the power off or the bank is phoning demanding payment.”

I haven’t encountered that situation – yet!

#4 Quote, “I maybe different then many as I make my living here”.

I’d never pry, but wonder how? No need to answer.

Finally, Jim, I still can’t quite work out why a man with your foresight dismissed my comments this morning in the thread about land prices in Isaan where I asked a perfectly straightforward question – what’s the best advice to give to help a simply-living Thai family regarding how they can get the best advertising for land they wish to sell. You suggested staying well out of it, but I was only looking for ideas to help my family find a decent way to find potential buyers. They seem to think a few posters and relying on word of mouth will do the trick.

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That is a beautiful view! I have similar but no mountains. Does it get cold there in the winter?

It hasn't gotten really cold yet this year but it is chilly at night. Walking the dogs this evening, my wife had on a light jacket but I just felt cool and refreshed. :)

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Jezz, not hard to see what I do, I am on the farming forum and if you Google my name with Thailand I am on there. As for the land thing. They sell and buy land illegally all the time, it's just the way that things get done here. If they are selling big dollars worth of land legally then there are land agents. Mostly in this area, if someone is looking to buy [ big money land ] they will approach a land agent. He will phone around the district headmen to see what;s up for sale. As I said keep away from involvement, it's nothing to do with you and things can come back and bite you. Last thing a farang wants to get caught up in is a land dispute and they will blame you if it goes wrong. Jim

PS you can always put the sale on barhtandsold, but be sure of the titles. Jim

Edited by jamescollister
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Jezz, not hard to see what I do, I am on the farming forum and if you Google my name with Thailand I am on there. As for the land thing. They sell and buy land illegally all the time, it's just the way that things get done here. If they are selling big dollars worth of land legally then there are land agents. Mostly in this area, if someone is looking to buy [ big money land ] they will approach a land agent. He will phone around the district headmen to see what;s up for sale. As I said keep away from involvement, it's nothing to do with you and things can come back and bite you. Last thing a farang wants to get caught up in is a land dispute and they will blame you if it goes wrong. Jim

PS you can always put the sale on barhtandsold, but be sure of the titles. Jim

Thanks, Jim. I can only repeat I am not, do not want to be, and will not be involved in the process. I simply asked for information that might be of assistance to the Thai family - not myself. I did think myself that a land agent might be a good port of call. ( By THEM - NOT me - I'm out of it!) It's just that the value of the land has increased a lot due to a new highway to be constructed commencing March 2012 passing along it's borders. This would seem to lift the prospect of selling approx 60 rai of potentially sort-after development land above the realms of selling the odd rai to a fellow villager for farming purposes. It's one of those things they don't stumble upon very often and seem not to quickly grasp the opportunity or how to handle it. Thanks anyway.

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Village life, good and bad, most farangs are just not cut out for it. My village is a closely backed border village of around 300 homes [huts ] and everyone is related. Great for my 2 little ones as it is really just one big family. We have no front door, only doors are on the bedrooms, people come and go all day and night. Keep my ice box in the front of the house on the soi and never had one beer stolen. Don't hear the chickens, speakers and muffler-less motorbikes any more. My brain has tuned those noises out.

Biggest problem I find is dealing with the simple mindedness of the locals. They refuse to do anything differently than their fathers did, but when I say if you want western things, cars, TV etc you need to do things in a better way, they just shrug. FIL puts bills in the car clove box with a Buddha medallion on top. They will go away, then there is a panic when they come to cut the power off or the bank is phoning demanding payment. I maybe different then many as I make my living here and know if the workers started think of tomorrow instead of what's happening now, things would be much easier. Won't hold my breath. Every thing is living in the moment, don't bother to put the rifle away, just leave it in the baby's cot. why bother having brakes on a motorbike etc. That's life. Jim

`Jim ,

see ye in January , a dram maybe ?

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Village life, good and bad, most farangs are just not cut out for it. My village is a closely backed border village of around 300 homes [huts ] and everyone is related. Great for my 2 little ones as it is really just one big family. We have no front door, only doors are on the bedrooms, people come and go all day and night. Keep my ice box in the front of the house on the soi and never had one beer stolen. Don't hear the chickens, speakers and muffler-less motorbikes any more. My brain has tuned those noises out.

Biggest problem I find is dealing with the simple mindedness of the locals. They refuse to do anything differently than their fathers did, but when I say if you want western things, cars, TV etc you need to do things in a better way, they just shrug. FIL puts bills in the car clove box with a Buddha medallion on top. They will go away, then there is a panic when they come to cut the power off or the bank is phoning demanding payment. I maybe different then many as I make my living here and know if the workers started think of tomorrow instead of what's happening now, things would be much easier. Won't hold my breath. Every thing is living in the moment, don't bother to put the rifle away, just leave it in the baby's cot. why bother having brakes on a motorbike etc. That's life. Jim

`Jim ,

see ye in January , a dram maybe ?

I would hope we can kill a bottle or 2 of single malt. Jim
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I live in a village up Burirum way, when not away working, and enjoy all those aspects of village life that others have mentioned in this thread but one big drawback is now starting to emerge and I am not sure how to deal with it.

Like many others, my wife had a child from time before and he is now 15. He knows everything as we all did at 15, and takes no notice of requests, does nothing on the farm, and of course there is no discipline applied and whilst I am tempted from time to time to step in, I stay out of it though have many times tried to influence him postitively.

Now the problem is he is mixing with others in the village that I consider not the best models and he is becoming more difficult to deal with. I am worried that he will end up off the rails.

The solution may be to relocate but it is not practical really.

So whilst life in the village can be great for those of us looking to escape city life, for a young person it can be the pits and become a pit for them, and this in turn attacks the serenity of village life.

It's another perspective on village life.

Any advice based on similar experience most welcomed.

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My approach is to allow people to screwup their lives anyway they want. Freedom of choice and all that, you know. I am just not convinced you can fix people and I have yet to see anything that works in our village. If it makes you feel better and you have the time to spend with him, go ahead and try, but try not to be too disappointed if it doesn’t make much difference. Good luck.

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I live in a village up Burirum way, when not away working, and enjoy all those aspects of village life that others have mentioned in this thread but one big drawback is now starting to emerge and I am not sure how to deal with it.

Like many others, my wife had a child from time before and he is now 15. He knows everything as we all did at 15, and takes no notice of requests, does nothing on the farm, and of course there is no discipline applied and whilst I am tempted from time to time to step in, I stay out of it though have many times tried to influence him postitively.

Now the problem is he is mixing with others in the village that I consider not the best models and he is becoming more difficult to deal with. I am worried that he will end up off the rails.

The solution may be to relocate but it is not practical really.

So whilst life in the village can be great for those of us looking to escape city life, for a young person it can be the pits and become a pit for them, and this in turn attacks the serenity of village life.

It's another perspective on village life.

Any advice based on similar experience most welcomed.

Kiwijack

A tough situation, but one that parents have been faced with since time immemorial. I am lucky (?), mine is a 15 year old step-daughter, so all I really need is a big club to keep the boys away...right?? Wrong.!

I am lucky that we got off to a great start and I lived in the village full-time, but I really think that if you can substitute your son's time with the bad influence people and give him positive things to do with you as his friend (step-father), maybe the positive will be better than the negative. Ask your parents how they did it...just kidding.

Best of luck...

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I live in a village up Burirum way, when not away working, and enjoy all those aspects of village life that others have mentioned in this thread but one big drawback is now starting to emerge and I am not sure how to deal with it.

Like many others, my wife had a child from time before and he is now 15. He knows everything as we all did at 15, and takes no notice of requests, does nothing on the farm, and of course there is no discipline applied and whilst I am tempted from time to time to step in, I stay out of it though have many times tried to influence him postitively.

Now the problem is he is mixing with others in the village that I consider not the best models and he is becoming more difficult to deal with. I am worried that he will end up off the rails.

The solution may be to relocate but it is not practical really.

So whilst life in the village can be great for those of us looking to escape city life, for a young person it can be the pits and become a pit for them, and this in turn attacks the serenity of village life.

It's another perspective on village life.

Any advice based on similar experience most welcomed.

My best advice, do not get involved.

For others who may be considering taking up with a woman with kids in tow, especially boys, unless you have the patience of a saint, or endless money dont bother, more trouble than its worth.

You have various scenarios playing out here that you may not even be aware of, one is the status/role of men in Thai society and the way children are raised.

I know its not want you want to hear, but if a push comes to a shove the wife will put her children before you, its just the way it is.

Moving wont solve the problem, you will just move it to a different location.

Is the boys father lurking in the background stirring things?

Are you actually able to converse with the boy, has the mother put her foot down, have beatings taken place (I know some may consider this to be un PC but its the way things are done here)?

In your shoes I would get one of the wifes brothers to deal with it or offer advice on the way forward.

Right now I am watching what can best be described as a lump, a 12 year old 100+ kg kid, the locals refer to him as dinosaur (big body small brain), this kid was doing nothing but eat, sleep and playing internet games and hanging with the wrong crowd.

The father took the kid out of school and put him with a house building crew, the lump now gets paid 200 baht per day and has a feeling of worth, this lump will never amount to anything, but at least he is being disciplined, and by the time he gets home is too exhausted to be any bother.

Another guy I know has a 30 year old stepson who has never done a days work in his life, this guy has been told that this worthless piece of shit now needs a new CRV, 1 million plus, because he is losing face being seen in his old car, this piece of shit is given an allownace of, wait for it, 30k baht per month, you know who is paying for that.

I could go on, but why bother, at the end of the day what you want doesnt matter, its what the mother wants that will take place.

Just be thankful that he hasnt started stealing from the house yet, or even worse, knocked up some local girl.

I honestly dont know why some guys put up with it, others I know are in too deep financially to walk away, the house, land etc etc is so much that many turn a blind eye to it or turn to the demon drink to numb themselves.

"for a young person it can be the pits and become a pit for them, and this in turn attacks the serenity of village life." From what I have seen, the locals will take care of this if he starts upsetting the natural order of things in the village, the mother may have been spoken to already or has ignored things.

A couple of years ago I watched as a family were given 15 minutes to move from their house, before the house was torched, the locals had had enough of the thieving

I can only wish you all the best.

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Thanks all for the advice and tips.

It wasn't a moan but more a heads up on what can develop for many of us living in a village which can suddenly impact on the enjoyment of it all. No different to rural anywhere. Not sure a daughter any less angst?? I have 2 sons and a daughter ( grown up ) of my own but sport, living near the coast and other recreational facilities meant more meaningfully occupied free time.

In this case I like the advice of staying out of it. It's a no win situation I suspect to do anything else and whilst the suggestion of doing more with him to substitute time with the local lads is a good potential solution , it hasn't worked in this case. Actually we aren't that close, a consequence of me not being around a lot and language. He is a good kid in many ways but a typical 15 year old. And there is not much for him to do in a village, so it's into Burirum to hang out and play computer games etc etc. Who knows.

His mum has spoken to him about the usual pitfalls, girls,vandalism, grog, crime etc, but again hard to tell a teenager anything. He has never been beaten, his father hasn't been around since he was six months old so none of those dramas. It's just the age and the environment he finds himself in.

It won't become a him or me situation, as you right, I would never win that one, but if push comes to shove, well, que sera sera. Not a worry.

My concern is that he gets through this period without major damage. It may well be expensive for me but that's OK if it is just something that money can fix.

It's a worry.

But thanks again for the advice, much appreciated. We just keep letting him know we love him, value him and are concerned for him . I am learning to be a Thai fatalist.

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If I wanted to be woken up at 6am by noisy motorbikes, loudspeaker trucks and heavy plant I could stay in Pattaya.

Yep, move to a village and get woken up at 6am by chickens, dogs, etans, bikes with no baffles and the poo yai on the tannoy system instead.

Plus be prepared to get no sleep at all for three days every time someone gets married, dies or have a young lad going to the Wat for a 15 day skive.

Here's a new one for me. Music and singing started yesterday just down the road. Asked the wife who died. No one she said. I then asked who is getting married. No one she said. Then asked her who was going off to the temple, blessing the temple, or raising money for the temple. No, not that either dear, she replied. Ok I say, I give up. What is the occassion? She replies, well it is just so-so who lives down the road who has just come back from working in Korea and is going to build a house with all his money. So, go figure. When it is party time, it's party time. Roll out the barrel, everyone has a barrel of fun around here!

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  • 3 months later...

This little saga slots nicely into Village Life Experiences. When local workmen completed modifying our house from a wooden stilt structure to block walls downstairs two years ago they added a large veranda/porch with an apex roof butting up to the wooden front of the old upstairs house. Problem is, the wooden slats of the old house overlapped the wrong way so rain water seeped down when the wind blew in that direction. They filled the join with sealing compound. Then a suspended ceiling was installed for the finishing touch. At the first rain of 2010, water seeped through the ceiling boards, ominous brown stains spreading. Pleas for the workmen to come back and fix it failed. By the time the rains set in, a chunk of ceiling board fell down under the weight of the water and leaks broke out all along the frontage. Repeated requests for the men to come back and fix it failed. Most of the year 2011 went by then the wife’s family said they knew someone else who’d fix it. In November last year he quoted his price and we paid in advance for the new timber. Nothing happened. In January this year he delivered the wood, saying he he’d be back in the morning with his team to start work. Nothing, no sign of anyone. He finally turned up with his trusty team yesterday, started ripping off the old woodwork, and finished work at five PM, leaving a gaping hole above. This morning the rain started. No workmen to be seen. What would life be like without these trifling little matters?

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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks all for the advice and tips.

It wasn't a moan but more a heads up on what can develop for many of us living in a village which can suddenly impact on the enjoyment of it all. No different to rural anywhere. Not sure a daughter any less angst?? I have 2 sons and a daughter ( grown up ) of my own but sport, living near the coast and other recreational facilities meant more meaningfully occupied free time.

In this case I like the advice of staying out of it. It's a no win situation I suspect to do anything else and whilst the suggestion of doing more with him to substitute time with the local lads is a good potential solution , it hasn't worked in this case. Actually we aren't that close, a consequence of me not being around a lot and language. He is a good kid in many ways but a typical 15 year old. And there is not much for him to do in a village, so it's into Burirum to hang out and play computer games etc etc. Who knows.

His mum has spoken to him about the usual pitfalls, girls,vandalism, grog, crime etc, but again hard to tell a teenager anything. He has never been beaten, his father hasn't been around since he was six months old so none of those dramas. It's just the age and the environment he finds himself in.

It won't become a him or me situation, as you right, I would never win that one, but if push comes to shove, well, que sera sera. Not a worry.

My concern is that he gets through this period without major damage. It may well be expensive for me but that's OK if it is just something that money can fix.

It's a worry.

But thanks again for the advice, much appreciated. We just keep letting him know we love him, value him and are concerned for him . I am learning to be a Thai fatalist.

This is not advice - just sharing my own experience.....blended family of 6 kids - kids all get on extremely well and this is great and works well. Ages from 16 to 29. Have had all the trials and tribulations you could imagine but it now is starting to work rather well after years of consistency and hard to muster patience. Lessons learned over the last 10 years - 1) my wife's kids thought I would take her away to another country (big worry) so thought that they had better try very hard to discourage me. They were creative and persistent and almost succeeded! I just prevailed maintained the same standard for all kids. I only found this out in thr last few years and we can laugh about it now. 2) Thai kids (Boys especially) seem to grow up more slowly than Western kids (due to a combination of factors such as experience, expectations and cultural issues) so some shift in your own expectations may be needed 3) Thai kids like all kids will do things that bring disappointment and joy - I made sure all issues were acknowledged and dealt with, and always celebrated the successes 4) criticism has to be done in private or it can backfire 5) find what they can do, and like, and see if you can foster something along these lines (sport, gold fish, bike riding etc) 6) give them the means to make some money from their own efforts - e.g. mushroom farm, some chickens/eggs, labouring etc (this was good for their self esteem and gave them some independence) 7) make it possible for them to be a success in small medium and large ways. 8) raising kids has to be in a team effort with their mother - and it was very hard for her. Has it been easy - NO not at all. Has it been worth it - YES, overall it has been worth it. One thing that helped me was that my own mother re-married when I was 12 - fortunately the man she married has been a very good role model for me - he married my mother and decided this would involve her sons as well. I am essentially applying his approach. Good luck mate!

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