Monthly Archives: August 2007

Confessions of a Thai Minor Wife (Part One)

Getting the idea

Not so long ago, I started work on compiling a set of interviews with a variety of Thais from different sectors of society. The interview below, the first of two parts, was the first one which I completed.
I originally met Yui by a chance a couple of years ago and we became good friends. She had always told me that she had a boyfriend and I would often see him come pick her up, take her to eat and buy her stuff etc…It was only after knowing her for the better part of one and half years that she admitted one evening “Steve, Yui pen mia noi na”. (“Steve, I am a minor wife). Actually, I wasn’t very surprised, perhaps she thought that I knew all along – Thai-style like…..she guessed I would find out all by myself.

As you will read, Yui can certainly think for herself; she is charming, has a fun personality and without a doubt would have no problem at all, at just 30 years of age, to find a ‘proper’ boyfriend. She prefers to live though, the life of a minor wife (mistress) – and it is that which encouraged me to encourage her, to tell her story.
In this translation of the interview, I have tried my best to keep to Yui’s style of wording – only some names have been changed. The first part concerns Yui’s life…… prior to becoming a Thai Mistress.

Maybe you could start by telling us a bit about your family.

Sure. I’m the forth of five children. I’ve got an elder sister, a younger sister and two elder brothers. I still got my mum and dad, they live in Pathumthani province – my mum used to be a teacher and my dad used to work for the local government administration. As for my brothers, one of them works as an engineer in Bangkok and the other stays near our parents home running his own small Garage business. They are already married with children, same goes for my elder sister, she lives in Nonthaburi. Now, my younger sister too, is in a relationship with some guy but she didn’t say if she had plans to get married. Anyway, I think she’s still too young for commitment, she’s just turned 25.

So, it doesn’t sound like you come from a poor family.

My family aren’t poor and they aren’t rich, but they do all right. My parents are retired now and they get a government pension. When we were younger, our parents didn’t save much money for themselves as they wanted to spend their savings on giving their children the best education. We all pity our parents though and try to send money home as often a possible, you can say it’s a kind of traditional payback. But to tell you the truth, my parents don’t really need the money – they live a simple life, like a ‘self-sufficiency economy’.

You spoke about your parents giving their children the best education. Please explain.

Except for one of my brothers, we all went to university in Bangkok and so my parents had to pay for all of that. Our dad wanted us to study hard and that meant no working at the same time. So, you can think how much he had to pay for everything. On top of that, my brother and I went to private universities which cost a lot.

How about your university days?

My university was located on Rangsit-Viphavadi road, not too far I guess from the old airport. It’s quite a famous university and most students who go there can learn to speak English well. But, not me! I graduated in Business Administration but since I liked to go out a lot with friends, go to parties, go to nightclubs, drink and stuff – my grades were low.

You sound like you were a bit of a wild student. Did your parents know?

No way, I could never have let them known, they would have been really sad.

Were your parents very strict?

Not at all, the very opposite – especially dad. When I was growing up my parents were protective of me but at the same time they would let me do my own thing, I suppose you can say I was a spoilt kid.

You are an attractive woman, so I can imagine that you had a lot of guys hitting on you during your time at university.

Hah! Most of my friends were actually guys, I always hung around more with my male friends. I guess I liked their life-styles, partying and drinking – most of my girlfriends though, as they lived with their parents in Bangkok, wouldn’t go out that much. In Thai society it’s all right for guys to do what they want, like sleeping around with a lot of girls and although I didn’t encourage such practices, I accepted it as the normal kind of male behaviour. At that time I was pretty scared of getting AIDS or something so there was no way that I wanted to get into any kind of intimate relationship with one of them.

Are you trying to say that you never had a boyfriend then?

No, I had a boyfriend, but since he wasn’t part of our circle, I didn’t bother telling my friends about him. I don’t think they would have taken to him that much anyway. He wasn’t like them.

Please explain further.

He was a really clean guy, clean on the outside anyway. He didn’t smoke, drink or do drugs. He wasn’t a student too, he worked for his father’s business in Thonburi (Western Side of Bangkok). His family were rich and he had been to study in America before.

Did you meet his family?

Yes, but they didn’t like me. Kind of looked down on me, I think they wanted their son to marry a really proper Thai girl, a girl who would bow and kiss their feet and serve their son like a maid not a wife.

You sound angry.

Who me? My dad had always brought me up to have self-pride and taught me that everyone was equal. Yes, I was very proud of all the things he had done for his family. He also taught me that I should look for a husband that really loves me for what I am, regardless to whether he is rich or poor. That’s why I didn’t like his parents, they would look at me a like I was a country-bumpkin who only wanted to marry into money. I loved my boyfriend a lot and just had to put up with his parents but I tried to meet them as little as possible. In my heart too, I was wishing that one day they would accept me.

You were really serious about this guy then.

Sure, I thought he was the perfect guy. He cared about me a lot, was very kind and didn’t fool around with any other girls. One thing I liked about him too was that he was more grown up than my friends – he was about 28 – he was more responsible and hard-working – we could have a decent conversation about more-or-less anything. He was the first guy I ever took to meet my parents and they liked him a lot, my boyfriend would buy lots of little gifts for mum and even bottles of imported wine for dad. They believed him too and so I would use him to explain that I was a diligent well-behaved student who did nothing in her free time besides reading books!

What did your boyfriend think about your wildish behaviour?

He didn’t really care that much. I don’t know why but he completely trusted me. Sure, he cared for me but just like my dad, he thought the best way to deal with a wayward girl was to just let her go but support and teach her along the way. He was glad though when I graduated from university and got myself a job.

So, what happened?

Let me say first, I loved the guy so much that I put up with family insults and sarcasm, I just hoped that they would one day see me in a brighter light. My dad would have been very upset if he had known, but my boyfriend would often come to sleep over at my place and we would sometimes go away for the weekend just him and me. I never suspected anything, I was so stupid, it’s unbelievable. His family would often call him, like he was a big baby or something, asking him what he was doing and what he was up to, so I didn’t think anything when a cousin of his ‘Tuk’ would call a lot.

The first time I started to find out the truth, was the time I accidentally found a strange mobile phone zipped-up in his bag. I asked him whose mobile phone it was and he replied that it was one of his friend’s – he had forgotten it or some crap like that. Just then while I was holding the thing, someone called in, but the phone’s sound and vibration mode had been turned off. To cut a long story short, I found out that this ‘cousin’ of his was in fact his new girlfriend – she knew about us and was waiting all along for us to split up. After a bloody row not long after, he disappeared and that was the end.

How did you feel after the relationship ended?

I wasn’t just heart-broken but I felt like a dumb idiot who had been used like some dirty rag. I felt bitter too abut his family who were probably celebrating. I was also mad about that girl ‘Tuk’ who had no heart – she just came in deliberate to destroy our relationship. After that, I didn’t have any proper boyfriends for a long time – sure, I went out with some guys, even had casual safe-sex at times, but I just couldn’t trust guys anymore. I was also really embarrassed too, to tell my parents – I knew that if they knew the truth they would be very hurt. So, I just said that he went abroad to further his studies and that he would be back one day.

You seem to be very open and frank.

My parents always tried to teach me to speak my mind and let go of my feelings. So, that’s what I do – but not always with them – I don’t wanna hurt their feelings anymore.

Update: Read the conclusion on by clicking here.

Welcome to Hell

I have recently finished reading “Welcome to Hell – One man’s fight inside the Bangkok Hilton” by Colin Martin. What a shocking book! It’s the story of an Irishman who invested money in a bogus company in Thailand, lost almost half a million USD, and later on killed (in self defense) the crook’s bodyguard. He was sent to Bangkok Hilton, one of the most dangerous prisons on Earth.

When I turned the last page of the book I felt overwhelmed by the injustice that was done to this man. He served eight years in two Thai prisons, one from Chonburi and the other from Bangkok, where he was witness to things no man should ever see: beatings, humiliations, rapes, and the degradation of human beings. He was tortured by the police, beaten by the guards and other prisoners, and was refused medical treatment by the doctors. He lived in unimaginable conditions, and had to pay for all his toiletries, food, and all other items of personal use. He had to bribe guards and prison captains to be allowed to play in the prison football team or to practice muay thai.

He was convicted to more than 13 years in prison after a trail that can only be described as a joke. The prosecutor’s main witness died during the trial, but his statement was accepted by the judge. The body of the man Martin had allegedly murdered was never found. The knife he allegedly used to kill the victim was never presented to the judge, just a photocopy of a rusted knife. He was refused his right to appear in front of the judge in a suit, and was obliged to wear prisoner’s clothes and chains around his legs. His lawyers constantly asked for huge commissions and money to bribe the judges! His Thai wife stole the money his family sent for bail, and when he was finally free, she literally sold their son to him.

His sentenced was reduced after the Supreme Court of Justice from Thailand admitted that the prosecutor had questionable evidence, but still the Supreme Court THOUGHT that he had killed a man, although they COULDN’T PROVE anything! But Martin was strong. He fought and fought until, after 8 years of incarceration in Thailand, in January 2005, he was set free and, with the help of his friends, retuned to England to start anew.

It is a book that marked me profoundly.

Thailand’s 1st ‘Real’ Ladyboy! (Part2)

(Transsexual ladyboy Mrs Jim Sara 54, with her legal husband Mr Nop 33)

After Jim Sara had been the first Thai to ever undergo a complete sex-change operation (London’s Kensington Hospital, 1976) she came back to Thailand to start her new life as a woman. Unfortunately though, the Thai law (as it still does today) disallows transsexuals to use the title ‘Nang Sao’ (Miss). Jim feeling really hurt inside, admits that even though she was fitted out in female sexual organs, she didn’t feel like an actual woman.

Fed-up with Thailand’s anti-transsexual diplomatic way of thinking, Jim packed her bags again and this time flew to Melbourne, Australia to start up a Thai restaurant – going into business with her Thai boyfriend of then. Jim stayed there for a total of 5 years, but after her and her boyfriend split up, the restaurant business went to tatters and she got on the airplane home. She next flew on to Switzerland – and as she has traveled to England before, she falsely used her sister’s passport.

Again, in the restaurant business, Jim decided that she really loved Switzerland and wanted to apply for permanent residency. Certainly not too easy though, especially when she was carrying fake identification. But anyway, Jim, through a friend of hers, met a Swiss guy who was willing to marry her if she paid him 500,000 baht. She did and the marriage was signed. Within just a few days though, she was dumbstruck to hear that the Swiss law on automatic residency for married aliens had changed – and her dream of residency wasn’t gonna happen that easy.

Jim waited years before she was applicable for permanent residency and when her time was ready, her ‘husband’ turned around and refused to sign any papers of guarantee unless she paid him a stack of money. Giving into his greed, she paid but once again he demanded more cash. This time she refused and he simply disappeared of the scene. Sadly, Jim never did get her permanent residency for Switzerland.

A couple more years went by and suddenly one day, her ‘husband’ came back and said “Unless you give me the sum of 600,000baht, I’m gonna tell the authorities that I was bluffed into marrying a ladyboy who deceived me with her sister’s passport”. Taking the threat seriously, Jim decided to the right thing and go back to Thailand.

Once safely back in her home country with plenty of savings in her bank account, Jim opened up Thailand’s very first ‘Gay and Transgender’ hotel in Pattaya. It was during her time there that she met her future husband Mr Nop – a successful businessman and former actor. But, with the 1997 Asian Financial Disaster, Jim’s hotel business collapsed and on top of that – lost 28 million baht in currency exchange.

With some money leftover though, Jim came back to Bangkok and opened a Gay Club in Saphan Kwai district. Jim and Nop’s love grew stronger and in 1998, they were the first ever transsexual-straight couple to get married in Thailand. The marriage ceremony, the first of its kind, was heavily publicized and the couple were a household name overnight. What made the story even more amazing, was that Jim’s husband was 21 years her junior! A ceremony it only was though and the couple, as is stated by the law, were unable to have the marriage officially documented.

When being asked what first made her fall in love with Nop, Jim said “He was like no other man I knew; he didn’t smoke, drink, gamble, play around or even go out at night. He was the politest and gentlest guy I had ever known”. So, how did Nop feel about getting publicly married to a transsexual ladyboy, 21 years older than himself? “I didn’t care, love is love and if two people love each other then why should you care about what other people think. Love is in the heart. Until this day, when I walk around in public with my wife, I don’t feel embarrassed – I feel very proud.”. Nop went on to mention that he had had the continued support of his family and friends.

That year, Jim sold off her gay club and moved to New Zealand with her new real husband to start a new life – this time traveling on her original ‘Mr’ passport. On being stopped at immigration, it was only after an interview with the officials on duty that Jim was allowed entry (Jim was later to be refused entry to China because of her male passport and female breasts).

Jim and Nop established a Thai-sweet business in New Zealand – the first of its kind and again Jim was making attractive earnings. In 1999, Jim began to apply for permanent residency. After two years, she got it. As is allowed by New Zealand law, her next step was to legally marry Nop. Jim had to undergo three medical examinations and take her case to three different courts. But somehow along the lines, the authorities manage to find out that she had once completely broken the law by illegally marrying in Switzerland. Back to square one for Jim and it took it her until 2006 before she was finally permitted to legally marry Nop – the first Thai transsexual-straight couple ever to be officially married.

Jim is currently back in Thailand, aiming to break back into show-business. I, on behalf of thai-blogs, wish Jim the very best of luck.

The first part of Jim’s story can be found at: Thailand’s 1st ‘Real’ Ladyboy! (Part One)

Story, courtesy of Khoosangkoosom magazine

Thailand’s 1st ‘Real’ Ladyboy! (Part1)

Former actress Jim Sara claims that she was not only Thailand’s very first transsexual to be officially recognized as ‘Miss’, but also the first to have full sex-operation surgery. For the first time in English, here is her story on how she became Thailand’s first ‘real’ ladyboy.

A native of Nakhorn Sawan province, Miss Jim first hit the limelight in her teens when she acted in a series of films – each one playing the part of an actual women. According to the film crew and fans, Jim was so cute in those days, that everyone mistook her for a Tom-boy! And even after she gave up performing for the cameras and took up the normal working life, people around her still believed she was just a girl disguised as a boy. Jim relates the story of the time she was employed at a fancy hotel. One day, on being approached by one the hotel bosses she was taken aside and informed that it was against staff policy to hire Tom-boys. She was instructed that from that day onwards, unless she went back to dressing as she should – as a proper female – she would be fired!

Fed-up with the miserly pay of hotel work, Jim changed direction and got herself a job as a well-paid tour guide. She admits that she had a great time with her new chosen career and managed to save plenty of cash. So much in fact, that she was able to establish her own bar – aimed at gays. Her bar was soon a hit with the local and expat ‘pink’ communities, especially when she thought the idea up of secretly showing gay sex movies. Not for long though, her bar was busted by the police; Jim was arrested, her bar shut down and she lost all her money.

Devastated at such bad luck, Jim packed her suitcase and headed for London at the advice of an English friend she had met while working as a guide. Wanting to travel as a ‘woman’, Jim decided to travel on her sister’s passport and left her ‘male’ one at home. Not long after, Jim secured herself work in a Thai restaurant and she was back to earning decent cash.

By chance, while flicking through a copy of a local newspaper, Jim came across an advertisement from a London hospital looking for sex-operation ‘case study’ applicants. It was 1976 and Jim was just 23 years old. Jim jumped at the opportunity of a free sex-operation as no such thing was available in Thailand in those days. Mind you, Jim wasn’t the only one to apply for such a great opportunity and on the day of application she was surprised to meet another 100 or so transsexual hopefuls. She was the only Thai and one of just three Asians.

Jim managed to pass the first stage of application and the amount of applicants was cut to 40. For the next couple of months, Jim had to attend a series of daily interviews and tests, most of them psychological and underwent hormone treatment– she was fortunate that her place of work wasn’t too far down the road. Finally, the doctors made their ‘case study’ list be known and when Jim heard her name being called out as one of the chosen 7, she broke down in tears. Later, on asking one of the doctors why she had been one of the lucky ones, she was informed that she was the most ‘lady-like’ of all the hopefuls, both mentally and physically. Jim’s operation was classified as ‘full-option’ and it was to take a total of 14 hours. In the meantime, Jim took 7 days leave from work and told no-one.

After the operation, Jim admits that she was in a lot of pain and it was a few days before the bandages came off and she could finally see her new self in the mirror. She was thrilled at what she had become – her dream had come true.

When Jim’s visa was coming to an end, she decided that she had had enough of London and headed back for home. With the sex-operation complete, Jim thought it best to disclose the details to her family for the very first time – at the airport where they were waiting. Only having known Jim as a cross-dresser before, they were absolutely shocked to see their brother walking through arrivals with a big pair of breasts. Jim’s father never did get over such a surprise and didn’t talk to her for years after.

The Second part of Jim’s story can be read at: Thailand’s 1st ‘Real’ Ladyboy! (Part Two)

Story courtesy of Khoosangkoosom magazine


Coming soon on The Confessions of a Thai Minor Wife. An exclusive interview with a mia noi.

Not All Mums Are So Wonderful

The following blog/article was published in The Nation newspaper yesterday. Here below however, is the originally un-edited, submission)

Well, happy Mother’s Day has passed again, a joyous time of the year for children all over the land to be inundated with media reports and stories on the unconditional love between mother and child. A splendid occasion for all the kids to realize the immense gratitude they ought to hold for their mothers, regardless to whether their moms have done little for them besides giving birth and stuffing a bottle milk in their mouths.

The majority of mothers of course, deserve unanimous credit for their enduring responsibility of their descendants and be well worthy of any so-called unconditional love. On the other hand, there are plenty who do not. But never mind though, the land’s kids are taught that no matter how irresponsible their mothers are, they are to be shown the upmost gratitude

Just prior to the captivating mood of Mother’s Day, instead of just pondering the usual shocking dad and uncle newspaper headlines, I was on the not so jubilant end of reading quite horrifying Thai language news reports of quite hideous moms. None of which were mentioned again during Mother’s day festivities. Just to wet your taste-buds, one nauseating mother on hoping to be the recipient of a check for millions of baht worth of insurance, planned that her son-in-law via her daughter indulge in the eradication of the latter’s father. This was complimented with another atrocity of another old-mommy who was found guilty of arranging the repeated seduction of her twelve year-old daughter at the hands of her new boyfriends.

For most kids as usual, Mother’s Day was a delightful time to weep on their mum’s shoulders and contemplate the benevolent deeds bestowed upon them. For a lot of kids however, it was a tearful time to ponder a different reality; one in which they seldom saw their real moms since they had been dumped off with granny at the tender age of two and a half month. Not once, during Mother’s Day festivities on TV, did I read about the forgotten plight of children who had been abandoned by mothers who had gone to the big city with frivilous promises of sending back big wads of cash. Yet however, many of these cheerless kids, will be brought up to believe “But your mother has always loved you”.

A lot of underprivileged kiddies are brought up taught that it was daddy who was the baddie and that he was the one irresponsible for their lives’ predicaments. When in reality, it was the fault of both parents, dad getting the thicker end of the stick. Now, every child has the right to go to school, but unfortunately theory isn’t always put into practice, but the idea of using the child as a money-making tool is. While some supposedly beloved female offspring ought to be in school trying to complete a Grade 6 education, mom has insisted instead that she be on the streets at the stroke of midnight, either pedaling religious garlands to locals or knocking off packs of chewing gum to wealthy foreign tourists.

Child labour is a serious problem and we are constantly informed that it is due to poverty. But certainly not always – let’s have a look at the case scenario of lovely Miss Kat, another hard-working primary school girl in her provincial town. In order to help pay for her so-called educational and domestic costs, she has been instructed by mom to wash the dishes at some round-the-clock rice soup restaurant. After handing over her monthly salary however, she is soon completely bewildered to see her miserly mother clutching a dozen lottery tickets, while eagerly scanning through a newspaper cut-out in the hope that she has miraculously won millions. The next day, instead of Miss Kat having enough left-over cash for the school bus fare and lunch, she is stuck at home viewing first-hand her mother, in the living room with door-bolted, gambling the rest of her earnings on a Hi-Lo card game with some local neighbours.

Even when their children grow up, there are countless mothers out there, who see their kids, especially daughters (generally, sons aren’t so daft) as walking ATMs. Playing on the ‘Kreng jai mae’ hype (having innate gratitude for mothers) custom, the children are helpless but to earn cash for their moms regardless to what type of employment they may be subjected to. As mentioned above, a lot of these daughters never bother undertaking what they have promised their moms, and do instead simply sneak away. According to the local ways of thinking, that kind of woman is an appalling daughter who has no consideration for mom. Needless to say, it is an endless cycle of ‘children = money-making tool’, which is passed down from one generation to the next.

This kind mentality is not just synonymous with some working-class rural or urban folk, but it is also embedded in a different sort of way – in the psyche of some wealthier social class folk. Another Miss Kat, this one having been fortunate enough to be raised in a more privilege society, is soon dumbfounded to why her mother dictates to her about her future university, career and even husband. Should she care to relate any of her own ideas, she will be on the receiving end of a scolding and informed that it is shameful to argue with the person who has given birth to her – she ought to realize the agonizing time she has made her mother go through. “Oh no…the ‘Kreng jai mae’ sketch all over again!

Then we have another batch of privileged kids, whose mothers having raised them in such a spoilt way, that they believe themselves a member of the distinguished few who can get away with any kind of brute behaviour whatsoever. Even if they are a complete nuisance to society – well never mind like, their beloved mothers have taught them that they are ‘innately special’ and should be given entitled consideration, especially in comparison to any lower-class loser. We have read countless reports of spoilt brats in the papers, who after getting themselves caught in serious trouble, are next pleading innocence in front of the camera while holding mommy’s hand. Even if the child is a female university attendee who has been filmed red-handed drugged-up indulging in sordid debauchery at some university gathering – well again, her mother will be jumping in with a flimsy defense plea. More often than which involves putting the entire blame on everyone one else, besides her irresponsible self and delinquent child.

For any spoilt smart-aleck, there is even a fabulous Thai way that can legitimize any wayward behaviour and the customary ‘I am never wrong’ attitude. It goes like this, until this day, it is a Thai custom that when a child clumsily hurts himself while say attempting to hurdle a chair, mother will be there – not to blame the child, but to knock the naughty piece of furniture with her knuckles and say ‘Very bad chair’. As you could well imagine, that is not exactly one custom which is helping to condition the land’s kids at such an extremely young age.

Parenthood and that which has been emphasized today, motherhood – consists of raising children to the best of ones ability and not for the sole-purpose of future financial windfalls. That said, responsible parenting also includes teaching children that they are in no way special or superior to others and that they ought to limit and be accountable for their own behaviour.