Saturday, February 24, 2007

Advice from a broken heart

Thai Takes

ROONG possessed all the tell-tale signs of innocence. The 19-year-old Thai girl didn’t smoke, didn’t have any tattoos on her body and didn’t work in a bar.

For 37-year-old American Vern Kovic who recently arrived in Thailand, Roong was very sweet, nice, accommodating and helpful.

Weeks after they established a romantic relationship, she told him she had to return to a bar to play games such as Connect Four and Pound the Nail with a Hammer with the patrons.

The American became confused, as his Thai girlfriend had earlier assured him she never worked in a bar. Her explanation was that she was just doing a favour to the bar owner who was a friend.

Later, an American friend asserted that Kovic’s girlfriend was actually a bargirl. Doubtful, Kovic challenged him to prove it.

His friend contacted Roong, slept with her, photographed her in his room and showed the photographs to Kovic.

Furious, Kovic bailed out of the relationship.

That was in December 2004. Since then Kovic, now 40, has stayed far away from bargirls.

Last December, the farang (Thai for westerner) started “to create a non-boring blog about life in Thailand, without suffusing it with sexual conquests like most forums and sites devoted to Thailand”.

Last week, the Pennsylvania-born man, who lives in Surat Thani in Thailand, posted an article called Farang and Bargirl Relationship in his blog.

“You can’t possibly think that a girl who has lied to everyone she knows for a period of months or years will ever come around and start telling you the truth about everything she is doing, the friends she has and the guys she knows abroad who are sending her money years after you’ve married her,” he explained.

Nonetheless, the temptation is overwhelming to some guys, especially to those who have not had a girlfriend their entire lives.

“They come here and suddenly they have three girls fawning over them and making promises to love them,” he wrote in his blog. “A guy like that is going to be duped into believing unbelievable (lies) and worse, can be led down the path to marriage very easily.”

In reality, a farang equals an ATM (automated teller machine) to a bargirl. She knows how to milk every baht out of a farang and ditch him when the money stops flowing or slows down to a level that isn’t worth her time.

Bargirls are so good at milking a farang cash cow, Kovice said in an e-mail interview.

The girls are masters of a farang’s emotion, he noted. They know that older men love to have a young girl in their arms, and in their phone list.

One trick a bargirl employs is to send out a blanket SMS to all the farang guys she knows.

Her SMS would be along these lines: she had some bad luck recently as the buffalo fell sick, or her father was ill, or her brother was in a motorbike accident; or she herself fell sick and was in the hospital; or the family car broke down, or someone stole her mother’s gold.

Her SMS appeals to the guy to send “just this one time” any amount of money as a loan.

Over the course of a year a bargirl, can amass a fortune if she is good at the game. Some earn 100,000 baht (RM10,463) a month from different farang boyfriends.

“A girl typically receives 10,000 to 40,000 baht (RM1,046 to RM4,169) or more per boyfriend living overseas who wants to keep his Thai love away from the bar to keep her chaste until he returns to Thailand,” Kovic explained.

Don’t date bargirls for more than a night, he warned.

If not, you would end up with a cigarette-smoking wife covered with tattoos and wearing clothes that reveal underwear and bra the public – except her father, brother and pimp – would laugh at.

(Published in The Star on Feb 24, 2007. Graphic courtesy of Vern Kovic)