Pattaya Daily News

07 February 2007 :: 16:02:03 pm 21325

I’m going to fill my belly and have some money in my pocket again.

I've always been a great reader. You can completely loose yourself in books. I?ve got a broad range of interests, but I particularly like literature, politics and philosophy. I suppose I really developed my interest after my mother died of cancer when I was 10.
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Being a well-known real estate developer, my father was always out, at meetings, visiting sites and travelling to see my uncle in Hong Kong. I had to occupy myself for much of the time and in those days, Thai TV wasn?t much to write home about, so I started reading in earnest.

I suppose you could say I was spoilt as a child. My father obviously felt sorry for me after my mother died, so he indulged me, buying me virtually everything I ever asked for.

As I was nearly 11 when my mother died, I didn?t have long to wait before transferring to my secondary school. I went to an international school because they had a strong languages department and my father wanted me not only to improve my Cantonese, which I already spoke, but also to learn Mandarin and English, of course. The teachers really appreciated me, partially because they felt sorry for me being motherless, but mainly because I was a really conscientious student. I always completed my assignments before the deadline and I was creative in my approach.

I romped through school, forming many friendships because I?m a likeable sort of person and was always ready to help if any of them ever had a problem. I had no trouble with the exams and passed my IGCEs with flying colours and embarked on my A level courses.

Half way through my second year, everything changed again. My father met a glamorous young lady called Rung from Chiang Mai like my mother, but her family was slightly higher up the social ladder. I had problems with her from the very start. I was always a bit of a Daddy?s girl even when my mother was alive and I suppose I resented the fact that my father?s new lady monopolised his time and thrust me into the background.

Things got even worse when they got married and whenever we were together you could cut the air with a knife. Rung was hyper-critical of me, but not to my face. She used to wait until I?d left the room before she complained to my father about me. I suppose I also resented no longer being the young lady of the house as I?d enjoyed that position for nearly 7 years. I wasn?t the only lady of course towards the end, because my father?s mother had come to live with us.

I was almost ready to take my A levels and had a tentative offer from the Bangkok university, so my father decided the best solution was to set me up in my own place in Nawanakorn. He was even more generous than usual, probably because he felt guilty. Apart from the lavish condo, he also bought me a BMW 323 and gave me a driver and a maid. There was one drawback, however, because I was still relatively young, nearly 18, Thai middle class custom dictated that I had to have a chaperone, so my father persuaded my grandmother to come and live with me.

I had passed my A levels with extremely good grades, so the university was pleased to offer me a place. We all moved into the condo in Nawanakorn just before I went to university and things settled down for a while.

The next development was that Rung had really wanted to start a family quickly to consolidate her position and nine months after she and my father got married, she had twin girls. That didn?t really put me out as I was considerably more mature by then. What really upset the applecart was that my father collapsed in the bathroom one day. He was rushed to hospital and, after tests, the doctor informed us that he?d had a stroke and his condition was serious. Later that day, he had another, which paralysed him and left him unable to communicate.

That was when the grim reality really began to dawn upon me. For the first time in my life, I was forced to catch public buses. A complete nightmare as I?d never even travelled on one before and had no idea even how to pay. The people on the bus were completely unsympathetic, assuming I was fresh from the most remote village in Esarn.

The next day, my world almost fell to pieces. It was 14th May 1997, the start of the East Asian Financial Crisis. Over the next few weeks, things went from bad to worse, until one day, my step-mother came round to my condo looking very grave. Apparently, my father?s assets had suffered a complete catastrophe. He was effectively bankrupt and all his developments were impounded. Rung, with tears in her eyes, told me that we would have to sell the car, the condo and virtually everything I owned.

The next week was my graduation, at least one thing had come right. Celebrating later that day with some of my friends, I looked into my purse to discover I only had 20 Baht. Going to the nearest ATM, I inserted my card and punched in my requirement of 5000 Baht. My card was rejected, I only had 2000 Baht in the account and that was the only money I had in the whole world!

We sold the condo the following week, but my step-mother took most of the money top pay my father?s medical bills. I was forced to borrow money from friends to pay the necessary 3 months? deposit on a very small condo in Ekkamai. The next few weeks were among the most unhappy of my life, until a ray of sunshine banished my gloom.

I received a phone call from my uncle in Hong Kong who had heard of my sad plight and as he had promised my father he would take care of me in the event of anything bad happening to me, he was eager for me to come to Hong Kong right away and he would give me a job in his company. He transferred enough money into my account to pay the airfare and buy some new clothes and off I went to start a new adventure.

Uncle met my plane at Hong Kong Airport and took me straight to a condo he?d rented for me. It was very nice, but no frills. As there was no maid service, for the first time in my life, I had to do my own laundry, clean my room, make my bed and basically live like ordinary people. My uncle said it would do me a power of good as I had been living in a dream world and needed to come down to earth. I started work with my uncle?s company full of optimism.

My luck had only marginally turned, however, and bad luck was still haunting me. I caught pneumonia which rapidly developed complications due to my depressed state, so much so that I had to return to Bangkok for treatment. Thankfully, my uncle paid all my expenses and medical bills. He gave me an allowance which allowed me to rent a small condo in Sukhumvit Soi 33 and even to hire a nurse to look after me while I recovered.

After a month, I had sufficiently recovered to contemplate going back to work in Hong Kong. The date was February16th 1998, I was about to phone a local travel agent to book my return flight and went over to turn down the TV where I had been watching CNN when a breaking news item caught my attention. China Airlines Flight 676 from Bali to Taiwan, carrying 182 passengers, had disappeared from the radar screens, presumed crashed. I don?t know why, but a chill dagger of fear ran down my spine. I couldn?t understand it. I didn?t know anyone who lived in either Bali or Taiwan. No inkling of the significance of the news registered, until later that evening my uncle?s secretary called me from Hong Kong and told me my uncle had been on the plane, returning from a business meeting in Bali. There were no survivors. My uncle was dead. The phone just dropped from my hand as I stood in stunned silence, the implications slowly sinking in.

That was the longest day of my life. I had lost everything: my favorite uncle, financial support, prospects for the future, effectively my whole life.

We attended the funeral, but it was one of the saddest occasions I have ever experienced. They didn?t even have a body to bury, just a photo. Uncle hadn?t included me in his will and I was left nothing. I had 20,000 Baht in the bank. I felt dreadful. Would nothing ever go right for me? Would this train of bad luck ever end?

I decided to go and visit my father in Chiang Mai. I felt the wings of the Angel of Death hovering and determined to get up there as soon as possible, before he died, too. When I got to my father?s house, I was astounded by the condition of the house and especially the state of my father. He looked pale and wan; his hair was lank and bedraggled. His clothes looked as though they hadn?t been changed for a week. Rung was really neglecting him. So much for true love, when the money went, so did Rung?s care and attentiveness.

My father?s nails were long, brittle and dirty. I decided the least I could do was cut them for him. When I started cutting and looked closer, I was appalled to see that at least half of my father?s nails were already dead. I turned to Rung and really laid into her, accusing her of being callous and uncaring. ?How could you leave my father in such a dreadful state? You?re just a gold digger, a heartless bitch,? I shouted at her. She for her part wasn?t about to take my criticism lying down and we started a full scale argument. Eventually, I just stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind me. Totally drained and despondent.

Still livid, I went back to Bangkok to my condo in Soi 33. When I got there I went straight into the bedroom and just collapsed on the bed and cried my eyes out. I was totally exhausted, no family, no money to talk of, and no-one to turn to. I had to stand on my own two feet. I had to get a job to support myself. I had a degree; it couldn?t be that difficult, could it? But it was. It was the aftermath of the financial crisis and no firms were hiring. I went from one interview to another, feeling worse after each one, until I was virtually suicidal. Then my luck turned, a friend told me about a PR job paying 12,000 Baht a month that was vacant at a hotel at PluenChit area. I telephoned and rushed over, feeling that this was my last chance.

As luck would have it, the interviewer was a farang in his late 40?s who didn?t seem at all interested in my qualifications; he just kept looking at me slyly from the corner of his eyes. He asked me to start the next morning and I went home feeling the happiest I?d felt for ages. My happiness didn?t last though. I worked for the first week all the time with the feeling that the boss?s eyes were boring into my back and mentally undressing me. He flirted outrageously. I had an awful time trying to stop him groping me at every opportunity. Then in the Friday after work, he asked me out to a nearby bar for a drink. My fist instinct was to decline gracefully, but in Thailand employees don?t refuse their bosses? requests, so what could I do but go?

I should have known better, but I was so naïve, never having drunk alcohol to any great extent before. My boss kept plying me with Marguerites, telling me they were slightly stronger than beer, when in fact they were loaded with tequila. By the end of the evening, I didn?t know whether I was coming or going. I couldn?t focus, slurred all my words, couldn?t think straight at all and could hardly stand up.

I woke up the next morning in his bed. I was shocked and blazingly angry. I had been taken total advantage of by an unscrupulous bastard. I had only had one steady boyfriend before when I was in the 2nd year at university. We?d had furtive sex a few times, always hurried and nervous about being discovered. I wasn?t a virgin, but I wasn?t a bad girl either. My boyfriend, however, didn?t stay the course; he beat a hasty retreat when he discovered my father was bankrupt. He said that he couldn?t cope with my depressions and all the problems I was having.

I?d always thought love was beautiful, probably from reading too many romantic classics, but now I don?t know what it is anymore. I was totally disillusioned at the time. But there was no love involved with my farang boss. He?d just raped me when I was incapable.

I quit the job that same day. The boss tried to find me to apologize. He wanted to be my regular boyfriend, he said. But I was having none of it, I could have taken him to the police for forced intoxication and rape, but I didn?t. I just wanted to forget he ever existed.

It was then that I started to drink and smoke. I?d never smoked before and I should have known better, but I just didn?t care. I just lazed around my condo for a week, watching TV half-heartedly, but not really taking anything in. I was in a real state. I woke up with 500 Baht in my pocket, the rent of 6000 Baht to pay and absolutely no means of paying it.

It was then that my friend Tammy, who worked in an escort agency, came to the rescue. She brought round a video called ?Madame Beverley Hills? about the life of high class hookers. I watched it twice and finally understood what was involved in Tammy?s job. It was an impressive movie, not in the least bit sleazy, quite a work of art, actually, even though it was essentially about prostitution.

Right, I said to myself, I?ll do it. I?d been shocked quite frankly when Tammy had told me what she did, but now my circumstances had radically changed, I was no longer a poor little rich girl toying with the perimeter of life. I decided to forgive myself for my naiveté and parochial attitude. I was beginning to appreciate Maslov?s theory. No food, no money, clothes, but no means of washing them. I couldn?t even afford washing powder. I?d had enough of poverty and destitution. No matter what I have to do, I?m going to fill my belly and have some money in my pocket again. And that was how my descent into the maelstrom began.

Reporter: Snookie

Read my articles:

SNOOKIES LIFE STORY Part 1

Many of you must be intrigued by now about my life and my family history, so my good friend, Khun May, the Editor of Pattaya Daily News, has asked me to give you the lowdown on my background. I?m normally quite a shy person and was reluctant to reveal my innermost secrets, but Pi May is very persuasive, so I relented and agreed.

Snookies Story Pt 2: Mamasanning

We lived happily together until Tom?s wife from England turned up one day at his condo. My Buddha! That was an experience. Talk about being a tigress! Tom?s wife went absolutely ballistic when she found me living with him. I had no option but to move out.

Tips for Foreigners visiting Pattayafrom a concerned courtesan.

Pattaya – sometimes known as the Sex Centre Of The Universe – has an ambiguous reputation among foreigners, despite its lavish beaches, bars and broads. Often, they don’t fully grasp the complexities of the Thai lifestyle, so, as a Thai, I’m going to you some guidelines to ensure your stay in our fair country is trouble-free and enjoyable.

THE GRIM REALITIES OF BAR-OWNERSHIP IN PATTAYA, Snooki’s advice to aspirant bar owners

Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to own a beer-bar or Go-Go bar in Pattaya’s fair city? You have? Did you really talk to the people who run them and find out the true story?

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Stories

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