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 A Thai Region Where Husbands Are Imported (Udon Thani)

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PostSubject: A Thai Region Where Husbands Are Imported (Udon Thani)   Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:02 am



UDON, THAILAND — The most dazzling creatures Nui Davis saw when she was a child were the village girls who had found foreign husbands, visiting in their Western finery and handing out candies to the children.

“For me, they were like a princess,” she said. “And I kept those pictures in my mind, and I made a wish that one day I would like to be one of those ladies.”

Today, at the age of 30, she lives with her husband, Joseph Davis of Fresno, California, in an air-conditioned, three-bedroom house with a driveway and basketball hoop, surrounded by flower beds and a well-kept lawn.

“My family keeps saying, ‘You got it. You got your dream now,”’ she said.

But unlike many other foreign husbands, Mr. Davis, 54, did not take his wife home with him, choosing instead to settle down in northeastern Thailand, a region known as Isaan.

He is part of an expanding population of nearly 11,000 foreign husbands in the region, drawn by the low cost of living, slow pace of life and the exotic reputation of Thai women — something like a brand name for Western men seeking Asian partners. “Thai women are a lot like women in America were 50 years ago,” said Mr. Davis, before they discovered their rights and became “strong-headed and opinionated.”

“The women now know they are equal,” said Mr. Davis, a retired Naval officer who has been divorced twice, “so the situation is not as relaxed and peaceful as it is between an American and a Thai lady.”

It is easy to spot the foreigners’ homes, with their sturdy walls and red-tiled roofs, an archipelago of affluence among the smaller, poorer houses of their new neighbors and in-laws.

Mixed couples are common on the streets and in the markets of Udon Thani. One street where Western men gather to eat and drink is popularly known as “Foreign Son-in-Law Street.”

“There are villages in Isaan that are almost entirely comprising foreign houses, where the whole village is almost entirely houses purchased by foreigners for their Thai ladies,” said Phil Nicks, author of “Love Entrepreneurs: Cross-Culture Relationship Deals in Thailand.”

Isaan is one of the poorest parts of the country, the source of most low-wage workers in Bangkok and the home of many of the women who work in the entertainment industry in the capital.

Some of the earliest Thai-American marriages were in Udon Thani, the site of a U.S. air base in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. In the following years, most Americans left, sometimes taking a Thai wife with them. Now the presence of American and European men is growing again. “In the northeast where this phenomenon is strongest, a huge majority of the women there are looking for a foreign boyfriend or husband, and I think some of them can be quite assertive, and aggressive in their pursuing of a foreign man,” said Mr. Nicks.

A clash of expectations strains many marriages, and more than half end in divorce, said Prayoon Thavon, manager of international services at Panyavejinter Hospital in Udon Thani.

While the men — many of them retired and living on pensions, many disappointed in their lives and marriages at home — may be seeking an emotional connection, the women are generally motivated by economics, said Mr. Prayoon, who provides counseling for mixed couples.

“For some ladies it is just money, money, money,” he said. “Getting married has become a business more than love. People want to improve their social status. Sometimes these ladies spend the husband’s money, use it all, then he’s cut out. There are many cases like that.”

Even though many men are retired and living on a fixed income, they are expected to help support their wives’ extended families, beginning with a dowry of several thousand dollars.

“When you get married in Thailand you are marrying the whole family, the whole village,” Mr. Prayoon said. “Often the lady expects that, but the man doesn’t understand.”

There seems to be less concern about differences in age, with many bridegrooms in their 50s or 60s or even 70s.

“Age is not a factor here,” said Mr. Davis. “In America if I marry a girl who is 24 years younger than me, all you’re going to get is eyes and bad talk, bad gossip. Here it’s not an issue. It happens every day.”

At the age of 63, Dennis Sorensen, a retired mathematics teacher, is 32 years older than his wife, Pennapa, whom he met eight years ago on a beach. He spends much of his time watching U.S. television through a satellite hookup and cooks his own hamburgers, but he said he has done his best to keep his wife and her family happy. He helps raise her teenage daughter from an earlier relationship as well as their 2-year-old son.

“There’s some adjustment there,” said Mr. Sorensen, for whom this is the first marriage, “and we’ve had issues where I run out of money and I cannot take care of everybody, and that has caused some crises, but we’ve overcome everything the best that we can.”

One barrier is language, as few foreigners learn Thai. “I can’t speak English so well, but I can live with him many years,” Ms. Sorensen said, speaking in Thai. “Sometimes when he is very upset I don’t understand what he is talking about but I understand the tone and I just walk away.”

But she added in English: “I think Dennis is good — good for take care of my family, take care of my daughter, take care of everything for me. Before, I don’t have anything. But right now I have a home, I have car, I not work and I only stay home and take care of my baby.”

Foreign marriage has become so common that it has lost much of its stigma here in Udon Thani, and many girls share Ms. Davis’s dream of becoming a princess. “It looks pretty good and they look pretty happy,” said Rojjana Udomsri, 30, who is married to a Thai man and has a 2-year-old son. “They have money to spend and they can go anywhere they want.”

But she said she had her doubts.

“I don’t know if they are really happy,” she said. “There were times I wanted to have a good life like them, but I can’t live with a person I don’t love. With someone I love I can go through all the hardships of life together.”
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PostSubject: Re: A Thai Region Where Husbands Are Imported (Udon Thani)   Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:19 pm

Did you notice the last farang, stated, Thai's are not lazy people, which I do think is very true. Thais are only poor as far as the majority. Thai working class people work very hard, and even the very poor.

This farang is actually out in the fields working, and doesn't have to, but most farangs here, especially older could do some good, but never do, because they are lazy to only take, and they choose lazy Thai women who only want.

Beware what you wed here. It's all games, and lazy ignorant, but mostly stupid farangs, will always loose.
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PostSubject: Re: A Thai Region Where Husbands Are Imported (Udon Thani)   Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:17 pm

cheers Funny
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PostSubject: Re: A Thai Region Where Husbands Are Imported (Udon Thani)   Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:05 pm

It's a tad bit funny, but not so much as it's more pathetic.

Most of the Udon Thani, Farang/Falang resident population are the older pensioner type.

Most, in my opinion are not stupid, but simply extremely ignorant.

There are ton's of the younger blokes here as well, but the adventurous types, just feeling their way around the world, and this area is mostly just a pit stop in life.

For the older gents, it's a means of some form of happiness to an inevitable, nearing end.

As far as the retirees in Udon Thani, most, are the social misfits from their home countries with failed marriages, failed business, and failed everything in life.

Udon is the melting pot of Farangs with zero success in their lives. It's sad, but mostly true.

Udon holds a collective of the social undesirable male Farangs that can't find women in their home country. Too many 60 year old virgins here, but it is, what it is.

Ignorance only goes so far, before it becomes totally retarded.

So, that being said, Udon Thani, is still one of the last places on earth, with a piece of heaven.

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PostSubject: Re: A Thai Region Where Husbands Are Imported (Udon Thani)   Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:14 pm

Yep, retarded, for sure, and soon to be divorced for sure.
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