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Ryan Hendry is a former detective and lawyer from the UK. He is now a freelance writer living in the Philippines. Ryan has a Filipina partner and hopes to be married to her later in 2016. He has traveled extensively in Asia and is a veteran of the Asian online dating world. He has experienced online, and physically met, some scammers, including unscrupulous ladies from Thailand and the more obvious scammers from Nigeria. Ryan is keen therefore to share his experiences and uses this platform for his blogs as CLM and ALM is committed to hunting down all scammers. Ryan, despite some of his experiences, respects Asian culture, loves Asian food and is now happy in the Philippines!
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International Dating: My Story - House Hunting    

By Ryan Hendry
1735 Views | 15 Comments | 8/20/2016 12:57:19 PM

House Hunting


Noi and I stayed at the same hotel for the next four nights. It gave me opportunities to see the surrounding area and to talk with Noi about the future. That future involved discussions about her family. It became clear to me that Noi wanted to distance herself from her family. Certainly, in terms of miles. She loved them of course. The prime motivation behind her wish was her previous experiences. She had run a small but successful business in her home town of Kampheang Phet. By all accounts she was a talented cook. I had yet to put that to the test.


The restaurant had started to lose money. Besides selling her own food, Noi also sold beer and soda. I later found that was normal for any restaurant in Thailand and part of Asian culture. The problems arose when the family started to abuse the hospitality at Noi’s business. They would eat food and drink many bottles of beer and never pay a dime. Her father and Som were the worst offenders. To add insult to injury, Som and her father often ended up so drunk that they became incapable of helping Noi in the running of the business. Imagine the scene. Noi rose at the crack of dawn to buy fresh food at the market. Then, she would prepare the food for the first busy period of the day. That process was repeated throughout the day. Noi’s habit was to close at about eight in the evening. She would relax and drink a well-deserved cold beer.

 

The problem was that it was difficult for her to relax. By this time her family members were drunk! She would finish her beer and clean up. Did she get help? No, Som and the father would carry on drinking their beer. Noi explained that she disliked confrontation so never spoke with her family about these issues.
Noi was therefore keen to live anywhere but her home town. I was impressed by her work ethic. I was now getting serious about her and could definitely see a future for the two of us.

 

We started to seriously discuss where we could live in terms of both location and type of home. I was all for renting. At least initially. At this time, I didn’t feel certain enough about our relationship for me to fund the purchase of a house. I was aware that as a farang, I could not own land in Thailand. Noi was okay with the idea of renting. She then suggested we take a look at Phitsanulok as an area to live. Phitsanulok is a provincial town set in the plains between Bangkok to the south, and Chiang Mai to the north. It has a small airport. It took us about two hours to drive there from Kampheang Phet. 

 

It is a pleasant drive through the rice fields and tree lined roads. There are no major towns between Kampheang Phet and P’lok, as it is known to seasoned expats living in Thailand. There was the occasional village with smiling kids and the ubiquitous water buffalo. The main approach road was populated by the usual sights. Car dealerships, supermarkets and fast food outlets. I pulled the car over about two miles from the city center. “Okay, what now?” I said to Noi. “What you mean, what now?” It always made me smile when I heard her accented English. It was part of her charm. It was also a source of amusement to me that she could not understand colloquial English. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. It just amused me.


I asked her if she knew any real estate shops. I found out that they do exist in Thailand but the norm is first to look in a particular neighborhood.  Then keep your eyes peeled for the flyers stuck on telephone or electricity poles. That’s what we did. But only after Noi called her friend at the local airport. This was the same friend who we had rented the car from. Her friend recommended two locations. I set the details into my GPS and drove.


The first neighborhood looked fine. We drove around until sure enough we spotted a homemade flyer advertising a house for rent. Noi called the number. It took me about five minutes to reach the location. It was a two-story town house painted in bright green colors. It had a newish looking red tin roof. The house appeared to be in good condition. I believe in first impressions. I felt uneasy. It was set in a narrow street. The house was gated and opened up to a parking space with a sun canopy. The street was too narrow to safely leave a parked car overnight. And, it was a tight fit between the gates. It was going to be hard work parking the car under the canopy. And, even harder work backing out into that tiny street.


My unease about the parking led to that house being struck off the list. There were other reasons too. We took a fifteen-minute drive to the other neighborhood. There was nothing advertised so we called it a day. Our discussion on the return journey was about where to live. I explained to Noi, well, confirmed really, what my immediate plans were. I still had some two weeks left in Thailand before my flight back to the UK. I did not want to leave either Noi or Thailand but I had things to do back in England. There were matters to be finalized and loose ends tied up before I severed the umbilical cord tying me to my mother land. I was not looking forward to a long distance relationship.


What is house hunting like in other SE Asian cultures? 
 

 

 

 

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Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 15) 1 2 More...
#2016-08-20 13:05:16 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Interesting blog, Ryan, especially the family relationship issues that Noi had regarding her business. It points out again the huge difference between the culture of family in Asia and in North America, and I assume Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

I doubt there are many women in North America who would tolerate their father and brother sucking down her commercial beer to the point of drunkenness more than once, nevermind letting it go on so long that the business collapsed. While generally I think that Asian (including Chinese) family loyalty is a very positive thing, this is one clear example of where it was not.

I've apartment/condo hunted in a few places in China, but all big cities where there were lots of realtors and lots of listings. It was a huge chore narrowing things down, but at least we weren't forced to go search for postings on telephone poles.

#2016-08-21 07:42:48 by LWJ @LWJ

@JohnAbbot ;        Actually as far as the Family issues ; I was married to a woman which had owned her own Restaurant/supper club which served booze. She had told me it was her ex husbands family that had ruined the business,which I did check it out,and according to all information was true.I myself was still in the Army for 10 + years and we discussed getting the property to open another Restaurant,with a seperate Bar in an ajoining building.I used up most of my savings to get it going.I worked on everything for about 2 months,until I got TDY orders for Saudi Arabia. I was a Field Surgeon,M.D.,which I would be gone for a 6 month tour.When I left the business was going great,when I returned it was not. in fact I learned real quick that it was the wife,and her family and friends who had been the demise of the last business she was involved in.They had sold all the food end of the business to pay for the booze,and was using that building as a flop house .,all my savings was gone as well as all my paychecks,while I was gone,they had also gone in debt for the liquor at every distributor around,but was still getting credit from one jobber on the promise that I was in the Military...needless to say my 1st stop was with my lawyer which was the Attorney General for the state we lived in.when it was all done it only cost me what I had already lost,and all other charges her and her family had to pay the rest including all distributors,plus it was one hell of an experience which I never tried with anyone else...           Now as far as Housing;I've noticed that about 80% of the ladies on the sites want a potential mate to own a home outright,and own a luxury car,and make from 100 - over $200 K a year...and want to travel the world. I have talked with a few gals and have all asked why I don't own a home.of course I've told them the same answer; I had owned a small Farm of 28 acres,with a nice log home,etc. but due to property taxes every year,and repairs,lawn maintenence etc,plus utilities,that it was cheaper to sell it,and rent,and that by doing so I was saving better than $7500.00 a year.One of them actually told me that if I want a Chinese lady to love me then I needed to own my home,so when I died she would have a nice home to live in,plus she needs plenty money to live on as well.;So I guess this a comment as well as a question.? why is renting not accepted,,,thanks...

#2016-08-21 19:40:45 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@LWJ  80%? Are you saying that you think 80% of women who use dating sites are materialistic money grabbers who care about nothing other than your bank balance, the age and model of your car, your mortgage free property, and whether or not you can afford to keep them in the lifestyle to which they'd like to become accustomed?       I think you are totally wrong sir...... I think closer to 90%......(rofl)


#2016-08-21 23:09:29 by LWJ @LWJ

@paulfox;     :D:  I didn't want to say the % was that high,LOL But yes possibly even higher. it is so funny how the chinese women think us "Westerners" all have so much money. They must be watching way too much TV,haha. I guess they all think that by the time we have reached retirement age that we haved saved up millions of dollars just so we can go online and find a woman to marry and hand all our savings over to them so they can jet-set across the globe on it,while we trust they really care,LOL. and none of them ever think that as Americans,we have been married before,and if so we have ex wives that are the ones who own most of what we did earn, (sweat).  I was chatting with a gal just this morning who did ask what kind of car did I drive,and I told her a Rolls ,and she asked what year,and when I said I have a '73 rolls,a '79 AMC,a '37 Mercedes and 7 other antique and classic autos all in perfect shape,along with a trike, 2 boats.and 3 trucks.,the answer she gave me "but those are too old for me to be seen driving" I had to hold myself from laughing at her.I couldn't let her know that what I own was worth over $500K.for some reason if it is not a 2016 model then it means nothing to them. Therefore I saw no reason to let her know I lived in an apartment at the end of my shop which is basicly a lake home that a family member owns the property I built it on, and when I and or my spouse (if I find one) is gone will be his property.I just don't have to pay taxes or utilities.for that simple reason. The shop is a 50' x 100' with a  30 x 50 2 brm 2 bath apartment at one end. and we both use the shop.When asked about how much money I make ,I put down $25K + on my profile,so she asked how much more than that do you make?? I just said not much,because by then I knew where this LADY  was headed,to the blocked file,lol. I wasn't going to tell her that I retired after 25 years in the Military,plus worked another 20 yrs for the federal govt,so that was 2 nice pensions,then add on my social security,and the agent orange pension from my 28 months in Viet-Nam.which totals  well over 72 K a yr. then add that to the fact that I restore antique and classic cars as a hobby and sell  what I don't want myself... My main thoughts are if a woman does not want me for me,then she doesn't deserve anything else.

#2016-08-21 23:30:59 by LWJ @LWJ

@JohnAbbot......... ; I have a question for you since it seems you know a few things abouit the china laws etc.? I have been talking with a gal and have been thinking about coming over  there for a visit. The question is if I bring an auto to drive while there , what are the roads like,are most still dirt/gravel,or have they got more paved roads now,,I'm sure a few are but just asking since my last visit in China was in 1975 where I took my R&R while in the Military in Viet-Nam. I was in Beijing and surrounding areas and spent 2 weeks. Also if I did bring my own vehicle which is insured etc. in the USA,then what other types of permits would I need if any... Also if and when I do come I'd be coming on a cargo plane with our Air Force,which I could haul my own car ..  or would it actually be cheaper to just rent one there.thanks,

#2016-08-22 00:06:37 by anonymous15411 @anonymous15411

@LWJ....sorry to hear about the bullshit you had to go through...many western men get used in this way. I wish more women had an actual conscience but it seems highly unlikely. Most women aspire to a life of luxury on our dime, not theirs. Therefore they do not have men's best interests in mind and dont really care how much damage they cause to the man as long as they get what they want.

I tend to agree with Paul but I would have to say it is about 95% but that still leaves alot of good women to choose from...(rofl)

#2016-08-22 01:35:52 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot


@LWJ - regarding renting vs owning, and speaking as to Chinese people only, and not as to SE Asians, if you look up the stats on financial differences in the USA vs China you will find that the percentage of home owners vs home renters in China is considerably higher in China than in the USA, the bottom line is that Chinese are fantastic savers and Americans are fantastic squanderers.

The fact is that 90% of families in China own their home, which is much higher than Western countries, and here is another amazing statistic from a recent article I will refer you to below: "China’s home mortgage-to-GDP ratio was just 15% in 2012, whereas in the USA it was a staggering 81.4%". This speaks to the reason why Chinese women ask if a guy has his own home as part of the dating conversation. It is also worth noting that in China less than 20% of the homes owned have a mortgage against them. In the US it is over 80%.  These people are far more financially responsibe than their Western counterparts. It's IMPORTANT to them culturally and is part of what a real marriage is. Western men who can't stop looking at Chinese women through their own cultural expectations are not going to get it, but it isn't just about greed, it is often (though not always) about finding out if you're the kind of man she wants to spend her life with.

It amazes me how many Western guys feel insulted and as if they are being preyed upon by a Chinese woman asking if they are financially stable, but in thier own profiles they make it clear they want the woman move to their country, to take care of them, be a good cook and housekeeper, to travel when required and be loving and faithful. If the man is looking for a woman who will be a constant stay at home loyal wife is it any wonder she wants to know she'll be safe and secure as part of that relationship transaction.

Anyway, on that pure home ownership point there's a very good article that you might want to read here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/03/30/how-people-in-china-afford-their-outrageously-expensive-homes/#49a772124aa5

On your point about Family it is crucial that you meet your possible partner's family early in the process and see how they function, this goes for SE Asia or China, because in both cultures family is a major factor in your relationship. Usually the families are very close and what we would see as being almost co-dependant, but sometimes they are extremely happy, cohesive and functional families, and other times they are the opposite. Such as the one you found yourself in.

If you love the woman you might not base your decision to marry her on how her family functions, but you should clearly make a firm decision as to what role you intend to play in the family, and in the case of a dysfunctional family that decision should clearly be that you are not investing your time nor your money in her family, and she needs to respect that. And for your own well being you should stick to that principle.

Frankly that advice stands for people of any culture, including our own. But I have seen guys get caught up in Asian families and think they're going to save everybody. In the end they only sink themselves into financial ruin.

@paulfox1 - in my experience in the real world that same percentage applies to women you meet face to face in a bar or anywhere else. Maybe LWJ was refering to Dating Sites, but I think it is inevitable where ever you meet a woman that she will be assessing your financial status very early in the conversation, through a variety of clever questions, and how attractive you become to her will depend largely on how you respond.


#2016-08-22 06:38:50 by LWJ @LWJ

@JohnAbbot & @paulfox;,,,,; thanks for your advice,Now as for the financial parts,I sincerely understand the fact they need to know that they will be taken care of with little to no friction,and appreciate that. and yes I would want a mate that didn't mind keeping my place clean,and cook most of the time,of course I'd be doing a lot of the cooking myself .,and have plans to drive and see many parts of this country with her at my side.I just really don't care to visit the world again. in all my travels while in the Military,after you get out of the bigger cities,the countrysides in all countries are basicly the same,the houses may be built different,and the people as well,and I have seen many nice places in the world,and so many times when I go somewhere here in the states,I feel a sort of Dejavu,like I had been there before,knowing it was my 1st time.The reason I decided to try and find a mate from the Orient is that a good friend of mine met a real nice woman in China,and they have been together for over 30 years now without any major squabble.and everytime I see them they still act like newlyweds,it is so mindboggling,lol. I swore off women when I got my last divorce,I got tired of getting a place paid off and donating it to a woman that didn't deserve it. that was 15 + years ago,so I decided it was going to be a chinese woman this time if I'm lucky and spend however many years I have left in harmony if that really exists for me,lol.Just no more western women.

#2016-08-22 09:38:40 by RHendry @RHendry

The stuff about renting vs home ownership is interesting and educational perticularly as it applies to China which I have no experience of. On that same subject, the one issue that no one seems to address is this: Why should a foreigner buy land and a home when he can't own it? That is certainly the case in Thailand and the Philippines. I don't know about other Asian countries but my guess it is the same.

The respective governments are keen to take foreign money in so many ways as are the respective populace but as soon as it comes to owning "chattels" - no way! I could expand on all this but it would be a spoiler for future blog episodes.


@LWJ @LWJ regarding your inquiry about shipping wheels of your own to China - if it's the same deal as Thailand and the Phils - don't bother! The cost of shipping plus import taxes make it an unviable proposition. When in Thailand I investigated bringing my Yamaha FJR 1300 bike over from the UK. Thai Customs would have treated it as a new motorbike and slapped on import duties more than the value of the bike!

#2016-08-22 13:00:50 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@JohnAbbot.  When I first met my ex wife, neither of us had the proverbial "pot to piss in". After 25 years of marriage she walked away with about $1.1m and I walked away with a suitcase full of clothes and an 8 year old laptop. Therefore any Asian woman looking for a Western husband should ideally cross divorcees off her list.

 

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