Behind the Smile, the story of Lek, a bargirl in Pattaya

The Story of Lek, a Bar Girl in Pattaya
'Daddy's Hobby'

Why The Farmer's Daughter Had To Leave The Farm

farmer's daughter

Farming is a fragile industry, even in this day and age of machinery, testing and forecasting.

There is no certain way of knowing whether the farm will make a profit in any year, even if everything looks rosy a week before harvest.

In fact, in many ways, the last couple of weeks are the most tense time for arable farmers.

A violent gale, a hurricane or even a heavy down pour can ruin crops and an outbreak of disease can hit both arable and dairy farmers. Farming is a hit or miss business.

That is not to run down the ability of farmers. Far from it. In order to run a profitable farm, farmers need to be on top of modern technology and have excellent knowledge of their crops or livestock, yet anything can go wrong, even at the last moment.

And here I am talking about the farmers in the West, who are the richest, most educated and most heavily subsidised farmers in the world.

So, what about farmers in the Third World?

This book, Behind The Smile, is the story of Lek, a farmer's daughter from the rice belt in northern Thailand. Her family is a typical Thai family in the area. Not rich; not rich by any standards except by that of the people working for them casually.

Most years, they made a profit, but it only took a couple of bad crops in succession to ruin them. That was not the reason for Lek's family's fall from grace though.

Lek's father had borrowed money at a punitive rate and then died suddenly with no insurance. In fact, the family hadn't even known about the loan until a letter arrived after the funeral.
 
The choices were few: either sell land to pay the bank off; let the bank foreclose or for someone to go to the city to earn better money.

At a family conference, they chose the last course of action and that meant that Lek, at the age of 22 would have to go to Pattaya to work in her cousin's bar, Daddy's Hobby. The family was devastated, but selling any land would only put off ultimate ruin for a few years.

Lek could earn enough money in a month to pay off a monthly instalment of the bank loan and keep the wolf from the door, so off she went.

However, Lek realised that she was pregnant and, after having her baby, a girl, she gave her to her mother to take care of and went back to Daddy's Hobby in Pattaya.

Now she needed even more money and the only option that she could see was the sex tourism industry. She soon drifted into that seamier side of life.

The first book in the series 'Behind The Smile', Daddy's Hobby, tells, from Lek's point of view, how a simple farmer's daughter had to cope with a lifestyle that should not have been hers and how she tried to get out of it again in order to spend more time with her daughter who was 500 km away in her village.

by Owen Jones

 

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BTS 1: Daddy's Hobby

BTS2: An Exciting Future

BTS3: Maya - Illusion
BTS4: The Lady in the Tree

BTS5: Stepping Stones

BTS6 - The Dream