Behind The Smile
Lek was born the eldest child of four in a typical rice farming family. She did not expect to do anything any different from the other girls in her class in the northern rice belt of Thailand.
Typically that would be: work in the fields for a few years; have a few babies; give them to mum to take care of and get back to work until her kids had their own children and it would be her turn to stop working to take care of them.
One day a catastrophe occurred out of the blue – her father died young and with huge debts that the family knew nothing about. Lek was twenty and she was the only one who could prevent foreclosure. However, the only way she knew was to go to work in her cousin’s bar, Daddy’s Hobby, in Pattaya.
She went to Daddy’s Hobby as a waitress-cum-cashier, but when she realised that she was pregnant by her worthless, estranged husband, things had to change. She had the baby, gave it to her mother to look after and went back to Daddy’s Hobby. However, now she needed real money to provide a better life for her child and to make up for spending its whole youth 500 miles away. She drifted into the tourist sex industry.
This book, the first in the trilogy called ‘Behind The Smile’, relates some of her ‘adventures’, her dreams and nightmares and her ‘modus operandi’. It tries to show, from Lek’s point of view, what it really is like to be a Thai bar girl – the hopes and frustrations, the hopes and the let-downs, the hopes and the lies and deceit that are part of her every day life.
One day she meets a man whom she likes and who he likes her too. Nothing new there, it had happened hundreds of times before, but she feels that it is different this time. They have a wonderful four weeks together and then he goes home – as they all had, leaving more promises and more hopes.
This one returns to Daddy’s Hobby looking for Lek, but real life with a real boyfriend is not as easy as she had dreamed it would be. They go through good and bad times, but will they stay together and for how long?
After all she has been through, will she be able to be a regular girlfriend or even a wife again? Will she ever really be able to trust a man enough again either? Or would she be better off giving up her dreams and carrying on working in the Daddy’s Hobby?
Lek begins to find out that getting what you wish for is not always as good as you thought it might be.
‘Behind the Smile’ refers to the fact that Thailand is known the world over as ‘The Land of Smiles’.
‘Daddy’s Hobby’ was indie-published by Owen Jones on the 19th April 2012 by Createspace.com; ISBN: (978)1475216882