Skip links

Main navigation

I SAY LET'S
GO

Can my money buy your love in South East Asia?

l

This post does not aim in any way to be offensive towards those whom I am going  to talk about it here. I must say that, as it has happened often with the lines  that I’ve written in previous posts about several subjects, all of them in one way or the other, are related to my travel experiences and not written based on a genuine knowledge about certain topics; instead, very much based on experiences and opinions that I’ve been through  myself.

 I am not Google and, as I often say; if you read my posts I hope is because you can enjoy an entirely honest vision and opinion about things as they happen. If are the facts that you are looking for, then please refer to Wikipedia which I am not! With this out of  the way, I can now confirm again that this post is entirely based on personal  opinions and thoughts that inevitable will occur sooner or later to anyone  backpacking or not ain a good bunch of South East Asian countries.

If you are one of  them, you have indubitably seen and felt as I have and therefore, got an opinion about the subject yourself. The subject that we are talking about here is pretty common, not unheard of but little discussed  on the media or any travellers travel blogs, for that matter; why we see so  many older westerner men with much younger Asian women.

 What’s behind this? Should still remain unsettling to witness? Why? And most  important, why these women do it? Can we judge them? Should we?

I’m currently in the Philippines  but I have, to certain extend, travelled extensively through other South East Asian countries before I got here. Since day one of my travels in this side of the world, there is this one sight that I have seen (almost) everywhere; the random older white man with a much younger Asian woman or women.

Unsettling? Very much so at the beginning. Has it stopped being unsettling for me now that I have seen hundreds of them? No, it still is.

Let me refer to my  last few days; a couple of days ago I took a transfer through the island of Palawan. On my minivan we were a bunch  of tourists and some locals, too. Among all of us, three of them captured mine  and others attention; a fifty something big unattractive British man and two  very young fragile small size looking Philippine girls that seemed were travelling together.

money-and-love[1]

 I was unclear at the beginning of our long car journey of the relationship between them but, luckily for me, the British man found on a young  fellow German  traveller an excellent partner whom to discuss his life as a broker in London. He spoke through the whole journey about his past job and  several other topics. As it usually  happens, when you enjoy so much talking about just yourself, you end up talking  too much in general and hence, why at the end of the journey, we all knew that  the three of them were travelling very much together, that there was some sort  of transaction or favour exchanged and that the girls were very dependent on this big man whom they called papa (father) being under his wishes for  whatever period of time.

He seemed polite  enough, they all seemed much civilised and whatever was going on there, it  appeared it was working. The situation was bizarre because it seemed almost  normal, almost normal. But when I looked  much closer, this normality dissipated. To my eyes, there was something really  wrong about the whole situation. But, was there?

The other tourists  on the van were two French girls. Out of all of us, only the German guy seemed  fascinated with this man and his finance knowledge, the rest of us (all  females) we seemed disgusted. Here’s is an interesting point, I think you would  agree in how sexes can related more or less to certain attitudes or situations,  in this case mostly predominantly used by males.

 The German guy  (much younger than us three) seemed not to bat an eyelid about any of it. The  first questions that arise to me was; by being a male, is there a general  consent on this? Do men have a bigger understanding of other men hooking up  with much younger women?

 The German guy and  I shared a dorm in our final destination which was everyone’s else’s, too. I  did not see him for almost two days but when I did, he told me he had been  spending lots of time with the British man and the two Philippine girls. We  talked about the activities they did together and eventually, I drove the  conversation to the point where I was interested.

c99befbc5700c06dde3e3ab30f3bc98b[1]

 Did  he not really saw anything unusual in the situation? Did he know what I was  referring to?  As it happens, he knew but raised not concern whatsoever.  Apparently a few hours with the British man and his girls made him very  understandable of what was going on. He told me that he learnt from this man  about the extreme poverty that these girls (representing the vast majority of  Philippine people who struggle with unemployment, poverty and large families  that also struggle to sustain themselves) go through and while he could see  something slightly abnormal in the eyes of our Westerner society, he could  understand why the situation was beneficial for them all.

 I’m going to risk it a bit here and say that if there is one  single thing that makes this less unsettling and I could produce an ounce of  understanding in our society, is that for everything that is worth; these  arrangements seem to benefit all parties.

 The  random westerner man over fifty, which in this moment of time is alone for whichever circumstance of life, that has produced enough savings to live the  rest of his life quite comfortably but has no one to share them with; an older  westerner man that lives in a society that values youth and success and subtly  ignores and discriminates older people.

A  girl, too young to give up freedom but not young enough to still fall in and  out of love and have her heart broken a few times until settling; a girl who  has been unlucky to be born in a country, family and society that tells her  that opportunities, studying and travelling is something that happens to other  people. Behind this girl, there is a whole family of broken dreams and struggles.

7a9b73e56b43b3fdee13166a1d0a2a6a[1]

 He offers her  money, extensively to her whole family, and the protection, the travelling and  the clothes, gifts and small luxuries that she could not possess  otherwise.  She offers him the company, the support, the sex, her youth. Her love bought by westerner money.  Almost, in a sick kind of way, these are pairs made in heaven.

Sadly, my westerner education does not allow me to see normality in  this. Contradictorily, I can understand why this is a favourable transaction of  favours for both parties.I try hard not to judge, but I can’t. Some days I am upset  with myself because I am selfish and extremely lucky that I have been born in a  good country with free education and opportunities are available to everyone. I  have choices and my choices will allow me to make decisions thinking on my own  benefit and growth. But, can these young women choose?

I try to imagine how it feels to live in a country where you see  hundreds of white tourists coming and going, hearing conversations where they  talk about trips to faraway destinations that can last several months,  where they  may spend, only drinking, an amount of money that could support  a local family for a week. Then, I think to myself; who am I to judge?

The  German guy asked me; if you get to an older age and feel extremely alone and  isolated from a society that rejects old people and you have the money, would you do it?

Would you?

 

 

 

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Montse…i love youre honesty…i enjoy every single post you write. It makes me think…makes me wonder…makes me sad as makes me happy…but most of all, it makes me wonder, the world is only what whe see and whe can not understand everything. Whe dont have to judge…where just the lucky ones, who have many more opportunities in our live. You confinced me…next year…i go. Dont know where or for how long but you totally inspirerd me! Thanks and keep going and please keep writing xx

  2. Dear Manja,

    Thank you for reading my posts and most important, for your words. I truly feel honoured that something I write can inspire, it has always been my goal and makes me so happy that you are! It feels incredible and makes me very happy, thanks again 🙂
    I have always tried to write with a very honest input, I personally think that honesty about places and experiences are far more valuable and enriching to read that any overall information that tells you always the same.

    Please do go travelling if you can, I can't think of any more enriching experience in life but remember, there are good and bad days from which all of them you learn something. This should not put you off to travel, the lessons are invaluable.

    Thank you SO much again for reading my post!!!

    Have a great day,

    Montse

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge