Readers' Submissions

Baptism Of Fire



This e-mail is right off the bat, I have been reading, enjoying and learning from Stickman's site for many months and whilst I have had every intention of putting forward my two pence worth, I would never have thought to write about the following subject; however, the coverage of Thaksin's intention to buy a 30% stake in Liverpool football club has really had me thinking about Thailand and its people.

I imagine that he has only ever attended matches at Anfield as an anonymous guest in the director's box up to the present time. Watching a game is a heady experience almost akin to a foreigner walking in to a Bangkok a go-go! As any football fan will know, there is tremendous excitement and energy generated by 60,000 fans at such an event. Liverpudlians take their football VERY seriously. Thaksin will never have seen, witnessed or felt anything like that ever before [just like our good selves in Nana?]

So what comes next? I think you are with me on this one . . . we want to repeat the experience . . . and then to own it! As many submissions to this site will testify, that's when the problems begin! This time, the boot just might be on the other foot (pun intended!) It'll be a case of that 'Thai / Falang thing' – in reverse!

Liverpool folk expect – and demand – straight talking. Say what you mean then you do what you say. Period. Smiles, deference, Kreng-jai, and lame excuses, etc will not be tolerated. Liverpudlians are renowned for their perceptive and blunt sense of humour and have a sharp ability to see through character flaws or weaknesses. These people are independent thinkers, tough and speak their minds. They are not the kind of people to be intimidated. Anyone who knows Liverpool knows that Thaksin is in for a baptism of fire: and good luck to you, sir!

Thailand has graciously opened its borders to the 'Falang' yet – and we must accept this – it is not going to change its ways for us. They have a culture that works, or at least appears to be accepted, by Thai people. So be it – despite the frustrations it may cause many of us on a daily basis! Similiarly, there is a right way – and wrong way – of going about your business in Liverpool, too. Let's look at a few key principles . . .

Make a promise – delivery expected in full and on time.
Make a mistake, accept full responsibility.
Respect has to be earned on a daily basis.

I could go on but I think you all have the idea. Is this not striking a chord? Are these not the principles you were expected to live by before you came to this country? Are these not the principles we were taught to admire and aspire towards?

Mr Thaksin is an educated man of the world and I trust he will do his country proud (should the deal go through. . . ?) but with the foregoing in mind perhaps this could be a good time for those of us living here to take stock of our own situation?

We often have to bend over backwards in trying to accommodate standards and attitudes that would not be tolerated in our own countries. I have learned over the years that in order to retain a modicum of sanity while being here very often requires compromising principles and / or suspending many of the things we were taught to believe in. That is a high price and I often wonder if it really is worth it. I know the weather is good and our money goes a lot further but maybe we should take more pride in what and who we are – not what this sometimes crazed and (to our way of thinking) often screwed up place expects us to be.

Should the Liverpool deal go through, I welcome the bridge of mutual understanding and respect that the Premier will no doubt build between our cultures!

Stickman's thoughts:

That second to last paragraph is the best single paragraph I have read in a VERY long time. An absolutely outstanding submission.

* It should be pointed out that the author submitted a slightly different version before which I asked him to edit. This is the edited version.