How Thais Think And Act
Paying Tax in Thailand.
Because the bitch at payroll refused to deduct tax for six months of the calendar year, I had to clear the account before leaving to go back to Melbourne. Well, when I say "had to", read "chose to." At a 2% rate, it was a bargain. That's logical, isn't it?
Firstly, finding the bloody place to do it. It had changed location since last time, hadn't it. In the end it happened to be only 500m from my apartment. So I bowled up there on the back of the motorbike taxi (who told me the fare was 10 baht when I offered 15 baht) and I was greeted at the door by the office manager. He sat me at his desk, asked me if I spoke Thai and when I said "nit noy" – very little, his heart seemed to sink. But with his 5% English and my 1% Thai, I managed to tell him what I was there for – to give money away. He seemed to want to put it off to another day, but I said I was leaving tomorrow (I lied) and he went and got the tax return form to be filled in.
As he filled in the form, he asked me a few normal Thai type questions.
He – "My wie?"
Me – Kon diaow
He – Urrrrh, kon diaow.
Me – Kup
This set him off. In a nutshell, he asked me if I had a wife. I said I was alone. He took note of it and I acknowledged this. I don't know the Thai, but I certainly know he said something to one of the receptionists which meant.
"Hey, Kung, you want to go to Australia with this Farang? Not married, Kung." Then he said to me, pointing to her: "Suaie?" – Beautiful? "Suaie mark" I replied, very beautiful. I lied.
And so the banter went on and on. When she palmed him off, he tried for the next receptionist, then a third. Then the….the……the cleaner.
He was having a jolly old time, the girls and customers were laughing and I was enjoying it too. The outstanding amount came to 6580 baht. I gave him 6600 baht. He gave me change in B5 and B10 coins, I put them as a tip on the counter in front of the girls as I left, they roared with laughter and I walked out smiling and thinking that I've never had such fun paying taxes in my life.
The fourth years' last day at the Rajabhat and it was pretty emotional – Noi, one of the students I hardly knew was in tears over the phone. Jeab, Mem and Kung came in and there were big hugs all round.
Later, Jeab rang and we arranged for a night out.
Let me introduce the students.
Jeab. Speaks very good English, very outgoing.
Mai. Not so good on the English, much less opinionated than the others. The quiet one.
Mem. My favourite, gorgeous, good English.
Kung. The one from a wealthy background. Parents distribute food products to all of Thailand. Drives a BMW when she's home, a huge Toyota four wheel drive (sometimes) when she's at the Rajabhat. No drivers license and been driving on the road since she was 12. Boyfriend in Bangkok.
So we went out for an end of the year bash, at my expense (2000 baht). Started at KFC which I thought was the meal, but no, it was the entree. Then some window shopping and finally to an up-market disco a fair way from home. The main course at the outside beer garden. I declined to eat but got stuck into the beers and asked a lot of questions about the Thai culture, and the meaning of life. From their responses:
Yes, they don't like Thai men generally, but they do like their Thai boyfriends. They like older farang men because they can look after them. They bend to whatever the man wants because they are physically smaller. Thai girls will give everything to their man, cook, massage, fill his pipe, bring his slippers, wash, iron, but they want absolute loyalty and security (money) in return.
We decided to check out the disco because most of them hadn't been to one more than once before. But Mai didn't bring her ID and the bouncers wouldn't believe she was 22, so she volunteered to go to the 4WD and sleep. During the course of the night, I learnt that Mem, my favourite hadn't ever had a boyfriend.
They got a real kick out of watching the worldly women doing their dancing routine and especially one at a distance with a halter top on. So sheltered, the three of them.
Mem was so reserved, I thought I'd try her out on the "you've got a deep secret" routine. She agreed, I didn't probe or push it – my guess is that she's had a really hard time at home.
At about 11.30, Kung went out to check on Mai. Mai and the 4WD were missing.
All three went out while I sat there admiring the chikkies and drinking my Heinekins. After about 10 mins, I thought I'd better do the responsible thing and went out to check up on them. Seems a guy who's been stalking Kung and who knows Mai got into Hung's car and drove off. When I got outside, he was backing the car up back into the parking lot and Kung was abusing him.
"Kung, how did he know where you were?"
"I don't know. I rang him to see if he could help find the car." So you rang him and he was in fact driving your car." "Yes."
I left it at that-gave up. I don't understand this culture at all. Kung drove me home, I told them all I loved them and here I am trying to remember all of this before I fall asleep.
Even the simple things can be interesting in Thailand!