Tips, Thais, Thailand Etc!
We all have so much to say about THAILAND – it's simply impossible to get our thoughts, feelings and words out all at once. How many of us suffer feelings of love it / hate it a hundred times a day? I do – and I don't know anyone here who doesn't!
Picture that perfect morning . . . no stress, no worries, just blue skies and adventure. I'm up! Then in the lift, reception, wherever . . . total pig-headed-for-no-reason arrogance. I'm down. Pleasant, smiling service from the
cute waitress at breakfast. I'm up again. Read the Bangkok Post or Nation: full of lies, corruption and injustices that have me questioning why the hell I stay. Down again. The easy and cheap lifestyle, just 'being abroad' makes
me feel good about myself. Step into my car; witness stupid, vindictive and downright dangerous driving – WTF! Who in their right mind puts up with that?? I'm down. All this before 9 AM, before the backstabbing, prejudice, lying, overcharging,
etc really gets going.
PLUS: I'm not forgetting – all the charmingly, lovely GOOD stuff, too!
Of course, such an emotional roller-coaster ride has the effect of teaching me to get a grip on myself, to try and take things in my stride, not to be too sensitive etc, . . . which perhaps explains why Thais can be amongst the most insensitive
and insular people on earth. Here, it's called survival!
Thais have both good and bad points, nothing out of the ordinary there. However, I often think there's been such a superb marketing job done to promote tourism that we have all unconsciously swallowed the hyperbole that Thailand invented
the smile. The so called 'culture' pinned to the travel agent's wall is about as relevant to the average Thai as Beefeaters in the Tower Of London are to the average Brit. But the tourists don't know that!
Oh no! I hear you say. Really, I reply? Images sell holidays . . . and that's what it's all about. When you've been here a while you soon see it for what it is. Sweet, nasty. Goodness, barbarism. Democra . . . no, don't
go there! The guys in marketing would have us believe all sorts; that doesn't make any of it true!
When I replied to Shaker about his tipping habits I merely intended to put an opposing view. There surely are girls like Wan enticed by easy money out there, broken-hearted mothers and hard-working honest fathers who wonder what has become
of the world and their country. It wasn't always like this, surely we can at least sometimes allow them the benefit of the doubt?
I can see that Thais are capable of some of the meanest and downright cruel acts imaginable. Some things I see here appall me. The damned 'Poo-yai mentality' demonstrated by the most lowly if given a chance, the over-inflated egos
and the constant need to prove themselves are just some of the things I hate. AND of course the LYING. I must say that again. The lies, the lies and then . . . the lies!
I first worked here 25 years ago and have witnessed changes for myself. We all know tourism here started with American R/R in Pattaya. In the late seventies there was no high or low season – either the ships were in or they weren't! The handful of
tourists that were here were exclusively upper class. Long haul holidays to (then) exotic places were prohibitively expensive for the masses. The European 'crowd' went mainly to Spain – or simply stayed at home!
Bangkok was a 'low rise' city and had many dirt streets. If you've been to Sattahip, that reminds me of Bkk in the old days. The Bkk / Pattaya road was a single track affair wending it's way through fields. Not much existed
between the two centres. The locals were mostly in awe of westerners, fascinated by the colour of our skin! We were ALWAYS treated with respect in those days, but then practically always we would act and behave in a respectful manner ourselves.
We earned that respect.
We had travelled from the other side of the WORLD . . . on AEROPLANES . . . we were WHITE . . . we were RICH . . . even though the American soldiers were living it up (R/R) in the bars, everyone knew they were fighting a war on Thailand's
border. There was a healthy respect between tourists and Thais, the Americans would send MPs into town to keep things in order, a bunch of guys NOT to be reckoned with, I assure you!)
So what pisses me and many others off is the rapid descent from those heady days. OK it had to happen, but what a crying shame it has. NO respect anymore. Long gone. Mass tourism and mass bad manners. Who has taught the Thais to think of
us as Kee Nok? We f*ing well have!!
I was going to follow up the narration by Wan's father (to be read in the accent and style of Manuel, the Spanish waiter from Barcelona, from Fawlty Towers . . .
Not only me working . . have big family in tourist trade. Brother me Thai airway steward, say Farang travel 12 hour no sleep drink non-stop very loud make football party on plane. He get here very red eye but then want look bar. Sister work
hotel Sukhumvit say big mess in room he not care eat french fry and hamburger every day two week. Shout too much, fighting, make big noise 4am – then sleep ALL day!
Have big problem farang country. He say no like, no good, Tony Blair take tax too much, always cold, always rain, everything no good. Farang lady she fat, she bad, she no like him, take his house. Farang speak too much, always drunk have
<na see daeng>, big red nose too, he very fat 'cause eat fry fat food. He work factory.
Farang love us too much. He find Isaan girl, no can speak her but want take her home! He say she beautiful, good heart, take care good same she love of his life who he know only 2 days he still not sober yet! Give big money her, buy everything
– JUST SAME OTHER FARANG WHO GO HOME YESTERDAY!
OK, enough from him. I just read Stick's comment, things ain't gonna change, only get worse. But does that have to be true?
Whoever you are, wherever you are reading this . . . please, have a good think and get your head on straight before you come here. I know, what with jet travel, the Discovery channel and everything being arranged for you by your travel agent
it may not seem like it, but this is the other side of the world, a distant land with history and people quite unlike anything you'll have encountered before. Don't start sounding off, acting the idiot, wading in at the deep-end and
thinking you've picked it up in a flash. You haven't, this is NOT your home turf. Sure, it's your call, no-one can tell you what to do, but do yourself a favour. This place is a lot rougher than you think . . .
WTF . . . there's quite a strong wind outside today, I think I'll go and piss in it.