Readers' Submissions

Tigers

  • Written by Mad Max
  • September 16th, 2005
  • 7 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

Living in a small college town gives me the opportunity to meet some Thai students. As I was gathering my material for this submission, I was concerned that some Thais may think that I was poking fun at their English speaking skills. In fact, the Thai people here speak much better English than most Americans here. Even though some words may be a bit broken, at least they know how to construct a sentence correctly and they use words which are actually in the English language. By no means am I poking fun at the Thais about their English speaking skills, however, due to my experiences with Thai people here in the US, I do have some concerns about their honesty.

I have been working on this submission for quite a while now, and I have been having a lot of trouble in coming up with enough material to post a submission, so I decided to do a lot of thinking about my last experience with the Thai people. Guess what? Thinking back, a lot more happened here than I actually realized.

Here is the story.

While working in my store a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a couple of Asians that I had never seen before, a guy and a girl (the girl very cute by the way). They looked to be a bit confused so I decided to approach them. I asked if they needed help and the guy said no(which I knew better). I then asked him what country he was from.He said "Thailand".

I asked the girl where what country she was from and she said "Thailand".

I asked them what part of Thailand they were from and the Thai guy said "Bangkok".

I then asked "Both you Bangkok?"

The Thai guy said "Yes, both us Bangkok".

I then introduced myself to them and asked them what their names were. I cannot remember the name of the Thai guy, but I did remember the name of the Thai girl. I will not use her real name, I will just call her "Plun."

While I was talking to them, I spoke very softly, smiled a hell of a lot and I was very friendly (something I learned from Stick's website) and that seemed to work. They said that they had only been here for week. They said that they like it here, but it is different than Bangkok. We talked for a while and they went about their way.

Two days later, I was walking the floor and I noticed that Plun and the other Thai guy were in the store. This time I decided to just walk by them and pretend that I didn't even see them. This time, they spoke to me first. They were looking for a shoe rack and I helped them to find one. Suddenly, two other Thai guys appeared out of the blue. We talked for a while and it turns out that Plun and the Thai guy are boyfriend and girlfriend. I asked the other Thai guys if they knew of any girls that they could hook me up with. Then one of the Thai guys asked me "You like tigers."

I then asked "What, tigers?"

He said "Yes, tigers."

I then said, "There are no tigers here, I don't understand why you are asking me this."

He then said "No. you like Ti – gers."

Once he split the words, I then understood that he was saying "Thai girls." We all laughed and there was no face lost. (So I thought, after further thought, I know better now, more about this later.)

These Thai people seem to be very much different than the Thai people that are written about on this website. They have not asked me for anything. We just talk and get to know each other, however there are some issues here that I am concerned about.

I was thinking back to the "Tiger" conversation. While the Thais were walking away, they were laughing and speaking in Thai. The more that I think about this, I just wonder if they were making fun of me. If so, I had plenty of opportunity to make fun of their broken English, but out of respect for them, I decided not to do such a thing. Either way, something went very wrong during this conversation. Or did it?

It has been two weeks since they have been to the store. I have been wondering if I said or did something to offend them or if the inflatable ghost that we have out in front of the store was scaring them away. The inflatable ghost is a Halloween decoration and we sell a hell of a lot of those ghosts. I have put a lot of thought into whether I should take down the ghost so four Thai people would shop at the store, or considering the fact that this is a business in the US and we sell these ghosts, should I leave the ghosts in front of the store? Being an American businessman and considering the fact that this is my country, the decision was an easy one, leave the ghost out in front of the store! Also we have an inflatable pumpkin and an inflatable witch out front and we sell a hell of a lot of those also. I don't know if Thai people are afraid of pumpkins and witches, however I do know that they are afraid of ghosts. Too bad, so sad, this is business. We sell the hell out of both of those and this is the US. I wouldn't do that in Thailand, but this is my country.

Today, just as an experiment, I decided not to put these God awful inflatable beings out in front of the store. I kept looking out of the front window for the Thais, and guess what? Here they come riding their bicycles, but this time they just rode by with no hint of stopping by to shop. No ghosts, pumpkins or witches and they just rode by as if the store did not exist.

So this leads me to believe that something went wrong during our last conversation. I have had a lot of trouble in getting along with Thai people here. I have a very long list of Thai people who won't even speak to me now and I guess that I can add these four Thais to the list. I don't know what I have done wrong because they won't tell me (probably a face saving issue). I don't point towards them with the sole of my foot, I don't pat them on their heads. I speak very softly to them and none of this works. Actually, I have been very frustrated about this, but now I don't even care. I have tried in every way that I know to befriend Thai people to no avail. This is the United States of America. This is not Thailand.

I should not have to respect Thai culture here in the US, but I do try. If I go to Thailand, I will respect Thai culture. Actually, I try to respect Thai culture here to no avail. I just don't get it. I have been planning for a trip to Thailand, however, if I am having trouble in dealing with Thai people here, my frustrations will probably be multiplied in Thailand, that is unless I'm paying bargirls. But from reading submissions on this website, that can be a problem all in itself.

Another thought, I have had no trouble in having an email and MSN messenger relationship with girls who live in Thailand, most of them asking me to go to Thailand to meet them. I have also gotten email addresses and chatted with Thai girls here to no avail, they just seem to drop from the radar scene. Enough said. Farang woman. You are still out of the picture as far as I'm concerned. There are plenty of Chinese, Korean, Filipana, Taiwanese and Hispanic sweethearts here, so don't get your hopes up.

Stickman's thoughts:

It could simply be that they do not need to buy anything and that is the reason they have not entered your shop.