How A British Entrepreneur Got Burned By A Fellow Brit In Thailand
This is my very first submission but long time fan of the submissions which I read daily.
I had to write about this cause it leaves some great memories of the LOS and also is a true story and goes on around the world.
Background : I now live in the US again on the east coast but lived in Bangkok for 2 years. I am a 26 year old American with half Asian blood who saw how a very honest, hardworking and trusting British national got used and abused by his British "business
partner." It all started when I wandered into a bar which no longer exists under the same name on Soi 4 a few meters away from NEP. I had just graduated from a TEFL course on one of the islands down south. And just before all that occurred
I had gotten my Bachelors from a good private university in the eastern United States. So here I was in Thailand with 10 grand USD to my name after selling a nice car my parents had given me before they retired to a different Asian country for
good. I was living with a fellow graduate, a births girl who was of my age and similar background. We got on great so we decided to rent an apartment together as pals.
Anyway I was half heartedly looking for teaching work in Bangkok and after a couple of months of doing nothing and feeling the need to work (money, boredom concerns) I walked into that bar I previously mentioned with the boyfriend of the girl I was living with, a births guy who was 6 foot 7 and played professional paint ball all over the world. I knew it was true cause he showed me the pictures in magazines and such.
So we start playing pool as I soak my palate with Beer Chang and overhear some dude talking about the school he worked at. I heard his accent and knew he was a yank like myself so I said "Oh yeah? where do you teach?" He said down near so and
so station on the BTS at a tutoring center for kids and adults. I said I was looking for work myself as I was getting bored doing nothing and was down to 3 grand or so in my bank account and I was feeling a bit worried it. He said they were looking
for work so he gave me his card and I thanked him.
One week later I hoped in a cab in search of this "school". He quickly looked at the address and said no cab necessary and he pointed to a mall where the school was located. I said thanks for not ripping me off and being honest. He could have easily driven the cab around Bangkok for 15 minutes and then dropped me off and said 150 baht please.
Anyway, I get to the school and it looks impressive. I see about 5-6 desks with a few students studying with instructors. I am thinking this is nice and this could be a great place to teach. I ask for the name of the person the guy in the bar told me to ask for, let's call him "Handy." The secretary tells me he is busy and that I should come back around 4 or 5 when things become slow and Handy can talk to me.
So I go home, watch some UBC shows and come back. Handy is there to greet me and starts to explain how the school runs. He is medium height, about 50 years old and in good shape and seemed very proud of his school. He was friendly and asked that I come
back the next day and sit in on some lessons so I can see how everything works.
Next day I sit in, not with Handy, but with this very fat, and overweight Brit. Let's call him "Kerry."
Anyhow I see I like how things are run and start working there immediately and never looked back. I was intrigued as how these two guys were running this school. I thought these guys were great, they must be mates cause they share a love of teaching and they live in a great city and they seem to be enjoying life each day.
Boy was I wrong, what seemed to be a flawless business with a comfortable number of students, a great teaching curriculum, happy parents, happy kids, was just a front and what was going on underneath was not to be predicted, not even by a teacher, (myself) who went to work with these two day in and day out. The only information I had early on was that they were business partners in a different Asian country who decided to open their own faculty instead of working for a larger chain of schools. They figured Bangkok was an emerging market and that they could really have a niche there with their beliefs on how to conduct education. The first sign of trouble came during an argument in the middle of some lessons. I just watched and listened as these two educators went at it verbally like some kids on the playground. to be continued…
So? What happened? I'm starting to get a little tired of these to be continued stories – and I bet I am not the only one. Tell the whole story or don't tell it at all. Or at the very least, leave a decent hook like Mr. Pothole did recently – and send #2 at the same time so at least I know it is worthwhile putting #1 up…