Stickman: The Apologist For Thailand
• Hua Ting Guest House
• Noble Centre Hotel Shanghai
• Celebrity Service Apartment Hotel
• Yuanlin Hotel Shanghai
Credit where credit is due: It should be known that I wrote a scathing reply to Stick about his recent column on Thailand. I titled it Stickman: the Apologist for Thailand. He graciously asked me to clarify some of my thoughts so he could print the article. We can all have different views, but we can still be gentlemen and ladies about it. With this in mind, I thank Stickman for printing this piece.
Surprisingly, there is a new movement here in Thailand, sometimes spearheaded by your writing, that involves a pathetic whitewashing of all things Thai. I loved your recent claim about Thailand "being cruelly called the Land of Scams."
People call it that is because it is the land of scams. I have been gone from here for about 8 months and came back for work just in the last week. I have been lied to since the moment I got to the new and EMPTY screwed up airport. My plane from Japan was EMPTY. Golly, I wonder why. Could it be that people have finally had enough of all the cons in this sinking country? It is bad enough that these pathetic kindergarten scams are taking place. It is doubly sad when certain Farangs cling to the false ideas that things are still great here and these people are just somehow misunderstood.
Cases in point:
Overcharge Airport Taxi scam. I can’t believe that they have now allowed the con men and women to come even further into the airport to get as many first timers as possible. The scam price even went up. They tried to get me for 600 baht for a ride from the new airport to Sukhumvit. Not only is that 100 baht higher than the last scam from Don Muang, but the distance is actually shorter. For all you out there, my meter ride was 180 baht.
The 7/11 clerks that acted like they forgot to give me change. This is the one of the latest scams on the rise and especially popular on Sukhumvit and Silom, you know, where all the foreigners seem to be. I was hit twice in the space of 8 hours. The last time, I stood there and stared at the girl until she gave me my 20 baht.
The moto taxi mobster who drove off with my change. This is stealing plain and simple. Worse than the usual nonsense claim that he “doesn’t have any change.”
The taxi scumbag who refused to take me from NOVOTEL on the meter. Come to Novotel for a higher grade of service. You will also find yourself walking to the train station because these con men refuse to do their job unless they can rip you, AND THE COMPANY THEY WORK FOR, off. Oh, wait let me guess, Novotel doesn’t know that the taxi mob does that.
The apartment that lied about the "phone deposit" of 15000 baht. The apartment scams are on the increase as opposed to the wane as the owners get more and more desperate. Which they are, as more and more people leave. And you can read about the impending property crash here in any one of the major financial publications. Here is a fun fact for all of you: Forbes predicts that BKK will be 70% over built in under a year and Pattaya is even worse. How is this even possible as nearly all of the new construction is targeted at foreigners? Anyone who doubts where the situation will end needs to read the book entitled, The Raj. By the way, the rent was 25000 baht per month for that dump. Guess what, the sign was only in English. I guess some of you won’t draw any conclusion from that.
The STAND UP JOINT GULLIVERS that tried to double charge my CC. Oh wait, Stick, I guess you don't want to tell people that Thailand leads Asia in CC fraud. But the thing about this one that defies reason was the idiot farang who tried to intervene when I demanded loudly that they give my card back RIGHT NOW. He said, “she is just trying to help you. The CC system here is slower. They don’t understand.” Oh, so after doing hundreds of CCs per day, they still don’t understand. Guess what, kiddies? I called my bank and they tried to charge my card twice. All the while, the manager told me to my face that my card had been declined. The first charge went through and bank stopped the second one. Aside from wanting to knock that moron off his stool, I told him that this was a common scam here in Thailand. He whined some nonsense about never having any problems and that the girls were just “trying to be thorough.” Yes, thoroughly trying to charge my card twice but not having the brains to actually charge for something. If you can put a receipt in the till, you can take the cash out. The manager was buying time for them to get me for about 400 baht.
And my new favorite: THE ELECTRICITY SCAM. Telling farangs that electricity is 10 baht per unit. I can’t believe how many idiots out there are just paying this and not asking any questions. Electricity in Thailand is 2-3 baht per unit. I was going to rent a place for 11000 and they told me the electricity would be between 4000-6000. More than half the rent. When I confront them about this fact, all I get is mumbling and stares at the floor. Why? Because they know that another farang moron is going to come in with his brain turned off and not ask HOW IN THE HELL COULD THAI PEOPLE AFFORD TO LIVE IF THE BILLS WERE THAT HIGH? Half of the rent for electricity? They are stealing money and stupid farangs are letting them. I even had a farang apartment agent try this on me. He was so surprised that I knew the rates he immediately put on his apologist hat and picked up the Thai habit of lying to my face: “No, um, the government charges over 5 baht for electricity and um, it is actually better for you because you don’t have to worry about paying the bill yourself.” Wow. Walk to 7/11. Take 5 minutes. Save 4000 baht. Pretty good usage of time.
I call on all of you reading this to put a stop to this scam and refuse to pay anything but what is owed. Take the dress off, all you pansies, and refuse to be stolen from. After awhile, it will stop. BUT NOT UNTIL YOU STOP IT.
All this happened in the first 24 hours.
It is inexplicable that there are those who believe we are still wanted here by anyone except females and the travel industry. I can't believe in light of all the anti farang legislation that people are still not clear how this nation feels about foreigners. Let me ask you this: How many Thai people that you know came out against the new visa laws? Or the new property and business laws that will, in effect, make damn sure you don’t have any way to control what you paid for?
And for the record, the infrastructure is just about one step above Africa. Stick, maybe you have been "getting back to the people" while the power outs have happened in Pattaya, the Bangkok streets were completely overloaded and gridlocked, the internet failed or is blocked, etc.
Thailand will never, and should never, be what I or any of us farangs want it to be. It is not our place. Although there are some fun things to do here and the ladies are the most beautiful in the world, we need to face the reality of the situation. Make no mistake that Thai people are already suffering mightily from the exodus and lack or tourism. A bar girl spent the better part of an hour telling me about things really are now: More mafia, more ladies being ripped off, more danger in the city. This is because people are getting desperate and desperate people do things. Are farangs suffering from all this? Not really. They just left or didn’t buy that business or that house. Again, who is that really hurting? Thai people. The new faces of Thailand are the desperate con men at the airport shoving clipboards in stranger’s faces and the rude moto taxi guy who basically shoved me off the bike and drove off with my change with seemingly no fear of retribution.
Lastly, I saw a guy here in Pattaya who was wearing about 5 of those scam bracelets (you know the ones they say are for charity but it is just another phony rip off with Thai people taking advantage of American Charities) speaking broken Thai to the ugliest girl in the place. He had a tattoo of a Thai flag on his arm and was really getting into the whole "real Thai people" thing. Of course, from my angle, I watched as the staff rolled their eyes in mockery as this guy made an ass of himself.
This guy was so deluded about how these people really feel about him I could smell it.
Was that any of you?
I think you make some valid points, but I also think your expectations are perhaps a little high, and that you need to get away from the bar scene – where such issues will always be an issue.
The motorcycle rider who ran off with your change, for sure, that was theft – and 100% wrong. The touts in the airport are a nuisance but are easily dealt with. The scam bracelets is clearly a scam and not good at all.
The taxi driver who wouldn't take you? There are many plausible reasons for this.
But when we talk about things like the electricity "scam", I would suggest that that is not a scam at all. They told you upfront the price for electricity which incurs a surcharge for various reasons that are obvious. I think you are being harsh there.
And the issue at Gulliver's. It *may* have been a genuine mistake – you just do not know.
For me personally, I know that there are a number of scams and issues out there and I keep myself in the know of what they are and where they occur – so I can avoid them.
However, I also realise that while some things in Thailand are not as good as the West, a number of things are a lot better. When I look at it like this, I find it a lot easier to accept Thailand as it is, without bitching and moaning too much. Such negativity can have an unhealthy effect on one's entire life and existence in Thailand.