Readers' Submissions

Zero Tolerance


Zero Tolerance
By Statler & Waldorf


I met a Mexican girl yesterday who has worked in Isaan as a teacher for half a year. She came to Bangkok to get a visa for Vietnam where she wanted to go for a holiday before she took on a new teaching job near Hong Kong. She sounded pretty fed up with Thailand. I was surprised. Normally it takes about one year to get into that stage.

“Thailand makes me a worse human being”, she said. Read that line again. It sums up what I have been thinking for a long time, so I knew what she was talking about and maybe some readers know what she meant too. For those who don’t – let me explain it. If you want to say something to someone and the other person does not try to understand you, well what will you do? You just go to the next person. The only problem here in Thailand is that you have a whole country full of people that do not want to understand you. This can get nerve wrecking, day after day after day. The Mexican girl, who was not teaching Spanish but English to my surprise, also thought that the Thais as a people were just not sincere, their smiles were fake. Well, that was nothing new. I was just taken in by that fact, that it took her a very short time to figure all of that out.

But then, she was an intelligent person, had a real teacher education and due to a visa issue in Singapore, she landed in Thailand. She knew exactly what she wanted and where she was going. She was clearly not a drifter. I would say that people with a clear vision who want to achieve something in life will not waste any time in Thailand. Thailand is ok, if you are comfortable with yourself and not eager to take on the world. It’s a place for retirement or semi-retirement. Or the ones like me, who want some time out of mind.

What I found funny is that she classified me as being very relaxed and patient. I haven’t heard that for a long time. Yeah, back in Europe people who know me said that I am tolerant and that I care for other people. In Thailand, what I heard from the locals is that I am impatient, arrogant and old looking. Yeah, they even said sometimes that I am fat. As long as my BMI is below 25, they can say what they want.

It’s hard to keep a mental balance here in Thailand. It’s like the locals stick needles into your body, every day, more and more and just wait for you to freak out, so that they can see: Wow, look at that crazy ‘farang’. He is losing it. It’s important to go out of the country once in a while, best maybe to Europe, to get a perspective on things. I do like living in Bangkok, but it’s surely not because I love Thais. I like the freedom and the infrastructure, I like the fact that it’s still pretty safe. I haven’t forgotten why I am here and I try to focus on the positive sides more. It's a daily effort, and you have to take one day at the time.

Recently I had a row with a guy I have known for a while, almost 3 years. He is an Austrian and he works here doing TV commercials. He is about 53 or something. I used to talk to him about the Thais and what they had done to make my day more spicy. Well, he came up with pretty good stories too. Well, it started all pretty harmless to release the pressure, but about 2 weeks ago, I met him in a shopping mall and I could see that he had snapped over to the mentally insane. He was so harsh in his statements about this country, so absolutely unfair and inhuman in his comments, that even I was disgusted. He had become a total Nazi. A Thai kid had dropped a balloon next to him, and it was not so easy for the kid to get it, so I asked him just give the kid the balloon. He said: Don’t give me orders, these people don’t exist for me. That’s when I decided to call it a day with this guy. You can be tough, yeah, but you should keep the things in perspective. It’s possible that Thailand makes you a worse human being. If you think that you are thrown out of balance you should probably leave. Or you can stay, and maybe make small or big changes in your personal life. Changing apartment, or the area you live in is sometimes a good thing. I just did that recently, and I am 100% happier where I am now. Of course I am still fighting to get back parts of my old deposit. But that’s just normal here. Nothing much to get excited about. Eventually, I will get it. But where will I get a new foreign friend to talk things over? Now, that’s much more complicated.

Stickman's thoughts:

That your Mexican friend started to see things so clearly, so early on, fascinates me. I wonder if it was because she was female, and clearly not distracted by the naughty stuff?