I’m always amazed at how Thailand has an effect on farangs that have lived here for an extended period of time. I tend to think that if you stay in a place long enough, you’ll probably start to participate in the culture and in even some cases mimic or become like the people.
I was sitting outside one of my favorite restaurants enjoying the early evening breeze and scenery. An older farang gent and his girlfriend / wife come wandering in and sit down at the table next to me. A friend and I exchange hellos to them and all seems fine. After ten to fifteen minutes, I decide it’s time to head out. I stroll over to my car which is parallel parked against the curb and notice that I am pretty much boxed in. A pick-up truck in the front has left me a few feet of room and a tuktuk in the back has left me even less. I realize that when I pull out, there is a chance I might hit either of the vehicle. I look at the tuktuk and my car’s bumper and can see that if I do hit the tuktuk, it will hit his front tire. In the front, I assess that if I hit the truck both our bumpers will collide.
As I start to slowly inch backwards, I barely tap the tuktuk’s front tire with my bumper. You would have thought I had killed someone. The older farang man having dinner with his wife / girlfriend leaps out of his seat and sprints over to my car. He takes a look around then approaches me. I roll the window down and ask him, “what’s the problem?”
He says, “you hit the tuktuk!”
I told him, “I know” that and that I barely tapped the front tire of the tuktuk and that I knew there was no damage. He then tells me to wait where I am for five minutes.
So I say to him, ”Are the farang police? I know there is no damage to that tuktuk because I barely tapped the front tire.”
He then says to me, “That tuk-tuk driver is a good close friend of mine.”
At this point I become a little agitated. I step out of my car and tell the man to mind his own business and that I knew there was no damage to the tuktuk or my car. Again, he tells me to stay, so I tell him, “don’t f***ing tell me what to do. You aren’t the police.”
I was in no mood at this point to argue with this idiot. This guy had already assumed that I was going to do a runner..a runner from what? There was no damage to either vehicle. At this point I get on my phone and start to call my brother in law. He’s a captain in the police force here in Korat. I tell the man exactly who I was calling and that now what wasn’t problem, has now become a problem.
I said to him “Ok, let’s let the police handle it then.”
He then says to me, “Oh no problem no problem.”
I tell him, “No no it’s a problem now. You wanted to make a big deal out of nothing, now we’ll let the police sort it out. Now go sit your … back down in your chair.” I had just about had it with this guy. So he walks back to his table and sits down.
Just then, the tuktuk driver shows up. He looks at the front tire of his tuktuk and my rear bumper and says to me, “Tee nai loy chon-gan? (Where’s the damage).
I reply, “Mai mee.”
He looks at me, smiles and says, “Mai pen rai, mai mee.”
I know what some of you might be thinking. The guy was just reacting the way anyone would who hits another vehicle. Not really. First of all, I knew I was probably going to hit the tuktuk.. but it wasn’t even a hit.. I barely tapped my bumper against the rubber part of this front tire, yet, this farang in his pursuit to make sure all tuktuk drivers are not taken advantage of by us thieving farangs, takes it upon himself to do his duty as a law abiding farang in Thailand to quickly point out a very “minor” incident. The way this guy was acting, you’d think I hit and killed someone. I mean really.. B.F.D. It is so nice to see fellow farangs going above the call of duty to prevent these poor, helpless, and very honest tuktuk drivers from being taken advantage of by another farang. I mean God forbid, we farangs have a history of hit and run incidents don’t we? And since when do people actually believe that tuktuk drivers are their good friends? How idiotic is that? They are friends with your money because you are their customer now. Not to look down on the tuktuk drivers, but how many Thais do you know that say they have close friends who are tuktuk drivers?
I wonder what would have happened if the man had been Thai, or better yet, if I was Thai. Funny too, how once I started to call the police to let them sort it out, the guy backs down and goes back to his table. I mean really, this sort of silly behavior is what I would expect from a Thai, not a sixty year old farang.
If there is one thing I like about the Thais it is that they do not butt their noses into other people's business like this so and so did. Who they hell did he think he was?! You handled the whole thing with a good deal of constraint!