Readers' Submissions

So Much Negativity

  • Written by Marc Holt
  • July 29th, 2009
  • 6 min read



Bertie Spud and a couple of others of his ilk have given us such a very biased, negative view of Thailand recently that in the end I have to voice my dissent. If Bertie is who I believe he is, then I am not surprised by his jaundiced view of Thailand. He has always viewed it from his own very narrow, moralistic and judgmental perspective. He never participated in the bar scene when he was there…heck, he wouldn’t even have a drink with me! So what can one expect from such a man? The fact is that Thailand is many different things, depending on why you go there.

As readers may know, I recently moved my family to Australia. Not because I was disillusioned with the whole country, but because I saw a much better future for my kids here. As many of my friends up there will attest, I had very mixed feelings about the move for my part. But I had absolutely no doubt that the move would be good for my family. As it has turned out, it was a brilliant decision for all of us.

However, I am returning for a brief visit soon, and I will continue to return over the years to come. And when I do arrive I am sure I won’t get taken in by any of the many scams that entrap the unwary. It’s very simple to avoid problems as long as you keep your wits about you. So these people who write negatively about Thailand are merely telling us that they are too naïve to be allowed to travel to a third world country. I am sure they would get into the same sort of trouble if they traveled to Cambodia, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, and so on.

Sure, there are dangers there. But there are dangers here in Australia too. Crimes down here are just as heinous as any I ever read about in Thailand. Perhaps more so, because this is supposed to be a civilized and advanced country. Yet there are good and bad everywhere.

Visitors to Thailand who are not open minded or aware enough will always fall for the fakes and the con man. They will be disgusted because Thailand is not the clean, efficient, ‘safe’ place their homeland is. But these people should not be traveling anyway. What are they doing going to a country they so obviously cannot handle?

I met plenty of these people over the years. Some were so stupid it was a wonder they knew enough to breathe. I remember one Brit who accosted me one night as I was between bars in Patpong to ask me how he could avoid getting the clap without wearing a condom.

My response surprised him. I told him he should go and buy some Aspirin and use one.

“Aspirin? How would that help?”

“Simple, you put it between the girl’s knees and tell her to hold it there.”

“But then how would I shag her?” he asked…then he stopped and looked at me surprised as the bulb lit up.

As Brian Itsme pointed out, you can have a wonderful time in Thailand as long as you keep your expectations low and use your brains. I guess Spud’s expectations are much higher than he is!

There are three basic types of foreigners who go to Thailand.

1. Mongers there for the girls
2. Expats sent there by their companies. These guys are on such a good deal you never hear them complain.
3. Others who go to Thailand for whatever reason and then decide to live there.

Some of the people in group three are the ones you most often hear complaints from. They are disappointed by their experiences in Thailand because they never make the effort to immerse themselves in the culture and try to understand it. Of course, no one can ever fully understand the Thai mindset, but it is possible to get a pretty good perception with just a little effort.

The majority of number threes usually move away from the tourist areas as soon as possible. They make their homes out in the suburbs, or upcountry. Most of these guys make a successful life for themselves. They build a home, a family, and they integrate as far as is possible into the society they have chosen. Part of this involves dealing with visas and work permits. So what? You make the choice, you have to play by the host country’s rules. It goes with the territory.

On the other hand, people like Spud see the visa and work permit requirement as something that is annoying at best. Often, they don’t move away from the tourist areas so they see all the darkest side of the tourism business…and this is especially true if they refuse to partake. Then they sit back and judge it by their own ‘pure’ moralistic views.

But who is the loser here? It sure isn’t the mongers, or the expats, or the guys who make a good life for themselves.

Nope!

Spud and his mates are the losers. They just can’t handle it so they write long whining submissions to try and make everyone as miserable as they are.

I have news for the Spuds. It’s not working. Tourists, mostly mongers now, still continue to arrive. Perhaps not in as many numbers as in the good years, but the real mongers don’t give a damn about the politics, or the rip offs, or any of the other problems Spud pointed out. As long as the girls are still available, the mongers will come. They may not be the type of tourist that the TAT wants, but the Thais have only themselves to blame for that. They have done, and continue to do a marvelous job of making Thailand inhospitable for tourists looking for sun and fun.

And for guys like me who loved living in Thailand for so long, we will continue to return. Perhaps not to live there again. But certainly to see our old friends, and to enjoy the place without so many tourists. The benefits are many. For a start, there is no problem finding a decent hotel at a very reasonable rate. My money will go a lot further now thanks to a very favorable exchange rate. So I anticipate a very pleasant stay.

Thailand may not be what it was in the ‘good old days’. But when was it ever really that good…or bad? I say it all depends on your attitude. If you go to Thailand with an open mind and a will to enjoy its many cultural and entertainment offers, you will have a great time. The women are still there. The infrastructure is great and getting better all the time. The beaches are still there. The sun still shines almost every day. What more could you ask for?

It’s not what I have got used to in Australia, but so what? Thailand has a flavor all its own. And that’s why people continue to go there.

So Spud and all you other whingers, please do take your holidays in Europe. Clutter up the beaches in Spain or Ibeza where all the other ignorant losers go looking for fish and chips ‘just like back home’. We won’t grieve for your absence. In fact, I daresay we’ll be enjoying ourselves even more without having to put up with your negativity.

Stickman's thoughts:

Whinging is never a good thing and I agree 100% with that. But to suggest that some people can't handle Thailand because they complain about some of the inherent issues is missing the point. If these same issues existed in Australia and you spoke up about them does that mean you would be whinging too? You can point out the negative points without necessarily whining. Without raising those issues they will ever be fixed!