Interesting weekly this week and the stupidity of some of those resident in Thailand never seizes to amaze.
Anyone who has lived in Thailand will know that the Thais have two standard responses when dealing with foreigners. 1) "You don't understand our culture" and 2) "The foreigner is to blame". Therefore it came as no surprise when I first heard that two foreigners where going to get stitched up with the burning of central world, Big C and no doubt, one of the main shopping malls up near Victory Monument. The latter two although not yet publicly placed at the foot of the foreigners, will no doubt find its way there at some point as the 'blame it on the ignorant foreigners' mantra starts to gain momentum. I am astounded why these two dipsticks, especially when one considers that they have both been living in Thailand for a reasonable period of time, could be so foolish as to put themselves into a position that would invoke the Thai book of standard response 101.
I mean 'everyone' knows it's the foreigners fault when in Thailand. Don't they?
Drop litter in Sukhumvit and the foreigner gets fined even when a Thai two yards away has done the exact same thing.
Had a fight with a Thai? Blame it on the foreigner even when it is clear that the Thai has just screwed the foreigner over and then some.
Involved in a car crash, blame it on the foreigner, first response 101!
Bought some property? Blame it on the foreigner for abusing Thai land and business laws!
Thaksin sells a Thai company to Singapore. Blame it on Singapore!
Did more than a fair share of foreign journalists reporting the red shirt fracas get shot and killed? You betcha! and it doesn't take too much a stretch of the imagination to believe that they may have been specifically targeted just because they were foreigners reporting things about Thailand. How dare they?
And so on and on it goes…
So when I first heard the reports that the two foreigners involved were going to get blamed, I laughed because it was so typically Thai and so convenient. I turned to my Thai wife and said "why am I not surprised that they are going to blame it on a Brit and an Ozzie!" At first she did not believe me and in typical Thai fashion, looked at me with a face that had some shit shoved in front of its nose and mumbled something along the lines of "why do you always look down on the Thai people…" to which I replied "Because the Thais keep giving me enough reasons to substantiate this view…" to which I then received several hours of quiet bliss to do my own thing as she tried to give me the cold silent treatment.
A few days later the wife popped her head into my home office having no doubt read some biased Thai report and said "Why did the British and Ozzie guys burn down Central World?"
I rolled my eyes, let out a big sigh and said "And the proof they did so is…?"
… "On YouTube…" was the answer she butted in with before I finished my sentence.
I started laughing again and with manic laughter ringing in her ears, she turned and left with a face scrunched up like a bulldog chewing a lemon encrusted wasp.
It did get me thinking though and in some ways, the Thais in their xenophobic and absurd ways may have it right and making examples out of foreigners may not be such a bad thing, at least in the short term…
I mean, living back here in the West I get to see the Thai penchant to blame 'everything' on the foreigner in reverse. Here it is the local populace who seem to get blamed for every indiscretion whilst the foreigners get a free hand to do as they please.
Muslim hate preacher stands on a box and cries death to British people and all infidels must be beheaded. The police look on and sit on their hands.
English man stands up on said same box holding a Saint George's flag and demands that England retake back its Heritage and that the English step forward and be recognised. He is arrested for inciting a revolt!
Illegal immigrant gets caught by the UK border force working in the local chip shop. He gets given a reporting order by the police and released back into the community. He fucks off never to be seen again and so it continues…
UK citizen gets caught on overstay in any country outside Europe. He gets fined, given a one way ticket out with the possibility of being blacklisted and booted out of the country.
Muslim, Pole, Eastern European, 'anyone' can come to England and as long as they have wife and kids in tow, they will get a free council house plus job seekers and family allowance all paid for by the British tax payer. They more often than not live by their own laws, disrespect UK laws, drive cars uninsured or without licences, work cash in hand and as such don't contribute to the tax system and burn big holes in the UK National health budget.
British person goes abroad, gets told to abide by local laws 'or else pay the consequences'… and we by and large do by saying "when in their country we must respect local laws…" Shame we don't say the same back home to the foreigners arriving on our own shores eh!
Black, yellow, orange, brown… any skin colour, religion or ethnic breed can be a racist / nutter in the UK. No body dare say a thing in response lest we offend someone.
White man says any of the above colours out loud in the vicinity of any of the said colours or insists that they have equal religious rights and he is rapped on the knuckles, dragged in front of the magistrates court and presented with a restraining order / community service and a fine.
Terrorist is caught, jailed and given a deportation order back to the shite lands he came from. Human rights court steps in and stops the deportation on humanitarian grounds. Sod the people the terrorist has just killed and we also foot the tax bill to keep an eye on the terrorist while we also feed and cloth him.
So in some respects, I can see where the Thais are coming from in that they may wish to set an example to us foreigners in a bid to stop us taking the piss too much. We see it happening in Dubai too where foreigners seem to get the blame due to the creaking edges of the cultural Muslim norm that is now beginning to kick in. Dubai, in financial crisis, ok let's blame some local expats for kissing and drinking in public to take the eye off the main problem at hand… and so it goes.
Thailand is no different. The Thais will always use foreigners as a convenient political tool when it suits in order to take the focus off the fundamental problem at hand.
Will this strategy really make a difference to the rose tinted glass brigade who keep marching towards the shore of Thailand with pea brains and balls the size of ripe melons, very unlikely as they will always do what they have always done!
Will it fix the core problems in Thailand and the political crisis and the drive for Thaksin to be president? No!
Will it in the short term turn the focus away from the red shirts and focus the blame on these two foreigners as a convenient excuse in good old standard Thai response 101, you betcha!
But in the superficial facade that is very often Thailand, this mask may only last a few months. Once the initial furor has died down, once political margin has been extracted from it, the two foreigners will disappear into obscurity, the battle lines will be drawn once again, and the problems will all begin once more
A few years back a Thai woman who had been locked up in a police station holding cell in my country sued the government and won. She was awarded $50,000 in compensation. This story made the news in Thailand and the Thais were aghast that a foreign court would rule in an outsider's favour like that! What was implied was that such would never happen in Thailand!