Thailand, A South African’s Perspective
Having lived in and owned a business in Thailand I always find it interesting to go on to the Stickman website and get the views from all the readers. But one thing I do notice is a heck of a lot of complaining. And yes some of what you guys complain about is frustrating but I always say that there is the way things should be and the way things really are – if you wish to live in Thailand there are things that will be different compared to back home.
I want to put things into perspective for the majority of you – you who live in a foreign country and who can return home to a thriving first world country. I am going to give you an idea of what it is like living in modern day South Africa – compare it to your so called “hardships” in Thailand and I hope that you will greater appreciate living there.
Well the main points that most farang complain about usually revolve around:
* Not being able to own land
Not being able to own land
Indeed this is frustrating but here in South Africa although we are allowed to own land we are permanently at risk of losing it. We have numerous instances of something called “land claims”. This is where the so called indigenous Africans (they are about as indigenous as I am) have claimed vast tracks of land belonged to their ancestors and they are now owed it back. They have no physical evidence of this – no deeds for example.
Then we have land grabs as happened in Zimbabwe. This is where they want to take the farms and redistribute it to the “local” population. This has been done in South Africa on a willing buyer willing seller agreement – did you know that over 90% of these farms are now unproductive? They are not threatening to expropriate land without compensation – this means that farmers whose families having been farming land since the 1800’s now stand to lose their farms because of the so called need to redistribute land.
So what is worse dear reader? Not being able to own land in a country of be under constant threat of having it taken from you?
So Thai people have to own at least 51% of a business and you feel that is discrimination?
In South Africa I will not get any government contracts unless I have a black partner, I cannot get a restaurant site at an airport unless I have a black partner. If I do not have a black partner I am told directly I am not allowed to apply, that I should not even bother. I am a born citizen of this country, my family arrived in the 1700’s and yet I am excluded purely based upon my race?
In the job market white males are at the bottom of the ladder. At our universities black students with 60% aggregate marks for their grade 12 exams will get into medicine but a white student will be rejected even if they have a 90% aggregate. These learners had no experience of apartheid, they have grown up and being schooled in a non-racial country yet they are now discriminated against!
If you are in Thailand chances are you can always get a job! Whether as an English teacher or anything else, in fact in certain instances your background will help you get ahead.
This always cracks me up. The Western readers often belittle the Thais for the superstitious beliefs. Gents you have NO IDEA what superstitious is.
This side of the world we have witch doctors who prescribe “muti” to those in need. What is “muti”? Well it can be herbs or made from plants. But sometimes it is made from human body parts – believe it or not they believe that eating certain parts of a person’s body will give them strength.
I kid you not – you can pick up a newspaper every day and read about a “muti murder”; do yourself a favour and type “muti murder” on youtube.
Thai superstitions are generally harmless and although we know they to be rubbish what can they physically do to harm another person? In Africa people are still killed for being suspected of being witches and devils, just the other month a chicken was burnt to death because it was said to be a demon!
There is an old story we tell to explain the differences between African and Asian corruption, I've told it a few times to my friends in Thailand and while humourous it puts things into perspective for them. The story goes like this:
Sammy and Kofi are two business students doing their MBA at Harvard. Sammy is from Asia and Kofi is from Africa. After their studies are done both get government jobs and eventually become Transport Ministers in their respective countries.
Sammy calls Kofi and insists that he come visit him in Asia. Kofi agrees and is met at the aiport by Sammy in his Porche. They then arrive at Sammy's house – there are 20 bedrooms, an indoor pool and a car port with 5 cars. "How do you afford this my friend" asks Kofi. Sammy signals for Kofi to follow him up a flight of stairs and they go onto Sammy's balcony. Sammy points in the distance of a large toll gate – "See that? TEN PERCENT". Kofi is impressed at his friends success and how he has used the system to his advantage – he extends the same invitation to Sammy to visit him in Africa.
A month later Sammy arrives in Africa and is met at the aiport by Kofi in his gold plated Rolls Royce. They then arrive at Kofi's house – there are over 100 bedrooms, an indoor waterpark and a car port with over 200 cars. Sammy looks around in shock and says "How can you afford this my friend?". Kofi with a wide grin instructs his friend to follow him up a flight of stairs and they go onto his balcony. Kofi points into the distance and says to his friend "You see that?". Confused Sammy says "I cannot see anything my friend, there is just a large empty field". Kofi with a sly smirk looks at Sammy and says "ONE HUNDRED PERCENT".
I love my country although it may appear to not be the case. I also know that to the bleeding heart PC liberals (who incidentally Africans detest) who have never stepped foot into Africa this may appear racist, I might seem like an old Afrikaaner yearning for the days of apartheid but nothing could be further from the truth!
I’m a 20 something who has lived in both countries and thus have a perspective on the good, bad and ugly in both countries.
What I am trying to get at here is that yes Thailand has its problems but compared to the problems faced by people in other countries it really isn’t enough to get crazy about. The third world is the third world wherever you go – I LOVE IT!
I love Africa and I love Thailand and believe it or not I love the majority of people in both areas – but I know what I am getting myself into by living here and I am fully aware that I will never be able to change anything.
I must either accept it or piss off to another country! But when you see an African sunset, bite into freshly made Thai street food or spend the night with a Thai beauty you realise that one must pay a price to live where you heart desires.
Or you can go back home where things are “normal” – you know a McDonalds on every corner, a policeman with nothing better to do that to take you to task for littering or living with a bunch of political correct assholes where you cant even sneeze or fart without being called a racist or sexist!
Enjoy the third world gents – it's still frontier country, man's last outpost!