Stickman Readers' Submissions May 23rd, 2013

My Tuppence Worth

Two submissions on the 21st, both utterly negative about Thailand and Thai women. Bitter maybe a better way to describe them.

So what happened to the place and its inhabitants?

He Clinic Bangkok

Let me state from the start that I'm a "fossil" in terms of age but not of spirit. I landed in Paradise the first time I visited the country over 35 years ago and even then I was approaching middle age.

The country was backward but the people were genuine and welcoming. My first time in South-East Asia and I loved every minute of it and couldn't get enough.

So I combined business and pleasure and the country proved to be a gold mine for me both personally and business wise.

CBD bangkok

As a matter of fact when I retired I spent quite a few years there up until the year 2000. As the country "progressed" into the 21st century with modernisation and prosperity you could say that its citizens took a turn for the worse. I'm still in tune with what's happening over there because we go back on an average once a year but each time we do that it's another disappointment and a realisation that it's Paradise Lost.

It's not really about higher prices, be it for service girls or tourism or attractions, as that's only to be expected as more tourists invade a place.

It's more about attitudes and mindsets of the hosts who want your business but at the same time resent you for being able to afford a holiday which ultimately benefits them. A classic case of looking a gift horse in the mouth. Couple that with plain greed and envy not just about farangs but also their own who may have more material goods, and you get a feeling that you're just being used. Now that may come as a bit of a surprise to those who visit the place to get their rocks off; mongers are supposed to be users of a service but the tables have been turned. Caveat emptor or let the buyer be aware.

When a “service” be it sexual or tourism related is provided with bad attitude the provider is actually being counterproductive. Short term gain but long term loss for sure.

wonderland clinic

Neighbouring countries are just waiting for this kind of opportunity to cash in everywhichway.

Once the lagging infrastructure catches up Thailand will be consigned to the “been there, done that” and “rip off” basket.

Even Thai people who are expats in Western countries like Australia, where I happen to live, tell me the same thing. They go back to visit family and friends and can't wait to leave again.

As I'm writing this there are a couple of Thai ladies having lunch with us who recently went back for a visit and relayed their stories to me. They felt strange being back there. They come from well to do families and having learnt an egalitarian lifestyle in Australia now their families look at them with disdain. “Don't talk to the driver or the maid except giving them instructions!” A class divide seems distasteful to an Aussie even born overseas. A society where laws and regulations are ignored as a norm is also now objected to. A lot of people who live in Thailand and never experienced living in a Western country don't realise that there are other and better ways to conduct yourself. There seems to be no awareness by Thai people about the common good. This was evident to me when I lived there and owned a couple of condominiums where most of the problems emanated from Thai owners.

For instance their own condos may have been well kept and nicely decorated but when it came to paying condo fees for the common areas and facilities they couldn't care less.

Why am I not surprised when I see rubbish in waterways and roads and people throwing their trash out of the windows of their cars? The car must stay clean inside, full of silly gadgets decorating it but hey, a wrapper of a packet of chips flying out the window is not their problem. Ok, so that was just a small instance of a careless attitude but indicative of attitudes of selfishness and ignorance.

Why has Thailand and her people gone down this path in the past 30 years or so?

The reasons are manifold but to a large extent it's an adoption of the worst aspects of a consumer society where money and material assets give people status and “face”. Mind you this culture was always there and part of Thai practices but in the old days only a smaller percentage of Thais were privileged.

Nowadays the middle classes are expending and competing with one another. This kind of race to be ahead of the other makes people greedy and envious. A dog eat dog world which makes you a bad host.

Bad hosts…dissatisfied visitors… No repeat business.

The writing is on the wall.

Then again, the Thais were always pretty hopeless in forward planning.

Stickman's thoughts:

I would agree that in the tourism industry and in lower and mid-rage establishments in the service industry in major centres that attitudes are generally worse than they used to be. At the top end of the market and in the better run places in the lower and mid range things are still good.

I do strongly disagree with what you suggest about the future of the tourism industry. Most people who visit Thailand have a great time and many return over and over and over again! The tourism stats are amazing and in the first 3 months of this year 6.5 million visitors arrived. Visitor numbers continue to increase by double digit percentages year after year – not many places you can say that about!

As far as these inherent problems go, those of scofflaw attitudes, corruption and a divide in society based largely on socio-economic lines, it's hard to know what the future holds.

That you choose not to live in Thailand and prefer Australia is moot. Many Aussies are moving to Thailand because they prefer what Thailand has to offer. For a single man or anyone chasing adventure or perhaps someone with a small retirement income / nest egg, Thailand is hard to beat. For someone in your position with a young family, Australia is probably almost perfect. It really depends where you're at in life and what you're looking for…

nana plaza