Stickman Readers' Submissions July 15th, 2014

The Precept

Enjoyed your column featuring success / fail metrics of several of our expat luminaries and celebrity bloggers. As good sports who'd contributed to the expat scene here a few of them actually put some thought into stepping up and laying it on the line.

All except Jake Needham were safely and comfortably reserved.

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Those of us who've been here for a while know that there is definitely a lot more to be said but the experienced, the successful and the wise among these guys and in the general community would / could never really open up.

As well, many of us here would never pretend to place themselves among such august company as your commentators but lots of guys live peaceful quiet lives here and the reasons for their success in spite of alluding many is simple enough.

From the moment they stepped of the plane or stumbled across an border outpost on Thailand's impossibly long and storied frontier, these guys have lived by one clear survival precept. The real successes here, whenever they did stray from this single precept and ended up sitting on the kerb, head in hands have recognized what went wrong, resolved not to repeat their mistake and gotten on with their lives.

From the moment of our arrival to the moment we might actually believe that our ashes would actually be our ashes, "The Precept" has to be a part of our daily life.

It's under constant assault.

From that blast of Bangkok air that envelopes you somewhere along the metal tread walkway from the plane to Immigration, through the entire admission process to the Realm, to your taxi, to your first hotel room here, to your first night out, your first Thai massage…. your first decent restaurant meal, your first taxi ride, your first nightlife experience and on and on and on to countless other "firsts" you will find yourself assailed by one call after another to abandon this precept.

The assault is incessant. As your life here stretches into the years and then the decades, it takes a million forms.

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It simply does not let up.

"Welcome to Thailand. No problem. What you like some d'ing? Handsome. Spayshun. Why don't you believe me? Careful of bad Thaigurr, I get off at 7:00, I have education, my uncun, he bodyguard for somebody, my frien' can hel' you can make how, you can buy car, take a package on the plane….. etc. etc."

It's all…… ALL of it, an assault on "The Precept".

And it NEVER, EVER stops. Year after year. Decade after decade. Deal after deal and of course, tryst after tryst….

Those who succeed are either sanely lucky or more likely have become inured to the assault. They detect instinctively ANY form of the assault on reason and neutralize it with this blast of common sense.

"Never, ever, under ANY circumstances, put yourself in their hands"

Dodgy liaisons, visa agents, business "opportunities", romantic commitments, partnerships, open-ended deals, "trust me" deals, promises, day-to-day life, street food, market stalls, banking arrangements that see both your name and your ATM number on the same card, credit card transactions ANYTHING that requires you to trust or to believe a Thai person for anything more than you are willing to LOSE is off the table.


The concept of business (bidnett) for a Thai comprises any and all means of cheating, misrepresentation, bait-and-switch, lying, and outright theft. There IS no legitimate commercial matrix here for anyone who is not attached to power and the resources of a Thai support group. A promise to arrange THAT is just part or "The Rope".

As an expat you are alone. You can trust no one.

You do not need to nor should you put yourself in their hands for anything at all.

And if you feel you must? If you find that relinquishing control over your resources is all you have left? If that's it?

It is, definitely, without doubt and in answer to all questions to the contrary, time to get out and move on or (better yet)…. move back.

Because you do not have what it takes to survive here.

(And, if the truth be known, one's ignorance of this precept and one's blind craving for acceptance and inclusion is probably the reason one never amounted to much back in one's own country.)

Before you come to "settle" in Thailand? Ya gotta grow up!

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