Monday, March 05, 2007

Insurance No Buy

Visited one of Gig’s uncle in hospital yesterday. Darn scary, his life slowly being eaten away by colon cancer. Gotta eat more vegetables boys and girls. I asked them if the uncle was on insurance. No. Thais don’t buy insurance. Why? Waste of money. The money could be used better on current things – they said. So what do they do when one falls sick and is in need of money for a major surgery? They will borrow from all relatives around. The family bond is strong and all, they expect, will help. This is the mentality here. Insurance companies may think such is a big market of unexploited opportunities but the fact is that only a fraction of the minority well educated pool of Thais are into buying policies. Such is the trend here that on such a low salary scale, priorities are put forth on immediate things such as food, lodging, transport, fashion and for the middle income - entertainment. Even the near fifties population does not have savings to fall back on and dependability on others is a strong inherent trend. Why do they not plan for the future? Two simple answers. One which is just being unable to because one is financially as it is. Second, which is majority and from what I gather around me is that, why worry about future? Why think ahead. Just relax, don’t worry be happy. Worry later.

What’s a good business for the population? Credit companies seems to be doing very well, there are so many of them here. And when one cannot service the loan and is faced with a penalty that could end in jail? Borrow from loan sharks. Eventually still unable to recover the situation? Sell body, sell daughter. It is still very popular to sell daughters. It is still good luck to be having a daughter then a son. A daughter can generate income for the family through simple ways when compared to a son. It is rumored the stall near where I work selling Thai papaya salad also sell their daughter. I finally understand why there are countless TV jokes where scantily dressed busty girls pound the salad so hard she made her boobs look like a wild Viking ride.

Go borrow, go beg, go steal if out of options. Such is life here. Sad, it’s an unfair world one would say. But hey look, when is the world ever fair? Entrepreneurs in this era so glorified by media in fast paced countries. Ever wonder what it takes to be one? Money from the spoon stuck in your asses dears. These facts of Thai lives mentioned, are the exposed reality of things revealed through enough span of time in this land of smiles. We used to be able to only see the lighter side of Thailand as packed tourist on our vacations.

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