Sunday, February 17, 2008

How to Kill Yourself Buying Groceries in Thailand

One of the hazards about living in Thailand is that, everything is in Thai. So turning off the wrong road flying off the cliff because the “danger - you are going to fly off the cliff” sign is written in Thai is just one of the many situations we foreigners may encounter.

I deliberately placed a bottle of salt among the multipurpose cleaners. As the picture above shows, if it was the other way round that I did put the multipurpose cleaner among the bottles of salt, some poor old farang with bad eyesight could have been sprinkling the corrosive agent into his baking pizza at home and wondering why his pizza sizzles like never before. I had once used the floor cleaner to wash my dishes because both detergent and floor cleaner looks so darn similar, with the almost identical red packaging and all the Thai words sprawled over. The detergent liquid was red, the floor cleaner liquid was red and both smelled of strawberry. English is not necessary and even if it is, the words are placed discreetly in small fonts. These are pure examples of the Hokkien saying “have mustache, blindly recognize as father”.

When at Tops, I see expired farang products everyday. Instant mashed potatoes, not every Thai will consume. Apple chips and such, all left to rot on the shelves and no staff bother to check on them since they are all English. I pointed out that a package had expired… EXP: FEB 14 2008. The staff told me.. E-X-P printed on the package was the packaging date, F-E-B is January in Thai….. WTF!!! I had to correct her and she then removed all the goods from the shelf, probably recycling them into the yellow pails we buy as offerings to the monks since Thai monks are unlikely to read English.

Non Stop Banana? Till this day I am wondering what genetic mutation causes a banana to be un-stoppable.

Worker Ants…. Wow.. didn’t know ants has an effect on air quality in Bangkok.

In a world where translations are never done correctly and where the talking bird speaks Thai, you really need to learn to read, really need to learn to write. Speaking their gentle language is just the first of obstacles.

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