Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shame is not a word in Thai

I got a missed call way past midnight, I was too lazy to answer. In the morning at 6 while I was in deep state of salivating sleep, my pillow the kotex soaking up my drool, he called and I answered. The other end of the line, a man I knew not much about but just through some business acquaintances he knew me.

“Can I borrow money… I have no money.”
“No” I answered solid.

It’s very strange this Kingdom. I am still trying to find the word for shame translated to Thai. Maybe there is just none. But one thing is for sure, shame is not something in most Thais that you will meet. Maybe it is their upbringing, maybe it’s just the culture. They just reach out their hands and ask you for money. They will tell you a story for which you must not hear, for as us expats we will be easily taken in…. at first at least. And then we learn. For in our countries all are capable, and with hands we know we work them they generate money. We survive we find our own money. But not here.

It’s not just the karaoke girls I am taking about, it could be men and anyone sexually undefined. There was once a high ranking army officer, he drives a big new Merce. Never did I think he would call to borrow 10k, for which till now he did not return. And best of all, he don’t answer calls. Everything you must learn here had to be experienced once. But try you must to minimize that experience fee (they ask for 40k, you say you only have 5k to spare). Its not just people, it’s the Thai companies as well. Not just in employment terms, but in B2B transactions these shameful acts exist. Apply this knowledge of Thais in your business endeavors, safe you will be.

Some us foreigners soaking here long, soak up these undesirable traits some did. Forget that their hands could work, and instead device confident-acts in their minds they did. And so they call to ask for money with a story indirect to “borrow” they did. It was through the 10k fee, I learned not to invest the 100k scheme. Sounds like Ponzi his tactics, it’s sad now even our own we cannot trust in this country.

Singapore is a beautiful land and full of morally truthful denizens. And when one does move over to a contrasting land, targets of gullibility the others will see. Be on guard trust no one, and enjoy the best of the land. That’s how once could survive these harsh but yet deceptively beautiful surroundings.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Red Light Cameras

And so we still think that Bangkok is a place where we can make illegal u-turns anywhere we want, drive against traffic on occasions and speed through red lights scaring the balls out of pedestrians. No more. I got a ticket sent by mail with glorious pictures of my daring feat speeding through the red lights. Yes, they have it now. Mails have been circulating warning us about these newly installed police gadgets. Where they are installed, I never know because the stupid emails were in Thai.

But one thing remains for sure from the ticket I received. Thais still work slow. The incident was captured in March. The ticket received only a week ago in July by post. That leaves me 4 months to forget who was driving the car or what I was doing. The police were probably spending quite an effort trying to figure out how to download the pictures from the camera. They are way much better in downloading porn in their offices and chatting up young girls on MSN and other trashy Thai web boards.

Red Light Cameras, they are here to stay.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Local or Overseas Contract

How to be those lucky folks that work here and get paid fat to live like an Emperor with his so many concubines? We know MNCs are great paymasters but if you ever are lucky enough to land yourself a job in one, knowledgeable you must be that they have two types of contractual agreements. Local and Overseas. Local means you get treated like Thais, get paid lean like one but be assured your job last you a lifetime as long as you can bear or perform. Overseas means you get paid two to three times more, you get accommodation in posh districts and that chuffer in at least a reputable car to pick you up for the next two to three years ahead. But your contact will end on the date of expiry or prematurely and to live on in this land, you gotta change yourself to be under local (subjected to economic conditions), losing all the privileges that came along as an expat.

But again if you being one that had lived here long and try hard you did to stay and get into a MNC somehow you had, they treat you local so there is no need to pay through their nose to get you. Which ever way you end up, whatever reduced benefits you get, as long as you love living in this Kingdom, scarifies some you just have to make. I made.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Monks – Pirate Version

And so I was in the market again. The peddler asked if I had made offerings to any monks in the market. I said no. And he advised and pointed, that at the corner is real, those at other side are fakes, so are the ones that are coming there and there, but these right in front of us a bunch of them real…. and so and so and so.

Darn… not just fake Louis Vuitton they have here, but fake monks as well aplenty. How the heck are we suppose to tell which to be genuine and which not other then lifting up their robes to see if they wear underwear. Real monks don’t wear underwear (at least that was what I was told).