Monday, March 31, 2014

Life can be Wonderful in Thailand, Only if you speak Thai

There She Goes
It's one of those days, it had to happen. Total gearbox failure on my aging Volvo on way to work. Called up Allliance CP, my insurer, pressed 9 for English and was put on hold for more than 10 minutes. I gave up. Next I called again and tried the Thai language option. In less than a minute, I was attended to by the most helpful and polite agent. In less than 10 minutes, multiple return calls from Alliance CP and a tow truck was on the way. It took less time then I was put on hold attempting the English channel that could cause iPhone to molecularly fuse with my face.

It will be like this, and always like this in Thailand. Life is easy, only if us as foreigners learn to adapt to the mammoth language barrier presented to us. We cannot expect the world to revolve around us, we cannot expect Thais to be English proficient. Wait a thousand years maybe, but never it will happen in this lifetime. Speaking only English, what I did in the first year that I was here, nothing works. Frustration builds, temper flares, and we often think everyone else is stupid. Sorry, but we are the ones that are stupid, especially in the eyes of the dwellers of Thailand in which we are in. I knew this for a long time after I had blended in and forcefully trained my old mind to take on a new set of communication skills.

Everyday life is only good when we try to speak in Thai. Often, it results in Thais being extra friendly and it brings smiles. Conversations often always extended to "How long you have been here?" and compliments are always given in a fashion like how we treat good kids with candies, us being the kids that is. Sometimes, they will switch to talking in very tattered English when they hear our very tattered Thai. The chat will be really interesting when it often morphed to Thais speak bad English and foreigner speak bad Thai, each for some reasons refusing to switch to a common language totally. Laughter often explodes when we try to say River Kwai in Thai which ended up as Big Penis River translated back to English. Such is life here, we need to be Thai.

No comments: