Arriving in Thailand it very quickly dawned on me that Thais are like
children. Though they appear to grow old like the rest of us they
never quite manage to grow up.
But the realization also came to me before I was wet behind the ears
from my first monsoon that the fact that they remain in a permanent
state of infancy is one of the factors that makes them so pleasant to
The humor seemed puerile. The cajolery of the streets, especially in
the mild farang baiting that most white honkies are subject to, barely
seemed out of slapstick dungarees. The knowledge of the world – and
their understanding of it – seemed about the level of Year 3 at
primary school. On a good day.
While I consider myself as more of an outsider looking in than someone
who has embraced Thai culture to the point of abandoning my
upbringing, I have nevertheless retained the humor of a seven year
Like most Britons I will always find the passing of wind uproariously amusing.
The missus seems a little serious when interacting with our very young
children – I often tell her she needs to lighten up as, after all, the
rain won’t kill them, Paracetamol cannot cure the common cold and who
cares if we are a bit rude behind people’s backs.
For such pronouncements and similar behavior I am castigated as a 56
year old man who knows nothing, has little responsibility and has
never grown up.
As a Thai resident I take it as a compliment.
This week in the Thai news we were treated to ample evidence that the
Thais may have grown out of Pampers but have replaced incontinence
with inconsistency. They may be sixty or even seventy something but
their hearts – and dare I say minds – have remained in the limbo of
the little people.
They carry on with the oblivion of the young aforethought, expecting
grown-ups of other nationalities to take them at face value and their
own “phee-nongs” to obey, follow suit and understand their actions
Such are the pleasures of living in Thailand though I could just as
easily appreciate that there are many who never come to terms with it
and remain bewildered and befuddled by the sheer childishness of it
Once again Pattaya or QUOTES (The Queen of the Eastern Seaboard) led
the way in the puerility stakes. A TAT rep asked us to believe that
the resort was wallowing in a glut of tourists as thick as the sludge
on a bad day at Bali Hai.
Her maths was off but hey, children – remember in Thailand that the
teacher is always right!
How much more refreshing it was to hear the man from the hoteliers
association give us a frank assessment and treat us like adults – I
had to do a double take that he was Thai especially as he appeared
without a tie and the metaphorical white coat that the locals believe
lends credibility to those speaking in public.
Our lady at the TAT had clearly been taking lessons from Khun Kobkarn
at tourism and sports. The minister, incidentally, was chairman of the
board of governors at a well-known school that I helped to set up and
always gave the impression she was addressing Year 1, who let’s face
it will believe anything.
Her related underling had come up with the idea to promote the resort
to “hi-end” women to keep the tourist dollars flooding in. The
translator used the words “cunning plan” for the childlike notion that
women standing up playing golf could save the day rather than the more
familiar Pattaya ones lying down offering the 19th Hole after a round
of drinks in Walking Street.
That cunning plan line was lifted straight out of TV’s Blackadder – a
comic figure as childish as could be led by his hapless underling
Baldrick who always put the J in juvenile.
Meanwhile General P, our father that art in khaki hallowed be his
name, must have been upset that the prosecutors had decided to drop
the case against Yingluck for causing the flooding of 2011.
Ok, it was dereliction of duty in the aftermath that she got away
with, but methinks they have got more than enough on her and her
relatives without resorting to charges of causing natural disasters.
But the same could be said of presenter Sorrayuth who had barely got a
taste for rice gruel before he was bailed while appealing his 136
million baht embezzling conviction.
So what did he tell the massed reporters as emerged from clink to
smell the relative sweet air of a Bangkok morning?
“I miss my mum”.
Another Thai who has no need to search for his inner child.
Also behaving like children – but who hopefully will face a spot of
detention if not deportation – were the bikers in Surin who went to
intimidate a UK ex-policeman who runs the appropriately named “Monkey
The forum foamed at the mouth with one camp calling the bikers pussies
and posting pictures of the Village People in drag, and the other,
perhaps looking up from their Yakusa comics, saying they were hard
nuts who would make Kim Jong Un nervous.
Former fuzz Lee told me he was more concerned for his wife than his 18 stitches.
We’ll see just fines in the coming days but the uniforms in town will
smile a lot and be firm beneath their ingratiating veneer that should
the bikers step out of line again they will find out who are the real
mahouts in elephant town.
Once again it was a bad week for going on balconies. A Russian in
Pattaya was the latest tourist to say “do svidaniya” to her sixth
floor apartment and hello to the car park while a former top cop
tumbled from a parking lot to his fate ten floors below in Bangkok.
Rooster is the antithesis of conspiracy theorist tiring of posters who
see mystery in people falling off buildings. Personally, I see
drunkenness, illness, stupidity and low railings being the lethal
cocktail that ends so many lives.
As an inspector of accommodation on school trips I was aghast at some
of the low balcony walls at hotels. These were just teens not fully
grown adults, and were very unlikely to be able to get a drink with
beady eyed Rooster on the prowl. Yet I saw danger everywhere.
Such situations reminded me of the guy who fitted a ceiling fan at a
condo I was staying in. I’m only about 5 foot ten but he had installed
the blades to cut through the air – and our necks – at about five foot
He seemed genuinely quite put out when told to raise it another foot
by those finicky too tall farang!
Continuing the theme of children and their games was the Buddhist
organization that took umbrage at a Taiwanese company’s video game
that featured “Jesus vs Buddha”.
Being a devout atheist I usually keep religion out of the column but,
as some posters pointed out, with one protagonist who must show the
other cheek and the other believing in non-violence the denouement
should have been as wussy as those Surin bikers.
Still at least the titter-worthy tagline for the game gave us the best
comment of the week:
“The son of God is back…..and he’s cross”.
Ending the life of a child – a baby in actual fact – was the driver in
Suphanburi who police said they will charge with murder after he went
the wrong way round a bend straight into another pick-up.
The sickening road carnage is all the more disgusting when completely
innocent people come up against these nutters. For it was clear that
after an argument with relatives the miscreant got drunk and continued
behind the wheel in a Thai tizzy.
Let’s hope they can make the homicide charge stick not just for the
memory of the six month old life he took, but all our sakes.
And so to this week’s Rooster awards continuing my juvenile theme.
Firstly the “Kindergarten Awareness Prize” goes to the UK’s Alex, 21,
a round the bend, sorry, world cyclist who said that she’ll survive
the Thai roads as she is keeping to the edge.
No one will be surprised if next week we are reading how another barmy
bicyclist failed to beat the odds and get home after trying to
traverse the tricky “thanons” of Thailand.
The “Best Project in Year One” award goes to all those government
spokesmen and excise folks for their excellent work in making
everything clear on the cigarette and booze tax hikes that came in at
Talk about the blind leading the blind drunk.
While my “Year Three Compromise in Public Office” award goes to those
at Pattaya City Hall who first told the complaining proletariat to
shut up and thereafter kowtowed in the mother of all U-turns that saw
salvation for the Dolphin Roundabout, latest wonder of the modern
Quite some flip for flipper.
Finally the “Back to School” award clearly must go to the more than
300 Bangkok cops – or 10 % of entrants – who failed their law exams on
what constitutes a basic traffic violation in the capital.
Having lived and driven a motorcycle in Krung Thep for the best part
of four decades there was clearly some skullduggery in the tests.
Surely 90% would fail.