Stock phrases and stock responses as the Brits are coming
In a week of several serious accidents and tragedies it was a much more mundane incident that caught my attention.
Not wishing to in any way play down the tragic loss of young life in the Chiang Rai school fire or the other lives ruined in the Koh Samui speed boat accident, but the story of the British tourist who was assaulted in Khao San road on Thursday certainly jangled.
Ever since the attack on the Owen family in Hua Hin in April a stock phrase seems to have been firmly attached to the lips of every spokesman, nay every person in authority. That is the Thai phrase that translates into the English “spoiling the image of tourism in Thailand”.
This week the speedboat driver and his boss were accused of it. The accusation was also thrown at rogue taxi drivers and other drivers of public transport who let the Thai side down.
And in recent weeks reference to this phrase has become as common as such favorites as “arrest is imminent”, “fled the scene”, “in a jealous rage due to beer” and “police mount crackdown” among several thousand others.
The manager of the bar had thrown his fists at the Brit after some idiotic and devious behavior. The Brit had asked to use the loo but been turned down because he was not a customer. So he ordered cocktails, went to the loo then tried to leave without paying even thinking it would be quite alright to throw a twenty baht note in the manager’s furious face.
It is hard to imagine a more stupid thing to do even if he was desperate for a pee. I would have shat my pants just contemplating such an invitation to end up in the gutter.
Not surprisingly, while we can all accept that the Thai chose the wrong course of action, Thaivisa posters turned out in their droves to condemn the loutish Brit and stand by the Thai. (some of these may well be people who see the word Brit and react violently of course, or just Americans, but many seemed quite sensible in their cursing.)
Some posters even suggested that it was all a brilliant ruse by the authorities to make it seem patently obvious that the Brit was really in the wrong and deflect from the behavior of the manager. That would imply cleverness on the part of authorities though, so that was clearly out.
Patently the reporter, or translator anyway, was in no doubt as the report of the punch warranted a brief line while the report of the cause of said behaviour was a full and detailed explanation.
And to think that it could all have been avoided if the tourist had just offered 20 baht in the first place to relieve himself or even just followed his nose to the taxi drivers’ roadside toilet area nearby.
In the end while it stretched incredulity to suggest that the Owens got what was coming to them for bumping into people, it would be nice to see the Brit in Khao San being charged with “going out of your way to be a devious and obnoxious Western twat….in the hours of darkness”
Blameless were the hill tribe children aged 6 -12 who perished in the fire that PM Prayut called a “lesson for Thai society”. A lesson I am afraid that should have been taught to every public official at “The School of Negligence Withaya” long since.
The same is true for those overseeing tourist transport as the Samui speedboat tragedy killed two and then within 36 hours threw 14 more into the sea off Ao Nang as a long tail boat sank. Ok so they might have thought better of going out in the stormy conditions but Khao San showed they have no brains and might need to be protected from their own idiocy, even non-Brits.
Worrying news came out of Chiang Mai where foreign pedophiles look to be targeting disaffected youth hanging about gaming parlors and parks. First a Japanese was caught with a couple of young lads – his sentence will be interesting and unlikely to be what the British understand from the darts related catchphrase “you get nothing for two in a bed”.
Then next day it was indeed a Briton who Interpol swooped on though the “bull’s eye” on him was a dodgy CD and, damningly, an obscene video clip on his hard drive. I think if they ever announce that crime in the UK is down we will just be able to say…yeah right, they are all doing it over here, mate.
Locals behaving badly gave the Brits a run for sterling, however. A nasty one being the father who now appears to be responsible for his own daughter’s drugging and raping death. He changed his mind after trying to commit suicide but I won’t hold my breath much on that one.
Then there was the gang of ten who arrived in several trucks and fired two dozen shots into a bunch of guys eating Som Tam in Ayuthaya because one had been talking to a guy’s ex-girlfriend.
You would hope that jealous will be replaced by jailhouse for these villains but perhaps the brazenness of the attack indicates people who do not fear capture….akin to heirs to fortunes out driving their motors, one of whom was given yet another chance to pop in for a chat with police this week.
Brazen could also be said of the “Thai friend of the week” award. This went to the guy you met his pal as he drove out to buy his girl some meds, asked to borrow his bike for a moment and went back to his mate’s place to try and rape his girlfriend.
She bit him so hard on the tongue it looked as though when he was photographed at the station he could put his finger through the hole rather than just point at it.
Slightly more in humorous vein was the hospital worker caught taking upskirt videos in of all places a mental hospital. He told police, in mitigation, that he didn’t normally do that….he usually took the vids at a department store. Oh, thank goodness for that!
Many enjoyed the story of the Bangkok druggie who had had a Ya Ba binge and drove his motorbike right into KFC at a Tesco Lotus mall. One of those ‘nuggets’ of news when it is hardly surprising that a Thai mob ‘wings’ over and takes a ‘breast’ of matters and ends up ‘battering’ the miscreant into submission all well before plod gets to the scene.
Anyway it made a change from the bystanders criticized recently on Thaivisa for being too chicken to intervene.
Animals of a more easily recognizable kind were also to the fore this week. While recently we have been persuaded that it was man behaving badly to mutt this week TV posters called for a Thonburi hound to be hanged high for a very unpleasant 100 stitch wound inflicted to a young girl’s face.
The neighbor bargained the dad down to a 150,000 baht settlement…not what you’d call a pedigree chum. Rumors that the dog has been sent to Koh Tao are groundless, it is believed.
Released back into the wild after two days of mega-stardom was the three metre python who emerged from the depths and bit a man’s privates while he was squatting and doing his morning ritual. There was a lot of blood and two days in hospital before the doctors, wisely, left it up to the wife to announce that all was now well….though how she could be so sure remains to be seen.
Darwin award of the week went to the drug mule – ok maybe ass or donkey may be more accurate – who transported 20 million baht’s worth of drugs at night in his mate’s tuk-tuk. The drugs were in a bag at his feet. Why don’t these druggie dumb bells just wear a t-shirt saying “Sawatdee – please clap me in irons for ten or twenty years officer”.
Feel good story of the week was the Thai lady who I was surprised to see was the first local lass to climb Everest. I had assumed that my first wife had done that as she seems to have done everything else. No, there was the proud lady with her fluttering flag and picture of His Majesty, literally, on top of the world. A great sight and surely one that will reach and please His Majesty who thankfully is recovering now after some ill health last week.
Finally, top of the world, or at least the Thai world, is where another local lady will feel this morning after winning the “Miss Thailand World 2016” title in the capital last night. Taking a quick glance at a picture of a few beauties remaining in the pageant on Saturday, I could have sworn one was a type two lady and this was another Tiffany’s pageant. No, of course not.
I am either getting too old, too suspicious or been in Thailand far too long.
Or all three.