100 things I don't like about Thailand. But Thailand is like a beautiful woman. Sure, she is beautiful, even sexy, but she is human and once in a while her face will break out and she'll reveal her flaws. She is still beautiful though.
1. The treatment of wildlife (and domestic animals). The overall consensus, at least from a scientific standpoint, is the treatment of captive wildlife leaves much to be desired. There are people working hard to bolster wildlife populations in the national park but nowhere near enough.
If you think I'm overreacting, take a walk into Chinatown. Elephant, hippo, and boar ivory are sold at several shop houses, shark fin soup is openly sold in restaurants, as well as tiger claws and a mishmash of other animals of the day. Yet, nothing is done and business continues as usual. Someone's palms are being greased and it's a damn shame.
2. Reluctance to speak English in a business setting - sure, in the beginning it's cute. An attractive young lady smiling as you walk by, only to turn and walk away once you change direction and walk towards her. Why? Is she scared of me? Maybe, but the reason he or turns around is their inability to speak English or fathom the idea that the foreigner might even speak their language.
3. Bilingual schools with admin workers who do not speak a word of English - years ago, as a test when my children first started school, I walked in to the office and asked a couple questions - in English. Guess what, no one spoke a word of English. I know, we're in Thailand, but this is a bilingual school. They wanted to call a foreign teacher to speak with me until I finally admitted I spoke Thai. Once in a while I need to visit the office, and just to double check, I'll try speaking English instead of Thai. Guess what, nothing has changed. If you want to call yourself a bilingual school, make sure at least some of the Thai staff speaks English! What about the new foreigners who come to the country with kids? In order to give the school their money are they required to speak Thai? Because if not, why should they part with their children's tuition when not one of the staff speaks English?
4. Sorry seems to be the easiest word - Sorry if I'm wrong about this one but when someone apologizes, aren't they apologizing for doing something wrong? Or are they apologizing because someone doesn't like what they did or are doing?
Example: If a woman sleep with her boyfriend's best friend and her boyfriend finds out, she will apologize. However, she's not apologizing for sleeping with the best friend, she's apologizing because he boyfriend found out and was angry. She apologized for making her boyfriend angry, not for having sex with the best friend. It might seem trivial, but it's not, believe me. Fortunately I don't have any problem with the word "sorry" with my wife because she rarely ever apologizes!
5. Lady boys - to my surprise, more than a handful of people seemed upset because I have ladyboys on this list. To the dummies out there who have a comprehension problem let me make something perfectly clear; I have nothing against the fact that a lady boy has chosen to be what it chooses. On the contrary, I think it takes great strength to be different. However, it doesn't make me any less comfortable being around them. I have met lady boys who are famous, who work in bars, and if I leave my home, I am almost certain to see at least one.
Again, I could care less about their sex, their sexual practices, how they look, whatever. This is there choice. But I personally would rather spend my time with a man who was born a man and a woman who was born a woman. Still pissed off? Get over it.
6. The constant political problems - every couple of years there are protests and while the majority of them are non-violent, it can be frustrating rerouting where you want to go, always wondering if matters will get worse, and worrying about being blown up. If this happened once or twice in the past 20 years, I might be more tolerant but I would prefer the political knuckleheads work things out for the good of the country. Not for the good of their pockets. Politics is a subject I generally avoid like a dirty diaper but lately it's been hard to avoid the stench.
7. Money number one - I know Thais who could care less about my money, getting my money, or having anything to do with my money (or lack of it). But...there are two sayings prevalent among long-term expats; they want your money but they don't want you, and if Thais had it their way, foreigners would fly over the country, dump their bag of cash, and fly back to their country. Let's not forget the phrase "walking ATM." After awhile, their hunger for money gets irritating. I'm no ATM, I give tips when I want, and this is one aspect of Thai culture that could use some toning down.
8. Racism is everywhere, even in Thailand - The racist mentality of many Thais rounds out my list. If you think American Caucasians are racist towards blacks or Latinos, come to Thailand. Not all Thais are racist but the prevailing attitude towards foreigner sure makes it seem this way.
When I first came here, I asked one of my American friends why he didn't have a cute, educated, white-skinned Thai-Chinese girlfriend. "Because to them, I'm the devil. I'm white and that's all they need to know to judge me." At first I thought this harsh but after a few years I noticed there are indeed some people here who at the very sight of a foreigner automatically sneer at them. You either deal with it the best you can or you go home. Because at least for now, they're not changing.
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