Pattaya Thai Beach Chair Renter Loses Face, 2 Tourists Killed?

This is a disturbing story out of Pattaya’s Jomtien beach in Thailand… (below)

I don’t have an opinion on what probably happened, I’m not going to speculate what likely happened… but, it’s pretty disturbing and maybe part of a trend recently if it really was an act of revenge for the Thai man losing face over an argument about beach chairs. A guy that runs a beach chair service on the beach is a businessman. He’s out there everyday interacting with tourists that have money to burn so to speak.

Tourists in Pattaya come from all parts of the globe. They spend money on nice hotels, girls, guys and elephants. Some of the local people – guys that drive tuk-tuks, guys that rent beach chairs out for a small sum of money must have a certain resentment that builds up over time when dealing with so many foreigners, many of which are not kind… they don’t typically display the “map pen rai” attitude that the Thais’ have become accustomed to…

With the prevalence of internet use – information is shared among ALL now. Maybe it used to be that only repeat visitors really knew the prices charged for things… the bottom-line value on things like a tuk-tuk ride, beach chair, kilo of mangoes… But now – EVERYONE KNOWS the value of things in Thailand. So many tourists are “edu-micated” as Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies would have said… There’s not a lot getting past tourists now – they know the value of goods and services in Thailand. They don’t want to pay anymore than anyone else is paying. Tourists that come on a budget, or those that are especially cash-conscious can see their visit to Thailand turned into a stressful event because they are haggling over every 5 baht difference.

A Thai man that is running a business in Thailand has some pride. Even a beach chair rental guy. He’s worked in the same place, or around the same location for a number of years. Maybe he raised his kids there. He has friends there. He has a wife there. He has a reputation. He is in his own country and doing things the Thai way. Maybe he has some frustration that builds up over the years. He watches tourists come and spend more money during one week than he might make in 6 months. He sees them wear diamonds, gold, fashionable clothes… they treat themselves to the best in Thailand – because they can. To them, he thinks, 5 baht is nothing… not worth a thought. But he’s wrong…

To a Thai it might appear that this is the way tourists would be expected to think… to act… like 5 baht isn’t worth half a piss. But, in truth I know some people that can get enraged over a 5 baht slight especially when they are trying not to be “cheated” like when dealing with Thais’ that create prices on the fly… sometimes a tourist gets something for 20 baht. The next tourist – 25 baht. The next is a local, she gets it for 15 baht. The next is a guy the Thai can tell has just stepped off the plane. He is asked for 50 baht.

It’s a market economy. I really believe personally that people should pay what they agree to pay – whatever makes sense to them – and if it’s 5 baht higher than what someone else pays – that’s life. Next time in your mind you know that you too want to pay 5 baht less because you saw someone else get it for that. Your opinion changes. But, if you bought it the first time for 5 baht higher – then you agreed that it was worth it to you – or, you wouldn’t have bought it.

Oh yea, I’m frustrated if I hear that someone got something for less than I did. But I don’t give it another thought until I go and need the good or service again – then I want the lowest price I’ve heard about someone getting.

Buying rambutan for instance. My girlfriend can go and buy a kilogram for 20 baht like we did last night – with me sitting there on the motorbike in front of the guy as he gives her the price. There is no price on the fruit itself. He chooses the price. He added 5 baht from what he usually charges – because she told me he charged her 15 baht before. She wouldn’t tell me this before she bought because then it becomes an issue to me. But, afterward – mai pen rai – he made 5 more baht. I don’t cry over it. There are other reasons for fluctuations in price from day to day. The supply of rambutan here in the south fluctuates as the days go… Sometimes a guy might have a truckload. He might let them go for 10 baht per kilo. In 2 days he might be down to his last few and maybe others close in proximity to where this guy sells his rambutan don’t have many either. The prices go up.

Or, maybe the truck is nearly empty and the guy is anxious to go get another full truck of them because the next truckfull will be of the finest rambutans of the whole season. He might give you 2 kilos for 10 baht.

Buying CDROMS might be the same. Maybe the one YOU want is one that the guy doesn’t have any more of – and he sells the hell outta them. Maybe he wants 5 baht more because the demand is higher. He knows he’ll get 5 baht more from someone even if it’s not you. Why should he give it to you for 5 baht less than he could make. He’s sucking betelnut for energy, not you. You can pay 5 baht more for something you want, and if you don’t find it WORTH the extra 5 baht – don’t buy it – just go away and be happy knowing you wouldn’t pay more than it was worth to you.

Tourist attitude sucks here most times.

A guy in Pattaya on Beach road was beaten to death a little over a year ago for arguing iwth a guy about returning a music CD that didn’t work in his CD player. The CD seller didn’t take returns. Never did. Most Thai places DON’T. Never did.

This guy started yelling at the guy selling them. He was jumped by a bunch of Thais’ who beat him senseless. I think he died- though my memory of the article might be flawed… I’m pretty sure he died from it.

Over 100 baht?

How long does it take you to make 100 baht in your country? A few minutes? An hour at the very most.

This guy died for less than what it took him to make in an hour of work.

Thais’ don’t play around for certain things. Loss of face is one. You really, really need to understand the concept of face before coming here, or shortly upon arrival. There is no concept more important to you as a visitor. Get into a traffic accident and cause someone to lose face, or get drunk in a bar and cause someone to lose face… yell at a beach chair rental guy because you think he’s trying to charge you 50 more baht than is “fair”.

I’m not at all sure what happened with the two girls that were shot to death on Jomtien beach, but I’m not at all surprised if it does end up to have happened because the beach chair rental guy lost face in his home country, on his home street, surrounded by his friends, co-workers, and family…

I wouldn’t be surprised at all… I don’t agree that it’s something that SHOULD happen in Thailand – but I’m not the one writing up moral standards of behavior for the Thai people either.

I just know that the REALITY of living here shows us that Thais’ kill for things other than what foreigners kill over sometimes. The level of embarrassment one might feel during an argument for a foreigner and a Thai might be (must be) entirely different. For some Thais’ it is a catastrophic blow… a loss of face so great that only killing the offender makes it right…

Remember that next time you ride in a tuk-tuk, rent a motorbike, get into an accident, get drunk at a bar, hit on someone’s girlfriend, argue with a bargirl over what is owed to her at the end of the night, and in EVERY situation you find yourself in Thailand.

Thai loses face, tourists killed

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Story below
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Two Russian women killed in Pattaya

(BangkokPost.com)

Two Russian female tourists were shot and killed in a popular tourist beach resort about 100 kilometres south-east of Bangkok early Saturday, police said.

The 30- and 25-year-old women were shot by an unidentified gunman on a beach in Jomtien which is just south of the popular tourist resort town Pattaya at around 5 a.m.

Witnesses said they heard gun shots, then saw a Thai man flee the area on a motorcycle. The two women, who were staying in a nearby resort, were found dead next to beach chairs on the beach, police said.

Police found an empty Coca-Cola can, an almost empty alcoholic beverage, female shoes and a mobile phone at the scene.

Police initially suspected that the women, who checked in at the Dragon Beach Resort Hotel last Friday and planned to check out early March, were killed because of some conflict of interest in the sex business.

But officers say a local beach chair concessionaire is a possible suspect, because witnesses saw the Russian tourists quarreling with him earlier.

The press attache of the Russian Embassy in Thailand, Alexey Bulkin, confirmed Saturday the murder of two Russian women, who arrived at the Dragon Beach Resort hotel on February 16, and said an embassy official had been sent to the resort to monitor the ongoing police investigation.

Pattaya and Jomtien to its south are popular beach towns that have seen an increased number of Russian tourists in recent years.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

7 thoughts on “Pattaya Thai Beach Chair Renter Loses Face, 2 Tourists Killed?”

  1. I write in English, therefore, me trying to change Thai opinion with some well written words isn’t going to help any Thai understand how ridiculous the whole concept of face is.

    Ah, now I get it. Totally. Sorry if I came off a little hard, for some reason the ridiculousness of that (possible) murder scenario really peeved me off. I must have a real intolerance for killing for ego. Then when you explained how it might’ve gone down, I misunderstood it for sounding like you were saying that the tourists were being irrational. But in fact you were telling us how it is. And like you said, the crime is still being investigated and the guy may not even have done it.

    I’ve only been here a month and some local social behaviors are still confounding me (as an example, I seriously appreciate good air quality, and can’t imagine how people tolerate this smog). I must still be in foreigner “this ain’t America” bitch-mode.

  2. I agree with what Vern says to a certain extent.

    If you are in a foreign country, especially in a country with no rule of law, then you got to watch your ass. It is a pretty simple concept. Unfortunately, it is so simple people have to be reminded of it over and over again.

    I’ve never had problems ever with the face issue in Thailand, and I have never had a violent altercation because of it as well.

    I have a farang friend, however, who has lived in Thailand for 10 years and doesn’t give a shit about face.

    Guess what? He gets a lot more things accomplished with Thais than I do, because he barks at them like dogs.

    There are times when I seriously thought he was going to get me killed.

    On the other hand, I don’t have Vern’s resigned attitude about dealing with the Thais: “that is just the way–deal with it.”

    No, if everybody was resigned and just accepted mediocrity, civilization would stagnate and nothing would advance.

    If you love something–and I love Thailand–then you take a stand for its excellence and try to make it better in the best way you know how.

    There is no such thing as perfect communication. Each of us creates imperfect communication that makes others unhappy or uncomfortable, and each of us are victims of it as well.

    In the end, we have to be responsible for our actions.

    If we screw up badly, however, better prepared to face the consequences.

  3. Hi Cyberninja, Thanks for writing! Wow, I hope I didn’t come off as if I’m sympathizing with the jackazz that killed two people over loss of face. It enrages me as much as you. Maybe more? I didn’t want to post my rage about it though… I write in English, therefore, me trying to change Thai opinion with some well written words isn’t going to help any Thai understand how ridiculous the whole concept of face is.

    I’m writing in English to tell those of us that are visiting or staying for a while – this is the REALITY. The reality is – piss someone off and they may kill you. That’s all – just a ‘heads-up’ so to speak to help us assimilate into the THAI culture for a short while. If this were between two Thais – and there would be no outside investigation… I’m not so sure it would go very far at all. If the beach chair guy is connected whatsoever… and had 50,000 baht he wanted to part with – and these were two Thai girls – probably little would be said or done.

    But, when tourists are involved… there is some effort towards resolving it all.

    Please don’t think if I don’t rant and rage against something going on that I’m not pissed off. My first paragraph says that it’s disturbing. I could have said – it’s farking insane what Thais’ will kill over… loss of face, embarrassment… it hits them in an entirely different way obviously and one that I’ll never pretend to comprehend fully.

    If it’s really this beach chair guy that did it – then they should send him to Russia to get justice.

    If not – and we don’t know really, who the hell it was… well then we’re jumping to conclusions and I didn’t want to do that either…

    I could go on and on about what I want Thais’ to change – but I’m speaking to the wrong audience for that… we all have a GOOD idea what we’d like to change. Occasionally I’ll mention stuff -but I don’t want to be like a good percentage of other expat bloggers bitchin’ about the way things should be here. I go with reality… it IS this way – try to live with it… Thanks again for your comment – it made me think a lot…

  4. Your post almost sounds like you’re making an excuse for the murderer. I know you’re trying to let people know how insane the attitude is here, but seriously, killing someone to save face is not rational behavior. Charging 5 baht more to tourists is all well and good if at the same time you recognize you have to put up with tourists. Its not okay for this guy to expect to charge tourists more and then expect not to have to put up with toursist’s variable personalities. Killing people about it is, of course, even worse.

    The murderer is at fault, no matter how the russian girls may have hurt his feelings, and its not very reasonable to blame the russian girls.

  5. Hi, in case you didn’t know, your blog got a mention in a Malaysian newspaper The Star yesterday. That’s how I got to know abt your blog. An interesting read.

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