I could write a whole chapter for a book on this topic with the experiences I’ve had over the years with Thais. If you have stayed in Thailand or visited for any length of time, you have probably seen it too.
The most recent event, and the one that prompted this post came yesterday…
I had dropped off a new snake the week before – a deadly, and rare snake for this area, with some Thai friends that also keep venomous snakes. I didn’t have a good place to keep this new snake, and I trusted that these guys would take care of it for a few days until I was able to take it myself for a week and get some video of feedings.
So, I put it in a cage with about 3 other innocuous snakes – none big enough to bother my snake, and none small enough to be eaten by my snake. It’s a big cage and more than adequate for the small number of snakes that were in the cage.
I returned a few days later to find a king cobra in the same cage as my snake. King cobras eat other snakes. I explained to my friend – this wasn’t a good arrangement. He insisted it was fine. There were other snakes in the cage that the cobra would eat first before risking anything with my snake – also deadly to the cobra if bitten, but with a slight chance it could actually inflict damage to the king cobra.
I didn’t like the arrangement – but, my snake was under a rock, hiding and my friend insisted it was safe. I told my friend I’d come back the next day and pickup my snake. He assured me that the king cobra would not eat my snake. I wanted to believe him – thinking – he must know what the hell he’s talking about.
I returned 2 days later – having been unable to return the following day.
My snake was gone.
There were no openings in the cage – the snake could not have got out.
All the other snakes were still in the cage – including the king cobra.
Result – king cobra ate my snake.
So, I was bummed yesterday, and even more so because my friend showed no sense of responsibility at all. No remorse. And, least of all – no “Sorry about that…”
Thais so rarely say “I’m sorry.”
My wife doesn’t do it. My Thai friends – after having just destroyed my ping pong paddle, or 800 baht badminton racquet, or camera, or anything else… never even offer… “Sorry about that…”
That kind of sucks. I don’t expect it to change… it just sucks from my perspective because I go way out of my way to make it “right” if I break or lose someone’s things. There is a feeling of responsibility among farangs to do so – don’t you think so?
Thais just don’t have it. They don’t feel it I guess. Their culture taught them that “shit happens”. Karma, fate, whatever – it happens. Wasn’t my friend’s fault the king cobra ate my snake. There were 9 other cages my snake could have gone into – or that the king cobra could have been placed into and it would have been safe… but, no.
Thais have this tendency to do whatever the hell they want, and whatever results, results, they don’t get upset about it or feel any responsibility for what results – it’s as if they have no “me” sometimes. While this is the Buddhist ideal, hardly anyone in the country even meditates… none of my friends do. My wife doesn’t. It isn’t a lack of me – induced by Buddhist practice…
What is it then?
No idea… I just live with it. Yesterday was pretty much the last time I’ll ever trust a Thai with anything of value – even people I know very well. My friends knew how important that snake was… they had never even SEEN one themselves… and to be reckless with it – just doesn’t add up in my head.
Another thing that is hard to understand…
Over the years – I’ve been the reason for tens of thousands of baht going into their pockets… I never ask them for any favors at all… and this one time, I say – can you take care of my snake for a few days for me – until I get a good cage?
Sure, sure… yes, we can…
And they fook me over…
Such is life in Thailand.
Anybody else see it that way?