10 things I hate about Bangkok (Part 6) by On Nutter

THE GEOGRAPHICALLY CHALLENGED: Have you ever met a Thai geography teacher? I thought not. Most Thais would struggle to locate their own country on a map. As for the world beyond the kingdom’s boundaries, that is a closed book. “Is England close to Australia?” I was once asked by a girlfriend. “Er, no. They are on opposite sides of the world,” I replied. My inquisitor looked unconvinced and added: “Why do Australians look like farangs then?” My brief history lesson on Aboriginals and Britain’s policy of exporting criminals to faraway lands (Pattaya has replaced Botany Bay in that respect) left her shaking her head as she headed to a world map hanging on my bedroom door. Studying the Arctic Circle, she asked where the wall was. “What bloody wall?” I asked, by now somewhat exasperated. “The one that keeps the sea in.”

BUYING MYSELF LADY-DRINKS: This strange episode reinforced the notion that my main role in this country is to prop up the economy. Hungover and grumpy, I was sipping an orange juice in an empty beer bar when I noticed that my bill gave the price as an outrageous 120 baht. I called over a waitress and told her that a mistake had been made. She defiantly announced that orange juice was 120 baht because it was a lady-drink. “As I have bought a lady-drink for myself, will I get the commission?” I asked incredulously. She said that would not be possible. “Do I have to barfine myself if I want to leave?” I asked, not entirely in jest. “Up to you.”

INAPPROPRIATE SALAD GARNISHES: There is a place for a limp, soggy collection of lettuce, cucumber and tomato. That place is either the bin or a vegetarian’s stomach. I certainly don’t want to see such unwanted and unappealing items contaminating my full English breakfast or lurking under my spaghetti bolognese. What are the chefs thinking of?

THAI MALES WEARING ONLY TOWELS: Those of you who never leave The Farang Reservation will not have witnessed this phenomenon. Believe it or not, Bangkok’s less desirable areas are full of mean-looking patriarchs who never get dressed. I used to see them daily on my walks through the slums of Klong Toey. They occasionally emerge from their roadside hovels to spit in the gutter or splash water over themselves, drying themselves with the threadbare towel covering their midriff. They would fit in well among their shirtless farang brethren in Pattaya.

THE INSUFFICIENT AGE GAP: When I was 48 (not so long ago, honestly), I had a Thai girlfriend of 32. This 16-year age gap caused gasps of horror and outrage when I revealed it to female friends on a visit to England. They looked at me as though I had descended into paedophilia and earnestly advised me to seek someone of my own age. Back in the parallel universe of Bangkok, the reaction of friends was also of shock – that I should be dating someone so old. “Honestly, she has her own teeth and everything,” I protested as I was advised to trade her in for a younger model. Before I could do so, she dumped me for a younger farang and left me contemplating my approaching senility.

THE BILL BARRIER: In normal countries, utility companies make it as easy as possible for customers to pay their bills because, unsurprisingly, they want your money. Not so in upside-down Thailand, where obstacles are placed in your way if you miss an often unrealistic deadline. My electricity bill usually arrives only two or three days before the deadline for paying it at the 7-Eleven or by other electronic means. After being out of town and missing the deadline, I called the electricity company to ask how they wanted me to pay the bill. “You must come head office Ploenchit,” I was tersely informed. As I could not get time off work for such a chore, I had to pay someone to go there on my behalf. Insane.

LOST TAXI DRIVERS: Even after living in Bangkok for five years, I don’t really know where I am most of the time. Everywhere looks much the same – lots of concrete and 7-Elevens. That’s why I would appreciate it if taxi drivers didn’t ask me for directions to Sukhumvit Road or Victory Monument. Even worse, they always pretend they know where they are going before it becomes apparent that they are fresh off the farm in Udon Thani. That explains how I once ended up on the outskirts of Nonthaburi after asking to go to an immigration office near Chatuchak Park. Bastards.

THE BROLLY BRIGADE: Unlike normal people, Thais don’t use umbrellas when it is raining. They use them to fend off the sun’s evil rays, which seems a bit pointless in a country of dark-skinned people where it is sunny nearly every day. Given their lack of spatial awareness and sloth-like walking, Thais holding umbrellas represent a potentially fatal danger to pedestrians trying to pass them. Be careful out there.

THAI TONES: As a monosyllabic language with pretty basic grammar, Thai should be easy to learn. But it isn’t because someone decided, for no logical reason, that it should have five tones. Get a tone even slightly wrong and your attempt to say “Have a nice day” can instead mean “Your mother is a whore who sleeps with pigs”. My attempt to order the well-known noodle dish radna created a linguistic crisis in one restaurant. Pronounced in the flat tones of northern England, my order created not a flicker of recognition among the serving staff. Even the manager came over to try to understand what the farang wanted to eat. “You must know what it is – it’s virtually Thailand’s national dish,” I pleaded. In desperation, I started experimenting with the tone of the second syllable. Eventually, the message got home when I pronounced the na with an elongated rising tone in the manner of an opera singer rounding off a virtuoso performance. I swear I heard applause.

THE DICK COUNT: As I sauntered through Robinson department store one day, a saleswoman at the perfume counter invited me to join “a big dick count”. I was quite flattered and nodded my approval. “You’re really having a dick count?” I asked. “Yes. 50 per cent off all items,” she said with a smile.

29 thoughts on “10 things I hate about Bangkok (Part 6) by On Nutter

  • February 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm
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    What a steaming pile of ignorant self-indulgence. You lead with a petty complaint about Thais inability to identify places with no relevance to their lives then make it a taxi driver’s fault that you can’t navigate in the very place that you live. Here’s hoping you get meet the wrong taxi driver some night and get shivved — you’ve earned it.
    MongerSEA recently posted..Club Electric Blue Recruiting Whores on Taggedcom

  • February 8, 2011 at 9:58 am
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    Learn the Thai language and get a life. Your sex-pat drivel is boring and stale. That wasn’t applause you were hearing in the restaurant; those were groans.

  • February 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm
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    Funny stuff. I especially like “Buying Myself a Lady Drink”and “Thai Tones.” Perceptive observations there, all in good fun.

    Not surprised, though, to see the belittling asides by way of comments from your garden-variety self-righteous expats who pride themselves on being better than the rest of us. Yes, Monger SEA and Jim, most of us are just a bunch of ignoramuses who do not appreciate the fine nuances of Thai culture and life and are a disgrace to our kind. It’s great to know that you guys are fine specimens whose presence in the Kingdom no doubt delights Thais from all walks of life and is a credit to farangs everywhere.

  • February 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm
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    Another hilarious list from On Nutter and immediately taken in the wrong spirit by a couple of humorless morons.

    MongerSEA: There is a special circle in hell reserved for trolls who flame the content of others strictly to get a link in to their own pathetic drivel.

    That said, I do encourage anyone reading this to click on Monger’s link and determine for yourselves whether this guy is in need of some medication and treatment in a long-term care facility. He writes in that link about the Electric Blue go-go bar recruiting online, making as if the proprietors of the place have committed a human rights atrocity on the level of an ethnic cull.

    Such anger! Where does it come from. I reckon MongerSEA needs to get down from his evangelist’s pulpit and get himself trussed up in an S&M dungeon to work through some of these anger issues he seems to be having.

    As for Jim, just a troll, but at least he didn’t subject us to a noxious link.

    Keep ’em coming Nutter and don’t mind the noise.

  • February 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm
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    On Nutter:

    Well I think that’s some pretty entertaining shyt you wrote. Too bad everybody can’t have sense of humor about things.

    I have couple of comments.

    Obviously if you really hated Thailand you’d choose another place to live…. maybe go back to the “olde country”….where the women are voluptuous and, at your age, presumably possess the estates of several men who now live in Bangkok. Sink your hook into one of them.

    Chang Mai is “the other side of the world” if you’re from Udon….or for that matter anywhere else in Thailand.

    Don’t pay your utility bill at all. It will take them months and months to actually discontinue your service and you will have moved by then.

    Always ask the price first. Don’t ever pay 120bt for orange juice anywhere (100 max). Us farang have to stick together on the price-gouging. And btw you should have demanded your cut or refused to pay the bin.

    When you ordered Lahd Nah they probably thought you were speaking in English. Stick to one language until you are hungry enough to eat whatever they’re broke enough to cook for you. But always ask the price first. Tow Ry?

    In Bangkok you don’t really need to know where you are as long as you’re a farang with a few Bt in your pocket.

    Cheers

  • February 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm
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    555! Very perceptive and funny writing. As someone who has tried to learn Thai, I particularly appreciated the bit about the tones. They usually finish off most farangs.
    By the way, where did MongerSEA and Jim escape from?

  • February 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm
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    ignorant…i never been to diff. countries just to find some faults!

  • February 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm
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    Yes, sometimes people need to understand that having a laugh is how people cope with things that might otherwise become frustrating.

    I had a funny experience the other day that is similar to your Tone Marks. I was having a bite at the local somtam shop and some Thai guy decided he wanted to practice his English on me. So we chatted a bit and he told me that he had been working at a hotel right across the street. I asked him how long he had been working there and I crossed some sort of threshold of his English skills. So I repeated the question in Thai to him. He just looked at me as if I was speaking in Latin. I tried it several different ways trying to be careful of my tones but he had no clue.

    My girlfriend came over and I told her what I was trying to ask and she asked him exactly what I had just asked him and it suddenly made sense to him. Then to add insult to injury the girlfriend turns to me and says “Why can’t you ask him in Thai? You know how to say that in Thai.”

    But the problem is, as Kevin points out, if they don’t expect you to be speaking Thai they really have no clue even if you pronounce it perfectly. I’ve had this happen many times. I know my Thai isn’t great but I can get by and that’s the only reason that seems to explain why I am perfectly understood by one person and babbling incoherently to another.

  • February 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm
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    It is asinine to complain about the environment where you chose to live. You can either move on or just have to put up with it. At least you have choices.

  • February 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm
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    Thanks for that, On Nutter. Wonderful stuff. Those who believe the writer is complaining about Bangkok are missing the point in spectacular style. Thais can be forgiven for not getting the irony, but farang commenters really have no excuse unless they have had a humour bypass.
    While there are a lot of trolls on the internet these days, Mongersea and Jim must have plumbed new depths. These guys are obviously unhappy individuals with issues they need to address.
    Mongersea, why should a foreigner be expected to navigate a huge city like Bangkok better than a taxi driver whose job it is to do so? Your logic is baffling.
    If Jim believes this finely crafted post is “boring and stale sexpat drivel”, I am sure the Bangkok Diaries community is eagerly awaiting his first submission so that its quality can be compared with this one.

  • February 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm
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    Hillarious post, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of observant humour, some people really need to lighten up!

  • February 11, 2011 at 12:07 am
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    Hahaha great blog man, you sure have writing skills, keep up the good work, always enjoyable to read!

  • February 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm
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    HAHAHA so funny! Made my day- thank you! And even funnier reading the comments from people like mongersea, jim and Carolina saying ignorant!!! So sad carolina that u cant even smile on the humor of this blog. you must be such a bore 🙂

  • February 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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    Funny stuff.

    Every society has its “funky stuff” that is going on, including Europe, The Americas and Australia. Some people have no sense of humor or they are not having good quality sex in their lives hence they can’t relax enough to see the light…

  • March 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm
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    And before you ask I didn’t put the spam in, it put that in on it’s own

  • March 23, 2011 at 1:14 am
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    This was outrageously hilarious.

    I relate a lot to the taxi driver story. I once came back to Bangkok from Don Muang and the taxi Driver didn’t know sukhumvit road. “May pay” he said.

    I told him I’ll explain and I made my way home. What a pain.

  • April 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm
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    HAHAHAHA!
    I’m a Thai guy and I find this hilarious. Those umbrella-weilding Thai women who have been brainwashed by those whitening commercials really are a danger to mankind on Bangkok’s extremely narrow sidewalk.

    It took me a while to get the “big dig count” reference though but when I got it I lol’d!

    thanks for the read.
    Bangkokhooker recently posted..Update- Bangkokhookerfishingcom

  • April 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm
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    You, my wise farang friend, are getting just the half of it. There is worse, much worse. Learn the language-study the culture and you will be gobsmacked. We are a nation of bassackwards people. Yes, yes we have culture and smiles and all that jazz but underneath it all we are rotting away, happily festering in the 18th century B.C. We are gleefully sliding down to the position of most stupid nation in ASEAN and are having a great time with it. That’s the truth and Thai people – ALL OF US – need to pull our heads out of our asses and smell the proverbial coffee. Truth hurts and we need to hear and acknowledge it if we are to drag ourselves, kicking and screaming, into the 22nd century with a semblance of a normal society (we can start by giving all Thai people a massive dose of common sense.)

  • August 5, 2012 at 4:31 am
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    Your English sense of the ridiculous is lost on some people not familiar with dry wit.
    I found it extremely entertaining to read and anyone who has spent some time in Bangkok will have experienced at least one of these exasperating moments.

    I once got invited to Khao Dao to watch the fireworks.

    It didn’t seem quite right as I had never heard of this place before and I felt that I had misheard where we were to go.

    I know from experience it is best not to challenge and so feigned understanding, but continued discussion of the night’s plans in the hope of working out where we were really going.

    After a few minutes of further discussion, it became obvious that I did not understand what she was talking about and I got a terse, “We go Khao Dao, you know? 5-4-3-2-1- Happy New Year”.

    Countdown!!! Now I get it.
    Stephen recently posted..Aug 4, Pattaya to Bangkok Airport | Leave Wong Amat Beach

  • September 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm
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    hohoho five years in Thailand and you can´t say a simply… good morning,
    or how are you?¿? Hahahaha you are a moron man…. seriously …you maybe spend all day looking for a gap ages…to have those fake feelings that you are someone there….. hahaha you ridiculous

  • September 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm
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    to live in Thailand is nice and econimic and we must admit that we love the country….but why then make mistakes and damage happyness to persist in thinking that the reason to be happy is to live with a thai woman….is not enough to have easy sex? then why damage all what is nice of the country for blackmails thai culture applied only to naive farangs? have sex and be happy is a wanderful thing but marry is just the opposite and at the end you will have a wife who with time being will not be so sweet anymore and try to discuss with a thai wife is same as try to discuss with a cat…and am not joking….

  • September 9, 2012 at 2:12 am
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    Okay. You are obviously the biggest idiot ever or …. no you are the biggest idiot ever. I live in On Nut, and I have for the past, oh, let’s say month. Not five years. This is my feedback: #1 I can tell where I am in Bangkok already. #2 I can tell a taxi driver IN THAI how to get where I am going. #3 Salad? That is your complaint? That sounds like a first world problem. #4 Most Thais I have met can locate THE STATE (I’m from the US) on a map. #5 Blocking the sun decreases the chance of getting skin cancer, so why do you care that they do it with an umbrella? I do the same thing as a white girl. I don’t want UV rays penetrating my beautiful skin. #6 Thai tones are important, but Thais aren’t stupid and they will know what you are trying to say. Most of the time they just confused if you say something in a rude manner, which brings me to… #7 You’re probably a dick. That is why no one wants to help you, you get charged for lady drinks, and you can’t enjoy the wonderful neighborhood of On Nut for what it is.

  • September 9, 2012 at 7:56 am
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    so many nonsenses…..may be the sun is too strong there?
    people who offend, are not to be considered

  • September 9, 2012 at 10:44 am
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    Mary, I am an American woman who has lived here for 10 years and, frankly, I am embarrassed by your comments. Lighten up! You seem to be quite an expert for someone who has lived here for ONE MONTH. Have you spent most of that time carrying a map and asking Thais to point at your state? Don’t be such a humorless troll.
    The author is merely pointing out the quirks of Thai society in an amusing way. He clearly doesn’t hate Thais or Thailand. Anyone who has been here for longer than a month would recognise that. The Thais more than anyone appreciate ‘sanuk’.
    Please get rid of the hate. Don’t embarrass yourself and your fellow Americans.

  • September 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm
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    americans women? hahaha,
    in Thailand are men who look perfectly like women (ladyboys) and in usa are women who behave like men….in this case better a ladyboy, has much more feminility than an american woman

  • September 12, 2012 at 6:01 am
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    yes may be about bolivian women….

  • September 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm
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    thailand is a wanderful country to live, no hate at all, may be in your fantasy….but one thing is to enjoy the country for very many reasons and one thing is to be so naive and marry a thai woman who only care your money….if you can divide these two things, then thailand is a countrz worth to love….
    in Thailand women hunting farangs is a very organized thing everywhere, from chiang ray to puket and all looking for quick marriages….for quick economical advantage and not onlz bar girls, also or especially government employes such as nurses teachers and others…..I meet only government employes in thailand since 6 years and I have been asked to marry them at least 100 times or ask me if I have friends who wants to marry them…they dont even ask how my friends look like or how old, as long as farangs with good pension….i never go to bars and what I write is about women with important positions, who at the end look for for the same as bar girls look for…I am sure there not all thay women are like that, but very very many, like nowhere else in the world…
    so no hate at all, at the opposite, i find i funny and also boring about their behaviour, at the opposite, i am so very happy when i am in thailand…..women permitting…..

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