Why?? It's a mysterious world ...

A few random ‘why’s??’ from yesterday’s random wanderings around town …

Why...

click on this pic to see full-size photo
click to see big pic… does young Graham from Glasgow have to drink a bottle of Sang Som (Thai rum) before noon every day? Oblivious to the traffic, he staggers haphasardly down the middle of Loi Kroh, in search of any bar that will serve him, with the traffic carefully weaving around him without so much as the sound of a single horn.

Attempts by Chris of the Marijuana Bar to reason with him failed, resulting in him collapsing into a chair with a Leo beer and double Mekong 'whisky' chaser.

Having set fire to his shorts with a forgotten cigarette, and doused the smouldering material with Leo, he continues on his way with a rousing rendition of "Roll Britannia"...
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Why... were a dozen monks of varying degrees of seniority from the richer wats around town buying up high-tech gear - from PCs to ipods to hifi systems to top of the range mobile phones - at the Computer Plaza in Chiang Mai yesterday, presumably thanks in great part to donations from those Thais who can least afford it?
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Why... do tourists travel all this way from the other side of the world to go eat at McDonalds and drink themselves silly in bars run by, and filled with, other farangs?
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click on pic to see full-size photo
Why... have the Thais designed a kerb that is a double death-trap… either because it enables errant, drunk or short-sighted drivers to avoid damaging their vehicles should they get a little too close, by gently mounting the pavement (and forcing pedestrians to leap out of the way)… or because it is coated with oil and dirt replenished on a daily basis by the pollution, unbeknown to tourists who unsuspectingly step on the 45 degree slope, and regularly end up on their backsides. Even winter sports experts would have trouble negotiating this hazard.
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click on this pic for full-size photoWhy... did the town place the foundations and sockets for street lighting in dimly-lit thoroughfares some years ago, then leave them for unsuspecting tourists to trip over (because they can’t see where they are going because there’s no street lighting?)
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If you avoid mishap on the sloped kerbs, just down the road these lamp post supports have been waiting for the installation of the lamp posts for years.

They are perfectly placed outside the Spotlight A Go-Go Bar for exiting drunk tourists who have been too stingy to barfine one of the girls, and therefore have no escorts to guide them safely around these hazards.

As the girls would say ... "Som nom NA!" (serves you right!...)

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Why... do some tourists from the other side of the Pond feel the need to endlessly talk and laugh at the tops of their voices in the peaceful, laid-back environment of a small massage establishment, totally oblivious to the presence of other clients attempting to relax?
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Why... does the Thai wife of a farang friend get up at 4 in the morning to pay tribute to the spirit of her recently deceased father by cooking for the monks at the local wat, whereupon the slightly disgruntled farang now has to get his own breakfast, despite arguing that he’s still just about alive, but won’t be much longer if she doesn’t look after him? (Apologies for laughing, Klaus …)
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Why... do so many expats get a kick out of knocking the Thais at every opportunity, regardless of whether there are any Thais within earshot?
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Why... do those same expats think they are being clever and superior when they denigrate so-called ‘Thai logic’?
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It’s a mysterious world, with answers mostly in shades of grey. But perhaps with regard to the issue of ‘Thai logic’, the following images and thoughts can cast at least a glimmer of light on the processes involved….

click on pic to see full-size photoWestern mind at work:

"What a stupid place to put a phone box, a pylon and a signpost – the pavement is clear of obstructions for 100 metres in both directions, yet the Thais manage to stick all three together in such a way that you either have to walk on a busy road to get past (the case for a large number of obese Westerners who simply couldn’t squeeze through the gap), or if you are skinny enough, you still have to duck way down or risk decapitation. Why not move one or two of the offending objects a few metres in either direction? The goal is to place functional objects on a public walkway in an efficient manner that does not hinder the passage of pedestrians. If I want to be fat that’s my choice and society must be flexible enough to accept and adapt to my preferences. I’m tempted to write to the Mayor and demand that she rectify this error forthwith, before anyone gets hurt. If I injure myself I will sue. The problem has been identified, the solutions are obvious. Why don’t the Thais get on and sort it out?"

click on pic to see full-size photoEastern mind at work:

"The objects are there, a fait accompli. Why it is so is no longer relevant. Solutions are needed in the here and now, and the mind has to be oriented in this direction. Clearly there were reasons that once accounted for the original choice of location, and knowing this is sufficient. Wondering why they were placed there in the first place is pointless, and also implies indirect criticism of those involved in town planning, which if expressed in a complaint does not contribute to social harmony, and maintaining face. Discourse is indirect – blunt speaking is an alien concept. The public display of the failures of others constitutes a lack of respect for their feelings. Communication centres on the core values of ‘Jai’ (heart and mind). Consideration, self-restraint, tolerance and flexibility are key in dealing with others. Respect, face and harmony are far more important in the general scheme of things, so balance needs to be found in the moment, taking all of these factors into account.

So back to the here and now. There is a gap between the three obstacles. It is sufficiently large for most people to pass through. Only those who do not maintain a correct diet will have difficulty, in which case this will help them to consider if they are leading a healthy lifestyle or not. Should one bang one’s head, through inattention or inebriation or a combination of both, then hopefully the person concerned will have learned the appropriate lesson from this mishap. If I injure myself, then I have been foolish and inattentive. If the pavement is crowded, it is a simple matter to step onto the road around the obstacle, taking appropriate care, for a few metres.

It is the truth and solutions of the moment that are important to the manner in which we lead our lives, rather than the knowing and reasoning why."

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7 comments:

hobby said...

I used to laugh at the shower floors in the cheap hotels I stayed in - the water would run everywhere except down the plug hole:)

The electrcal wiring was also 'interesting'.

Joy said...

Umm.. I think poor infrastructure in Thailand is largely a result of corruption. My dad complained a lot abt how certain streets seem to be rebuilt and repaired again and again only to deteriorate into the same horrid condition. i think many Thais are frustrated by the lack of safety in our daily life and the lack of so many things that can warrant security and fair treatment.

Joy said...

I think Hobby is a bit too critical of Thailand. it sounds like he is whining!

The FrogBlogger said...

Joy, maybe Hobby is just hovering between scepticism and cynicism, it's a Western malady that's spreading to Thailand :-)

I'm sure you're right, corruption on a large scale will be partly responsible. But Westerners would make such a song and dance about such poor infrastructure, that the corrupt usually wouldn't get away with it in Europe.

hobby said...

Another difference between Thailand and the west:
- In the west, constructive criticism is welcomed:)

Joy said...

I agree. I lived in Sydney for a number of years and i could see how things are different there esp in relation to ordinary people's safety, health, and access to public services. In Thailand we can complain (and i think Thai people do complain) but it seems our words just go unheard,esp if we are just ordinary people with no significant status or wealth. Worse, too much complaint can get us and our family into big trouble!!I suppose that';s one reason my dad has been frustrated since he was very young until now!

The FrogBlogger said...

I was just wondering if there are any signs of improvement (corruption situation). Can't say that I've heard of much optimism in that area. If anything, with the political unrest and the economic problems, things are more likely to go from bad to worse.

On the positive side, in my current abode in Chiang Mai, the water does go down the plughole, so maybe things are on the up ;-)