The Adventure Chronicle

In the Spirit of “Pad Thai & Chocolate Jesus”

Just like Comedy Central, our posts are often not what they seem. My homage to a selfless ‘ROTE’ promoter.

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We have 4 types of visitor to this site (as far we can tell from the cyber-communications we receive:

1) Friends & Family checking if we are alive (for them, our posts and descriptions are actually just about what they were expecting).

2) Travel surfers who will read anything and everything travel related on the web (who seems to be enamored with out style, like observers of a particularly gruesome car crash).

3) People who get tricked by search engines (YES! We are #1 site for “Thailand Christmas Miracle!” and for “Thailand, survive Christmas economy, video.” Two very misleading queries).

4) People trying to get some info on ESL.

For the last category of people, this post is for you. Our posts illustrate the possibilities and nuances of life abroad and I have included some ESL “How To’s”, but this sight is clearly, by no means, the only one you should be looking at. For some more unsolicited and much more personal (like Kindle play list and graduate school taunting personal) insight into the life of an ESL teacher and the experience of Thailand, check out Scott’s site:

Scott is a very unique fellow that we had the pleasure of meeting while in TEFL Cert school. He is our occasional fixer for ruin scouring trips up to Ayutthaya and a leading expert on X-Men Theory (I kid you not) and he loves Thailand, a lot.

Here is a taste of his shtick: “Okay so here’s what i have learnt about the Thais over the past few weeks – feel free to add more if you feel I’ve left anything out. I love the Thai people, but they really can be very strange sometimes……..

  • 1) Thais cannot tell the time – there are 4 systems for telling the time, some of which depend on which region you are in. Their inability is shown by their sense of timekeeping.
  • 2) Thais cannot be flustered – the attitude of Mai Pen Rai means they never worry, leave everything to the last minute and infuriate Westerners.
  • 3) Thais are possibly colour blind – the system for colours in Thailand is ridiculous, for example the word for purple is the same as the word for mango.
  • 4) Thais have no sense of rhythm – just try and get a class of Thai children to repeat a simple drum beat and you’ll see what I mean. (I added, “I think their inability to tell time goes hand and hand with being unable to keep a beat. They have literally no perception of time whether it be a half-second or two hours. The next time I want to burn an hour lesson I’ll try explaining Daylight Savings Time to them.”)
  • 5) Thais hate Thursdays – the word for Thursday is about 5 syllables longer than every other day – i think that it translates to “day that is shit and no where near as good as Friday”
  • 6) Thais take pleasure in simple things – for example the I.T teacher at my school who loves Harry Potter. The only thing he wants in the world is a pair of Harry Potter glasses.
  • 7) Thais are fascinated by blond hair – hence all the stairs I get from small children, old ladies and I.T teachers who love Harry Potter
  • 8) Thais have never heard of the Nazi Party or Adolf Hitler – a man walked past me at a festival with the biggest Swastika on his tee-shirt that I have ever seen in my life and all my fellow teachers wondered why i looked like I had seen a ghost. When I tried to explain just why a man should never have a Swastika on his tee-shirt they shrugged their shoulders and said they didn’t understand. Then they said Mai Pen Rai
  • 9) All Thais support Liverpool – see a few months ago when the Thai national team played Liverpool and all the Thais in the crowd supported Liverpool.
  • 10) Thai motorcyclists are fucking nuts!!! – in no other country in the world would you see a family of 4 plus shopping ride a motorcycle through a busy city at rush hour.
  • 11) Thais are more than capable of wasting your time – such as by insisting that you go to a 3 hour orientation meeting and then conducting 2 and a half hours of it in Thai. They even told us that we could help ourselves to food in Thai, then wondered why none of the Westerners moved!
  • 12) Thais believe that a straw is compulsory with any drink – which includes a large Chang beer, meaning that the straw will sink into the beer and inevitably choke you when you forget about it later.
  • 13) Thais are not responsible enough to be allowed fireworks – no further explanation needed if you have seen the Thais swing a firework over their head and release at the last possible moment. Or if you have seen them launch over the heads of a large group of Westerners.
  • 14) Thais believe that anything you buy should go into a carrier bag – whether that be a small bottle of coke, or something that is already in a bag. I brought a carrier bag with me to 7/11, put my shopping in it, the Thai clerk took the bag and put it inside of another bag!
  • 15) Thais don’t believe in prior warning – for example when they recently fumigated the school for mosquitos whilst I was still teaching a class.
  • 16) Thais will rather pretend they know where something is rather than lose face – which is a little infuriating when numerous Thais send you all over Ayuttahya looking for a bus, only to have another Thai send you back in another direction.
  • 17) Thais have only just received the Doris Day song Que Sera Sera – I wondered why all the children at my school were singing it, and I have been told that it is number 1 in the charts at the moment, after a group of children sang it on a popular Thai television show. (Amy added, “A co-worker told me it is so popular because it was recently featured here in a commercial for insurance. Under the principals direction, my students will be signing it for our school Christmas show next month. Instead of whatever-will be will be, I just say whatever.”)
  • 18) Thais believe that a bucket constitutes bathroom sanitation – however better the rest of Thai life may be compared to back home, using the bathroom in Thailand is not a pleasant experience.
  • 19) Thais believe that if you can speak 20 words of Thai then you are fluent – the woman who runs the laundrette next door to my flat chats away to me in Thai everytime i see her, and i smile and nod and say “tchai krap” when prompted. The reason she does this is because I know the numbers and told her that i would come back to collect my laundry at “hok mon yen” (6pm)
  • 20) There are at least 2 ladyboys in every single class – no idea why, that’s just Thailand for you. It is really nice to see such acceptance from teenagers though.”

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One response

  1. arzupancic

    Note on #8.
    8) is an emoticon in the cyber world so always shows up like that dumb shaded smiley (thus the isolated use of 8. in “How to: Survive…”)

    Also, I don’t know if Scott knows that the swastika is a Sanskrit symbol that is all over Buddhism and is good luck (though he should, due to the copious amounts of wats on his block). So, the swastika shirt is not THAT crazy in Thailand. That being said, he is correct: Thais do not have much concept of Hitler, Nazi, or Germany. This is a fact. I spent 20 minutes today trying to explain “Que Sera” being of the French language (they learn really random songs in music class- though I suppose the Thai quality of Mai Pen Rai-ness would be a great match for Que Sera musical philosophizing). This is not a geographically or international history gifted place and the concept of France was very new to my listeners, let alone the idea that there are hundreds of countries, languages, and histories in the world. They are focused on Thailand, #1 and American, England, and surrounding Asia a distant #2. Some seem to recognize Australia as a bad circle under Thailand, that’s about it… (the lack of French knowledge remains humorous as Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam were all under French control/influence and are 3 of the 5 closest countries to Thailand).

    December 22, 2009 at 6:36 am

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