For me the most frustrating part of living in Thailand is the fact that you can not trust ANYONE!
All foreigners (falang) are considered to be rich. Therefore, there is a generally accepted double pricing policy. To enter National Parks, a resident pays about 40 baht. That is just over $1.00 A foreigner is charged 400 baht. This pricing scheme continues for most types of amusement such as zoos, the Night Safari and other attractions.
What for me is most appalling is the clear deception. There are Thai language numerals that are little used in modern Thai society. However, they will post prices at entrances to many locations showing the Thai fees in these numerals so that the unknowing foreign tourist will remain oblivious to what is really occurring.
Now Asians also do not like to be wrong or to admit not knowing something. If you ask someone for directions or where to buy something you will almost never get an “I don’t know”. Instead you may be sent on a wild goose chase somewhere totally different than where you wanted to go. It is always better to ask a few people and take the answers that seem most alike.
Any dealings with the government, especially the police, usually involve bribes or what is referred to as “tea money”. If you need to have something accomplished and it is moving very slowly it is usually because the “tea money” wasn’t paid. There are horror stories involving items being held up for weeks at Thai Customs until the proper palms were greased.
Quality doesn’t exist. Shoddy workmanship and an I don’t care attitude abound. If a workman says he will show up on Monday at 10AM that can mean anytime that day, the next day or not at all.
In the Thai language “Arroy maak” means something tastes very good. I was taught that if something does not taste good it cannot be said it is bad. Instead you must say “Arroy nidnoy”. It tastes good a little bit.
“Mai pen rai” is the most popular phrase here. It means a combination of don’t worry, it doesn’t matter, it is OK. This is considered quaint and idiosyncratic of Thailand when one first comes here. Later it becomes irritating and for me has taken on the connotation of “Too bad, we don’ t give a shit!” To show anger here is also to show very bad manners and not a sign of a good person. You must always be “Jai yen-yen”. Cool heart. This whole concept is not easy for me.
I wont even go into a discussion of the Jackals. The Thai girls who stalk the foreigner to milk them of anything and everything they can. Fortunately this is a small minority of the women as most are very proper and traditional and don’t even want to be seen with a foreigner. Unfortunately, the Jackals are also the most visible and the most talked about. They are probably the most dangerous part of life for a foreigner in Thailand. Many savings accounts have been ravished by the best cons in the world.
The all important phrase here is “saving face”. It is very bad if you make someone lose face by pointing out their errors or criticizing them. If you do they will just stand there with a forced smile, but inside they will be steaming and they won’t forget. Pushed too far they may finally explode. I was once advised by a Thai; “Remember, falangs fight to win, Thai fight to the death!”
I try to respect the Thai culture as there are many good things or obviously I would not be here this long. What brings me to write about this now is the article below. This is at least the third time I have read such a survey showing the same results.
I remember a quote from a previous story where a Thai incredulously stated; “If there was not corruption and tea money in government, why would anyone want to do it?”
I write this as I await the arrival of some workers who are supposed to repair the roof on my house and do some other things around the property. They were due at 9:00AM. It is now 9:45.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Posted by Veera Prateepchaikul , Reader : 8598 , 07:36:13
by Veera Prateepchaikul
I really don’t know I should cry, laugh or just join the mai pen rai (it does not m atter) bandwagon about this latest Abac Poll about Thai people’s perception towards the scourge of corruption.
The opinion survey which was conducted on 1,228 household respondents in 17 provinces across the country shows that 84.5 percent of them accept corruption as a normal practice in business and 51.2 percent of them admit they don’t mind if a government is corrupt so long as it manages to bring about prosperity to the country and to improve the livelihood of the people. Amazing?
Here is some information about the respondents. 31.6 percent of them are in the farming sector, 27 of them entrepreneurs, 15.2 percent of them employees and 11.5 percent government officials. Of these, 75 of them have under-graduate level of education.
Although it is a common knowledge here that corruption is deeply-rooted and widely practised especially in government bureaucracy to the extent it has been accepted as a “way of life”, the findings are troubling, shocking and a big letdown. One does not need to be an astrologer to make a forecast about the future of this country if most of its people feel that it is OK to have a corrupt government if it can make them eat and sleep well and can make the country move forward.
Ex-Massage Parlor Tycoon Rubs Away Thailand’s Police Chief
Sept 22. 2011
BANGKOK, Thailand — When voters recently elected a crude, joke-cracking, former massage parlor tycoon to parliament, no one expected him to immediately unleash a video sting against Thailand’s biggest illegal casino, and topple the country’s chief of police, plus the military-installed head of the National Security Council.
“I have been removed for a reason which has nothing to do with my ability or my shortcomings,” Thawil Pliensri, the ousted National Security Council secretary-general, said on September 7.
All the chaos and drama is thanks to the wise guy tactics of Chuvit Kamolvisit, who has even upset the U.S. State Department.
The American Embassy refused to issue Mr. Chuvit a visa to meet his two daughters and former wife in San Diego, California, because he previously owned several huge Bangkok massage parlors packed with sex workers and openly admitted to bribing police, he said.
“I stopped my massage parlors,” a reformed Mr. Chuvit said in an interview while waxing nostalgic about his life in America in 1985 when he worked as a doorman at a sleazy sex club in New York City’s Times Square.
“I miss my kids, who are American,” he said, describing two California daughters, 24 and 26, from his first of three marriages.
The U.S. Embassy gave him a visa four years ago, he said, but “they don’t give me the human right” to have another visa.
Now, instead of bribing cops, he is using his new seat in parliament to expose police who allegedly profit from lavish, illegal gambling dens equipped with baccarat tables, roulette wheels, card games and other betting games.
Most gambling is illegal in this Buddhist-majority country, though lotteries are permitted.
Mr. Chuvit, who boasts of being a hedonist, favors legalizing gambling and heads a tiny, four-man opposition Rak Thailand (“Love Thailand”) party, which he uses as a personal soapbox.
After winning a July election, he stunned parliament in August by displaying an elaborate video sting he arranged which allegedly showed Thailand’s biggest illegal casino was protected by police.
There are more than 170 illegal gambling dens of various sizes in Bangkok, winning a total of up to $6 billion each year — with five to 20 percent of the profits allegedly paid to bribe police — according to Rajabhat University’s Good Governance program.
Hundreds of thousands of illegal gambling sites exist throughout Thailand.
Mr. Chuvit said he exposed the biggest one, which raked in about $500,000 every night from 1,000 gamblers in the heart of Bangkok.
“So it becomes about 450 million baht ($15 million) per month,” in profit for police and others to share from just that one casino, Mr. Chuvit said, grinning with delight that his surprise “anti-corruption” crusade is wildly popular with Thailand’s media and public.
“Let me tell you roughly about the illegal casino,” he said, mimicking the voice of an imaginary policeman conspiring with cronies:
“These two tables, I give to you. You give me (bribes). These five tables, I give to that guy. Three tables, I give to that guy. And I charge you per table.”
Asked who operated most of Thailand’s illegal casinos, Mr. Chuvit replied, “I think 100 percent are with the police getting money from the illegal casinos.”
Anyone else who wants to open an illegal gambling den has to pay off the cops, he said.
“They cannot open without the permission of the police. If you are the big guy from the army, you have to still be paying the police.”
Amazingly, Mr. Chuvit expects to survive in this Southeast Asian nation where contract killings are common, despite exposing lucrative kickbacks.
“The media protects me. That keeps me alive. Because I am still in the spotlight,” he said in the interview on August 31.
Others speculate that he protects himself by possessing evidence of much wider corruption and illegal activity, which could be published if he were murdered.
His video sting against the illegal casino appeared to be cleverly planned.
Mr. Chuvit showed his first video in parliament on August 23, which reportedly revealed the lush interior of a huge, expensively equipped illegal casino packed with gamblers.
He voiced mock outrage that police had not closed down Thailand’s biggest casino, alleging that the cops were corrupt.
Despite that spotlight, police waited three days before staging a raid, and then announced that Mr. Chuvit was wrong because the building was empty.
“I know the police will be late,” Mr. Chuvit said at a news conference earlier on August 31, describing his two-part sting.
So, Mr. Chuvit whipped out his second video, purportedly shot from a nearby rooftop, showing men and trucks emptying the casino’s gambling tables and equipment during the three days while the police hesitated.
“Every night, they move everything. The ceiling, the carpets, the tables, the chairs, everything…They can move it in three days. Unbelievable,” he said.
As a result of Mr. Chuvit’s videos, National Police Chief Gen. Wichean Potephosree was forced to resign last week.
A Royal Thai Police Office committee began investigating 10 other senior police officers for alleged involvement in the case.
“It is impossible that a large casino can open in the heart of Bangkok, and top-ranking police officers are not aware of it, and do not give a nod to the casino operator,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, a fearsome former police captain.
Gen. Wichean’s downfall pleased newly elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra because the police chief was perceived as biased against her supporters during the past several months.
Mrs. Yingluck replaced him with Gen. Wichean’s deputy, Police Gen. Priewpan Damapong, who is the elder brother of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s ex-wife.
Mr. Thaksin is Mrs. Yingluck’s brother.
The military overthrew him in a 2006 coup and he is now a fugitive based in Dubai, dodging a two-year jail sentence for corruption.
Meanwhile, the National Security Council’s secretary-general, Mr. Thawil, was also ousted so Gen. Wichean could have his job.
Mr. Thawil was apparently targeted because last year he helped the military crush anti-coup Red Shirt protesters who support Mrs. Yingluck and Mr. Thaksin.
“You need an expert, the expert to fight about corruption,” Mr. Chuvit said at the news conference.
“Have you ever seen ‘Catch Me If You Can’?” he asked, referring to the Hollywood film portraying the true story of an American con artist — played by Leonardo DiCaprio — who, after arrest, worked for the FBI to bust forgers.
“I can become the specialist about corruption because I know the corruption.
“I used to pay,” he said, referring to $5 million in bribes, spread over 10 years, that he paid to corrupt officials to prevent raids on his massage parlors which had employed a total of 20,000 women.
Corruption is part of Thailand’s “system” because “everybody pays,” he said.
“If 95 people pay, and only five people don’t pay, you become the minority. The majority pay.”
He defended his former legally licensed massage parlors, which included the Copacabana, Victoria’s Secret, Honolulu, Hi Class, Emmanuel, and Julianna.
“I say, ‘What’s wrong about the massage parlor? What’s wrong? People who don’t have sex is wrong.’ It’s not about the massage parlor is wrong.
“Yes, this is Thailand. I accept that the massage parlor is the biggest sex business in the world.”
But the government and public remain hypocritical.
“If you ask them, ‘Does Thailand have the sex business?’ They will say, ‘No’. ‘Does Thailand do the illegal casino?’ They say, ‘Oh no, we are the Buddhists, we cannot do anything like that’.”
BANGKOK, Sept 7 – Corruption is increasingly acceptable in Thai society with an alarming trend of people seeing it as a way of life and willing to ‘tag along’ for personal gain.
An Assumption University poll conducted Sept 1-6, found the number of Thais not objecting to corruption if it was with their partial advantages increased from 63.4 per cent in June to 65.8 per cent in August.
Only one-third – 34.2 per cent – of the 2,117 respondents insisted that corruption is unacceptable.
Assumption Poll director Noppadol Kannikar said the younger generation is most worrisome with 79.1 per cent of respondents under 20 and 76.5 of those aged 20-29 said state corruption is acceptable if it benefits themselves personally.
A similar attitude was reported by nearly two-thirds of the rest of the respondents — 64.8 per cent of the 30-39 age group, 65.4 per cent of the 40-49 age group, and 59.9 for people above age 50.
Among career groups which embrace the same attitude, students represented the highest percentage at 70.6 followed by entrepreneurs at 66.2 per cent, private employees at 64.3 per cent, general wage earners and farmers at 61.9 per cent.
Lying? White lies only, or more? More than two-thirds, 68.3 per cent, approved lying for survival while slightly under one-third, 31.7 per cent, said they would not lie regardless.
In the public sector nearly 60 per cent of state officials described corruption as acceptable, and referred to benefits in terms of job promotion, transfer to a better location and profit.
They claimed that every government is corrupt and politically intervene in public administration. (MCOT online news)
Corruption is ‘part of Thai mindset’
7 March 2014
BANGKOK: — Corruption has become a part of people’s mindset here in Thailand, where “cheating” is tolerated, Chalermchai Boonyaleepun, president of Srinakharinwirot University, told a seminar on Wednesday.
In the discussion on combating corruption, National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) member Vicha Mahakun and Sompol Kiatphaibool, chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and vice chairman of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, placed their hopes on the media.
They were speaking at the 59th anniversary celebration of the Thai Journalists Association (TJA).
Chalermchai said that according to a survey he conducted on more than 640,000 students, 47.9 per cent said they had copied assignments and only 43 per cent found this “slightly wrong”. Upon seeing another student cheating, only 7.2 per cent said they would inform the teacher, while 30.7 per cent would pretend it never happened.
The survey also found that 3 per cent did not find anything wrong with not payin g back their student loans, as “they need the money and there’s nothing wrong with giving money to those who need it”.
This attitude was also found in working adults as well, with 29.5 per cent of public servants saying they spend some of their time at work doing personal jobs.
Chalermchai calculated that if one teacher wasted 20 per cent of their working hours over the course of their career, it would cost the public Bt1.7 million.
Judging from the number of teachers in the state system, they could cost Bt2 trillion for the hours wasted, he said.
Chalermchai blamed this mindset on external influences such as family, friends and news sources, adding that parents should make their children understand that cheating will not be tolerated.
Sompol admitted that corruption was the biggest problem in Thailand. This was highlighted by the fact that all the awards handed out by the TJA were related to reports on corruption scandals.
Vicha said graft was so rife in Thailand that it would take the NACC more than a lifetime to handle all the cases.
He added that corruption was so deeply ingrained, that those who do not work within the system will be “kicked out”.
Citing the fact that some countries have managed to curb corruption in a relatively short period of time, Sompol suggested that transparency, a strong investigation systems and strict punishments were necessary.
Vicha said investigative journalism was important in the fight against corruption as he cited the case of young Brazilian journalists relying on social media to effectively report on graft.
He went on to say that one should not rely on politicians to fight graft, but put their hopes on civil society. For instance, he said, South Korea had thousands of organisations that monitor and investigate corruption in both the public and private sector.
The ideal, he says, is the Singaporean approach to transparency, where the government practices an open and transparent approach to all business matters, which makes corruption impossible.
Thailand is ranked 102 out of 177 countries listed in the corruption perception index.