Thailand Travellers..who are they?: Part 2
Thailand is full of weird and (sometimes not-so) wonderful people!!!! So here is my expose on some of the groups who you maybe (mis)fortunate enough to bump into........I will apply a star rating to each group, so you know who you can safely have a beer with and who to dodge when you see them coming. The star rating is a follows: 5* = fun/enjoyable company to 1* = avoid like the plague/do not approach under any circumstances.
1) Missionaries/Religious workers:
Missionary. The very name conjours up images be-spectacled, sackcloth wearing Victorians trudging through the darkest heart of Africa, waving a bible and trying to convert the local "savages" but instead, ending up in the cooking pot and being served as a canape!!!
I'm not sure how a missionary would taste, as most of them that I have met, turn incredibly sour when you question the teachings of the bible or even mention the name, Charles Darwin!!!
Heaven forbid (no pun intended!) that you start chatting to them about evolutionary theory!!
These modern days zealots aren't likely to encounter a grisly end at the hands of cannibals in Bangkok or Pattaya but nonetheless they can be intensely irritating when you're trying to enjoy a cold beer and they are about as welcome as a dose of drippy dick!!!!
Before any members of the God squad start pilliorying me; my observations are based entirely on personal experience. I have met some genuinely friendly religious guys and gals but when they start preaching and trying to force their beliefs on me then I start to lose patience very quickly!!!! In a country where poverty is rampant and the average per capita GDP is less than US$ 4,000, you're going to have a hard time convincing Thai people that there are going to burn in the eternal fires of damnation for not following Christian teachings!!!! There more likely to be worried about where their next rent payment is coming from than bumping into to lucifer outside the local 7-Eleven!!!
My favourite Bangkok blogger "Mangosauce" has a link to a good article along this particular theme and how the bible bashers try to influence the mainstream Western media.
The zealots are well established and amongst us in increasing numbers, in Thailand. They are trying to turn us Westerners from our wicked ways whilst attempting to indoctrinate the locals. These people are invariably from affluent Western countries and what annoys me most is there are plenty of social problems in the West, so why don't they stay in their own countries to help the disadvantaged. People from religious backgrounds, never appear to want to help just out of kindness or plain human decency, there is always an ulterior motive!!! And that is to convert people to Christianity!!!
Just look at some of the material that has been distributed in Thailand over the years....
This was from a genuine booklet, given by a missionary, masquerading as an English teacher, to their class members!!! It is sad that not even school children are safe from their insidious reach.
If you would like to read more about this story please click on the link below...
And, as further proof of the nonsense that these fundamentalists pedal, I stumbled across the following loon, by the name of 'Missionary Mike', on the internet.
I have lifted this quote directly from his website........
".....Then we will begin translating materials into their language, with the end goal of seeing tribal churches established that truly glorify God according to the principles found in the New Testament.......... New Tribes Mission coordinates missionaries, sent by local churches, to take the Gospel to tribal people. Missionaries then plant churches. They disciple believers, translate the Scriptures, and train teachers and leaders, who in turn reach out to their own people and to neighboring tribes......."
In his eagerness to disseminate the word of god, he dismisses thousands of years of Thai culture without a second thought. He has the utter arrogance and temerity to say that the Buddhist beliefs of nearly 60 million Thais are complete nonsense.
If I ever see this clown in Thailand, I will have to bite my tongue and walk away or I will end up giving him a swift kick in the mid-wicket!!!
In Penfold's star rating system religious folk rank just below the "full-time backpacker", in terms of people you would like to meet at the pub!!!!
Star rating - 1*
The next group that come under the spotlight are.....
This group comes in several sub-categories which I have done my best to list below.
a) Short-term/"gap year" volunteers - These are people who have made a conscious effort to visit Thailand to help a social programme or charity, for a limited period , to gain "life" experience. Invariably they are moved to help by some tragedy, calamitous event or for environmental reasons. They are generally motivated out of kindness or a willingness to try and improve the lives of the locals and. They will often work for established organsiations like the VSO.
On the whole these volunteers are usually good people as they are not religious or political fanatics. However, you will encounter the occassional tree hugging freak who will admonish you severely for not wearing hemp trousers and daring to eat a KFC!!!!
Star rating - 4*
b) Ex-pat volunteers - They can be found up and down the country from Chiang Mai to Yala and are individuals who help in schools, orphanages or with social welfare programmes.
They are a mix of retired and working ex-pats who are either regular helpers or who volunteer occasionally, to boost their profile in the community. Again, these volunteers are normally motivated by a genuine desire to help and to have a positive impact in their community.
Aside from the odd twat, who thinks they are Mother Theresa and should be getting the next Nobel Peace Prize, just because they put in a few hours a week, they are generally a good bunch and you would be happy to enjoy a beer with them any time.
Star rating - 4*
c) Religious volunteers: Enough said!!! ("see 1st paragraph")
Star rating - 1*
3) Government workers
Well, well, well,....those working for Her Britainic Majesty's Government are an easy target for my ire, mainly due to the fact they are a bunch of cretins, wasting time and tax-payers money hosting garden parties at the embassy or glad-handing with local business leaders and politicians, or those "Mafioso" who masqerade as businessmen and politicians, in Thailand!!!!
But it may just be their supercilious attitude and self-serving nature that upsets me!!!
They would rather enjoy an all-expenses paid jolly than addressing the real problems, like organising accommodation and flights for the Brits who were stranded when the PAD took over Suvarnabhumi airport or helping to resolve the countless scams perpetrated against tourists.
Just look at the current advice issued for travellers who are worried about swine flu....
"We are working closely with the Department of Health and other areas of HM Government. We have provided a dedicated free phone number for all British nationals overseas to call if they are concerned about the current swine flu outbreak: +44 207 928 1010. As far as possible, we will continue to deliver a consular service for British nationals resident or travelling overseas through our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates, although there may be a limited service in some places affected by swine flu, depending on the scale and severity of the outbreak. Any change to the level of service we can provide, will be reflected in our travel advice for that country".
If you indulge me for a moment, I shall write a brief summary of what they actually mean....
"Don't under any circumstances come to the Embassy for help as you will make us sick and we don't want to miss our golfing week in Hua Hin. At the first sign of a sniffle or runny nose all staff members will be immediately airlifted to safety. If you think you have swine flu, call the phone number we have given you and speak to the only embassy employee still here, who will be our semi-literate, non-English speaking gardener. In the unlikely event you survive a global pandemic, you will have to make your own arrangements to return to the UK. Thank you".
In short, they have just told every single British Citizen in Thailand to bugger off!!!
Unless you happen to play rugger with Ambassdor Quinton Quayle, which means your ticket on the medi-evac helicopter is guaranteed, then I'm afraid for the rest of us, the centre of Bangkok is going to ressemble downtown Saigon in 1975.
If you want to read the current advice about swine flu issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office please follow this link
For being shamless lay-abouts and shirkers, Penfold has given Government employees a star rating of 2*
4) NGO employees
These are an odd mixture of quasi-religious, feminist, anti-captialist and environmentalist do-gooders, working for organisations like Oxfam, Amnesty and CARE International etc. They are generally whining moralists who complain that anyone in Thailand who isn't working for a charity or NGO is some kind of shabby, low-life with peadophilic tendencies........
Whilst their intentions may be noble and honourable they often end up isolating themselves through their bad attitude and inability to get to grips with local culture and customs.
These Western based organisations also tend to use project managers from their own countries when they are working on the ground, which can cause rensentment among the local communties who feel they are being left out of decision making process. Valuable local knowledge and expertise are often over-looked by these NGO workers who think that local people are incapable of managing and distributing aid.
I have, however, met several delightful and very passionate people who fall into this category so I shall award them a star rating of 3*
I hope you enjoyed this post and as always I'm keen to here your feedback