Thailand: Greatest Urban Myths (Part 2)

(The crime scene of almost every Farang ‘murder’ in Pattaya – the infamous Pattaya hotel balcony)

As a Farang in Thailand we have all heard some of the most laughable quack-wack Thailand myths: ladyboys who have coaxed clients back to their rooms only to drug ‘em and cut out their kidney (and after sell it to a hospital), tuk-tuk drivers who are part of a dangerous mafia syndicate and dodgy cashiers who stuff items in your bag before calling in the police on charges of theft. As mentioned in part one, even some ‘journalists’ pick up on these pathetic myths, or even conspiracy theories, and sell them to some naff tabloid back home. And on the subject of conspiracy theories too this time around, a classic from last year was the David Carradine story (or former Mr Kung Fu himself). Instead of sticking to the forensic reports, sensationalist articles written claimed that Mr Kill Bill was in fact murdered, for example, by a couple of well-endowed ladyboys he had met in Patpong earlier that night. (Read this blog for more info on one of the hilarious articles published).

Then we have just the simple Thailand myths like: Thais stand up for the national anthem at the cinema, the word Farang is derogatory, gambling is a serious crime, Thais never criticize the monkhood,Thai women married to Farang can not own land and all the poor people love Thaksin Shinawatra.

Pattaya Flying Club ‘Suicides’

Probably the best told Thailand urban myth over the past few years is that all the Farangs who commit suicide in Pattaya by jumping from hotel balconies were in fact the victim of cold-blooded murder. With the cover-ups so intricately planned, it could go down as the best drunken barstool conspiracy theory since Elvis was abducted aliens and returned to Earth as a Phuket jet-ski operator. Even though 66 year-old Henrick weighs in at 220 pounds, his skinny-as-a-chopstick former teenage ‘wife’ standing at 5 foot 1 in high-heels is miraculously able to throw Henrick over a one-meter high Pattaya 15th floor hotel balcony. She then flees the scene on the back of her Thai lover’s motorbike. According to the best myth-tellers, everyone was involved: the cops knew it was murder but for the sake of tourism they put it down as suicide. The housekeepers, check-in staff and security guards, they all knew the ‘truth’ but got paid backhanders to keep quiet. It gets told (in that ever-popular “I used to drink with the guy” fashion) that even though Henrick drank 17 bottles of Thai hootch on a daily basis, enjoyed messing around on the side with local Lolitas while occasionally indulging in a ladyboy three-some, was actually a perfectly normal guy.

The Thai Language Has No Tenses – It’s So Easy

Another classic myth which has done more rounds than a rabid Thai dog with a piece of meat tied to its tale. Even though Joe from Ireland has a limited personal Thai vocabulary of just ‘Sawatdee khrap’, ‘Sway mak mak’ and ‘Check bin’, has in his 3 months in Thailand learned from a hundred other Thai language wanna-be speakers that the Thai language does not have a past tense, passive tense, future tense, present perfect tense – absolutely no tenses at all. It is the simplest language imaginable. Joe goes on to state that anything with a brain could master the language in 6 weeks. After a year, however, when Joe finally admits that he still can’t put even a basic sentence together in the Thai language spouts out “Arrh… I’m just too lazy to learn”.

All Thai Women Wanna Have a Farang Boyfriend

Do they heck! Definitely another one of those rumours spread by expat barstool types who has never struck up any conversation with any proper Thai girl. Instead, all he has ever heard from ‘his’ Thai girl friends is that since every Thai man beats his lover, elopes with every female family member under the age of 16 and constantly drinks himself stupid before breakfast before finally running off with another damsel, is the reason that every Thai women would like a ‘responsible’ Farang boyfriend. Sucker Farang is oblivious that this is coming from a woman who has had four kids by Thai men and is dating a dancer who works in a men-only bar up the road. The reality is, there are a lot of proper Thai women out there who would be interested in having a Farang boyfriend, but to put them all in the same boat is ludicrous.
(Steve notes: There is another fairytale myth around that goes “Thai-Chinese women from well-to-do families wouldn’t be seen dead marrying a Farang”)

The Ice is Bad for You & “I Had Food Poisoning”

Let’s start with that guidebook to Thailand favourite myth of dirty ice and it’s bad for you. Ok ok… there could be a little possibility of this if it’s that shaved stuff that comes from those big blocks of ice you sometimes see. But if the ice served is cubed, as you usually get these days, you can be rest-assured it’s as clean as its counterpart in Farangland. After reading their ‘bible’ (guidebook) average Mr Backpacker on waking in the morning with a bout of ‘guts explode’ exclaims “It must’ve been the ice I had last night”. What he hasn’t blamed instead are those three Maekhong whiskey and Red Bull buckets gulped down after scoffing on a fiery bowl of Tom Yum Kung. What the guy should obviously be blaming is himself and his own stomach, not the ‘dirty’ ice. Next up, how come so many Farang on getting an even worse case of the trotts proclaim to having had food poisoning? Most of the time it is nothing of the sort, just made up nonsense they thought up after having read another page of their guidebook of myths. Get food poisoning and it’s not simply a case of running to the lavatory every half hour, instead you could be serving time in a local hospital.

Thailand: Greatest Urban Myths (Part 1)

10 responses to “Thailand: Greatest Urban Myths (Part 2)

  1. Another great article Steve

    Suicides —-> I have been unfortunate enough to witness 2 “jumpers”, neither of which was in Pattaya. First was in Bangkok, but the second was from a multi storey car park in Manchester, England. I doubt that either one was murder.

    Language —> I have been studying Thai Language for well over 10 years, and would still class myself as a student.

    Farang Boyfriends —-> I know quite a few girls, that having found a western boyfriend, quickly become disillusioned

    Food poisoning —> Last Christmas I definitely had something that kept me locked in the bathroom for the best part of 2 weeks :-((

  2. I heard of a few of these “thai language is easy,” charecters. Not likely. After two years of tying I still can’t say “beef,” correctly.

  3. “Thais stand up for the national anthem at the cinema”

    is this a myth? i think its a fact cos i have experienced it.

  4. Thais don’t stand up for the national anthem in the cinema.
    Thais stand up for the Royal/King’s anthem in the cinema.

    The King’s anthem and the national anthem are completely different.

  5. They don’t play the national anthem in the cinema in the first place. :-p

  6. i see… thanks for the clarification!

  7. Once again our valliant author goes out to slay myths he created.

    I have never heard anyone say learning Thai is easy – quite the opposite. Folks who have been studying for decades call themselves students. However, my wife and many of our friends (Thai), have all said things that my Thai teacher says are grammatically incorrect, so the gray area is very wide on this subject. My Ajahn also has said that Thai has no tenses in the sense that English or French does…

    Suicides – undoubtedly there are some, but My mind boggles at the ThaiRath blurred photo of a bound and gagged foreiger who “Obviously Comitted Suicide by jumping from his hotel balcony”. However, the photo of David Caradine looked fake and police descritptions disagreed with each other, so the jury is still out…

    The question of clean ice is truly laughable, because in the 60’s and 70’s, it was often made from klong water. In fact, as the ice melted, a smoky gray film would exude from the chips – no one had cubes, just blocks…LOL

    About the foreign boyfriend – I think it depends on the individual. A couple of times a week, I get a friendly suggestion, but I am not even out looking and I am an old guy, so I would expect that young foreign men would have the same fishing experience I had when I was here in the 60’s and 70’s – a young woman who smiles in your direction is interested. Every one of those young ladies were quite willing and money was not mentioned. Perhaps they just wanted a littl fun, experience or maybe they too were fishing…LOL

  8. I don’t know much Thai at all, but I do know there is no such thing as a “passive tense” in English which makes me wonder why you use it as an example for the simplicity of Thai.

    Are you really a language professional?

  9. Its apparent the writer if this miss leading pow wow defending Thailand’s water quality in ice is of the lacking of ignorance.

    All over the world ice can be found dangerous especially with Thailand’s poor water quality’s.
    One may study Gastrointestinal diseases also a few other terms related too Coliform bacterialo and E. Coli bacterium infection in ICE CUBES…

    GOOGLE ICE cube diseases

  10. IAN WESSON

    steve I guess you have no comment to the truth of the deadly ice and flying suicide squads of Thailand?????????

    keep up your false reporting they may allow you to stay yet another year
    Anyone whom is in such love with near dirt floor life style in a 3rd world country I must question in the 1st place…happy rice rat hunting for dinner tonight.