It occurs to me today that there is an increasing number of stuff that I need to be able to express while I am out and about in this country, and my inability to do so is creating a bit of a wobble for me.
One of the main reasons that I decided that English teaching is not for me is this: English is my thing. I love English. I love communication. Communication, in fact, is my superpower. And when you put me in a classroom full of people with whom I cannot communicate, I kind of feel as though I have been stripped of my superpower. This leads to unhappiness. And the whole point of anything really is to not be unhappy…
So…here I am in this country where my snark and sarcasm mean nothing. My ability to express myself means nothing. I cannot even so much as order more than one thing off of any menu without being almost 100% sure that the wrong thing is going to arrive at my table. I will then not be able to communicate the mistake because in Thai culture it is considered the height of bad manners to embarrass someone by pointing out their error… *sigh*
Anyway….there are a few things that I wish I could REALLY express properly here. If anyone knows the Thai translations for the following….feel free to share…
1.) “I will not buy anything from your shop because you have a wild squirrel locked up in a tiny cage on display. For some reason you think I should be amused (as opposed to horrified) by this poor creature trying desperately to escape. Open that cage. Let that squirrel run up a coconut tree. And then we can talk. Thanks.”
2.) “I will not buy anything from your shop because you sell bracelets that say I love Rape on them. You also have Small Pussy, I was raped by a lady boy, and Girl Whore on display. Not to mention the lesser, but still vile, Suck My Dick, Lick My Pussy etc. In short: fuck you. I hope your business fails.”
3.) “I will not buy anything from you because the discounted price you have just offered me is half the price you tried to get me to pay in the first place. I recognise that this is The Thai Way but all it does is make me feel like your first instinct was to rip me off as much as possible. So, thanks but no thanks. I’ll do my shopping elsewhere.”
4.) “Please fix the blocked shower drain in the bathroom does not mean the same thing as please spray so much lemon-scented air freshener in our room that we are not able to occupy it for several hours.”
5.) “In Western Culture we do not have an equivalent to mai pen rai which seems to be used as a get out of shit free card. So, when you cock something up and say mai pen rai like it doesn’t matter, please forgive me for not being able to hide it on my face that it is starting to feel like The Universe is messing with me.”
6.) “If you’re going to make a sign that says XYZ 500m then you actually have to put the sign up 500m from XYZ. You can’t just go and put it up wherever the hell you feel like. 2km and 500m are different. Very different. Really.”
7.) And, of course: “No, I do not want a suit/massage/handbag/tuktuk/laughing gas/pingpong show.” (there is no word for “no” in Thai…I am sure that the reason for this is because no one takes “no” for an answer anyway…)
Do you have any to add to my list? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!