Monday, February 4, 2008

Language A Barrier in Thailand??? YES!!!!

Probably 2% of the population of Thailand can speak English. In Bangkok, you might be able to find some people who can speak "a litten" English (That's how they reply). Its not unusual for waitress, waiters, shopkeepers and etc. to only speak "Yes" and "No" in English.

So, various times we have got ourselves into a web because of our inability to read or speak fluent Thai. And yesterday was one of it.

Fuji Restaurant is a very popular franchise Japanese restaurant. The price is very reasonable, service is fast, good and you get it at almost all shopping complexes all over Bangkok. We frequent the place. Lately, encouraged by a friend, I have decided to purchase the Fuji Smart Card on 22 Dec 2007. I told her that I will come to pick up the card after I return from my holidays early Jan 08.

Since then I have gone twice to pick up my card and yesterday was the 2nd time.

Upon purchasing the card on 22 Dec, I told the waitress and pointed to the word Fuji Smart Card and I have no clue how she thought I wanted Fuji Smart Cake???!! (is there such a thing?). Apparently, she thought I purchased the cake and not the card. Does it rhyme? Maybe. Was she confused. Maybe. Anyway. According to them, I have to pay extra for the card. But I didn't get the cake. Does not matter. I have neither and I still have to pay to get the card.

Me: I don't want the cake. I want the card.

Waitress: The cake expired. If you want card, pay more.

Me: *eyes bulging* *hyper ventilating*

Waitress: Wait, I talk to Supervisor

I kicked up a fuss by talking slightly faster than normal and raising my voice a notch higher (background was noisy). At last they relented and gave me my card.

I was frustrated. But according to my friends who have stayed here for some time. You want your way? Just kick up a fuss and they will give in. The Thais are not confrontational people. They do not like a scene and come to think about it, I have not seen one.

Life is not boring in Thailand, eh?


Mommy said...

really salute you chris! how do you survive in thailand without speaking the language?? amazing...
anyway, also want to wish you and your family gong xi fa cai!
-pek imm

Eagles' Wings said...

Hey Pek Imm,
Its very restrictive when you don't know the language. Hubby's office mostly speaks English. As for me, when I go to the market, I know my basic numbers. I have taken Thai lessons but still at primary standard! Ha ha

JO-N said...

Well, it's tough isn't it? I have been to Thailand once and I saw some Thais speaking cantonese. With your Thai lessons, you would be able to pick up very fast.

Happy CNY to you and your family.

Eagles' Wings said...

I wish. Can be done with practise... but..but.. laziness takes over... *shy*