Thais are extremely tolerant as people go, but they have a breaking point that frightens me to death. A few years back, a foreign tourist riding a bicycle in Chiang Mai gave a middle-finger gesture to a motorist who was honking his horn loudly simply because the traffic lights had changed to green and he wanted the cyclist to move himself a little quicker. Angered by the foreigners rebuke, the Thai got out of his car, produced a gun, and shot the tourist dead. Iíve heard quite a few stories like this over the years, but thankfully very few that involve foreigners.
The Thai newspapers every day are full of stories with pictures of blood-splattered bodies strewn across the floor, and in almost every case, they are the result of someone reaching a breaking point over perhaps non-payment of a gambling debt, or the adultery of a lover. If Iím ever in the position where I can see Iím in great danger of getting into an altercation with a Thai male, I usually bite my lip and walk away. If you stand there and argue and insult someone, you might well win the battle, but you might not win the war.
I must confess that I have a had a few run ins with the Thais. I've always had a short fuse, now combine that with a stroppy taxi driver, and you have the perfect ingredients for fireworks. What sets me off is when you hail a taxi and want to go somewhere very easy at a resonable time of day, and he starts scratching his head and looking at his watch. After a few minutes of wondering whether to take me, he finally shakes his head. Now often my response is to ask him where he wants to go, and if I could go with him? Puzzled by this response, I then complain in Thai that he shouldn't have his red light on and not stop if he isn't prepared to go there. But I really get pissed off when they pull up and roll down their window and ask where you want to go, I never even bother to answer and often give a few hand jestures, this has on two occasions ended up with a taxi driver nursing a sore face.
I class myself lucky because when it comes to fighting, Thais often band together, and you could end up facing a whole lot of taxi drivers. Another thing to look out for is a Thai persons breaking point, because when it happens, it is like a volcano blowing. My advice is walk away.
Q: Had a fight? Won or lost the war?
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