Sunday, 8 March 2009

Bangkok, Thailand (4)

Should you plan a visit to the Thai capital, I recommend The Bangkok Survivor's Handbook by Robert Hein, a treasure trove of useful insights, and fun to read, not least because this author has the right attitude: "Living successfully in Bangkok is a matter of adjusting your attitude, exploring your imagination, and keeping an open mind. It may be complicated at times, but it is rarely boring if you look at the experience as an adventure and arm yourself with plenty of patience, tolerance, and goodwill."

Here's an excerpt:

"Thais believe in Karma and reincarnation; that they will not die before their time and then they will be reborn. This faith is clearly demonstrated in their driving style ... Here, how close people come to having an accident doesn't count. A vehicle cutting in front of another vehicle is not a reason for road rage. As a taxi driver explained it: "He must belong there since he is there." Karma. You are where you are supposed to be or you wouldn't be there ... If, when crossing a street, a vehicle passes within inches of you, don't get angry at the driver. He's long gone and thought of you as only an obstacle. Instead, feel grateful that you weren't hit. When you are crossing a street, anger is a luxury not a survival instinct ... As an unwritten rule, the ranking order of fault in an accident is determined by the comparative sizes of the vehicles involved using the premise that the larger vehicle is at fault. A truck or bus that runs into a car is at fault. A car that runs into a tuk-tuk is at fault. A tuk-tuk that runs into a motorcycle or bicycle is at fault. Anything with wheels that runs into a pedestrian or an elephant is at fault."

I surely wandered with a changed mind through the streets of Bangkok after reading this helpful book.

Robert Hein
The Bangkok Survivor's Handbook
Expat Publications
ISBN 0-9740502-1-0

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