Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why Thailand Will Never Be A World Power

I send Maid Go all the time to Fuji restaurant to pick up lunch for me. However, Maid Go can barely read Thai (let alone English), and if I ever want something new off the menu, I have to explain to her what the picture looks like on the menu. (It's either that or try myself to remember something like "gyoza maki yamazuka california roll" or some other Japanese tongue twister... and then write it down for Maid Go and hope that between herself and the waitress she talks to, they can figure out what menu item I am actually referring to.)

So I'm at Fuji today having lunch with Epril, and I get the smart idea to pull out my camera and take photographs of the pictures on the menu of the food which I like to eat so that I can show the photos to Maid Go when I want a particular item. Maid Go may not read too well... but she remembers photos and images and pictures with ease.

The manager of Fuji quickly comes over and insists that I stop photographing the items in the menu. I try to explain what I am doing, but he just frowns and says, "cannot." So I ask him if he has a take-home menu. He says no. Then I ask him if I can take photographs of the food that I order (which looks exactly like the photos in the menu) when they are brought to the table, to which he says "yes, of course."

That's the manager... the smartest guy in the place.

Imagine how much of a defecit of critical thinking you have to have to make a decision like that; what a complete lack of imagination and intuitive ability you have to have in order to come to a conclusion that photographing the photo of food is somehow bad, but photographing the real food is not a problem.

And, as anybody who lives here in Thailand knows: The entire country is filled with people who think the exact same way as this this guy: By rote. Somebody senior to the manager in the restaurant at some point told him that no customer shall photograph the menu. That senior person never told the manager that a customer could not photograph the food though. That's all the manager knows... and that is all he feels he needs to know. No inquistiveness, no ability to make snap decisions, no thought process that allows for independent thought or the ability to make conclusions that conflict with what he has been told.

That is how children are taught in Thai schools. It is like they know that 7 plus 5 is 12 because they have been taught that answer; but if you ask them what 7 plus 6 is — unless they have been taught the answer — they wouldn't know.

And that is how Thai restaurant managers are taught as well.

And from this little lesson what can we conclude? That Thailand is a country filled to the brim with people who can only learn if given permission, and can only provide those answers which they are already provided. It's intellectually stagnant at all but the highest levels, and shows no signs of changing.


Anonymous said...

You stupid condesending Amercian snob, they didn't care you were taking pictures of the FOOD they cared you were taking pictures of the PRICES on the menu.

Fat twat. I'm surprised that llttle flip of yours hasn't had enough of you by now.

Brunty said...

Wow anon. Don't you have some problems that need working out?

I'm guessing you must be a whinging Pommy bastard.

Anonymous said...


jil sums up thai people and you two's comments are the epitome of expats in Thailand

glad i'm in south america

Jil In Pattaya said...

Yeah anon. Taking a picture of the prices is what they are trying to stop, because people obviously couldn't just remember what the prices are, and the restaurant is safe as long as people don't have photographs of the prices.

Why do retards like you persist in commenting? Seriously Anon: Is somebody paying you to come here and be dumb, or is it some weird natural instinct you have to go out and wave your dick-powered mind around in public?

Aside from your stupid comment about WHY the manager didn't want photographs, and your insults about my weight and my girlfriend, is there anything in particular your under-funded mind cares to debate about the actual content of my post, or have you exhausted your supply of oral methane for the time being?

Oh... and being a "condescending snob" is what keeps me from being a dickless coward: I have what it takes to put my name next to my insults.

Anonymous said...

Anon #|, take it easy lah.

Any plans to move to the Phils, Jil?

Jil In Pattaya said...

Yes, I do plan on moving to the Philippines. (1) That's where Epril's family is from, (2) the cost of living is less expensive, (3) the culture and people and language are a little accessible, (4) you can stay for up to 16 months on a tourist visa, and getting a work permit and opening a business is much easier than in Thailand, (5) I see the current economic and political and social situation in Thailand worsening, not improving in the near and mid-term future.

I don't have an exact date yet for a move, but it will probably be sometime after Songkran (April) of 2008.

dulcify said...

enjoy the blog. If you look there is a no photo sign on fuji as you walk in. Can't understand it but its there. So I could post a comment about ignorant Farang and diligent manager but I won't because its a resturarant not a military base for fcuks sake. Then again I don't care because once inside Fuji the food is awesome and cheap. I love the place.
Last July I was in Bkk and skipped breakfast and just ate at Fuji lunch and dinner.............and lost weight! spent nearly 2000bht one meal for 2 and there was no beer in that as it was public holiday. Fuji rules, It was always packed, queues some times looks like a very business.

dulcify said...

It was always packed, queues some times looks like a very GOOD business.

Jil In Pattaya said...

Dulcify: Hmm... never noticed that sign before, and been to 3 different Fuji restaurants dozens of times. I'll have to keep a specific eye out for it next time. Of course the manager let me photograph the food on the table, so there is that to ponder.

Yes... Fuji otherwise rocks, and is my favorite restaurant.

I find that you can eat cheaply there if you avoid the salmon and other expensive fish, and the high-end steak dishes. The 180-200 baht little orders add up quickly, don't they? Heck: I go in and stick to the 80-120 baht stuff and still Epril and I can't get out for under 500 baht.

mataho said...

Regardless of the circumstance, your comments on the Thai education system and the lack of critical thinking/problem solving skills are insightful.

But to add some perspective, there is a similar lack of "real" learning in America at this time...most schools mainly function as childcare facilities for busy detached parents. Just ask Bill Gates...that's why he looks to India, China, and other countries for his young code writers!

Jil In Pattaya said...

I think that you are right Mataho. I think the problem in American schools now is that they take a "good enough" approach: They teach good enough so that the weakest student in the class just barely passes, and the class as a whole gets an acceptable mark on scoring standards that the school, state, and nation has in place.

I think that American students aren't pushed nearly hard enough in school, and the education is much less-rounded than it used to be: High schools are leaving the "filling in the details" part to the colleges, and focusing on general math, science, and language skills... but little else.

In addition, I think that the social situation in American schools is terrible, and for every good thing that a teacher puts into the mind of a student, that student's fellow classmates put something bad in.

I've already decided that my child is going to go to a Chinese school in The Philippines for the first half of his or her schooling, and then private English-only school (probably Catholic) for the second half.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear you are leaving. Pattaya's loss is the Phillipine's gain. Frankly, as a Thai I've never learnt more about the place and its people (both locals and expats). All the best at your next port.

Anonymous said...

You said they don't want you to photo the prices. Thats not it stupid. Anyone could could just write down the prices on paper. Dumb ass.