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Thais drivers calling because they can't read a map (taxi, Grab, delivery)

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Frustrating when you bother to print out a Google Map with Thai names clearly visible and the moron at the taxi stand still wants the phone number of the Hotel your staying at.  In and out 4 or 5times a year until I retired last year.  Used to stay at the Ibis Sathorn until the last couple of trips.  The breakfast menu was good but turned to cr@p so the last 2 trips I stayed elsewhere.  

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On 1/19/2020 at 7:28 PM, Grumpy John said:

Frustrating when you bother to print out a Google Map with Thai names clearly visible and the moron at the taxi stand still wants the phone number of the Hotel your staying at.  In and out 4 or 5times a year until I retired last year.  Used to stay at the Ibis Sathorn until the last couple of trips.  The breakfast menu was good but turned to cr@p so the last 2 trips I stayed elsewhere.  

a lot of then cant read thai. just not enough schooling to understand or no schooling at all.

 

you dont get an admission though do to face issues, its just a request for a phone number or verbal directions.

 

thus the chatter when things are clearky stated or questions when it is clear on a menu. could be asked "fish?" when the dish is written in thai on the menu or needs to call when given a business card with the address in thai.

 

it takes a lot of the frustration out of it when you realize they cant read.

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1 hour ago, fhickson said:

it takes a lot of the frustration out of it when you realize they cant read

 

Or see...  A lot of guys need reading glasses to read a map or the tiny print on a business card.  I've had a few taxi drivers pull out the cheaters to read something I've printed.  Motosai taxi guys don't generally keep reading glasses on them.

 

 

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Today I had a Grab driver call right after accepting the booking. He spoke clearly and listened well, and finally asked about whether to make a u-turn on a road near me. The answer is yes, and any decent taxi driver familiar with the area (or capable of reading the map Grab gives them) would know that. He also asked "where you go?" when I got in.

 

Is it the biggest deal in the world? Maybe not. It worked out, and I was "ready to go" and not busy, so I could answer the phone. I still rated him 5 stars. But it's annoying.

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Moral of the story? Learn Thai and respect the culture of the country you are living in! Thai's constantly need reassurance as they are afraid to make errors. That's why it takes 10 of them to do one thing in an office. If something goes wrong its everyone's fault and not just one person. Its also why they will crowd around a foreigner when they need help. So the Grab driver is seeking assurance that will lower the chance of an error. But yes, it can be annoying. Just smile and carry on. No big deal...If it is maybe a nice, liberal, well educated European city will be more suited to your whims and humours?

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20 hours ago, claffey said:

Moral of the story? Learn Thai and respect the culture of the country you are living in! Thai's constantly need reassurance as they are afraid to make errors. That's why it takes 10 of them to do one thing in an office. If something goes wrong its everyone's fault and not just one person. Its also why they will crowd around a foreigner when they need help. So the Grab driver is seeking assurance that will lower the chance of an error. But yes, it can be annoying. Just smile and carry on. No big deal...If it is maybe a nice, liberal, well educated European city will be more suited to your whims and humours?

Asinine framing. Why unnecessarily insult people at the beginning of your message when there's actually a lot of agreement between all sides?

 

You certainly have some crumbs of truth here, but you coat it with insulting and absurd "respect the culture" nonsense from the start. Where did anyone declare that this was "a big deal?" Where is the contempt or disrespect for the culture of Thailand that necessitates you linking this story to "respect" and putting the primary onus on me (or any of the many others who have experienced similar frustration)?

 

No, I'm not going to provide cover to the "learn Thai" obligation, despite my fondness and respect for Thai culture and the Thai people. Thai is a native language to < 50 million people. Given that Thailand seeks to position itself as a major tourist destination and establish Bangkok as a global business hub, the reality is that millions of people in the country at any given time will lack fluency in the Thai language. While those people have a duty to respect their hosts, their hosts have some duty to adapt to the fact that many guests lack the ability to meaningfully communicate in the (difficult) local language. Apps like Grab are part of that adaptation. 

 

Do I try to pick up some "survival Thai?" Sure. I'll even sit in on some informal "Thai for farang" events if they fit my schedule. Some people I know choose to do a bit more. Some choose to do less. But as someone stationed here for a limited duration, I am not going to invest significant time learning a language that is of little use to a non-native speaker outside of Thailand. The time I spend learning Thai that I will probably never use after I leave is time that could be spent conducting research or doing professional development--both things that are more attractive to prospective employers. Or it's time that could be spent with family. 

 

I speak two languages and am learning a third. I have some survival skills in Thai and a few more languages. I consider myself culturally sensitive. A little venting about some of the frustrating aspect of living in Thailand does not represent disrespect; after all, I choose to stay here.

 

Maybe the moral of the story is that everyone can do better. Sure: many farang visiting, working, or living in Thailand could adapt more to the culture and learn more Thai (let's drop the stupid "respect" wording, though). Does that negate the perspective that it's 2020? A professional taxi driver holding a computer one million times more powerful than the ones that got us to the moon should be able to find my pin on the map without calling me while I pack up for work or try to grab a quick coffee. An app that's supposed to make things easier for all parties shouldn't lead to unnecessary and unproductive conversations that actually leave the customer less confident that the taxi will arrive and leaves both parties frustrated. That Thais are culturally inclined to seek reassurance mitigates this point a bit, but not much. It shifts the tone away from "these drivers are <deleted>' idiots" to something a tad more nuanced and understanding.

 

 

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