Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Controversial Two-Tiered Price System

I have just finished reading blogs of foreigners living or visited Thailand – and I have to admit, I am sick and tired of the whining and complaining about the 2-tiered pricing system in my country. Harsh words like “scam”, “lowly”, “dishonest”, “exploitation” – was generously tossed in by members of “apparently” superior race. *superior my ass!*

Two-tiered pricing -- it is the system that charges two different prices for local people and foreign tourists. An entry to a public swimming pool would charge locals 50 Baht, for foreigners, 100 Baht. A boat trip across the mighty Chao Phraya River will cost a local 3 Baht, for foreigners – 10 Baht. Thais can get into the Grand Palace complex for free, but foreigners should pay 250 Baht. These prices are not at all verbal; it is posted in bold prints at the entrance.

Just like any other rules, it can be bended. If you’re a foreigner but not white, chances are, you pay the Thai price. Especially when you look like Thai (SE Asians) and speak acceptable Thai – you may get in for free depending on how friendly you are or how good you show “Thai-ness” (the smile, the gestures, the type of clothes you wear, etc.). Trust me, we can tell whose Thai or not just by the way they smile.

Books, magazine articles, newspapers postbags, online forums, blogs are inundated with discussions on the issue – but I never participated, until now…

Here’s what I have to say to you fucken “superior” whiners:

Do you have any idea how hard it is for a Thai (or SE Asian) to get a visa to get into your "superior" country? How much time our people spend under the scorching heat of the sun just to get a fucken application form for a tourist visa to your "honest" country. Have you got any idea?

And when we get an application form, do you know how much we spend to get it reviewed in your "non-scamming" embassies, pay thousands of Baht, Pesos, Rupiah and we are not even sure of the result?

And do you know how much we put up and take the demeaning looks, insults and degradations we get from the "non-exploitative" staffs at your embassy?

AND YET YOU…with all your holiday mood, smelly shirts and filthy shoes
can get into our country FOR FREE. -- the nerve to complain!

Who's the "scammer" now? And who "exploits" who? Ha!

Take that!



Jeff said...

I take a little offense to this post. I'm not sure how you got "superior" out of people complaining about two tier pricing. Yes it's difficult to obtain a visa, but only if its doubtful that you can support yourself in the country. Thailand has the same rules for people wishing to stay long term in that they have to prove financial stability. If the US for example, let anyone in who wanted to come, its population would be bursting at the seams. All my Thai co-workers from wealthy families (such as yourselves) can walk into the embassy and walk out with a 10 year visa with neary a look or question.

How would you feel if you went to a store in the US and they had a sign that said Americans $1/Asians 5$? (it's also against the law). You probably wouldn't be too happy and complain that all Americans are greedy SOB's.

Besides that fact, I see well to do Thai's treat there less fortunate or those with menial jobs like garbage. I've seen waiters and waitresses treated like garbage by upper class Thai's who think their shit doesn't stink. I would be careful about assuming foreigners always think they are superior (some of course do) when Thai's are just as guilty of it.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Jeff... whenever you leave a comment here... I feel like a little school boy yapping about everything I don't understand and then a grown up comes in and bring sense and reason back to me.

Yeah, I must admit -- you did that again. And I apprecite it. Seriously.

Jeff said...

Hahaha..not sure if you're being facetious or not.
Anyways while Thailand is free to get into, it's not free to leave (you know that little 700 baht tax we pay). Let's say you fly to Singapore or Hong Kong every week for business. That's 2800 baht a month, that visa charge doesn't look so bad now (one fee for ten years, not bad)

Keep up the good work here, interesting niche you've found.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Trust me, I'm serious.

The beauty of blogging is you can rant about anything by typing. Sometimes you have to be bold to get reactions.

When these fingers do the talking, some unfavorable words do come out -- edit it? Hell no! LOL

Thanks Jeff.

Anonymous said...

There’s nothing like a good rant from your soap box to just get it off your chest! I love your passion and the way you just tell it as it is. I fully agree with what you say. In fact, I often wonder whether us Brits are the ones who’ve got it wrong. For example, the British taxpayer funds the Natural History Museum in London. Entrance is free. Maybe we should be charging the tourists. That said, there are a great many non-Thais who neither begrudge paying a bit more to visit attractions nor have smelly shirts and dirty shoes!

Jeff said...

@Jeff the lawyer

"How would you feel if you went to a store in the US and they had a sign that said Americans $1/Asians 5$? (it's also against the law). You probably wouldn't be too happy and complain that all Americans are greedy SOB's"

I think that's not the point. In Thailand, foreigner pay the same price for stuff in the store because they do pay the extra tax like Thai people do. But foreigner(not farang) who may temporary have a long vacation to Thailand do not pay taxes for the Grand Palace complex or anything else ran by the government.

The government spend Thai citizen's taxes to keep the price low for Thai people. So foreigner who do not pay taxes must pay the full cost, and that's not illegal.

Reasonable, isn't it.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

This post is actually a reaction to other blogs -- directly at them, not to BISEAN readers. I made sure they would read this. :-)

jessekuma said...

G'day mate. Nothing like a good rant eh? Good onya..Just be careful you don't get an undeserved sharp-tongued reputation like meself. I say undeserved coz on the contrary am as meek as a 95 yo geriatric waiting for his nurse to wipe his bum!

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Hey Jesse, sharp-tongue is good. A trait that most Asians don't have. I admire people with such character, because I am one too. ;-)

jessekuma said...

Hey !!! That's what I like about you and Sophia and about this blog. You speak your mind, present things as they are, warts and all and post the occasional bitch bite-back when warranted..Plus we never loss our sense of humour don't we? Gosh, I better stop before I start sounding like I'm starting a ranters mutual appreciation society!!! LOL !

travelphilippines said...

very well said. this entry is worth keeping on my memory box. maybe they doesnt know how hard for southeast asian to get a tourist visa thats why they are acting like that. are they stupid or just inconsiderate?

Jeff said...

@Jeff: Yes I understand your point but I live here, work here and pay taxes here, but I still pay the farang price. In the US even if you are on holiday you pay the same price as some that pays taxes. I think this is why people get upset.

the dreamer said...

its just like when you're in the comforts of your home. the thais own the country thailand so they can go in and out of their country freely, but if your a visitor you have to follow certain rules set by the owner you can't just do whatever you want... well anyways the local should enjoy more of their country has to offer and not the foreigners per se...PERIOD(3x) lolz

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