Saturday, 26 September 2009

Role reversal

Living in Thailand is considerably easier when your partner is Thai.

Having a native partners helps overcome most of the issues which arise from the language and cultural barriers here in Thailand. A prime example being my visa applications issues, which would have be hell without The Missus.

It's pretty rare for an expat to help their Thai partner in a meaningful way beyond perhaps learning English or technology issues.

Well, I managed to show my value to The Missus this weekend.

The Missus has recently begun working part-time at a foreign-run business (contrary to my own opinion they do exist here in Saraburi) - first time since The Little One was born last October. Friday was her day off but we headed into the office to get her wage, in process of doing so she was bitten by the "friendly" (now past tense) soi (stray) dog that has adopted the office garden as home.

After cleaning the bites, yes there were two, we headed to our regular hospital for a quick check and precautionary vaccination.

A combination of twenty minutes of being ignored and the potential of paying up to 4,000 Baht (around £80) for this 'premium service' saw us swap the private clinic for the town's main public hospital instead.

Contrary to any hospital in London, at 7pm on a Friday night there were no drunks in Saraburi City hospital. In fact, there were far fewer patients than I expected. Most patients were old and seemingly pretty sick, a number of them lay flat in trolleys, waiting to be seen - it was certainly depressing (photos seemed inappropriate, so you just have my word on this.)

Ten minutes after registering we were waiting, again, in a room with no doctors, no nurses, no receptionists, none of the infirm patients, there were barely even seats - just us, there, still waiting.

Had we been forgotten, again?

I decided to see if I could speed things up.

Barely seconds after closing the door I was surrounded by a doctor and trainees. After impressing myself, and my audience, with my Thai we switch to England and I had found a nurse to take of the problem.

When I was asked to show the bites, I disappeared into the chairless waiting room , returning with The Missus.

The nurse wasn't too happy with my tactic but job never mind, you have to do what you do. Besides, we only needed a Nurse and we were all finished and gone within twenty minutes with The Missus safe from rabies and other soi dog nasties.

The less said about the organisation and staff the better - it was almost like watching Thai shop staff - they were laughing, chatting and hanging around while patients waited...'patiently'. On the balance of it, we'll stick with the private hospital but this trip was certainly insightful.


Mike said...

A good point Jon. I have done similar things for MTF although being Thai and set in her ways about social class she does not always appreciate my Western approach to these sort of things.

A prime example is the swimming teacher (for Doy, lessons are supposed to be 1.5 hours but have slowly become an hour. I raised this with him and managed to get an extra lesson to make up for the time he had docked!

My Thai is crap but I was polite and anyway he knew full well were I was coming from and relented.

MTF was embarrassed by my behaviour.

nrugkhapan said...

thats pretty smart Jon. not sure if i would be as strategic and not burn down the hospital if i'm not reasonably attended to.

Jon said...

Hi Mike,

Yeah same here. Usually my missus doesn't that crap, she's pretty westernised, so she can get tetchy if I kick up a stink and she doesn't.

Your swimming story is pretty typical, can imagine the awkward Anglo-Thai conversation that was played out.

Hey Tao,

Well, I miss being useful so any chance I get I take it. The Doctors were pretty pissed I'd bamboozled them, truth be told. Happy days.

Bangkok Blogger said...

My thai partner wouldn't say boo to a goose. When I first met her she wouldn't even ask a shopping mall security guard for directions, or question anyone at all - not even me.

In my view this 'subservience - non confrontational appr, is one reason Thailand has problems, and will not be a 'developed contry' in my lifetime :)

Jon said...

Yeah I know exactly what you mean - it's the downside of the Thai attitude - it's a reluctance for confrontation or a fuss, even if it is just directions/a person's job.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure whether or not you received my comment regarding the stray dog biting your missus. But as a precaution it would be wise for her to go back to the hospital for another check up in four or five weeks time.