Re: More Government Racism in Thailand (Paul Schoenkopf)
I am very happy to learn about this website. With
technologies today, we are so fortunate to be able to know what is going on
in our own town while we are so far away.
Today, when I read the “letter to editor” from Mr.
Paul Schoenkopf “More Government Racism in Thailand”, it made me feel
embarrassed and mad for our ignorance.
I would like to apology to Mr. Paul Schoenkopf for the
incident which happen to you and your friends at Doi Suthep: “Foreigners
30 baht”. I, also, would like to answer you the few questions you asked.
“I am a resident of Chiang Mai. I had guests from
Canada and Wales. We went to Doi Suthep only to find a sign that said,
‘Foreigners 30 baht’. My friend from Canada got right in for free. He is
Chinese and they didn’t ask him for money. Is Chinese not foreign in
Yes, Chinese is a foreigner in Thailand although,
Chinese-Thai is not. I am so surprised that your friend couldn’t tell the
different and walked right in with out paying a fee of 30 baht which is
what? 75 cents? When I visited Niagara Falls, I remember that I didn’t go
to some sightseeing tour for the fee was $12-30 per person. That is about
“My friends from Wales had to pay. I asked at the
ticket counter, why did foreigners have to pay? The girl, struggling with
her English, claimed that foreigners do not pay tax here. I showed her my
tax ID card showing my tax number in Thailand and she said, ‘you are still
a foreigner’. I then showed her my employee identification for being an
ajarn at a Thai government owned university and she still said, ‘You’re
foreign’. I said, what happene d to the reason that foreigners don’t pay
tax here. I pay tax here and have been for many years.”
“The girl, struggling with her English” - poor girl!
She can’t even speak English, working at a ticket counter for 100 baht
($1.50) a day, and yet, have to answer a “42 million dollars question” -
to this ajarn (professor) who has been teaching at “a Thai government
owned university ... for many years”.
Well, I am so sorry Paul. Sorry for her easiest answer
that did not satisfy you. But you have picked on the wrong person. If you
would let me though, I will love to explain why a foreigner has to pay a 30
baht (75 cents) fee to see one of the oldest, finest, meaningful, valuable,
and very significant to Chiang Mai people: Doi Suthep.
With “many years” of your being in Chiang Mai, if you
have not done your research yet, I would like to inform you that Doi Suthep
was found by a forest monk (Kru Ba Srivichai) hundreds of years ago. During
his “forest walk” in search of “peace of mind” and “one with
oneself” he has come to this (Doi) mountain which is full of dangers: wild
animals such as tigers, cobras, king cobras ... and ghosts. To make a long
story short, people learn about this monk, have faith and respect for his
study and his scarifying, they come together, donate their money, jewelry,
food, and labor to build a “road” to Doi Suthep and the “Wat” for
the monk and his pupils. Respect and faith never stop for this lifetime
studying monk. Through the history of Doi Suthep, Kings of Laos, Burma,
China, India ... had pay their visit. There is a belief that Buddha hair has
been buried in the golden pagoda. Until these days, there are people from
all over the country and all over the world come to wai, “pay a visit and
a respect” to Buddha and Kru Ba Srivichai at Doi Suthep.
It become too large of a place and greatly significant
that we could not keep the farangs out. “Small fee” is charged to keep
the place clean. Many farangs don’t even know that they do litter for they
are thinking that they are cleaner than the Thai any way.
“If a Thai goes to England, Wales, Scotland or America,
I have never heard of anyone asking your nationality when you paid for a
museum, national park, religious institution or any other reason.”
That is so true, Paul. The only thing is, to get a visa
to go to your country just to visit your museum to see the oldest can of
coke is damn difficult! If I am 5' tall, dark skin, black hair, black eye,
carry a Thai passport and don’t have a million baht in my bank account,
they put my visa application aside and never call me back. “If this
isn’t racism, I don’t know another word that would describe it.” you
are so right, Paul.
PS. excused my missed type or used farang’s language
if, there is any. It is so difficult to learn the language and the people
who speak them.