Siam in-between: Different culture, different priorities, different sense of urgency

While we were straightening out an issue with our internet connection tonight, suddenly we heard banging on the bedroom window. Upon opening the front door my girlfriend’s aunt and uncle appeared out of the darkness, on their small white scooter. Their mode of transportation immediately struck me as odd, seen as they have a fairly-new double-cab Toyota Hilux pick-up truck.

The aunt conveyed the message that she really needed to talk to my girlfriend. She does not speak any English, nor do I understand Thai properly. I managed to explain that she was on the phone in the next room and would be right out. She indicated that she understood and walked around our house making remarks and looking around. The uncle joined us, moved a bag from the couch and sat down.

After a rather lengthy explanation by the internet support call center, they exchanged a few words and items with my girlfriend and off they were … back into the night on the small white scooter.

We carried on setting up the broadband connection and a while after finishing the configuration I was reminded of the Aunt. ‘By the way, sorry I could not be more useful helping your aunt. What did they want to say, anyway?’.

Turns out she was having heart problems and felt unwell. She needed paperwork and went off to the hospital immediately.

I was baffled, not only was I saddened by the fact I was not able to help a woman in need …  where was their sense of urgency? Imagine the frantic whirlwind endeavor this would cause in Europe.

Which reaction is best? Probably one in-between.

The aunt is fine, by the way.


Leave a Reply