Don't be too pushy
Re: "Thais have always thought ill of Indians", Letters, February 26.
At the risk of hogging too much space in this column, I feel compelled to comment on Khun Pratheep's observation that Thais have traditionally tended to dislike Indians.
When I first arrived here, I was appalled to learn of the popular proverb, "If you see a snake and an Indian, kill the Indian first." The Buddha was an Indian, and Thais worship the Buddha. You'd think that Indians today would be able to bask in his reflected glory and enjoy considerable prestige here. Alas, such does not appear to be the case.
One of the most appealing characteristics of Thais is that they are usually open and refreshingly frank about their prejudices. This is in contrast to other nationalities that hide their bigotry out of fear of being labelled racist.
At first I thought the prejudice against Indians was based on the Thai bias against dark skin. But when I asked two Thai acquaintances, both thoughtful and well educated, why Thais don't like Indians, they gave the same answer: "They are too demanding."
I had never noticed it, but later I was checking in at the airport and overheard two Indian men giving the airline staff member a really hard time. They wanted to carry a huge load of overweight baggage into the cabin to avoid paying the freight extra. Although this was only one incident, I got the feeling that maybe my Thai acquaintances had a point. I've also heard from a Thai flight attendant that an Indian passenger once told her, "You are my servant."
So there you have it, Indian friends. If you want the Thai people to love you, don't be demanding.