Praise for the polite ways of Thai people
Re: "Youths fail to inherit elders' thoughtfulness", Letters, March 16.I sympathise to a degree with Mr Edward's complaint. He is old and has trouble walking. Another old man gave him his seat on the subway, but then none of the younger passengers offered the other old man a seat. From this he concludes that Thai youth have no manners. But please note that his conclusion is based on one single incident.
I am also an old dude, and I suffer from a medical condition technically known as two bum legs. As I lurch aboard the Skytrain, I can practically read the minds of many of the Thai passengers: "Oh, God, another drunken old farang! Keep away from him, don't even look at him, he probably stinks and he might throw up".
Despite this uncharitable evaluation of my persona, which is not always far off the mark, one of the passengers will almost certainly get up and offer me a seat. And let me note that it is rarely a well-dressed, hi-so passenger. Often it is a young man whom I would ordinarily classify as a motorcycle thug, with long greasy hair, a scruffy goatee and tattoos. This always shatters my preconceptions about motorcycle thugs, and forces me to remember a lesson I am always forgetting: Don't judge a book by its cover.
In his future excursions, Edward might profit from a suggestion: Carry a cane. Whenever I'm feeling particularly unsteady, I do, and it gets me a seat right away, every time.
And here let me digress to pay tribute to the politeness of Thais. Unlike the citizens of a certain large country to the north, they do not yell and spit and push and shove when boarding buses. Unlike the citizens of a certain large country to the west, they do not blow their horns incessantly in traffic. Indeed, a citizen of the latter country recently visited and was astonished that he never heard a single horn despite Bangkok's horrendous traffic jams.
Thais in general are the politest people I've ever met, although I've never been to Japan. And they deserve a great deal of credit for that.
S Tsow, aka "Gimpy"