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The slap heard round the region [Editorial]


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The slap heard round the region

By The Nation

 

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A slap in the face was the welcome to Thailand for one Chinese tourist, but the red faces are all on our side

 

A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes – and maybe a hard slap to the face will cost Thailand millions of baht in tourism revenue. 

 

The slap was delivered by a beleaguered security guard at Don Mueang International Airport. The recipient was a Chinese tourist angry at being denied entry to the Kingdom after he failed to prove he had a place to stay and money to pay for it. Ordered to a detention room, the tourist refused to go. Events turned physical. 

 

Video of the incident naturally went viral, drawing the ire of countless people in China. The guard got the sack, perhaps at the prodding of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was quick to step forward in the interest of saving the country’s No 1 industry from suffering losses additional to what’s already been sacrificed in 2018. 

 

Through the government spokesman, Prayut “expressed regret” and admitted concern about “Chinese sentiment”. That was understandable. China is Thailand’s biggest source of tourists, making up about a quarter of its 35 million visitors last year. A major dent was put in revenue from that source in July when a boat carrying scores of Chinese tourists capsized off Phuket, leaving 50 people drowned. The tragedy was appalling, the economic fallout upsetting for Thai hotels and travel services for which numerous bookings were cancelled. 

 

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan managed to make matters worse by trying to blame the deaths on the tourism firm involved, which is partly Chinese-owned. It should have heeded the warnings of rough seas, he said. 

 

Prayut, wiser or better informed, asserted that the Don Meuang security guard should have controlled his temper and handled the tourist “in keeping with international practices”. But what exactly set the guard off? No one is saying. He might have felt menaced or taken more verbal abuse than he could tolerate. Perhaps he was trying to impress his supervisor by taking firm control of the situation with a sharp slap. Regardless, there was no justification for what he did. 

 

Of equal concern is the fact that a state agency like Airports of Thailand evidently recruits staff members who are unable to cope with pressure. No security guard in Thailand is well paid and, since one gets what one pays for, we’re not going to see a high level of professionalism among low-ranking airport staff, let alone the cool-headed dexterity to defuse a volatile situation. 

 

There are other questions. Would a visitor from a country other than China have received that slap in the same circumstances? Do Immigration officials ask every arriving visitor where they’ll be staying or demand to see an invoice of their hotel booking? Is it even necessary, or just a way to create the illusion that Thailand is serious about security?

 

But the incident chiefly suggests that we examine the work attitudes of Thais employed in public security and other safety-related fields. The fact that they are on the job for the good of the public does not justify a self-righteous attitude, much less physically abusing anyone.

 

They do deserve regular breaks when they can let off steam, but of all public servants, security officials should be the ones who know best where the red line is and understand that it cannot be crossed without a price being paid.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/opinion/30356091

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-10-09
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"...There are other questions. Would a visitor from a country other than China have received that slap in the same circumstances? Do Immigration officials ask every arriving visitor where they’ll be staying or demand to see an invoice of their hotel booking? Is it even necessary, or just a way to create the illusion that Thailand is serious about security...?"

 

Those are some good questions, and it behooves the Nation to answer them...

 

Hint; Yes, but it wouldn't be taken seriously. No. No, it is for the sake of illusion.

 

The simple fact here is that the Junta, as it needed to show economic growth after the coup and none was possible from Thailand's traditional sources, traded Economic authority and power to China in return for a better national economic picture (before anyone says it; Yes, it DOES make sense to tap the Chinese market, but it also makes sense to do it in such a way that doesn't make you wholly reliant on it).

 

Now, Thailand is reliant on China for economic expansion, and thus must kow-tow to China's wants and desires or face slashed growth and prosperity. Well done, Generals.

 

Sadly, it is the average 'Somchai on the street' that will feel the real repercussions from this, but when has Thai leadership been concerned about that?

 

Sad, sad times for beloved Thailand...

 

PS "...the incident chiefly suggests that we examine the work attitudes of Thais employed in public security and other safety-related fields..."

 

Yes, perhaps the issues of arrogance, service and competence should be looked at? Just a suggestion...

 

 

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It is said that a single irresponsible act by a fool, a 1000 wise men can not undo, but Thailand went way overboard with their acts of appologing and all for the mighty tourists Baht...

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In my many trips to Thailand, I have never once been ask for proof of lodging or proof of funds on hand. Always just whistled right through in about 5 minutes.

 

But if I was asked or ordered to a detention room, I would sure as hell quietly cooperate.

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A slap on his face would be the last thing a traveler would be worried about in many if not the great majority of other countries. Refusing to go to or stay in an Immigration detention room would see strong physical if not deadly force applied and with nary an eyebrow raised.

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I have been traveling in and out of Thailand for 30 years and have never once been asked about return flights, money or where I would stay.

2 hours ago, webfact said:

he failed to prove he had a place to stay and money to pay for it.

 

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1 hour ago, neeray said:

In my many trips to Thailand, I have never once been ask for proof of lodging or proof of funds on hand. Always just whistled right through in about 5 minutes.

 

But if I was asked or ordered to a detention room, I would sure as hell quietly cooperate.

Ok mate. :cheesy::cheesy::cheesy:

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I see this issue as a serious and ongoing problem for Thailand, not that I believe that there will be more altercations with airport security guards, however it is very likely Chinese visitors will be the victims of unsafe transportation, intolerance from locals as their numbers swell and scams of all sorts.

 

So far the talk from the Thais to try and rectify the situation is powerless against the power of Chinese social media.

 

Will the visitor numbers increase? When planning a holiday to SE Asia there is great choice,

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After yesterday's news about the British Embassy refusing to issue income letters, (inspired by Thai authorities) and the likelihood of it spreading to other nationalities, the Chinese will soon be Thailand's ONLY visitors.

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3 hours ago, ezzra said:

It is said that a single irresponsible act by a fool, a 1000 wise men can not undo, but Thailand went way overboard with their acts of appologing and all for the mighty tourists Baht...

As I've said many, many times over the years, it's hard to respect them when they so eagerly prostitute themselves and the culture and country to any buyers. They call it flexibility but everyone else calls it lacking spine or convictions. 

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1 hour ago, Oziex1 said:

I see this issue as a serious and ongoing problem for Thailand, not that I believe that there will be more altercations with airport security guards, however it is very likely Chinese visitors will be the victims of unsafe transportation, intolerance from locals as their numbers swell and scams of all sorts.

 

So far the talk from the Thais to try and rectify the situation is powerless against the power of Chinese social media.

 

Will the visitor numbers increase? When planning a holiday to SE Asia there is great choice,

Agree. Also, best outcome would be a continued breakdown of tourist image, a vanishing of Chinese tourists from Thailand and a huge hit to the tourist industry, and maybe a realization that farang are not so bad and subsequent refocus on us. 

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There are clear signs at the airport saying they want to know the address and contact number of where the arriving tourist will be staying.

Probably the first time the visitor will be aware of this requirement  Probably at the end of a long and tiring flight.

Confusion.

At least I can tell them I am going to my house in.........Even then I will have to report to Immigration the next day to tell them I have gone to my house in.....

Too much paranoia and control.

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The question they should ask is why do Chinese visitors suddenly make up 25 - 30 % of all visitors?

 

The Chinese weren’t even here just a few years ago that means Tourist numbers have not grown that much .

It seems that visitors to Thailand over the years are always replaced with one or the other group of certain nationalities who suddenly seem to dominate the numbers - A long time ago the Europeans a few years ago the Russians - now the Chinese.

 

And that means certain nationalities now stay away from Thailand and this I think is the real concern one would think the country wants steadily climbing numbers and not one group replacing the other.

 

You cannot cover up pure greed and fake hospitality - people are not stupid they find out and go somewhere else.

 

 

For the size of this country and the importance that is placed on tourism tourist numbers here are a joke really.

Compare the tourist numbers of Thailand with for example a tiny country like Austria - Bangkok has probably twice the population than the entire country of Austria - and yet they welcome almost the same number of tourists a year - 32 million visitors with a population of only 8 million.

 

In Thailand it seems that there is no steady growth but one group of nationalities is always replaced by another - until one day soon they will run out of replacement groups.

 

Or who is supposed to replace the Chinese once they start to travel somewhere else and stay away.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

 

 

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4 hours ago, BoganInParasite said:

A slap on his face would be the last thing a traveler would be worried about in many if not the great majority of other countries. Refusing to go to or stay in an Immigration detention room would see strong physical if not deadly force applied and with nary an eyebrow raised.

Agreed. 

 

You disobey an immigration official on entry into the US and you get tasered until you poop in your pants. Then frog marched to next departing flight. And 10 year entry ban. 

 

Sad to see once proud Thais sucking up to Chinese bullying 

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5 hours ago, Darcula said:

Confucius say.....AK47 gunshot louder than slap.

I know where that is coming from Darc.   Kids with automatic guns and a shoot out at the OK Pool Saloon v a Chinese slap , I too have seen one or two Chinese that need a slap and that is after watching them eat. But waiting for a bus then a hail of bullets , gimme strength.

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7 hours ago, webfact said:

A slap in the face was the welcome to Thailand for one Chinese tourist, but the red faces are all on our side

Pashaw!  Heck, in the decade I've been here I've watched countless times as farangs were subjected to assaults, group beat-downs, robberies, rape, and murder.  Does the government of the US, UK, and EU boycott tourism in Thailand?  Heck no. We're individuals.  We're sovereign people in our own rights. We take care of ourselves!!!  👍

Only the whiny Chinese.  Smack a Chinese citizen and look at what the Chinese government does!  🤔🤔🤔

 

Wait a minute.  Hummmm 🤔  Maybe it would be nice if our 'farang governments' had our backs too.

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