Culture Learning Task: Critical Incident
Two baht, Five baht
These two incidents occurred in my first year working in Bangkok, Thailand. One occurred on a boat taxi and the other on a truck called a song tow. Both the boat and song tow are privately owned modes of transportation that offer a service for short distances on a specific route to the public. Both modes of transportation are used primarily by the people living in the area. Therefore, there isn’t much if anything written in English, or Thai I imagine, about how these services work. They appear to just be known as common place in the community.
In both situations, the people involved were the money collectors for the transportations. The boat fare collector was a male teenage Thai national. The song tow collector was a female Thai national in her mid-fifties.
The first incident occurred when I was traveling around 8:00 AM with three other co-teachers also new to the country. We had planned to take the boat up river to see a well-known temple. When we got on the boat, we failed to notice that there were different types of boats that offered different services. While we were planning to go up the river, the boat went across instead. We planned to stay on and ride it back. As we were riding, a teenage boy approached and asked for 2 baht (equivalent to US$.08).
The second incident occurred when I was traveling around 10:00 PM at night. I was going home after meeting a friend for a movie. When the song tow stopped, I handed the collector 3 baht but she insisted I pay 5 baht.
In both situations, I initially refused to pay. With regards to the boat, when I had taken other boat rides the collector had a cylinder shaped coin collecting devise where she would put the money and give a ticket. The collectors also wore a certain dark blue uniform. The Thai boy had no cylinder, no tickets, no uniform and was male not...