I'm currently down in Hua Hin / Pranburi, and have been staying at the same place for a few months. i was at home minding my own on a peaceful Saturday morning, little 'un playing with his little mate, telly on, nice weather etc.
I look over to one of the houses opposite, owned by a Danish fella who had a bad accident back in Denmark and is currently wheelchair bound. Notice two Thai guys in his front room, talking to him. I think nothing of it and carry on pottering.
About 5 minutes later a knock knock on the door. I get up to see the same two guys through the window. A bit surprised, as I open the door I'm greeted by wide grins and 'pleased to meet you', hand shakes instead of wai's....Before I've opened my mouth they are in the front room, and I'm on the back foot.
They are both dressed fairly sharp. The shorter one has a bit of a nasty look about him, pointy features... definitely a bruiser, wide smile but glinty eyes and a teeth or two missing. The other one looks a lot more innocent, taller. 'Good cop bad cop' I thought.
They are busy talking to me, I haven't managed to say anything or ask who they are... What do these guys want?
Pointy sticks a brochure in front of me and fingers at his own face, sitting in a crowd of uniformed Thai's at some photo shoot. He's telling me he's an ever-so important guy, and then pulls out one of those face diagrams with the head honcho at the top.... He's ranking about three quarters up to the right... I notice he's got a picture of a gun and bullets stitched into his t-shirt... not keen on this one.
'Where you from?' Pointy says. England, I say. 'Ooooh, very good, you're a very good man' he says.. Hmmm.
'What do you want?'
'We are from the police and army', says Pointy. 'We are collecting for the officers injured'. He shows me a black and white photo of some guy in a wheelchair.
Police and Army?
He shows me more photos. And then pulls out a little receipt book. Pointing out of the window to a house across the estate he flicks through the pages with various sums of thousands of baht... saying 'man over there give me 8,000 Baht. The guy over there, he gave me 5000 Baht.
'you know, just a small amount' pipes up good cop...
I was surprised at the speed my own anger took hold. Opening the door, I told them to bugger off, and sharpish.... They both looked somewhat aghast, and shuffled out the door, which was quickly shut, and locked behind them.
Pacing around the house walking off the adrenaline, I tried to locate the reason as to why I reacted in such a hostile way.....
Maybe i got angry because I took these two for a couple of tricksters... I certainly didn't like the little one.... Anyone over 12 who walks around with guns and such stitched into their shirt has issues.
Maybe I got angry because I don't feel like i need to give the police more money, as they regularly fleece me and colleagues for what they can get, when they can get it.
But I think mainly, the reason I got so upset was the comment of '5000 baht, you know, small amount'.... To anyone who has lived and worked with Thai's, 5000 Baht is not such a small amount.
There are quite a few occasions in Thailand when you get up close and personal with poverty... Pretty disturbing poverty... The needy in Thailand are not too hard to find.. I would much rather give money to one of the poor souls sprawled out on the baking concrete floor on a Bangkok footpath, or to one of the 5 year old kids dodging traffic selling lucky necklaces.. i'd like one of these two jokers to convince these guys that 5000 baht is 'just a small amount'.
But maybe it is a worthy cause, and I'm just being a mean farang...
Has anyone had a experience when a Thai has knocked at the door, and it is a genuinely worthy cause? Or are these things generally just cheap and nasty scams?