Fatal Parking Rights
During the years that I have lived in Thailand, one of my biggest bugbears has been the Thai habit of ‘claiming’ the section of road directly outside their, shop, business, restaurant etc. as their own.
Some of these business owners actually go to the lengths of putting a traffic cone or chair in the road to stop the public from parking there. The spaces are effectively ‘reserved’ for their own customers and no one else is allowed in.
I should explain that the roads have no parking restrictions and the shop owners don’t have anything in the way of a ‘resident’s permit to claim the spot. No, they just consider the parking space to be theirs – for their own and/or their customer’s use.
Although it is annoying when they place cones or chairs in the way to prevent parking, at least unsuspecting drivers know where they stand and they drive on to find somewhere else to park.
The really aggravating situations arise when nothing is placed there and I assume it is okay to park. Even then, it’s not too bad if, as sometimes happens, someone runs out before I have finished parking and tells me that I can’t park there. It’s annoying, but if I am still in the car, it’s not a major problem to drive away.
What really gets my goat is when I have seen an empty space, parked up, got out, locked the car and walked 100 meters down the road before someone comes running up behind me and tells me to go back and move my car. I feel my blood starting to boil and I have to exercise great self-control not to do or say something I might regret.
On one memorable occasion, I parked up outside a ‘mom & pop’ store and walked about 50 meters down the road to a bar, entered the bar, took a seat and ordered a beer. I was just about to take my first sip of the ice cold lager when the girl who had been serving me, returned to my table and told me that I had to move my car.
“What! Who says?”
“That old woman outside.”
I looked outside, and sure enough, a tiny, shrivelled up old lady was staring at me.”
“Tell her I’ll move it when I finish my beer.”
“No, she say you have to move now.”
I lost it. I slammed down my beer, threw a hundred baht note at the waitress and stormed back to my car, screaming obscenities on the way. I revved my engine as loud as possible and accelerated away in high dudgeon. It was completely ridiculous. The crappy shop didn’t look like it ever had any customers, and there was a very wide pavement between the road and the shop.
Boy was I mad. That was in my drinking days….
These days I never let the people who highjack these bits of public road for their own businesses bother me. In fact, even if there are no barriers on the side of a road, I look carefully to ensure there is little likelihood of upsetting anyone if I park in a particular space. Anything for a peaceful life…
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, a few days back there was an extreme example of ‘parking space rage’ in the middle of Bangkok. It transpired that there had been an ongoing feud between a man who lived next door to a barber’s shop and the barber’s shop owner. Apparently he was always being told to move his car whenever he parked outside the barbers – because the space outside his own house was already occupied.
Then, one fateful afternoon, the house owner parked his Toyota van outside the barbers shop and as ever, the barber’s wife came out with a Cambodian employee and told him to move. An argument started, and the barber came out to calm down the dispute. The driver pulled out a 9 mm pistol and shot the woman and her employee dead. The barber ran into the shop to escape the same fate, but the driver chased him into the shop and shot him dead as well.
He then jumped back into his van and drove away at speed.
A few days later he surrendered to the police, stating that he never intended to kill anyone.
I know how that man must have felt. There is little doubt that alcohol was at play here, and if he had been sober it might never have happened. As it was, when he sobered up, he regretted what he had done. Of course, nothing can excuse such mindless violence.
Three lives have been lost and another one ruined by this stupid and illegal practice of people claiming the space on the road outside their premises as their own.
But nothing will change. I doubt this as the first – or the last time – that such disputes have ended in injuries and death.
I read the following on the Thai Visa expat forum the other day.
“I suffer from Anatidaephobia. Anatidaephobia is defined as a fear that one is being watched by a duck. The anatidaephobic individual fears that no matter where they are or what they are doing, a duck watches.
I am at my wits end. Is there anyone in Thailand who can treat my problem?”
Aussie falls from grace in Pattaya
A 32-year-old Australian, who was suspected of being drunk, fell through a glass pane on the front door of Pattaya Police station and sustained serious cuts to his hands and legs.
The man, known only as “John”, was seen to be leaving the station when he fell onto the door, which shattered the glass contained within it.
Medics were called in to administer first aid and the man was then taken to hospital for further treatment.
We safe Thailand safe!
“We Safe Thailand Safe” and “Touris Safe.”
The misspelled slogans were part of an attempt to show off the police force’s preparedness for the upcoming ASEAN economics conference. The parade was led by a senior national Police General.
It was unclear whether any of the 2,000 tourist police officers and volunteers who took part in the parade actually knew how to spell “tourist,” or whether they cunningly planned the misspelled banners to make themselves a laughing stock and attract more press coverage.
No publicity is bad publicity, as they say.