Suvarnabhumi Airport Taxis

On 21st January 2015, perplexing notices was pasted on some of the taxis waiting to pick up passengers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. In various versions of broken English, Thai and Japanese, these notices announced that the drivers were boycotting Japanese travelers.

This “protest” occurred in the wake of a complaint posted on social media by a Japanese educational volunteer. According to him, a taxi driver at Suvarnabhumi Airport tried to overcharge him and refused to turn on the meter to boot. The authorities immediately suspended the driver and his cronies (who likewise had no qualms about ripping tourists off) staged a boycott of all Japanese passengers.

In any reasonable society, the errant driver would have been disciplined. His colleagues would have felt ashamed of his actions and distanced themselves from his unethical practice, making it clear that he was just a black sheep who did not represent the profession.

But no, this is Thailand. It does not matter who is right and who is wrong here. As long as you’ve caused a Thai to lose face (as in this case), he may feel entitled to kill you. Refusing to take you in his cab is already surprisingly mild. Death threats are more common in cases like this.

Yes, Thais are very nice, friendly and hospitable towards foreigners most of the time. However, the moment you make them lose face in your attempts to get things straight, the savage surfaces. Take care.

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