Funny cultural misunderstandings

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John V55
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Funny cultural misunderstandings

Unread post by John V55 » 27 Apr 2015, 04:01

On a lighter note, some of my unforgettable and funny cultural misunderstandings.

Wandering around North Thailand we stopped for the night in a small end of the world village motel ‘holiday resort’, so called because the sign said so. At reception I asked for an internet connection and was duly given a piece of paper with the wifi password. It wouldn’t work and so off we went with my Thai wife in tow back to reception. ‘‘We’ve definitely got wifi’' said the receptionist, but looking up at the wall I noticed no router box and just a jumble of wires. ‘‘We have internet'', she repeated, ‘‘but you’re not connected,'' I replied and got a blank look in return. :roll:

My American next door apartment neighbour teacher kept goldfish. On a shopping trip he bought a couple, but on the way back, the plastic bag started to leak. We went into a shop and he pointed at the now dripping half empty bag and asked to buy a small bottle of water to top it up till he got back. ‘‘Not have’', she replied and pointing to the bottle clearly marked ‘drinking water’ said, ‘‘it’s not for fish.'' :(

American Carl stood at the supermarket checkout arguing with the Chinese check-out girl over something I’ve long since forgotten. His voice got louder and louder, but she couldn’t understand a word. Finally, exasperated, he turned to me and said, ‘‘why can’t she understand English?'' ‘‘Because she’s Chinese’', I replied.'' ‘‘Oh’', he said. :?

Standing in a street in Laos talking and passing the time of day, the soldier in the small crowd handed me a very old beat up looking AK47 while he went to answer a call of nature. ‘‘Do you think I should,'' I asked him, already mentally envisaging the headlines of '‘Foreigner arrested with military rifle in Laos.'' ‘‘No problem,'' he replied in broken English, ‘‘you not press this here (pointing at trigger), when you pointing it at people.'' Sound advice!
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Brent_NZ
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Re: Funny cultural misunderstandings

Unread post by Brent_NZ » 10 Aug 2015, 09:31

I had a very similar experience in Issan, Thailand just last month regarding internet - I think the woman who ran the 'resort' had simply rehearsed the line "we have wi-fi. no need password" with zero ability or English to deal with anything other than parroting that phrase (I couldn't connect and my Thai language skills are far too basic to deal with computer and connection issues!) .

I also think a general Thai 'norm' is to always respond positively to any question or request regardless of their actual ability to deal with the enquiry or request. It's like they can't bring themselves to say "I don't know" or "I can't do that" so they just rattle off anything at all haha :lol:
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John V55
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Re: Funny cultural misunderstandings

Unread post by John V55 » 12 Aug 2015, 13:06

It's the 'face saving' thing. They'd rather tell you wrong than admit they don't know, which they think makes them look stupid- it's a common trait throughout Asia. :)
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