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Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Con Man near the Grand Palace

This semester, I am undergoing a course titled “Innovations in Science, Mathematics and Technology. In this course, each candidate is required to develop an innovative model that can be used to teach a concept in any science discipline.
Since I have majors in Physics, I am working on how to make my children learn ‘Energy and Energy Conservation’ with a help of a modest learning unit. And to develop it, I was in a dare need of a sensor that could effectively record the speed and time of a moving object because doing manually always ended with a fatal error.  
On the advice of my professor, I headed to a city called Khlongthom, where I can presumably get the sensor. Located almost 90 minutes drive from my university, Khlongthom is one of the most congested markets in Thailand. It is full of bustle here.
Owing to its bulkiness, I was confused from which point to start. And it was rather so funny that I entered from one point only to reach the same entry. I hunted for the right sensor and still people gave me the other. They barely spoke English and I could never speak Thai other than some basic numerals.
Fully frustrated, I surrendered searching for the sensor and went to attend the call of my stomach. No sooner did I realize that I was hungry, I have finished swallowing the lunch.
I boarded Bus 1 from Phuhurat popularly known as India Market and exited at The Grand Palace, the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782. This is often one place in Thailand where it is always flooded with tourists of all colors. 
While waiting for another transit bus, I enjoyed sightseeing the beauty of the Grand Palace. As I was sitting near the bus stand, I saw a man trying to capture my attention. He was feeding the flock of pigeons. The pigeons have been so acquainted that they even climbed over the whole length of his shoulders to feed on the maize seeds he held on his palm.
I was amazed with the closeness of these birds. And suddenly, I saw the man waving his hand forward, an act of inviting me. I told my friend to take some snaps while I feed those pigeons.
The man offered me 2 packets of maize seeds where each packet might not exceed more than 20 numbers in total. The pigeons were so active that they raped those tiny plastics on my hand and took away all the seeds before my friend can click a photo.
The man smiled and gave me three packets more. I reserved two in my pocket and opened one. The trick favored this time that my friend caught me in the camera with lots of pigeons over my body. I gave him the other two packets and warned him to pose for the photograph. We did it with lots of fun. 
As we laughed and was about to move out the man came closer and asked for the money. We told him that we didn’t know it wasn’t for free. I asked him the  price for each packet and he said 300 Baht. (1 USD = 32 Baht and 1 Baht= Nu. 2.1). 
Donning a fake smile, I pretended to take the pictures of the pigeons and finally caught this con artist after I paid him 
We tried to convince him that the price was too high for those packets containing barely 20 seeds. I didn’t want to argue with such people in this world who have never heard English in their ears. So, I risked by saying that we will pay 20 Baht each for those 5 packets used. He was adamant.  Each word of ours rather drew him closer to our nose.
I saw many people around us watching the daylight robbery. To cut the scene short, I took out my wallet to pay him 300 Baht. Since, I was having a denomination of 500 and 1000 Baht, I took out 500 Baht and handed over him in a hope that he might pay me the balance.
However, to my utter surprise, he was putting the whole amount proudly inside his pocket. I demanded him to pay back the remaining amount and he threw 50 Baht on my chest. This fueled the anger of my friend and pulled him closer to us.
Fearing that it might possibly awake the people around, I managed to put a lid over the bottle of my friend’s anger. We paid him 450 Baht equivalent to US Dollar 14.5 for 5 packets of maize seeds anyway.
After fleeing the scene, I seriously prayed to the God not to let him die but to grant him a humble life without cheats. I silently complained to Him that, even in an underdeveloped country like mine (Bhutan), people work honestly for their living. We never deceive strangers but rather extend our helping hands. We are Buddhists that we deeply believe in Karmic actions. I warned the God that by keeping him in this Buddhist country, it was like keeping the hell empty because one demon escaped to live together in this otherwise beautiful heaven.    
 “A cheater will always cheat, a liar will always lie and then they wonder why their life is bad?” Lara Loockx


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience Dumcho! Hope others would be able to avoid the same situation that you've encountered. I was cheated too when I went to Bangkok by taking the free tuk tuk, which the driver brought us into many different shops so that he could get free petrol voucher from the shop owners.

  2. Madam Reyka,
    Sorry to know that you were also one victim of these cheaters. Tuk tuk is one thing I never trust and travel. Had similar kind of experience like you before.
    But I was cheated even by this scalawag. I was really disappointed not because he took my money, but imagine how many people would have been and how many are going to be trapped into his hoodwinking job. Such a deceitful life.



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