One of the negatives of being an expat in Thailand is that it comes with so many stereotypes. I’m not typical: I don’t frequent girly bars and use the services of ladies of the night; I have no interest in kiddy fiddling or dirty videos; I’m not married to an ex-prostitute from the north east; I’m neither an alcoholic nor a drug fiend; I’m not grossly obese and don’t (as far as I know) have problems with my personal hygiene; I’m not boorish, ill mannered, pushy, arrogant, yobbish or a football thug; and I can eat spicy food. In short, I don’t fit in. I therefore find it hurtful when even the English language press decides to comment broadly characterising expats. From an article in today’s Bangkok Post about hospitals treating foreigners who couldn’t afford to pay their medical bills:
“Many retired foreigners … are now struggling after spending their pensions wastefully”
“‘These patients are mostly European men,’ … ‘They didn’t take out health insurance. They renew their visas every year and have no savings.'”
“Some of them produced fake financial statements to have their visas renewed.”
“Foreigners’ savings often were quickly used up on entertainment and women.”
“In a lot of cases, the patients require long-term treatment for chronic illnesses such as alcoholism”.
So much for stereotyping. I don’t ask or expect to feel accepted or wanted, but I don’t want to feel reviled.
And as for the hospitals, perhaps they should all stop the double-charging system whereby foreigners pay more than Thais for the same treatment.
And perhaps the government should recognise that long-term expats pay a lot of tax into the Thai system (particularly if they’re alcoholics with a penchant for wine with its 300% tax rate) and provide them with free medical treatment at government hospitals.