Are you a Bangkok Old Hand?
In which of the following situations would it be appropriate to use the common Thai expression mai pen rai (“never mind; no problem”)?
(a) A guest spills a little water on your coffee table.
(b) A waiter accidently dumps your beer into your lap.
(c) You go downstairs one morning in the rainy season and find that those of your possessions that float are floating, while everything else is under water.
(d) You read that the greenhouse effect—the gradual warming of the global climate and the subsequent melting of the polar ice-caps—means that all of Bangkok will be under water by the end of the century.
Or perhaps even much sooner than the end of the century, given recent evidence.
It turns out the “mai pen lai” attitude is far more widespread than a certain class of Western expats resident in Thailand would normally grant. It seems we even have the upper legislative house in the modern world’s leading superpower formally suggesting that current climate change is not anthropogenic, and (in effect) we should at all costs vote in favor of commercial interests, and screw the rest of the world as well as future generations everywhere. (“Senate says scientists are wrong, climate change isn’t real” [what they said was that it isn’t caused by human activity] by Sean Cockerham, 22 January 2015.)
‘The chairman of the environment committee, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., … an enthusiastic denier of climate change, [says] it is the “biggest hoax” perpetrated against mankind.
Well, shit. Yeah. Heaven forbid we should let such patent hubris on the part of human beings inhibit the march of commerce, eh? Because it appears the bottom line here is that nothing should interfere with the Keystone pipeline project and other US energy self-sufficiency measures.
For more on this, see my next post on this site, “How I quit smoking,” which in part provides brief notice of a new book that should be required reading for everyone in the world, starting with our political, business and educational policymakers.
Answer to the above Bangkok Old Hand Quiz item: In all of those situations: a, b, c and d.