Harrison George

It doesn’t work.  I’ve tried and tried, but it just doesn’t work.

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Excuse me, but could I have my fare back please?


The 8 baht I gave you when I got on the bus.  I want it back.  Here’s the ticket in return.

What are you talking about?  You get on the bus, you pay the fare.  What’s this about giving you the money back?

Well, I’ve decided that I don’t really want to go were you’re taking me.  So I want my 8 baht back.  It’s just like General Prayuth and the microphones at Government House.  He didn’t like the fuss that was being kicked up the cost.  So he’s told them to take the microphones back and the government will keep the money.

I don’t give a left-handed about General Prayuth and his microphones.  This is a bus.  You have to pay your fare.

Yes, but originally I intended to go to a department store to buy a set of Hello Kitty pencils and matching pencil case with decorative and unintelligible English language motif.  But I’m not a female university student so I’ve realized it’s unnecessary.  It isn’t in line with the Sufficiency Economy, so I’ve decided not to buy it.  So I don’t need to go there.  So I want my money back.

Listen, I’ve got a bus full of fares to collect, so just get off if you don’t like it. 

[Voice from the front of the bus]  What’s holding you up?  There’s fares to collect down this end.

This nutter wants his money back.

He what? 

Something about microphones and pencils.

Clout him one with your canister and kick him off.

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Oi, where are you going?  You haven’t paid for your coffee.

No, and I’m not going to.  When I have coffee at home I always play The Song.  It makes it taste better.

What song?

The General’s song.  It makes me feel happier and the coffee taste better.  You didn’t play the song, so it didn’t taste the same.  So I’m not paying.

Look, this is a cart, by the side of the road.  How can I play you any songs?  You’d never hear it for the traffic anyway.

I don’t think the government would appreciate your comments.

Bugger the comments.  If you don’t give me the money, I’m calling Tong.

Who’s Tong?

[A large person enters the scene, forcibly extracts 20 baht from my pockets and helps me on my way with the kind of action a rugby place-kicker would be proud of.]

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Customer Service, how can I help you?

Yes, I want a reduction in my internet service fee for the past 6 months.


Well, it seems that the fee I’ve been paying was too high. 

What do you mean too high?

My friend says that I can get the same level of service at a cheaper price.  He found it on the internet.  He says I’m paying too much for what you are giving me.

Sir, you signed a contract with us to provide you with a service.  If you want to switch to another service provider, that is your privilege.  But we cannot reduce your fees.

No, listen.  This is like the microphones at Government House.  They paid one price for them, but when the media showed they had paid too much, the company lowered the price.  This is the same thing.  You overcharged me, so you have to lower the price.

But you have already used our service. 

That’s another thing.  Do you know how much pornography there is on the internet?  There’s tons of the stuff and I’m sure the government doesn’t like that.  It must break one or other of their 12 Thai values. 

Sir, in line with instructions from the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, we block access to all pornographic websites that they alert us to.

Oh come on.  And what about the proxy server sites that you also give me access to?  The 10-year-old next door showed me how they let me watch porn almost all the time.  You’ve sold me a service that encourages me to break the law, so you should compensate me for that.

And if you get caught speeding, you’ll blame the company that sold you your car.  I don’t think that line of thinking gets us very far, does it, sir?

I resent your attitude.  I’ve a good mind to report you to the NCPO.

Please do whatever you think is necessary.  But we will not give you a refund.  Goodbye.

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Is that the NCPO hotline? 

Yes, sir, and how may we return happiness to you?

I wish to register a complaint.  I have been following the example of the dodgy microphones and screens at Government House and trying to get my money back for similar scams.

What dodgy deals?

You know, the overpriced microphones and out-of-date screens.

Sir, are you implying that this government has been involved in some form of improper conduct?

Well not if you put it in those terms exactly.  But I would like to have the same consumer rights that you seem to have.  In my opinion, that’s only fair.  Can you help me?

Yes, sir.  Can you report to Army Headquarters tomorrow at 9?

Sure.  Will you get my money back?

No, sir, but we will be able to change your attitude.

About author:  Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).


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