Monday, 13 July 2009

The Dos and Don'ts in Bangkok Public Transport

Sign Language: Lost in Translation. No Bull.

semi-overcast 32 °C
The public transport in Bangkok is average for Asia. The mass transport of MRT and Skytrain covers the modern part of the city (the East side). To get to the old city - the Western side where all the tourist destinations are concentrated - you have to take either tuk-tuk or taxi. The taxi is reasonably cheap and has air-condition. Always make sure the meter is on. Although the cab is cheap, the heavy traffic can be frustrating. To get to Chaophrya where most of the major sights locate from the nearest MRT, it can easily take half an hour to 45 mins, even if it only a few kilometres.

Bangkok SkyTrain Signs
Sign in Bangkok Skyt

The two signs on the right in the above photo is universal. You can see it in all MRT's in the world for the priority seats next to the door (even if it looks a little cute and cartoonish). The two on the left is unique to Bangkok MRT. The extreme left one is a figure of a Buddhist monk. This shows their reverence in Thailand. The second picture from the left makes good logo for Unicef. I remember growing up in Asia, and children should give up their seats to adults as good manners. Adults don't even celebrate children's birthdays. How the times has changed. No doubt largely because of Western influence.

I spotted this rows of warning signs on the back window of a cab I was on.
taxi warning signs
The following 3 photos are closeups of the above signs. Let's take a close looks at this no-no signs.

The left and right signs are pretty standard No Smoking and No Alcohol signs that commonly seen everywhere.

The middle is No Durian sign. This sign is frequently seen in SE Asia. This is probably one fruit where you either love its intensely strong aroma or you totally get revolt by it. I love it, and Etta runs away from it. This is worse than second hand smoke as far as smell goes. HK people describe its smell as cat pooh; others say it smell like wet fart. In general, people born in cold climate find its stench unbearable. Only this fruit demand such attention. It isn't called the King of
Fruit for nothing.

From right to left.

No Pet sign. If you going to give a dog a ride, you'll have to wind down the window for the dog to stick his head out of the window. They don't like to open their windows.

No Sex sign. I guess it's too distracting for the driver, and it ruins the upholstery. Maybe it's a No Massage sign. Massage is very popular in Bangkok.

No Rifles. They don't want a free rider. I guess handguns are ok. How else would you know? Is the taxi driver going to frisk every passenger? Maybe install an X-ray machine?

warning signs at taxi window, Bangkok, ThailandNo Bull sign? No bull! It looks like a bull. Use your imagination. I asked the cab driver to shed some light on this sign, he laughed. I don't know if he laughed at my ignorance, at this sign, or at his inability to explain or simply at the whole situation. In an attempt to explain, he made some hand gestures that leave even more to the imagination. With his limited English he said 'buddy' while he gesticulated more mystery. I'm thinking a No Rodeo sign. Think cowboy, think Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. The name of this movie is way less subtle than this sign. Three cheers to the obscure art of obfuscation. Someone could commit that act and not knowing it.
You won't see these signs in all cabs. I think only one company of cabs carry these signs (I could be wrong). According to a cab-driver I talked to, there are as many as 30 taxi companies operating on the streets of Bangkok. This fierce competition keep the fare low, but is also probably part of the cause for the traffic congestion on the road which keeps the metres ticking in idle mode all the time. Each company is easily identified by their colour, as are the tuk-tuks. As a result, the public traffic on Bangkok roads are anything but dull. This photo was taken on Sukumvit Rd, Bangkok.

warning signs at taxi window, Bangkok, Thailand

The following photo shows a No Durian sign in Singapore buses, as well as a No Littering sign. The fine for littering is a stiff  $1000. No wonder Singapore is so clean.
The following is the Singapore's Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Some people say it looks like the eye of a fly. Most locals simply call it The Durians.
The Durians, Esplanade, Singapore

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate this blog to share knowledge about this important topic. Here I found different segments and now I am going to use these new tips with new enthusiasm.