Living here in Thailand, one has to face that more often than not, the only way forward is just conceding and saying “mai pen rai” and mutter “whatever.” Sometimes, one just has to take whatever is dished out to them, however wrong or unfair it seems and bear it with a grin.
I drew the line with my passive aggressive billing battle with the Internet provider.
In August, the bill stopped arriving. I chose not to bring it up, wanting to see where this goes.
Mid-September, the Internet access was shut down. So I had the apartment building call the provider to request the billing statements for both August and September.
They refused. Said I was at fault for not paying and they do not have the responsibility to reprint a bill. Advised me to go to the bank and deposit a said amount in their billing account.
After throwing a private temper tantrum at the message, I took a deep breath and explained to my translator- I don’t care how informal business exchanges can get in Thailand… when I’m asked for pay an equivalent of US$100, I need to see a formal bill along with the official billing account information. It’s not that I don’t trust the individuals (oh, it absolutely was that and some more) but that dealing with such a large sum of money, I need to see official paperwork to ensure the money is going to the right place. blah blah blah.
I received the formal bill the next day. For once, I won the battle, and it was so worth the sweet victory, despite the knowledge that in the grand scheme of things, we foreigners loose the war here.