I have re-produced the article I wrote which was published in the Star paper, under Section Two, “Lifestyle, What a Holiday!”.
Some years ago when my family and I were in Phuket for a holiday, my six-year-old son developed a high fever and started vomiting.
Hardly knowing a word of Thai, we got into a tuk-tuk in front of our hotel and told the driver we wanted to go to a clinic. Obviously, he didn’t understand a word we said because he kept driving around.
Then we spotted a sign that said “khlinik” on a shop so we pointed it to the driver.
He nodded his head and drove even faster. We were quite concerned as it was getting dark and the clinic might close as it was a weekend, when he suddenly drove up to a coffeeshop where a group of men sat.
After an exchange of words, one of them came towards us and spoke in Teochew, a Chinese dialect that we could understand. He asked us how he could help.
After telling him what happened, he spoke to the driver and the driver drove like his life depended on it and soon came to a big specialist centre.
I have had bad experiences before while on my travels where the locals tried to fleece us. That was the first thing that came to mind here when we saw how the whole process, from the registration to the doctor and dispensing of medication, was so speedily and efficiently done.
When my husband went to settle the bill, I told him: “They are sure to ‘slaugh-ter’ us when they see we are tourists.”
But we could not believe our eyes. We had to look at the bill again to make sure it was correct. The total bill came to only 350 baht (RM35). We were pleasantly surprised; and more so we found the driver still waiting for us with a smile on his face.
The medicine worked wonders and after a night’s rest, my son was back on his feet and we enjoyed the rest of our holidays.
I learned never to judge a book by its cover. It’s because of the lovely Thai people that I keep going back there again and again for my holidays.