Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Kindness makes the world go round

The first time I went home to the UK after moving to Thailand I told my parents about how some food stuffs are available in Bangkok and some not. “I have a friend, S,” I said, “who loves mushy peas, but she can’t get them. She carts them back from the UK when she can.” A week or so later I’m about to fly back to Bangkok, and my Dad brings me a box of dried peas “For your friend, S, JJ,” he says.

My friend S has moved to Delhi since then. Last month she visited Bangkok and she told me she comes to visit with an empty suitcase because she can get more things here in Thailand than she can in India. We chuckle about how all things are relative… I ask if she has space for a bedspread that I really want to get from Delhi – a replacement for one that’s falling apart after 20 years. She tells me she’s happy to get it and will bring it in November. We swap emails about details until she’s in possession of my bedspread.

Her trip to Bangkok has been cancelled, but she’s going to Singapore. With Husband’s help we arrange for his nice colleague A who is based in Singapore office to take in the bedspread at the office. (The bedspread is shown around colleagues to mixed reception! Cheek of it!)

One of Husband’s Thai colleagues, B, is going to Singapore. Would she be kind enough to bring back the bedspread for JJ? “Sure,” she says, “but I won’t release it into your care until you get me a copy of Delia Smith’s roast potatoes recipe.”

(Kind Thai colleague B collected the bedspread today, but was rather shocked as it turned out not to be what she thought she had heard Husband ask her to collect. She said to Colleague A, where is the "pest spray" you need me to take back?)

Bilingual Chinese whispers aside, I like to see it’s not just money that makes the world go round.

12 comments:

Sarah said...

It does indeed, but many people seem to have forgotten, favouring instead "self-interest makes their world go round".

I'm terribly impressed at your word count discipline. Have you heard of the online writer's website WriteWords.org.uk? It's a great published and unpublished writing community.

JJ said...

Hello Sarah, don't be too impressed. I was exiled to an island to produce those words! Normally my word count is pitiful. Talking of which ... got do some words today.

I do know of writewords but I don't go there often. I'll check it out. Thanks.

sheepish said...

Hi lovely story, I think it happens to expats the world over. There are always a few things that are must haves. For me its good teabags at a reasonable price and certain biscuits[like bourbon]. By the way I saw there are still problems in Bangkok so do take care.

marmiteandtea said...

Yup expats are always bartering something. When we were in Mexico hubby brought parsnips back for someone's Xmas lunch.
I always ask for Marmite and Walkers S&V Crisps - which are like no other :)

Lane said...

lol. Did you manage to give her Delia's recipe or did that get Chinese Whispered too!:-)

Debs said...

Love that story. A friend of mine always used to be asked to take Ajax to the states for her friend's mum.

JJ said...

Sheepish, teabags for me too! Sometimes books too, and tampax I'm afraid, but you can't ask EVERYONE that one!

M&T, parsnips? How funny. Do you know I haven't found any S&V crisps here ... although I heard a rumour that my friend Carol bought them for her husband. I must check that out.

Oh dear god, Lane, do you think she was asking for something else entirely? Maybe she was! I wonder what she'll do when Husband passes over the copy of the roast potato recipe?

Debs, LOL. Ajaz? My god, my standards are so low, I'd never ask for cleaning equipment!

Helen said...

ooh I would love some roast potatoes right now!

KatW said...

I love that story - passing on the kindness. Think of things you could've ended up with if Chinese whispers had got out of hand!!! Heart warming and funny. Kat :-)

JJ said...

Helen, whoops, sorry about that.

Kat, thank you. Yes, the language mistakes here are full of potential.

Angie said...

I've never heard the phrase "Chinese whispers," but it sounds like the equivalent of our game "telephone."
That is a great story though. You should write about it. ;)
I hope things are okay over there, I saw more bad news about the protests in Bangkok. Keep safe!
xx

Susan said...

Hi JJ. Hope you like the quilt after all this. Glad I found a way to pay back your father, via you, for the Mushy Peas kindness. Keep safe in BKK.
Susan x