Show Me How You Drive and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

A collision between a pedestrian and a motorcycle would likely result in far more damage to the pedestrian than to the motorcycle. Similarly, when a motorcycle and a car collide, the motorcycle would receive more severe beating than the car. The very same principle would apply each time you’d try to compare a clash between something that’s fundamentally bigger and stronger with something that’s incomparably smaller and weaker. Needless to say, the application doesn’t end with inanimate objects.

Photo: Cambodia - Motorcycle is More Dangerous so Bicyclist Will Be Cut Off
Photo: Cambodia - Motorcycle is More Dangerous so Bicyclist Will Be Cut Off

It’s fascinating how countries with highest incidence of violence also have the most arrogant and disrespectful drivers. It makes sense, after all that people who are arrogant and disrespectful with others in general, also take their arrogance and disrespect behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Take Your Hang-ups Behind the Wheel?

I noticed the bullying of pedestrians by car drivers and motorcyclists as soon as I started my round the world trip in Cambodia. I was the pedestrian myself so taking a note took as little as stepping outside of my hotel room. Immediately after leaving the premises of the Two Dragons Guesthouse where I stayed at the time, I was forced to jump off the way of every motorcycle in vicinity because wherever they rode, they were not stopping nor swerving for no stinking pedestrians.

As I observed soon after, all motorcyclists had to ride for their lives when a car rode down the road because a driver of the car would never slow down nor swerve to safely dodge the motorcycles. It was an obvious case of “if my vehicle is bigger and stronger than yours, I will harass you all I want and will never give you the right of way because for as long as I’m in a vehicle that’s bigger and stronger than yours, I’m bigger and stronger than you and that means I own you.

Not surprisingly, going from being a bully to being bullied is as easy and fast as getting off the vehicle. People knew that as soon as their motorcycle got parked, it would be them who gets bullied. The obsession with abuse and harassment of those who are smaller and weaker was irrefutable.

Arrogant Driving and Violence

Countries with the most arrogant drivers notorious for never stopping or slowing down for pedestrians are also notorious for having some of the world’s highest incidences of domestic violence, rape and intentional homicide. It truly comes as no surprise that someone who wouldn’t hesitate to use their stronger build against another person who’s physically weaker, would behave in the same way on the road.

Why do you think countries with low traffic related death rate and defensive drivers who instinctively stop for pedestrians, such as Iceland, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand or Singapore are also some of the safest countries in the world? Likewise, why do you think some of the most dangerous countries in the world, such as Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, the Philippines or Cambodia also have some of the most arrogant and disrespectful drivers who would want to beat you up after running you over for not clearing your stinky self out of their precious path?

A typical scenario from a dangerous country would go something like this: you’re walking down a sidewalk minding your own business when a motorcycle forces itself right before you, cutting you off without any form of regard for your presence. Because running into you is unlikely to cause any noteworthy damage to the motorcycle but can easily crush your legs, the motorcyclist will not slow down or keep safe distance.

As a result, not only were you forced to abruptly interrupt walking, but in order to continue, you’ll have to tour around the motorcycle and step on the road. Since you’re still in a dangerous country, by stepping on the road you are getting in the way of other motorcycles and cars which will not swerve or slow down for the exact same reason why the original motorcyclist didn’t – you are a pedestrian which means you pose about as much danger to them as crippled pensioner in wheelchair does to a mob of thugs. They will pay no regard to you being in danger. They are driving so they are more dangerous than you hence if you want to avoid an encounter and save your life, it’s up to you to get out of their way. They will not and they don’t care.

The Strong vs The Weak

I have never, not once in my 36 years of life hit a girl. I haven’t even as much as raised my hand as if about to hit one. I was involved in verbal arguments and got, on a few occasions, hit by a girl myself (thought years of martial arts training made me deflect it), however being pretty well built and having a biological advantage over women by being a man (men are on average 10% taller, 20% heavier and 30% stronger than women), I have never responded by striking back.

Naturally, when I drive, I irrevocably respect all traffic participants, especially those who are in a weaker momentary position then myself. Not only do I never endanger a pedestrian or a person on a bicycle, I first and foremost make sure I don’t even restrict them in any way. The car gives me a strength advantage over pedestrians or bicyclists which presents a need to show them extra respect.

This is the very same reason which would make a gentleman open a door for a lady and assist her in getting through safely. Being a man, he has the strength advantage over a woman so he could easily force his way through the door first and rough the woman off her feet if she didn’t get off his precious way, but that’s precisely why a true gentleman would not do in the first place.

When you have something which makes you more privileged over another but give them preferential treatment because they don’t have that advantage – that’s when you show greatness as a human being. Threatening a disadvantaged person with force so you can have your right of precious passage doesn’t make you stronger. It makes you a pathetic loser with zero honor and dignity.

People who are not gentlemen and would rough their way through the door if a weaker person tried to get through at the same time are the very same people who rough their way down the road in a motor vehicle when weaker traffic participants, such as pedestrians are trying to cross safely. Their manhood issues, closed mind and selfish ego prevent them from being courteous so they act like the world spins around them and everyone needs to quit doing whatever they’re doing and bow down to their glorious presence.

Show Me How You Drive and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

I despise the strong who exploit the weak. Instead of using their gift of strength to help those who were dealt a weaker hand, they abuse it to fix their complexes by playing tough guys and oppressing the ones who are unlikely to stand up for themselves and fight back.

You can tell a lot about a man by the way he drives. Arrogant, disrespectful drivers who never slow down for pedestrians are no different than a man who beats his wife, a sixth grader who bullies a first grader, an angry fat kid who kicks a puppy on a leash, a gang of thugs with baseball bats who beat on an elderly woman in wheelchair, a soldier who sexually violates a prisoner of war or a force with tanks, unmanned drones, satellite guided missiles and billion dollar intelligence which launches attacks against nations without tanks, unmanned drones, satellite guided missiles or billion dollar intelligence.

The strong who heal their complexes by exploiting the weak exhibit a severe lack of self worth. They are bullies who feed their need to feel important and respected by preying on physically weaker or otherwise disadvantaged individuals. Since motorcycles or cars makes them bigger, stronger and more dangerous, they use them to boost up their size and with it their ego. It is therefore true that if you show me how you drive, I’ll tell you who you are.

The Expat Complex

Tell me which country you chose to live in and I’ll tell you who you are. This twist of the famous “Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are” quote has more merit to it than meets the eye. People who trade life in their home country for life in another country for reasons other than temporary job assignments usually do so because their country is not compatible with who they are. If for example they come from a country with strong rule of law, but deep inside they are lawless individuals, a visit to a lawless country will make them desire to live there and start making arrangements to relocate.

Photo: Sokimex - Symbol of Cambodian Corruption
Photo: Sokimex - Symbol of Cambodian Corruption

The Canadian Hippie

Not so long ago, while I was in Miri on Malaysian Borneo, I met with another Canadian guy who’s far more traveled than I was. I meet and talk with other backpackers every day but since not many that Canadians make it to South East Asia, this was a pretty cool opportunity to have a chatter with one who did.

This hippie from Vancouver was in his 40’s, but you would never tell. He looked young, his hair reached down to his shoulders which complemented his wrinkle-free complexion. By the looks of it, he should be the most amazing dude to speak with but the exact opposite was true.

You’d think that a hippie with a decade of round the world travel under his belt would demonstrate unrivalled level of sophistication and wisdom, but all one could find by interacting with him was arrogance and conceit. Every single thing he let out of his mouth was let out to make himself sound larger than life. His body language wasn’t any different either. Other than the appearance, this fellow Canuck was very unhippie.

Despite his open arrogance, I was curious to learn a thing or two from him. Unfortunately, all I really learned was that his poop smelled like roses and nobody else had poop that could possible match his. Whatever I or anybody else would ask him, he’d respond with this harsh scowl like we’re all unworthy of his time, the time of someone who’s been to more places than most of us combined.

I realized early on that this man was a joke so participation from my end stopped soon after, however he said something that really caught my attention. According to his own words, he came to Malaysia (where we met) after spending some time in Indonesia, but couldn’t wait to go back because in Indonesia it was much easier to get away with just about anything, including any form of unlawful behavior.

He also mentioned that he hated Canada and would never go back to his home country. He despised the fact that Canada was clean, that Canadian police didn’t readily accept bribes, that minor transgressions (as he put it), such as drunk driving or sexual advances were taken seriously and that there were many means for victims of crimes to get justice.

I looked at him and I saw the exact opposite of myself. He went to Indonesia and loved every bit of it. He loved how he could get totally wasted drunk and drive home scaling the road left and right. He loved that should there be a problem with it, he could easily bribe the police and have them wave him on his way to continue putting others in danger. He also loved how he could engage in any form of illegal activity and get away with it without any problem. He loved that being corrupt and inherently criminal, Indonesia would allow him to embrace his own criminal behavior and benefit from it at the expense of others.

In comparison – when I went to Indonesia, I hated every bit of it. I hated how impaired drivers oppressed all other traffic participants and there was nothing anyone could do about it. I hated how there was no way to stop them as should they get halted by the police, they could easily bribe their way out. I hated how people engaging in criminal activities openly operated in broad daylight and under the noses of the police who blatantly sheltered these operations. I hated how virtually everything was corrupt down to the bone, and how it made the country lawless and dangerous.

When Character and Environment Match

There are certain values I uphold and as such, I could only live in a country that upholds the same or similar values. In my case, these include order, respect, equality and law. That’s why I’m naturally drawn and feel the most comfortable in countries where order, respect, equality and law are inherent. Such countries include my home land of Canada, but also Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and some others.

On the other hand, people who uphold chaos, corruption, discrimination, xenophobia and disorder are naturally drawn to countries with the same values, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Brazil and many others.

A person who upholds positive values is incompatible with countries that uphold negative values and would feel very uncomfortable living there. As a result, such person would want to leave and relocate to a country the values of which match those he/she upholds. I gave Cambodia, for example, my best shot and stayed for 5 months but it was an ongoing struggle because inherent corruption and lust for blood were strongly contradicting my character. I tried really hard, but could not do it. But I got a very good taste of what people who feel comfortable there are like. Holy eff!

When the arrogant Canadian hippie told me that he liked Indonesia better than Malaysia because Indonesia was a dirty and disorderly country, and then added the fact that he didn’t want to return to Canada because he didn’t like the strict rule of law – it all started to come together. I realized the power of the expat complex and with it came the understanding of why my extended stay in Cambodia was so painfully agonizing.

People like the Canadian hippie, instead of living according to the law, prefer lawless behaviour and knowledge that they can bribe their way out of any situation. For them, life in a lawless society is much more fulfilling because it matches their character – lawless and corrupt. Since lawlessness and corruption was all I encountered in Cambodia, in order to retain some level of sanity during my stay in the country, I had to lie to myself that there was some good to be found in this peculiar blend of lust for blood, general disrespect for another and absolute corruption. It was all in vain. Since my values are fundamentally different, it was only a question of time before I’d realized that I couldn’t exist in a society that’s so fundamentally evil and started making plans to leave, clearing the way for people whose traits match those of Cambodia to embrace what this country is all about.

The Expat Complex

My police record in Canada is sparkling clean. I have never had a speeding ticket, because I never speed. I had my breath checked many times but always had 0 alcohol in blood because I never drive after drinking. I do not fear living in a country with strict rule of law because I strictly obey the law. I live within it, not outside of it. And as a law abiding citizen, I appreciate countries where law is the law. I don’t break it, hence I don’t need the means to bribe my way out of being caught. Strong presence of the rule of law makes me feel comfortable, not worried.

The Expat Complex is a phenomenon that links personality traits to characteristics of countries people with matching characteristics feel attracted to and may eventually choose to relocate to. By taking the Expat Complex into consideration, you can easily identify personality characteristics of expatriates based on which country they choose to live in. If they feel more comfortable living in a country that’s inherently corrupt and lawless, you can count on it that they are as corrupt and lawless themselves.

Just to clarify – there is a difference between expats and freeloaders. They are not the same thing. People from third world countries who specialize in taking advantage of weak asylum policies and welcoming immigration laws of developed countries are not expats and are as such subject to different set of principles. The expat complex syndromes do not apply to them as they do not choose countries that match their character, but rather countries that are the easiest to exploit and provide the most freebies in exchange for their effort (and lies).

7 Islands in Southeast Asia Worth a Visit

Much of South East Asia spans the tropical climate and with hundreds of kilometers of shorelines, there is no shortage of islands for a visitor to explore. Since the idea of what constitutes the “Best Islands in Southeast Asia” would differ from one person to another, instead of claiming that mine are the best, I’m gonna list 7 islands located in Southeast Asia which I believe I worth a visit. I’m gonna mention which country each island belongs to, how to get to the island and what to do on the island, aka why is this particular island worthwhile. Without further ado, below is the list of top 7 islands in Southeast Asia worth a traveler’s time:

1 – Koh Phangan

Photo: Koh Pha Ngan Island, Thailand
Photo: Koh Pha Ngan Island, Thailand

Country: Thailand
How to Get There: By boat from nearby larger island called Koh Samui. Koh Samui also has an airport. There is no airport on Koh Phangan at this time. Ferry service to Koh Phangan is also available from Surat Thani, which is the nearest town in mainland Thailand, or from another, yet smaller island called Koh Tao. Company called Lomprayah operates luxury, fast catamarans to and from Koh Phangan, but less expensive and frequent services are provided throughout the day by several other providers. There is no public transportation on the island, so visitors have an option of hiring a taxi or renting a motorcycle, unless they’re OK walking.
What’s There To Do: Koh Phangan is notorious for now world (in)famous Full Moon Party which takes place roughly once a month – on full moon. The entire island, save most expensive resorts, is desperately sold out of rooms during and immediately before the party. It is attended by tens of thousands of people and fills up much of the area on and around Haad Rin beach, creating perfect opportunity for locals to wipe your room clean of anything that’s valuable. Full Moon Party still remains a good item to strike off one’s bucket list.

2 – Koh Samui

Photo: Koh Samui Island, Thailand
Photo: Koh Samui Island, Thailand

Country: Thailand
How to Get There: By plane – Ko Samui Airport (USM) is served by domestic flights from Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai as well as international flights from Singapore and Hong Kong. 2 ferry companies: Songserm Travel and Seatran Ferries operate frequent boat services between Surat Thani and the island. More expensive, but also more luxurious Lomprayah offers a combined bus/high speed catamaran ferry service from Bangkok. No public transportation is available on the island, however local trucks operate alongside main roads and can be waved down for a fee. Motorcycle rentals are very popular, despite the fact that Koh Samui tops the world’s list for the number of motorcycle related deaths. Though not specifically small, I covered the the whole circumference of the island exclusively on foot.
What’s There To Do:There are several interesting sights to see on Koh Samui, in particular the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, which are two rocks next to each other, each resembling the genitalia of a male and female respectively. Another attraction is in the temple called Wat Khunaram where visitors can find body of a mummified monk by the name of Phra Khru Samathakittikhun (Dang Piyasilo) or Loung Por Daeng. He’s highly revered throughout the area and was able to predict his own death. His body never started to decompose so his well preserved remains are on display in the temple, in accordance with his wish.

3 – Koh Sichang

Photo: Koh Sichang Island, Thailand
Photo: Koh Sichang Island, Thailand

Country: Thailand
How to Get There: This island is too small and undiscovered, hence no airport. Ferry service is provided from Siracha which is well connected especially thanks to the rail service. Ferries run once every hour.
What’s There To Do: It’s a perfect island to escape hordes of tourists Thailand is otherwise flooded with, and get to see a place that’s far more beautiful than anything else in the country. A true hidden gem of Thailand. This small, unlisted in travel books island sees very little in terms of visitor traffic, but it’s so beautiful, it was once the site of Thai king’s palace. The palace was disassembled after the French attempted to colonize the country, and reassembled in Bangkok where it was less vulnerable to the navy attacks. North side of the island has a beautiful Chinese Temple inside a cave half way up the hill. Views are beautiful from there, however those who decide to scale the hill all the way up (not an easy task in Thailand’s heat) are rewarded with views even more breathtaking and get to see an ancient stone bearing Buddha’s footprint which is reportedly 2,000 years old. I discovered the island through my Thai friend. Foreigners don’t know about it. Unlike the rest of Thailand, Koh Sichang also sees little crime.

4 – Langkawi

Photo: Island of Langkawi, Malaysia
Photo: Island of Langkawi, Malaysia

Country: Malaysia
How to Get There: Langkawi International Airport is located on the northwestern side of the island, which is where popular beaches (such as Chenang Beach) are, making access to them fast and inexpensive – unlike Ferry terminal which is at the opposite end of the island, requiring an expensive taxi ride. 2 hour ferry service from Penang is provided by Langkawi Ferry. Their boats are fast and their promise is to deliver the passengers from Penang to Langkawi in 2 hours. If you are like me and do it when the sea is choppy, you will have spent 2 hours throwing up until the last drop of stomach juice is out of you. Everybody on the boat was sick, including myself who has a stomach of steel. Vomit was covering the floor and kept splashing into everyone’s shoes as the boat flew over the waves. The reek of the vomit as well as the sound of people throwing up from every bloody angle would make even the most resilient person to join the army of vomiters. By the time we got to Langkawi, nobody was able to speak and I felt pain inside my torso for 5 days – the type of pain you experience after an overly intensive workout. They did deliver us to Langkawi in 2 hours, though – as promised. I’m sure nobody on the boat would have minded a bit of a delay, but it’s hard to blame the provider. The sea was simply rough that day. The same company also runs ferries between Langkawi and Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah in mainland Malaysia. These are shorter rides than one from Penang and usually through calmer parts of the ocean. No public transportation available on the island, however taxis are plentiful and motorcycle rental prices reasonable (the latter definitely worth it).
What’s There To Do: Beautiful island with wide scale of accommodation ranging from backpacker’s dorms to $2,000 a night luxury resorts on what is considered to be one of the best beaches in the world (Datai). Cable Car Ride which starts from the picturesque Oriental Village is well worth the money. Views are incredibly beautiful, you can even see the islands in neighboring Thailand from the top. Hanging Bridge is also part of the experience and is nothing short of breathtaking, though may be unsuitable for people suffering from the fear of heights. Mangrove and limestone area in the north east has some spectacular scenery, but one needs to hire a boat to get there. Tours are available, however they combine them with fish and eagle feeding. Eagles are a symbol of Langkawi and a big magnet for tourist money. Unfortunately, it’s very harmful and can have detrimental consequences. Eagles are getting used to the fact that they get food each time a boat shows up. Boatmen do that to lure the eagles all the way to the boat so money bearing tourists remain in awe and as a result, these majestic creatures are slowly losing their ability to catch their own food, because they don’t have to being constantly fed by boatmen. This was good enough reason for me not to buy a tour package, but to get more money from tourists, boatmen also take them to areas full of monkeys and kick the monkeys into the water to entertain foreigners with sights of swimming monkeys. Horrible abuse of wildlife done to get money from tourists. As an environmentalist, I refused to partake in this and support anyone involved in any way, shape or form. Very sad. Otherwise a beautiful island.

5 – Pangkor

Photo: Pangkor Island, Malaysia
Photo: Pangkor Island, Malaysia

Country: Malaysia
How to Get There: Pangkor Airport (PKG) used to be served by flights from Kuala Lumpur, but because of low popularity of the island, those were suspended during my visit. Ferry service is provided from Lupur. Cheap motorcycle can be rented out from any hotel to get you around the island.
What’s There To Do: Allegedly backpacker’s paradise, the island has yet to get on the backpacker’s map. Very few foreigners make it there. I must have been the only one there during my visit. I stayed for 4 nights and it was awkward because I’d be the only person on a beach, no matter which side of the island I went to. I stayed in a hotel in the town, but the island has one posh resort (Pangkor Island Beach Resort) where most tourists end up staying. Because it’s so untouristy, a foreigner receives a lot of attention and Malay people are genuinely nice, unlike Thais so attention is usually a good thing. It’s a nice place to kick back and take a break from floods of foreigners encountered elsewhere. Old Dutch Fort is located not far from the town of Pangkor and one can also find Tiger Rock – large boulder with 350 year old inscription on it nearby. Fu Lin Gong Temple – which is located on the opposite side of the town from Dutch Port has Mini Great Wall of China in its gardens. I also saw a flock of Hornbills there – which was the first for me. There were many of them throughout Pangkor. Amazing birds.

6 – Perhentian Islands

Photo: Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Photo: Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Country: Malaysia
How to Get There: Ferry service from Kuala Besut. No airport, no infrastructure. No cars, no motorcycles, no electricity on the islands.
What’s There To Do: The best place for scuba diving or snorkeling in the world hands down. Incredibly clean water, beautiful coral fringed islands – I’ve been around the world but have yet to see water this clean. Two main islands offer lodging – Besar, which is more upscale and Kecil which is true backpacker’s paradise. Prices have gone up a bit lately, due to growing popularity, but dorm rooms are widely available so backpackers can enjoy a decent price even if they are on a budget. The islands are small, so there is not a whole lot to do, however anyone looking to take a scuba course will not find a better price anywhere in the world and the water is just incredibly clear providing superior diving experiences. People go there to kick back. Booze is expensive – because it’s Malaysia (Muslim country) but the party never seems to end. Nice jungle trail goes around the western half of Kesar and offers great escape from the sun and encounters with tropical wildlife. Electricity is provided during the day only, as generators (which pollute the air with exhaust fumes and noise) get turned off for the night. Internet scarcely available and extremely expensive. Still, a beautiful place where people always tend to stay longer than they intended to. Unfortunately, a group of local thugs operates alongside the popular Long Beach and extorts money under threat of violence from incoming tourists. Swift payment usually ends the threats, but it adds a very bad touch to otherwise beautiful place.

7 – 4,000 Islands

Photo: 4000 Islands, Laos
Photo: 4000 Islands, Laos

Country: Laos
How to Get There: Bus to Ban Nakasang from Cambodia or other parts of Laos and from there a long tail boat to either Don Khon or Don Det. The latter is a backpacker’s paradise, the former is a bit more upscale for people looking for higher end accommodation with air conditioning. No airport – islands are small enough to cover on foot even if a person is not very fit. Bicycle rentals available and are the best option for exploring.
What’s There To Do: Si Phan Det is a group of islands in the Mekong River. This makes them different as they are fresh water islands, not salt water ones. As such, they don’t have beaches with people sun tanning on them, but are nevertheless an amazing place to visit. You can see the largest waterfall in South East Asia there or go see rare and endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins, however those are getting more and more scarce so actually seeing one is a challenge (Kratie in Cambodia is a better place to see them, but unreasonably overpriced). 4,000 Islands is a place to relax and do nothing. It’s very cheap there, beer is some of the best in the world and dirt cheap (Beer Lao) and locals incredibly friendly. Quickly becoming a party place for budget travelers, 4,000 Islands will take you back in time and leave you feeling amazingly refreshed.

So that’s my list of top 7 island destinations in Southeast Asia. Brief, to the point explanation accompanies each of the islands listed to prevent you from getting too bored or distracted reading too much irrelevant junk. What do you think? What are in your opinion the best islands in Southeast Asia?

Enhancing Lives to Alleviate Poverty by Forward Thinking

I am an advancing personality and as such I understand that the surest way to advance in life is by enhancing the lives of others. The trick is in the fact that there are two types of enhancements:

  • Forward Enhancements
  • Backward Enhancements

I take honest pride in enhancing people’s lives by advancing them with forward enhancements. A forward enhancement doesn’t care whether you make the receiver feel good or feel bad. Feelings enticed by such actions are always temporary and should come secondary to the higher purpose – the ultimate goal. Did your actions in the end get your target group to the desired destination or did you end up stuck with perceived added value? Do your actions offer temporary feel good experience which, like drugs delivers temporary illusion of positive feelings only to put the life in serious danger when the effects wear out?

Photo: Would You Give Them a Fish or Teach Them How to Fish?
Photo: Would You Give Them a Fish or Teach Them How to Fish?

Being the most truthful travel blogger in the world, I take a lot of heat from the self righteous protectors of the impoverished people for calling a spade a spade. Take Cambodia for example. Pointing out that Cambodians are lazy and dangerous resulted in a lot of hatemail sent to me by people suffering from fear of reality. These delusional people mean good, but their actions result in naught more than False Enhancements in the lives of Cambodians. The self righteous defenders of Cambodian reputation are like that drug I spoke about earlier. They wanted to help alleviate Cambodian poverty so they gave Cambodians a fish (to use the Bible reference). In their eyes, providing hungry people with fish enhanced their lives. In reality, this presumed step forward was a two steps backwards.

Example of False Enhancements

The result of providing impoverished people with false enhancements is the dependence. Dependence is inability to provide for themselves and that is a perfect set up for a disaster. Let me give you an example – when I was visiting the tropical island of Langkawi in Malaysia, I was tempted to take a boat tour through the mangrove but ended up never taking it because all tour operators and all boatmen combined the tours with “eagle feeding”. Basically, tourists would be loaded into a boat which would head towards the ravine where wild eagles nest. Then in order to provide the tourists with an unforgettable experience, the boatman would throw the eagle soaring around a fish so the eagle comes within the reach of tourists in the boat.

Needless to say, all tourists would end up in awe, which is what the boatman wants because it fills up his pocket with cash. It’s a business I was not willing to support even if I were the only person in the world who would not participate in this activity. What this eagle feeding does, is that it causes dependency and dependency, as mentioned above is a very solid step towards losing the ability to provide for themselves. If this eagle feeding continues, the eagles will get used to the fact that each time a boat shows up, all they’d need to do is come to it and they’d get food. Day after day, their feeding ritual would change from catching their own fish into flying towards boats and if it doesn’t stop, eventually they would lose the ability to catch fish. Then if something happens (and that can easily happen) and boatmen can no longer come, the eagles will be left without food and with lost ability to feed themselves, they’ll die.

And this is what False Enhancements are all about. To a reality fearing mind, feeding eagles may seem like a noble cause. “Poor wild animals have tough time catching fish, so we helped them to survive, right?” I truly understand how some could come to such conclusions and seeing the reactions of the self righteous protectors of the Cambodian people to me instating the True Enhancements in Cambodia only confirmed how gullible much of the population is.

Two Types of People

There are two types of action takers, both sharing the same, honest desire to enhance the lives of impoverished people, but each taking a different approach to it. The types of people are:

  1. Backward Thinkers – The Self Righteous Protectors who Help People By Providing Them with Fish Instead of Teaching Them How to Fish and by Attacking the Forward Thinkers for Taking Seemingly Unpopular Actions
  2. Forward Thinkers – People Who See Past the Point of Their Noses And Address the Issue by Actions That Lead to Resolution, Even If They Cause Temporary Discomfort. Forward Thinkers Focus on Bigger Picture and Achievements of Ultimate Goals, Not Temporary Feel Good Experiences

Let’s take a closer look at how much each of the two types of action takers enhances the lives of impoverished people:

Backwards Thinkers

There is no doubt that the backwards thinkers mean well. In their divine delusion, they are the ones who step up and speak on behalf of the impoverished. They are in the front line when it comes to attacking people like me who dare to speak badly about the impoverished. They are also in the frontline when it comes to helping the impoverished the way the impoverished want. But where does this type of help lead?

Well, let’s take a look at Cambodia again for it’s a good example. Where did the impoverished people get after 30 years of assistance by the backwards thinkers? Yeah… 30 years after the end of the Khmer Rouge rule, and after 30 years of being given handouts on daily basis, the lives of average Cambodians have not approved one bit. I can guarantee you that if backward thinkers continue enhancing the lives of Cambodians backwards, like they have for the past 30 years by encouraging the culture of handouts and attacking forward thinkers for addressing the real issue and encouraging the real change even if it requires slaps on someone’s wrists, we’ll look at what has changed in the next 30 years and we’ll see nothing. Backwards enhancements, the ones practiced by backward thinkers set the impoverished two steps backwards.

30 years is more than enough to achieve a real change – for as long as the backward thinkers are kept at bay so forward thinkers can enhance the society forward without hindrance by the backwards thinkers. Look at Japan, for example. The country was destroyed after World War II and found itself in far more desperate state than Cambodia was after the Khmer Rouge rule, but backward thinkers were restricted from slowing progress down, forward thinkers were put in charge and 30 years later, Japan was an economical superpower. If what backward thinkers do had the potential to change Cambodia around, it would have already happened now that they’d been providing their assistance so relentlessly for 30+ years.

I cannot however deny the good intentions of the backwards thinkers. Sadly, stupidity, even if performed with the best of intentions is the core of hindered progress. A wise man once said that a hyperactive idiot is worse than the enemy of the state. And it’s true. In their bid to do good, backward thinkers rush into “helping” the poor while throwing roadblocks before the feet of the forward thinkers, ultimately hindering the process of enhancement. There is no bigger obstacle to progress than a dedicated moron who can’t see the forest for the trees and relentlessly enforces his/her own backwards agenda.

Forward Thinkers

There is only one shortest distance between two points. And that’s the path the forward thinkers take. Not only does it lead to the finish, it gets you there faster than any other way. As a wise man once said, sometimes you need to lose the battle to win the war. That’s why backward thinkers can never be good generals. They do not have the ultimate goal in mind and focus merely on temporary feel good experiences. They’d focus entirely on winning that battle even if in the end they’d lose the war. Unpopular steps must sometimes be taken so the greater good can be achieved. Forward thinkers take these steps, even though it makes them unpopular in the eyes of the backward thinkers who would not hesitate to assault them.

Despite the looming threat of the attacks by the backward thinkers, forward thinkers won’t give in to their backward thinking and will do all in their power to move the society forward. Roadblocks set by the backward thinkers will ultimately slow the progress down (or completely halt it, in some cases), but without forward thinkers, we would have never gotten anywhere as humans. They are the ones who achieve real results because they are not afraid to think outside the box (Eppur si muove!) and take steps that lead to ultimate goals, even if it creates temporary hardships along the way.

While backward thinkers fight to alleviate poverty by encouraging and deepening the culture of handouts and attacking the forward thinkers for speaking up against it, the forward thinkers understand that the real problem lies somewhere else and must be addressed, even if it requires a slap on the wrist. Take inherent laziness of Cambodians for example. A forward thinker would tell the Cambodians that many of their problems are a result of laziness and would tell them to stop being lazy slacks and start taking responsibility for their lives. A backward thinker, on the other hand would instantly attack the forward thinker for saying things like that and would back Cambodians up saying that they have a difficult life and have gone through a lot, are still recovering from the past and need all support they can get.

Fact be told, the Cambodians don’t need any more support. They got more than too much of it for the past 3 decades and it got them nowhere. They need someone to kick them in the backside and tell them that in today’s information age everyone has equal opportunity to make decent living. Internet gurus earn upwards of 6 figures and can be found in India, Ukraine, Romania, Egypt, and many other countries. Internet creates a level field for everyone so the excuse of living in a poor country simply will not stand. The trouble is that because the internet provides the level field for absolutely everyone, the competition is rough as whole world, down to the last country you didn’t even know existed is your competition. As a result, in order to make it, one needs to work on it daily and constantly grow and improve. And that won’t work if you’re a lazy bum.

Difference Reiterated

I have said it before but it must be said again: backward thinkers feel sorry for Cambodians, give them handouts and attack everyone who speaks badly about them. Forward thinkers tell Cambodians that they are responsible for their own lives and that if they are poor, it’s their own doing because anyone who doesn’t suffer a mental illness has everything they need to make it and have an abundant and fulfilling life.

The problem, as I have personally experienced, is in a fact that backward thinkers are such a loudmouthed congregation of delusional individuals, the presence and actions of forward thinkers are overshadowed and often suppressed by cocky backward thinkers who believe their poop doesn’t stink. As a result, forward thinkers often choose to keep to themselves so they don’t have to put up with the abuse by holier than thou backward thinkers which gives the backward thinkers an impression that everyone does it their way hence it must be the right way.

You don’t have to go too far to see what it does to their ego to have someone go against their religion, address the real issue and call a spade a spade. And imagine how much effort it’s going to take to undo all their actions to start enhancing people’s lives forward, not backwards. I tried in Cambodia, but the damage done by the backward thinkers is so deep rooted, it’s gonna be a major challenge to revert.

I knew that the way out of their misery is for Cambodians to obtain computer skills and market themselves to worldwide audiences on the internet. Regardless of how poor and deprived of opportunities they may feel living in their homeland, it all matters not once they get on the information superhighway. But there was a problem which goes back to the damage done by the years of backward enhancements.

Instead of listening to me and trying to learn a thing or two to actually achieve a change in their lives, the Cambodians I was able to argue into going to the internet cafe with me spent the entire time in chatrooms. Switching between half a dozen chat windows to waste time talking useless crap with random internet acquaintances was more appealing to them than the ability to learn something that could generate them an income comparable to that the people from the western countries earn.

Like eagles on Langkawi, Cambodians know that all they need to do is flock around foreigners when they come to sight and they’ll get stuff for free. Why would they bother studying to gain qualifications which could land them with above average income if all they need to do is a bit of whining and free stuff falls into their laps?

30 years of pampering by the backward thinkers left Cambodians completely uninterested in taking charge of their lives. As I had said many times before, backward thinkers enhance the lives of the impoverished people backwards. They think they move them one step forward, but in reality they set them two steps backwards. They usually do that with good intentions but intentions are useless if the end result is backward movement. Had people listened to harsh, but forward enhancing words of forward thinkers, instead of attacking them, Cambodians would not be this used to getting handouts and unwilling to take charge of their lives on their own.

Things need to be called for what they are, without beating around the bush. There is no polite way to address a lazy person but by calling them lazy. Unless the laziness is acknowledged as such, no attempt will be made to overcome it and set sail for a change. Forward thinkers tell lazy people that they are lazy. Backward thinkers attack forward thinkers by calling them racist bigots for having the audacity to call lazy people lazy.


Cambodians are poor because even though they feel that there is a way out, they are unwilling to put forth the effort necessary to find that way and travel it. And the reason they don’t have that will is because over the decades, they’ve been pampered by the backward thinkers who enforced the notion that accumulating their own wealth was unnecessary. Forward thinkers knew that in order to set them off on that way, they’d need to be kicked down that road. Gently pushing them did not work. They were embedded in their lazy seats so tightly, it delivered no result. A mighty kick was necessary if the ultimate goal of following the road to self made riches was to be accomplished but backward thinkers would immediately step in and attack the forward thinker for kicking a Cambodian. How racist of a forward thinker, isn’t it?

What backward thinkers don’t realize is that the poor don’t need charity. They need inspiration. Unfortunately, actions of backward thinkers, if allowed to perform for a long enough time can kill people’s inherent desire to follow up after they’ve been motivated. When it gets to that stage, simply inspiring people will land little change. Harsh action is then required, oftentimes no lesser than a mighty kick in the backside or a pretty loud slap on the wrist.

Charity only provides the poor with a fish to keep them alive in their raggedness, or to make them forget that they are poor for an hour or two, but wrist slapping action can cause them to rise out of their misery and set on the path to a better life. Anyone wishing to really help the poor is hereby encouraged to enhance their lives forward, not backwards. It is not hard-hearted or unfeeling, as it is not racist or bigoted to bitch-slap an impoverished person if in the end it breaks their poverty cycle. Backward thinkers pity poverty, forward thinkers kick it in the arse. Which one are you?

Fear of Reality and Its Effects on Travelers

Fear of Reality is a phenomenon that was completely unknown to me until I’ve started this blog. As someone who stands with his feet firmly on the ground and doesn’t float in the world of fantasy, starting a blog that doesn’t showcase the world of travel through the rose colored sunglasses was an eye opening experience. Eye opening because the amount of hatemail I get from people who fear reality so much they jump down the throat of anyone who dares to speak openly about it was so overwhelming, it really made me think and try to come to the core of what causes the travelers be so ignorant and arrogant. The study has lead me to the discovery of fear of reality and how it affects the travelers – the very specimen of human race I’d think would get affected by it the least. The exact opposite proved to be the truth, but let’s look at it nicely from the start:

Photo: Fear of Reality Came Alive on Walking Street in Pattaya
Photo: Fear of Reality Came Alive on Walking Street in Pattaya

Fear of Reality and Its Effects on Travelers

Most people associate the names of exotic countries with pictures of a tropical paradise. Most people who visit those countries return back home telling everyone of wonderful, smiling people who were killing themselves over who will be the first to help a lost foreigner with any advice they may need. And most of those people will stick by their notion that locals from that country are the nicest people in the universe to a point that if someone dares to speak otherwise, they’ll be right there responding without hesitation with the most colorful verbal assaults their brains can produce.

Fact be told, the “most people” I speak of in the above paragraph are the most clueless members of the society who wouldn’t know a rip off artist if it came at them with a signboard above their head and hit them square in the face. As a result, even though they’d become victims of mind games played on them by greedy locals who specialize in taking advantage of naive tourists, not only will they not realize that that was the case, they will be so taken aback by the faux-friendship they had just forged and the fake smile they had witnessed, they won’t even admit for a second that they were ripped off and will assault anyone who dares to clarify for them that ripped off they truly had been.

I knew this was happening right off the bat, I just couldn’t come to the core of why. How could a fake smile hypnotize an otherwise intelligent person to a point that they abandon all common sense and set on a path of complete idiocy? How could someone be so gullible that they would thank a thief for robbing them and stay friends with them so that next time they’re around, they’d offer themselves up for him again?

Fear of Reality Does Exist

At this stage I still didn’t know a darn thing about fear of reality, I was just actively pursuing the truth behind the utter naivety of vast majority of travelers. It all started to come together after I took a trip to Pattaya, Thailand – the largest brothel in the world where an excess of 20,000 hookers operate on any given day of the year, with the number growing by 25% – 50% during the high season months.

Walking around with my eyes open and wits unscathed by the unceasing calls of generally unattractive Thai girls desperate for my money, I spoke with many people on both sides of the spectrum to get a clear picture of what really goes on behind the facades played on by either party. And bit by bit I saw the fear of reality slowly take shape before my eyes.

How Harsh is Reality?

Just as I had witnessed in Cambodia where rip off artists thrive because they found out that putting a fake smile on is all it takes to rip a tourist off who would in turn thank them and recommend them to all of their friends, Thai girls also thrive on naivety of foreigners who fall for them acting as though they were their girlfriends and would continue sending them money even after their return back home not realizing that the girl wiped his taste off her mouth with disgust as soon as she was out the door and thought nothing less of him than a stupid walking ATM machine.

Whether it’s the rip off artist from Cambodia or the money hungry hooker from Thailand, at the end of the day, to them you were just a stupid foreigner who was so naive, you made an easy target and will only be a good source of laughs when they brag about your gullible self to their friends.

Thai Hookers

Despite being openly xenophobic, Thailand attracts massive number of tourists, many of whom are repeat visitors with many relocating to live in Thailand as expats. I got a chance to speak with many expats living in Thailand and even though they are aware of out of control murder rate of foreigners in Thailand (many of whom are killed out of sheer hatred of foreigners with the police hating all foreigners just as much hence supporting these murders or seeing them as justified), they still refuse to accept the notion that Thailand is a dangerous country and continue to adamantly protect Thailand’s reputation by attacking anyone who dares to speak badly about their country of choice? It took a very close look at the way Thai hookers operate to properly understand why they fear reality so much.

Like Thai men, Thai women are inherently xenophobic. They hate foreigners so genuinely it gives them shivers, but they love the money foreigners have so they put on skimpy clothes and go whoring themselves out for some of that dough. Forget all about Buddhism – when they take a whiff of the green stuff, all of the Buddhist principles they pretend to uphold get temporarily suspended (as they do when the craving to satisfy their xenophobic ways takes hold).

As a result, even though you’ll see those Thai hookers join their palms together and bow their heads in a prayer each time they see a temple or a shadow house, they forget all about it when a foreigner comes to sight. Selling their bodies for money is as normal as hatred towards foreigners. And – strangely or not – it is that fact alone that keeps drawing such a massive and steady flow of foreigners to the country.

Thailand is no longer cheap, people are not friendly and never ever smile (just look at the king of Thailand who is a reflection of his people – good luck finding one picture of him smiling). Scam is a daily happenstance and murders of foreigners more than common, though frequently ruled a suicide, a natural cause or an accident (the police is perhaps the most corrupt institution in an already corrupt country, so you can imagine how honest they are). Yet people keep coming back, bringing more and more money to fuel this xenophobic society. That’s how powerful the hooker attraction is.

Interestingly enough – Thai girls are not attractive and they are definitely not cheap. I don’t know how much hookers cost in the western countries, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were less expensive than any of those Thai prostitutes. Yet people keep coming to Thailand for hookers, including people who have never been with a prostitute before. I tried to come to the root of this phenomenon as well and based on my research, it is because of sheer number of available hookers that can be encountered in any part of Thailand.

You see, many men fantasize about various women. While prostitutes can be had in almost any country of the world, the difference between Thailand and other countries is in the fact that virtually all Thai women are whores. As a result, if you happen to fantasize a Thai girl you casually spot, you can have her if you’re willing to pay. This is not true in the rest of the world. And this is also why many men who slept with a prostitute in Thailand had never paid for sex before and never will after.

Because when you leave Thailand, most of the women you meet will have some level of dignity in their lives so you won’t be able to just have them for money. Majority of women around the world will not sell themselves out just like that so if you happen to fantasize one who doesn’t particularly reciprocate your feelings, the fantasy will remain the fantasy and you will have to move on. But when you are in Thailand, you can turn that fantasy into reality by just shelling out an agreed upon sum of money. Because when money talks, Thai girls bother not about Buddhism or dignity. They like the green stuff and will gladly spread their thighs wide open for some.

And whether men who repeatedly come to Thailand admit it or not, this is really what attracts them back. Thai girls may not look like much, but they are always ready to go with you if you pay for it. And with so many of them offering themselves up before you could ask, you don’t even have to bother approaching them. If back home it is you who gets rejected approaching women, in Thailand it is you who does rejecting because there are so many of them approaching you, and that my friends is what drives mass tourism in Thailand.

How Thai Hookers Cast Light Into Fear of Reality

It was when I was in Pattaya – the biggest brothel in the world when I realized why people fear reality so much. Men love being constantly approached by women and asked to go out with them. But it changes nothing about these women having no dignity in their lives and craving money more than anything else. As a result, as soon as they’d collected the cash from you, they forget all about you and it’s back to hunting another victim. They would be sweet-mouthing you and act like your girlfriends – they’d do anything and say anything only to make you spend more.

Sob stories of them having hungry kids, mother in a hospital, live stock dying from a rare disease or whatever else is appropriate at the moment are commonly used to make the men feel sorry for them and spend more. The ultimate goal is to enchant the man so much, he would commit to helping this poor girl out any way he can and because many men who come to Thailand are hard working business people, when their time is up, they return home but continue supporting their new found girlfriend with funds wired to Thailand from their home country.

This is where it gets interesting. Before the man leaves Thailand, the sob stories get exaggerated to a larger than life extent and the girl presents the man with a way to stay in touch with her. It is oftentimes a mobile phone number, an email address, a facebook account or whether else has been working out for the girl the best. While the man is abroad, she keeps replying to him in a way which makes it sound as if she was his girlfriend.

Meanwhile, though – she continues whoring herself out. She’ll remain relentless until she finds another naive, gullible foreigner who eats her sob-stories with a chocolate topping and when he leaves, she will have another man to reply to as if she was his girlfriend, until he starts sending money from abroad as well, creating a new stream of workless income for the hooker.

Ultimately, she will engage several men like that, so even though each of them only sends her money every now and again, it adds up to being a solid pile of cash each month. Obviously, the men went to their home countries to work hard to make a lot of money so when their chance at another vacation time comes, they will head back to Thailand to be with their girlfriend who “loves them so much” (based on what she says when she responds to him by email).

With so many boyfriends to take care of, the girl will try to “help them” choose the best time to come to Thailand to ensure she’s available. The last thing she wants is for any of her sponsors to find out that they are not the only ones in her life so if a threat of two or more of them coming to Thailand to be with her at the same time looms up, she’d only respond affirmatively to one of them, while presenting the others with all sorts of valid reasons to postpone their trip till a later date.

As a result, when a man does come, he finds his girlfriend all dedicated to him, waiting for him as if he was her only love. This will encourage him even more and he’ll decide that he doesn’t want the girl to work as a prostitute anymore because she’s his dedicated girlfriend so next time he goes back home, he’ll commit to sending her so much money each month, she won’t have to sell herself out anymore because he’ll send her enough to look after her family (remember the sob stories?) without working as a hooker.

He leaves and she continues with her relentless pursuit to engage more and more men in the same way until eventually she gets a monthly wage from about a dozen of them. This is already enough for her to buy herself a nice car and live it up like a king. She would just respond like a girlfriend to messages from all of her boyfriend/sponsors and continue adding new sob-stories about new hardship that had befallen upon her so they could send bonuses on top of her monthly wage. And when they come over for a week or two, she spends time with them, gets them to buy her more jewellery, fragrances, clothes and whatever else her heart desires before seeing them off to wait for another one of them to come for a week or two.

In brief – these girls will pretend to love you like there’s no other man in the world, but as soon as you’re out the door, you’ll be naught more but a “walking ATM” reference when she goes to hang out with her friends to spend your money and brag about how many men living abroad who are sending her funds regularly every month she already has.

It’s a performance start to finish – just like those fake smiles from rip off artists of Cambodia many travelers won’t allow anyone to say a bad thing about. A mind game tailored to take advantage of these men, yet those men love it and keep coming back. And guess what they would do if someone suggested that their bellowed Thai girlfriend was a whore who is just taking advantage of them? They would jump that person and curse them to world’s end – just the way the self righteous protectors of the rip off artists from Cambodia do when I point out the truth about them. How awesome is that?

Fear of Reality Conclusion

To sum it up, my quest to find out why so many otherwise seemingly intelligent and/or well traveled people fail to see the truth and will not hesitate to verbally assault anyone who calls a spade a spade lead me to the discovery of Fear of Reality. While I may not be the first person to have found out about this phenomenon, it is something that I did not know existed so discovering it on my own affirmed me that I have a solid grip on reality and belong to a tiny group of people who are able to see the forest for the trees.

Fear of Reality is a type of phobia that makes people give up sound reasoning for faux feel-good experience. In other words, if you make them feel good, even if you’re only doing it to rip them off, in the end, they will still put maximum weight on the feel-good experience and will completely ignore the potentially negative part of the experience. Because they fear reality, instead of admitting it into their lives, the weak minded individuals will resort to living in a fantasy. It takes a person of exceptionally strong spirit to handle and face reality hence you’ll only find a handful of people who don’t suffer from Fear of Reality.

I’ve summed up the reasons why so many people suffer from Fear of Reality in three steps:

  1. Lacking Observation Talent
    I’m simply shocked by how lacking most people are when it comes to basic observation talent. Let me give you an example. If you ever get a chance to visit Pattaya – the largest brothel in the world, you will likely go for a stroll down the infamous Walking Street at night. This part of Pattaya is full of a-go-go bars and seems pretty dead during the day, but booms into a massive happening when the sun goes down. Thousands of foreigners of all races slalom among touts lurking to catch unsavvy newbs with ping-pong shows offers and underprivileged locals trying to sell stuff nobody with half a brain would buy. Many of those underprivileged locals are very old, crippled women with jasmine pendants hung on their arms approaching you with a smile and a big hope in their teary eyes that you would buy one.

    Virtually everybody I spoke with was aware of them and felt sorry for these old women who ended up having to sell flowery things in a place like the Walking Street, Pattaya only to make a living. Yet not one tourist in Pattaya could read the real truth from their teary eyes. They are not there to make a living or to survive or for any other similar reason. They are there because they are forced to. They are captured by local mafia, beat up and forced to earn a living for the young punks who control (understand – abuse) them. Each of these women have seen way too many winters and most of them have some visible disability. None can speak a word of English or any other language past their own. They skilfully hide their swollen, bloody lips which are the result of treatment the mafia boys manage them with. They are too old and too weak to stand up for themselves and/or to escape the abuse. And no foreigners can see that. All they see is an old woman struggling to survive so she came to Pattaya. So they buy her flowers because they feel sorry for her and want to help her out not realizing that by doing that, they’re helping out the mafia. For as long as abusing old, defenceless women remains a profitable venture, the mafia punks will continue kidnapping more of them, beating them up and forcing them out on the street to utilize their poor looks to entice foreigners into spending money out of sheer compassion.
  2. Inability to Read Between the Lines
    I think the reason I can read people so well is because I’m a photographer. I established myself as one of the world’s most celebrated nude photographers and a successful photo journalist because I was able to see what people are thinking and capture their real selves without pretence. Most people don’t seem to have this talent or don’t have it properly developed. Skilled photographers as well as traditional paint artists would also possess the same ability, but these account for less than half a percent of the population.
  3. Ignorance and Arrogance
    Most people prefer to live in a fantasy world. Reality confuses and scares them. You show them what the real life looks like and they will unleash the savage beast that dwells within them. The best way to prove it is by sending anyone to a reality news website, such as (WARNING!!! – extremely graphic content on that link. Do NOT click unless you’re ready to face the reality. This website does not mess around and tells it like it is – kind of like mine – which is why 99% of those visiting it WILL be offended. Don’t come back at me if you happen to be one because I have warned you. The front page which I have linked is safe, but read the warning on it carefully and click the puppy unless you’re really ready to see what the real life is about).

    Fear of reality is obvious from people’s reactions to being ripped off by smiling rip off artists. For as long as the rip off artist smiles and sweet talks to them, the victims will not only not perceive it as a rip off, they will actually think that they were treated like royalty and will verbally assault anyone who tries to open up their eyes and tell them the truth. The truth is the reality and they fear it. They prefer to live in a fantasy – the world without their rose colored glasses is too harsh and they refuse to accept it. If you take their rose colored glasses off, they will jump down your throat and won’t get out lightly. Good 98% of total population fear the reality and will fight to protect their fantasy world from those who stand firmly on the ground. They will always deny the possibility that they’re living in a fantasy and will continue lying to themselves no matter what.

BTW, this post was full of hard to swallow reality. Did it give you shivers reading the facts as they are? Did it perhaps enrage you or make you want to get back at me with verbal diarrhea to show me what a racist a$$hole I am? Yep, fear of reality can make people do that and if you found yourself feeling that way, know that this post is about you, whether you admit it or not.

It is not the purpose of this article to enlighten or change anyone. The sole fact that some people prefer the fantasy world to reality is a proof enough that they are lost causes and cannot be amended. People who fear reality also fear the real picture of themselves and as such are unable to look deep into their own selves to realize which side of the spectrum they fall into. Let me repeat myself one last time – reality is often too harsh to accept. If exposure to it through this article pissed you off, take it as a sign that there might be a whole wide world spread right before your feet, but you’re so focused staring at the tip of your nose, you can’t really see it.

The Expat Syndrome

The Expat Syndrome is a name I use to address a phenomenon which affects common traits and behaviour of people who leave their home country to live in an alien one (host country). My extensive travel took me through a wide range of nations, ranging from developed to developing and everything in between. Based on my observation, expatriates from countries I have previously visited did not think and act the way people in their home country normally do, but adapted to thinking and acting of their host country. In other words – if a person moves to a country where society and a way of life are different, their behaviour changes to that of their surroundings. As a result, if a decent person moves to a crap of a country, they start acting like a moron, and likewise, if a person from a crap country moves to a highly civilized society, their savage ways diminish (or vanish entirely) and start acting like fellow civilized citizens they are surrounded with.

Photo: Not Entirely Sure How a Dead Cambodian Rat Relates to the Expat Syndrome
Photo: Not Entirely Sure How a Dead Cambodian Rat Relates to the Expat Syndrome

Granted, moving to a different country to hang out with your own will slow down or block the effects of the Expat Syndrome entirely, but as a general rule, aspects of expats behaviour that does involve interaction with host society will be affected (for better or worse).

Who Is Not an Expat?

People who invade foreign countries – whatever the means and excuse – are not expats of which I speak in this article. Good example are Gypsies that moved from Eastern Europe to Scandinavia. These gypsies first invaded Eastern European countries on which they leeched by making babies because Communist governments paid so much money per child. But after they found out about generous social policies in Denmark, they came up with fabricated racism stories to gain asylum in the country where they moved to live like kings without a need to go to work. People like these are leeches and are not expats hence the Expat Syndrome does not apply to them.

Similarly, Muslim extremists who move to western countries with intentions to spread Jihad are not expats. They may be citizens of other countries living abroad long-term, but they are still not expats, just brainwashed lost souls dependent on a purpose provided by somebody else.

First Exposure to the Expat Syndrome

The Expat Syndrome is something I have noticed a very long time ago, when I first took a trip to London, UK. I was in the first year of the University and having previously visited Poland, I knew that Poles were some of the worst and least respectful drivers in Europe. Lives claimed by notoriously selfish Polish drivers in Poland are notoriously high yet when one goes to London, UK, they could cross the street on a zebra with their eyes closed and will get across unharmed.

For those who don’t know – London is infested with Poles (there is no polite way to put it). There are so many Poles in London (and all of the UK, for that matter), it’s a challenge to overhear a Cockney accent as all you get to hear is Polish language. It truly made me ask whether there are any Poles still left in Poland cause it looked as though they all fled to settle in London. As I continued traveling, I learned that the UK is not the only country infested with Poles. Seriously, I haven’t been to Poland in a while – are there any people in that country still?

So how is it that when you are in Poland, you really have to watch out trying to cross the road, but when you go to London you will never come an inch close to being endangered by a vehicle trying to cross? A chance of encountering a Pole driving a car down the road in London is incredibly high, yet you won’t face the same dangers you would if you tried that in Poland. So many Polish drivers in London, yet nowhere near the danger of Poland roads.

Obviously, even though they came from a country where drivers are disrespectful and drive aggressively, once they join driving etiquette where everybody respects pedestrians, it changes them and they start acting the same. Without thinking about it, they will instinctively stop as soon as there is an indication that a pedestrian is intending to cross the road. And this is exactly what the Expat Syndrome is all about. Regardless of what you were brought up acting as, if you move to live in a society that behaves differently as a whole, your behaviour adapts and subconsciously you start acting the same. Part of the Expat Syndrome is also the fact that people tend to be attracted by countries that follow moral values the person upholds deep within.

The Expat Syndrome in the Third World Countries

The case of Polish drivers in London is an example of the Expat Syndrome acting for the better. But while it does help to turn bad behavioural traits into good ones (in case of expats from crap countries who moved to decent ones) it also works the opposite way. This can be best seen by interacting with expats from the developed countries who have lived in the third world ones for some time.

Take Cambodia, for example. With their well polished fake smiles, the people of Cambodia are always looking to help themselves at an expense of another. When a Cambodian sees a person in need of help, for them it’s an opportunity to take advantage of said person because a person in need is out of options hence easier to exploit. And that type of behaviour also soaks into the minds of expats who choose to live in Cambodia.

Similarly, you don’t have to go too far to see how delusional and deranged the expats living in Thailand are. Just read through threads on any Thai forum board and you’ll soon end up with sore forehead after facepalming yourself for a few minutes.

The most common traits of the expats from developed countries living in the third world countries are holier-than-thou attitude, complete denial of the society having any effect on them and exceptional readiness to attack people who point it out. Since these traits become visible very quickly after the move, it is fair to assume that the seeds were planted while still in their home countries. The rest is in the fact that birds of a feather flock together, so expats who share moral values similar to those found in the third world countries will be attracted by them.

If no seeds of twisted moral values were present prior to the move to a third world country, then the effects of the Expat Syndrome on an individual will be determined by the strength of their spirit.

The Expat Syndrome and Weak-Spirited vs Strong-Spirited Individuals

The Expat Syndrome does not affect everyone equally. Some are affected more and faster, whilst others only suffer from fractional affection and would require long term submergence before the effects can be observed.

The difference between how much and how fast the Expat Syndrome affects an individual is – more than by anything else – determined by the strength of their spirit. Weak spirited individuals get affected quickly and quite significantly while strong spirited individuals would only see small traits of their behaviour changed and only after being in an alien country for an extended period of time. Some of the better established traits of strong spirited individuals would remain completely unaffected even after permanent stay in an alien country.

Finding strong spirited individuals whose behavioral traits were changed by the Expat Syndrome is very rare. Unless there is some more powerful force (love, for example) that would keep them in a weak spirited society, the strong spirited individuals would leave and settle elsewhere long before any shift in behavioral patterns could break in.

The incompatibility between a strong spirited individual and a life in a weak spirited society works both ways. The weak spirited society won’t naturally accept a strong spirited person (an individual with core values and respect for another) and will stoop to unprecedented hostility before he/she can properly blend in. As a result, the strong spirited individual would start feeling uncomfortable and realize that no further digging would bring the water into a well that’s completely dry and would move on to a more compatible society.

Expats Returning Back Home

How much an alien society affects an expat is vastly determined by whether the expat is weak spirited or strong spirited – that much we already know. But what happens when the expat returns back to his/her home country after a few years abroad?

Obviously, they will be a different person. If they’re coming back from a third world country, a return to their homeland will be accompanied with an end to riding around on their motorcycles like they’re larger than life and the world belongs to them, knowing that they can get away with anything and bribe their way out of any situation. They will find adopting back to a society with the rule of law fundamental equality tough but the Expat Syndrome won’t go dormant.

As we have determined earlier – you become a reflection of your surroundings. Even if an ex-expat was to return home after years of living like a savage, a return to civilized society would start shaping him/her back into being civilized. Keep them in a civilized society and among civilized people long enough and the savage ways will diminish significantly or disappear entirely.

The Expat Syndrome – Conclusion

Let me start the conclusion with a Chinese proverb which says that “He who tells the crocodile that his breath smells, must have crossed the river”. And since we’re at Chinese proverbs, let me mention another one: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names”. And here’s yet another one: “The best cure for drunkenness is to observe a drunk person whilst sober”.

There is so much wisdom in these Chinese proverbs that I could literally close my conclusion right away and it should make all the sense in the world. Let me just say that I’ve crossed the river back and forth and have seen the crocodile. He was beautiful, he was majestic, he had impressive moves yet still, his breath smelled. Shockingly enough, even though I’m not the only person to have crossed that river and encountered that crocodile, not many people noticed his smelly breath. It could be sheer ignorance, or just undeveloped observation talent, but more than anything else, it’s the delusional state of mind which limits the observer from acknowledging that one side of the sugar cane is less sweet than the other.

Expats are some of the most extreme people in the world. They are either absolutely brilliant or a bunch of complete losers. For the most part, you can tell which group they fall within by which country they choose to live in (if they did not choose a country but were sent there – by an employer, for example – then they are likely the former). Expats who choose corrupt, disorderly societies flock there because corruption and disorder match their characters. On the other hand expats who choose peace loving, forward thinking societies flock there because peace and progress match their characters.

They used to say that you are what you read (as far as the spiritual you is concerned, not the condition of your body in which case you are what you eat), but I’d say that to make this statement more accurate for the beginning of the 21st century, we’d have to say that you are a reflection of the surroundings you throw yourself into. It has been proven many times over that people from poshy neighbourhoods tend to have money problems because instead of investing their money and spending the remainder wisely, they waste it on purchases of latest automobiles, electronic gadgets and whatever else can be seen throughout the neighbourhood. It oftentimes happens to high earning professionals, such as doctors who make 6 figures a year, but seem to be scraping it from one month to another. See amazing books by Tom Stanley titled Millionaire Next Door and Stop Acting Rich for reference.

And just as is the case of high earning people who never become rich because they live in high spending environments, so is the case of expats who regardless of how they were brought up will start behaving and upholding moral values of people from the country where they’d moved do. Whether these moral values are high or low is determined on the choice of the country the expat chooses. There is quite a correlation between low moral values and holier-than-though attitudes. The lower they stoop, the more arrogant they act when confronted with truth. And that my friends is The Expat Syndrome.

Why Is There No Looting in the Wake of the Earthquake in Japan?

On March 11, 2011 Japan was hit by what appears to be the largest scale natural disaster in modern history (link NOT safe for work!). If we take the data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey on their website as a reference, then the 2011 Japan earthquake was the fifth most powerful earthquake since the tracking started in 1900.

The devastation unleashed by this massive earthquake was only a beginning. The tsunami tidal wave that followed was easily the most ferocious in our lifetime. There is a lot of water in the Earth’s oceans and a good chunk of it has swept across the Pacific coast of Japan, destroying everything in its path. There is no way the force of such scale could have been contained.

The tsunami water made it as far as 10km in land in some parts of Japan. Yet as if that weren’t enough, the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami was not the end of it. The earthquake disabled the mechanisms powering the cooling tower of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and subsequent tsunami then knocked out the backup power generators, removing the possibility to cool down the reactor, resulting in overheating and explosions which could lead to the leakage of radioactive materials (how much has been leaked has not been confirmed at the time of this post).

So within a span of a couple of days, Japan suffered from the fifth most powerful earthquake since the recordkeeping started, quite possibly the largest tsunami experienced on this planet in centuries and a realistic possibility of a nuclear catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands of people live in make-shift shelters, tens of thousands are unaccounted for, parts of towns have been entirely wiped out, transportation options are either limited or completely paralyzed, there is a shortage of food and a shortage of food in some areas yet there still have been no reports of any looting going on in Japan.

Natural Disasters and Looting

There are several interesting points to consider here:

  1. Almost all natural disasters that happened in recent history were followed by out of control looting. Whether we look at Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 tsunami in IndoChina, or recent earthquakes in Haiti or Chile – the looting seemed to have been a natural part of the aftermath.
  2. No mainstream media reports on the fact that there has been no looting in Japan despite it suffering from one of the largest scale natural disasters in modern history.

If you do a search on looting after natural disasters, you’ll find countless experts talking about and justifying the “psychology of looting”. I can’t help but ask – why do these experts ignore the fact that Japan is not experiencing any looting and how would they explain the inconsistencies in their theories?

Since I’m the first to bring this up, I’ll be also the one who’s gonna say it like it is. I take a lot of heat from internet tough guys for not holding back and speaking the truth even if it’s not entirely politically correct. But rather than toning it down for fear of offending someone – which as a travel writer I seem to be the only one to NOT do – let me get right down to it and say that there is no excuse for looting.

Japan vs Other Countries

Internet tough guys like to excuse inexcusable behavior of uncivilized people using the “necessity argument”. When a Cambodian thief robbed me, I called him a thief, but got bashed for talking badly about a person whose struggle to survive forced him to do it. Forced him to do it my arse. When someone is a rapist, perhaps it’s time to call them a rapist and when someone is a murderer, perhaps it’s time to call them a murderer. Instead of looking for the ways to excuse their unlawful behavior (and encouraging it from re-occurring), it’s time to call a spade and spade even if it may sound seemingly bigoted or racist.

Lack of looting in Japan is a proof of that. If you listen to what the prime minister of Japan tells his fellow Japanese, you will notice that he talks about rebuilding a new Japan. He asks his fellow Japanese to support him in this huge task and doesn’t hide the fact that it will require a lot of hard work, but it won’t be the first time when a Japan will have to rebuild itself from the ashes.

This rhetoric is entirely different from that coming from places like Indonesia, Thailand or Haiti after they’d suffered from similar, even though smaller scale natural disasters. Instead of appealing to their citizens to roll up their sleeves and get to work to rebuild their countries, people of those nations focused on whining about how poor they are and made their recovery a responsibility of others. Utilizing the “oh, we’re so poor” excuse, they sat with their feet up on the items they stole during looting, waiting for the people from the west to send money and workforce to rebuild their country.

While it goes without saying that Japan will receive assistance rebuilding, the Japanese will not sit with their feet up whining about being poor and needing others to fix their country up. They will be in the front line, they will be the first ones and the most hard working to see their country back up and running. Japan was the only country that had cities wiped out with the nuclear weapons. There were parts of it that were literally levelled after the World War II. Yet if you look where it got within a few decades from this total destruction, you’ll see that if you swap whining with hard work, anything can be achieved.

After the WWII, Japan was in a far more desperate state than many other countries. Yet they bounced back and turned into an economic powerhouse. If Japan could do it, then countries that had never been brought this low should find it even easier to recover. Taking that into an account – if Cambodia is still poor 30 years after the rule of Khmer Rouge, then there is nobody else to blame but Cambodians themselves. They can continue blaming Khmer Rouge for additional 30 years and then additional 30 years and so on and on and on and they will still be poor. Because complaining about the past long gone will not fix the problem.

The fix to the problem is in the willingness to roll up the sleeves and get to work. As is seen from Japan’s example (as well as an example of many European countries), hard work can turn a country from being completely depleted into being economically strong. On the other hand, there is yet to be one example of a country becoming economically strong after decades of waiting around and complaining about being poor. It only proves that you cannot help someone who cannot help themselves. No matter how much international aid is sent to Cambodia, it’ll end up being nothing but wasted resources. Supporting this culture of handouts is anti humanitarian and should be avoided. If you do want to donate, then support Japan where your graceful donation will not go to waste or to support the laziness.

Yes, it may sound bigoted, but we can either beat around the bush and look for excuses to justify their laziness, or we can say it like it is, and address the real issue. The Japanese people are not freeloaders. They are hard workers and through this approach they were able to resurrect their country from the ashes after WWII devastation. People with this type of respect for themselves and their homeland will not stoop to the level of a looter. If people of Cambodia, Indonesia, Haiti or other similar freeloading countries turned their whining into hard work, they would have as strong economies as Japan has. And this is the fact, as it is the way to explain why there has been no looting in the wake of the earthquake in Japan.

Good Times with BeerLao on Don Det

I was happy with my squishy, but cozy room in a Sunset View Bungalow on Don Det Island. The sun was intense and I was sweaty and tired after a long bus ride so as soon as I dropped my backpack off in the bungalow, I headed for the restaurant spot in the middle of the grounds to join a group of backpackers who were chilling with a bottle of BeerLao in their hands. I really couldn’t wait to have a cold one myself and the atmosphere could not have been more inviting.

Photo: Sunset View Bungalow Restaurant Where Party with BeerLao and Weed Never Stops
Photo: Sunset View Bungalow Restaurant Where Party with BeerLao and Weed Never Stops

Someone’s netbook was connected to an amplifier playing back trance music from large speakers while several joints were being passed around. I fit right in. The moment of truth revealed that large bottle of cold BeerLao was mere 11,000 Kip (about $1.35 US Dollars). This has instantly made Don Det a heaven on Earth in my mind. BeerLao is in my humble opinion the best beer in Asia so even when I was in other countries where it usually costs more than local brews, I used to buy it every once in a while. Hence, I always viewed BeerLao as a treat. As something you pay a premium price for, because it delivers unrivalled enjoyment and satisfaction.

And here I was in the homeland of this famed beer and find it’s available for the price that’s mere 40% of what I used to pay for it elsewhere. You didn’t have to ask me twice to make each day a “drink BeerLao day”.

Sunset View Bungalow had a self service fridge filled with lots of BeerLao as well as other beverages available for any of their guests to help themselves to at will, but guests were requested to mark what they took in a notepad dedicated to their bungalow. The desk nearby had several notepads on it, each with a number corresponding with the number of one bungalow so depending on which bungalow you were in, you would mark what you took from the fridge in your notepad and pay for it at checkout.

This is a very convenient way to keep oneself cheered up, but one must not lose control of how much they drink as it’s easy to go overboard and it does add up over a period of days. Bottled drinking water was also provided so you could keep yourself hydrated and cooled down without the need to go to a convenience store at the opposite end of bay.

It felt good being in Laos. People were really nice, which felt so liberating after Cambodia. You could tell by looking at other travelers that they felt far less stressed out and pressured in Laos which left them with more energy to truly enjoy themselves. I spent whole night hanging out with other backpackers, drinking lots of BeerLao, playing guitar, smoking pot and just generally having a good time. Life was good and it only further assured me about the fact that spending any more time in Cambodia, where you’re constantly under pressure made no sense whatsoever.

Getting to Don Det Island

When I was buying my bus ticket from Kratie, Cambodia to Don Det, Laos I had no idea the boat transport from the mainland to the island would be included in price. I thought the bus will simply deliver us to the jetty from where we can conveniently hire a boat to get us across, but to everyone’s surprise, none of this was necessary.

The turn off to Don Det wasn’t far from the border. We only went for a few minutes before the bus got off the highway and steered through narrow dirt road to drop us off at the spot that was very close to the jetty. About half a dozen backpackers and one local got off the bus. That local guy asked each of us to hand him over the bus ticket we’d purchased and asked us to wait until he’s made arrangements to get us across the Mekong river.

Photo: The Mekong River As Seen from Don Det
Photo: The Mekong River As Seen from Don Det

This was a positive surprise as I was already getting ready to start negotiating with the boatmen but there was no need. Instead, I got a chance to chat with the other guys and savor the feeling of being free.

Laos vs Cambodia

The difference between Cambodia and Laos became instantly obvious. For one, none of the locals jumped any of us as we were getting off the bus. We were all able to peacefully collect our backpacks and figure out the next step without hosts of touts pressuring us and breathing down our necks from all sides.

Secondly, even though there were many villagers scattered around, none of them stared us down. They were simply minding their own business, allowing us to mind ours. We had a few minutes to spare, so I popped into a nearby convenience store (small hut with a few items for sale) and asked them if they would accept US dollars for a bottle of water I wanted to buy. I had no Lao currency on me but this was a no issue for the woman running the shop.

All it took was a ride across the border and fake smiles full of shady purposes were gone. They were replaced with genuine, warm and welcoming ones. It was a breath of fresh air to be approached by a local man who would simply want to ask us how the ride was and welcome us to his country, without attempting to scam any of us. It was the third time leaving Cambodia for me and it was the third time I felt like I got out of the gas chamber to breathe the free air again.

The deal was sealed – there are so many nice people who would make your travels enjoyable all over the world, and each day in Cambodia strips you of a chance to meet with them. From now on I only wanted to travel through the countries where there are nice people so deep in my mind I already knew – there will be no going back to Cambodia for me.

Boat Ride to Don Det

All of us who got off the bus at 4,000 Islands were backpackers so all of us were headed for Don Det. Don Det is where most backpacker friendly, budget guesthouses are located and it’s also where 4,000 Island’s nightlife (for what it’s worth) is at its highest concentration. Don Khon and Don Khong are the islands offering more peaceful stay with more upscale accommodation options.

The boat they packed us on was small and barely had us all fit along with our backpacks. It was one of those tiny fishing boats for one or two persons, only the owner added a few planks to bridge the sides so passengers could sit but it was a squishy experience. Of all the boats that were docked at the jetty, we were told to board the smallest and the furthest one. To get on it, we had to prance across several boats with roofs which gently tested our balancing skills. Keep in mind we all carried our backpacks and had to crouch down to squeeze through tiny space under the roof of a boat which was loosely on the water, hence moving with each person who stepped on it.

The boat ride itself was scenic enough to make us all forget that we had to sit with our knees under our chins only capable of making limited turns as each of us tried to record some video of the mangroves and islands we passed by. It only took a few minutes to get us across and soon we got to feel firm ground below our feet as bikini clad girls walked by headed for their chalets. There are no beaches on Don Det, but what’s there to hold you back when you’re on an island in a tropical country and it’s a nice, sunny day?

Don Det is very touristy these days. Many former fishermen now specialize in offering transport service between mainland and various islands because that’s where easy the money is. Tour operators and transportation companies have agreements with boatmen so if you end up buying a ticket to Don Det and then away from there, it will include the cost of the boat transfer so if you asked me how much a boat ride alone was, I wouldn’t be able to tell.

Below is the brief video from the boat that took us across from the mainland Laos to Don Det of Si Phan Det (4,000 Islands):

Lao PDR – Please Don’t Rush

Laos has a reputation for being a very laid back country and this is evident since the very first moment a foreigner enters the country. That’s why the PDR acronym which officially stands for People’s Democratic Republic is often unofficially referred to as Please Don’t Rush.

Laos is not Cambodia. Things in Laos are in motion – jobs are getting done, houses are being built, electricity is being delivered to everyone, including those in the most remote areas. Laotians may be slow paced, enjoying their unrushed lifestyles, but they are not lazy. You always see them doing something. I looked and looked and then looked some more but I have never seen groups of Laotians sit around on their motorcycles whole day every day, filling up shaded areas on every corner of every street unwilling to bend over to get anything done. This can only be seen in Cambodia where laziness is a way of life and men care more about their fingernails than than their jobs.

Some unsavvy individuals call Cambodia “laid back” but there is nothing laid back about being lazy and gathering round each day to kill time by verbally abusing by passers. Cambodia is not laid back, Cambodia is lazy, just as Laos is not lazy, Laos is laid back. You can see the movement around you wherever you look in Laos. Everything that needs to get done is being done, it’s just not done by rushing around. That’s Lao PDR – Please Don’t Rush.

For a busy Westerner, this may seem rather odd from the beginning and could actually seem irritating as buses may not be on schedule and your Tuk Tuk driver may pause for an ice filled beverage in a plastic bag on a hot and sunny day while you’re trying to get to your guesthouse. But that’s the way it goes in Laos, so if you do pay the country a visit, then Please Don’t Rush.