As exciting as living in Thailand is, there are certain things, happenings, that I still can’t completely grasp. Even though I understand why they are happening, I don’t quite get why it never changes. So maybe writing about it helps as, so some say, writing can be a point of catharsis. A few more of those topics can be found under the F-Word category here on my-thai.org by the way.
At the end of every month something fantastic happens to us, the working class heroes. We get paid. Yeah. That happens at the end of each month, normally, so we can pay our bills at the beginning of the new months 1 or 2 days later. In my mind it works like this: I get paid, I know I have to pay bills in 1 or 2 days time, so I’m not particularly excited about seeing more money on my account as I know that most of it will disappear rather soon and the rest has to last for another month until the next salary day comes along. That’s what I’m used to.
What happens in Thailand is a bit different though. Obviously not for everyone but for enough people to make it stand out. Again it’s the end of the month, people get paid and then the madness happens. And it happens twofold. At least from my point of view.
As someone who worked in the financial sector back home in Germany I have 0 understanding for the banking system here and why they make everything so complicated. If I have a bank account at SCB for example and need to pay the bill for my apartment and the landlord’s account is with KBank, most people will go to the SCB ATM, withdraw the money and then go to a CDM of KBank and deposit the money there as a direct transfer would cost extra money, manual deposit doesn’t though. What. The. Heck. This means that at the end of the month you can see insane queues in front of ATMs, especially those in shopping malls or highly populated / frequented areas. #weird
Every month on “Salary Day” lots of shops offer discounts, promotions, etc. and it works. People are just going on spending sprees right after receiving their salary as if there’s no tomorrow and then, a week before the next salary day they run out of money, have to borrow money from friends and whoever and are to ‘poor’ to do anything besides sitting at home and waiting for another salary day to arrive. In the wake of those spending sprees on salary day you can also witness that people buy WAY more alcohol and go out to eat more than, lets say, 3 weeks later. Maybe that’s the German in me but I don’t get why this is still a thing. Shouldn’t everybody have learned by now that they will run out of money by the end of the month and hence be more responsible? Also the increased alcohol consumption is remarkable. You can literally notice way more drunk people on the streets after hours compared to two or three weeks into the month.
Now you might say ‘but what’s your issue with that? Just ignore it, if you don’t like it!’ and I agree. It doesn’t necessarily affect me. I simply avoid those ATM queues and try not to get too close to those drunk peeps and I’m fine. I simply wonder how this is still happening and why there hasn’t been an official awareness campaign to promote a more reasonable lifestyle that focuses on thinking ahead, making wise decisions and saving for the future. But then again, if people wouldn’t distract themselves with before mentioned spending spree they wouldn’t expect this self induced short term satisfaction and might have more time for critical thinking and questioning current happenings. Moreover businesses would quite certainly see an impact on their account sheets. So maybe it’s better if those monthly spending sprees keep recurring. At least for those who benefit from it the most, even though those might not be the ones going on said sprees.
I don’t want to end on a negative note though. At least there’s one good thing happening on each salary day. The police is out in full force and increases traffic stops and checks. I assume that’s just so everybody who is excited to receive salary gets home safe. I mean what else would be the reason to have an increased amount of traffic stops exactly on salary day? #SafetyFirst.
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