Why is it, that Australians are notorious for behaving badly when overseas?
It’s the one reason I no longer choose to travel to the popular Aussie tourist hot spots of Bali and Phuket.
All that greets you when you get there, is a guaranteed conglomeration of scantily clad Australians with the sole aim of getting tanned by lunchtime and pissed by dinner.
Oblivious to Thai culture of modesty and serenity, loud-mouthed Australians roam the streets, half-cut, in search of the next happy hour, or to seek out more Australians hell-bent on partying.
It’s like “schoolies” for grown ups.
So here we have another Australian, Annice Smoel, languishing at her sorry predicament of being held up in Thailand with her passport revoked, since Thai police arrested her for allegedly stealing a bar mat from the unimaginatively but perhaps appropriately named “Aussie Bar” in Phuket.
According to reports, Mrs Smoel (36) was in Phuket for her mother’s 60th birthday when the night of fun turned into a nightmare. Mrs Smoel, who was partying with a group of about 10 friends, claimed two of the women stuffed a bar mat in her handbag as a joke.
Thai police charged her with theft, and locked her in a jail cell for three nights. Her passport was confiscated until the case comes to court, which she believes is at least four months away.
Mrs Smoel, from Montrose, in east Melbourne, has been stranded in Thailand for 17 days, charged with the theft of the bar mat. Thai police said she was drunk and abusive, but she denied the claim and said police acted only because “we were women on our own”.
Mrs Smoel said she felt “scared, helpless and alone” after being detained for what she says was a practical joke pulled by her friends. She believes she would have been freed immediately had there been a male in the group to bribe the arresting officers.
“We were women on our own and we didn’t have a man here to talk to the police and deal a bribe,” she said.
“If we had, that would have been the end of it. We offered them money right from the start because we knew that’s how the system works here.”
Mrs Smoel faces up to five years in jail if found guilty and convicted. Naturally the PM and Foreign Affairs Minister have been called in to intervene however it remains to be seen what can actually be done.
Amazingly, Andrew Bolt has sided with the Thais on this occasion, and remarkably I find myself nodding in agreement (to some comments he makes anway).
According to Mr Bolt:
Two factors need adding to this story of Australians betrayed. The bar mat, for a start, was no mere coaster but a $60 souvenir, and when police questioned Smoel she did a runner.
Second, one of the Aussie Bar’s owners, Steve Wood, says Smoel made an even bigger mistake when she was taken to the Patong police station: she “verbally abused” the police chief.
A local tourism publication, Phuketwan, yesterday claimed the same: “Phuketwan has been told that Ms Smoel ‘went ballistic’ at the time of the incident, abusing officers all the way up to the local chief of police . . .
“While bad language and anger are tolerated these days in many Western countries, they are not condoned in Thailand and usually only compound the problem for any tourist in trouble.”
Warning: This is the link to Andrew Bolt’s commentary. (Note: Blogocrats does not accept any responsibility for any post-traumatic stress related injuries or resulting emotional torment).
It’s interesting, how as a society, we expect overseas visitors or immigrants to Australia to respect our values and culture, yet when overseas in places like Bali and Phuket, Australians couldn’t give a toss about local culture and the sensibilities of the people who live there, and simply run amuck getting pissed on cheap grog and behaving badly.