No, I'm not a Thai.

"No, I'm not Thai."

I always knew that I would have to say that perhaps a hundred thousand times later when I was already in Thailand. But never had I expected that I had to get to hear that BEFORE I reached Thailand.

I got to go to gate 46 to board on to the plane at Changi Airport. And there were these two girls in front of me in the line. At first they talked to themselves (I suspected it was in Thai), then one of them looked at me and said something in Thai.

"Sorry?" I said.
Then she looked at her friend and said something in their language that seemed to mean "She is not Thai."
"You no Thai people?" asked her.
"No, I'm not." I smiled.
"You Filipino then?" asked her.
"No. Indonesian."
"Ooh. Indonesian."


"You go to Thailand one people?"
"You go to Thailand one people?"
I tried to think fast and guess what she meant. Oh!
"You mean if I go to Thailand alone? Yes, I'm alone."
She didn't seem to understand, so I said again,
"I am alone. NO friends. Only me."

"You go study or work or holiday?" asked the other girl.
"I'm on vacation."

Having arrived in Thailand, similar conversations occured.

Until now.

How can I assure them I'm not a Thai? Plastic surgery?


  1. Yeah well, for me, the conversation goes something like:

    "blblblblblslklkjdsfoiuwerlkcijgiuerkjs???" (something in Vietnam)

    "Sorry?" I said.

    "You're not VIETNAMESE?"

    "No, I'm not."



    "Oh ok. Where are you from? Thai? Filipino?"

    "No, I'm from Indonesia."

    "Hah? Where?"



    And I doubt those stupid Vietnamese KNOW where Indonesia actually is.

    Oh and the conversation would also REPEAT itself hundred times when I meet GERMANS too. Hahahhaa... so you're not "one people" in this case. Hahahahahahhaa..

  2. make a tattoo on your neck/arm, says "Indonesian".. beres kan?! ;)

    have a great trip!!!!

  3. funny post! i can easily imagine the situation!

  4. I saw something about that problem in the Lonely Planet guide for Vietnam : they said you should sew a indonesian flag on your bag or something. It could be useful.

    And, that's strange, but I think I would never have this kind of problem. Maybe another one like "YOU AMERICAN" ? "No". "ENGLISH ?" "No." "FROM MARS ?" "Close enough. France."

  5. Johann, it could be useful alright. But I have a feeling that Thai people won't guess that it is an Indonesian flag.

    Pitpit: Tattoo is not my style. :D But thanks for the input.

    Sheila: Hihi, you do look like a Vietnamese sometimes. Just like Shierly is often thought to be a Japanese.

    But really guys... this is probably the last time I've ever been to Thailand. I gotta see the other countries the next time I'm traveling. And just check if they still think I'm a Thai or Filipino. :P
    One country I know won't miss my nationality is Holland. I enjoyed it when they tried to speak to me in Indonesian to impress me. :D