When the Engine Fails…

Mai pen rai krub.

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When the engine on the boat fails and the 4 hour trip turns into an 8.5 hour one? When the problem that made the engine fail also affects the fan below decks so that you are either stewing below or frying above? When the only things to drink for the next seven hours are powerful diuretics like beer or cola but no water?

Mai pen rai krub. Let it go. There is nothing that can be done.

This is a key concept to functioning in Thailand. Not because the boats always break down – that was the only one I’ve ever been on where that has happened.But, of anywhere I’ve been, Thais accept that certain things are out of their control and the phrase “mai pen rai” is central to this.

It would be easy to picture a Westerner (well OK…I’m talking about old me here) demanding a refund from the boat company or demanding compensation for the dangerous lack of hydrating fluids or the extreme risk of contracting heat stoke but to Thais, things happen.That’s life. Good things happen and bad things happen. There’s no point in getting upset about it and, in fact, you will look absolutely ridiculous to them if you do.

So, if you come to Thailand and you’re on a boat and the engine fails, always remember:

Mai pen rai.

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