They don't pay you much, but...

Whenever I visit Thailand, I can't help noticing how different the job markets of Hong Kong and Thailand are. Not only are there jobs that exist in Thailand, like bus conductors, that do not have a place in highly automated Hong Kong, there are also jobs that would have been carried out by one person in Hong Kong that are given to two or three in Thailand. So high are the running costs of businesses here that owners look to maximise use of their labour and time. In Thailand, on the other hand, work is generally less stressful. I have seen a restaurant posting two waitresses at the door to welcome guests. While patrons have been few and far between, they just chat there virtually all evening. On two occasions, I have seen department store salespersons playing balls in the toys department. Once two salesladies were shooting hoops with a toy basketball set. Another time two or three sales persons were kicking a toy ball around. I actually got hit by a ball they kicked my way and one of them quickly came up and apologised with that very typical sheepish but charming Thai smile. I can't imagine any Hong Kong department stores tolerating that and any employee here able to get away from hitting a customer with a ball they play at the workplace! But that is just very illustrative of the difference between the two places. Here we are better paid, but we generally work like slaves, and the cost of living is high too. In Thailand, they give you the jobs but do not pay you a lot of money and do not ask for much.

Who are better off - the employers in Thailand or those here? It's hard to say. It probably depends on whether it is money or freedom and leisure you value more.

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