Posted by: irisgodd3ss | July 23, 2007

Iris, umm, Fired

I didn’t come to Thailand with delusions of grandeur. I didn’t come here to get rich or to become famous. I was just another girl trying to make my way through the world, daring to go beyond the confines of my own backyard. I’ve been brave, yes, and I take pride in that more than any other.

Teaching has been something I dabbled with for the past year or so. There were the unsuccessful forays into corporate training and the unfinished professional education course. It was something I always wanted to do, but it never came naturally to me the way writing always has, so when I was offered a teaching job in Thailand for the first time, I left my comfortable office job and took the challenge. I knew I had a lot to learn but I was determined to succeed. With the constant assurance and encouragement of the person who hired me, I believed that, given time, I would become a great teacher. Everyone around me kept telling me to take it slow, that I’ll get used to it in time. How was I supposed to know that time will be cruelly taken away from me? I never really had a chance.

For the past couple of weeks or so, my blogs have endured an upsurge of criticism. What used to be two obscure little websites with barely 15 visitors per day suddenly gained immense popularity – and not in a good way. Along with my loyal readership of good friends and family, strangers have found their way into my little sanctuary, strangers who dare to judge and hate somebody who have never done them or anybody wrong. I have suffered the indignity of being labeled some very choice words from the English language, but I didn’t care. After all, to each his own, right? These are my blogs. I can write anything that I want on it and anybody can comment as he/she sees fit. That’s how the free world supposedly works.

Imagine my surprise when last night I received a rather cruel email (didn’t even bother with the courtesy of calling) from my employer terminating me from the school after a week of labor because of an article I wrote days before I got the teaching job. My lifestyle apparently does not conform to the acceptable teacher’s way of living (if there’s such a thing). They were afraid that at some point I’d start writing about the school and tarnish its precious and rather inexistent reputation, and I wasn’t a good enough teacher.

For one thing, why would I write about a school? Who wants to read about some stuffy private school in Phahon Yothin Soi 37? The thought of writing such a piece is enough to bring me to a kind of stupor. For another, I was not aware that teachers were not allowed to have private lives. If they were worried that students will come across my blogs at some point, they’re gravely mistaken. The Thais are so ingrained in their own culture that they really can’t be bothered to read 2 obscure English blogs from an unknown person. They spend their time reading Thai comic books and perusing websites in Thai, for crying out loud. Honestly, most Thais don’t exactly exert extra effort (The 4 E’s were not intentional.) to make English a part of their lives. Why do you think we’re here teaching English in the first place? And as for my capability as a teacher, I made it clear right from the start that I was virtually inexperienced in the field of education and have had no proper training, but I was told by the person who hired me that with my language skills, I can do it and I will be given enough time to adjust and prove my worth. I wasn’t even made to do a teaching demo, he just hired me outright. Looking back, a teaching demo could’ve saved everybody a lot of grief.

Though these were the surface reasons given for my immediate termination, reading between the lines of the fateful email suggests otherwise. The person who hired me is a farang. I believe he and his friends took the article I wrote as a personal attack on farangs. That is simply unfair. The piece was written about one person and one person only. I have nothing against farangs. Heck, most of the friends I’ve made in Thailand are farangs. I find most of them intelligent and interesting. Conversation is never dull, which has always been something that I valued. The world is a huge place and I believe people from different races and cultures have a lot to learn from each other. When I wrote: “Honestly, is there still a farang in Bangkok who isn’t just out to dip his wick in as many Asian crevices as he can?” it was meant to be a question (question mark, duh!) and not a generalization (as my boss labeled it on his email). It most certainly isn’t a concrete statement saying that all farangs are scum because they’re not. Though I may not have met many, I know there are still some good guys out there. And contrary to what most of my detractors believe, I am not here to have sexual relations with every farang in Thailand. I date, I have fun, and if I feel its right, I consent to sex, which is not often at all.

The double standard is appalling. They say the world has come a long way from the middle ages, but to be honest, it hasn’t. When a man sleeps around, he’s a bachelor or a playboy, but if a woman does the same thing, she’s a slut, a whore. If I was a man, I would be having my hand shaken and my back patted right now. I am, however, a woman, so having casual sex makes me a pariah. And as if being a woman is not bad enough, I also happen to be Asian, which puts me in the lowest possible minority. If I was a white woman, I probably would’ve gotten a warning and an option to shut down my blogs. I have been insulted in the worst possible way, and though I’ve been encouraged to reveal the school’s name and the person behind all this, I will not sink to the same pathetic level of disrespect that they have shown me because I, at least, know how to respect without judgment the choices that other people make to live their lives. That alone makes me worth ten of them put together.

But I will say this to a Ben Thomas (the person who sent my boss the links to my blog via email) and Aussie Jake: It is people like you who will never amount to anything and I pity your sad, sorry existence. I also want to say something to Melody, the jackass Aussie’s girlfriend, who supposedly discovered my blog. So we come from the same town and you’re possibly my age, feeling just as lost as most single girls our age are, but really, why do you put up with your pig of a boyfriend? Look at how he and his friends treat Southeast Asian women in general. You deserve better than this chauvinistic Neanderthal. We all do. And that’s what I’m here to advocate.

The piece I wrote was meant to be quirky and funny, the way most of my pieces are. It’s just too bad that some people are too backwards to realize that. I will not shut down my blogs. That will be like asking me to cut off my limbs. I will, however, protect my posts, my babies from those who wish me ill. Some of my pieces, especially those that are sexual in nature, will be password-protected and may only be accessed by a select few. To request for a password, email me at irisgodd3ss at yahoo dot com and I’ll decide if you’re worthy to enter my private domain. It kills me to have to do this but this is for survival’s sake. I made the mistake of speaking out and baring my soul in a place where people are not ready for it. But no, Iris and Wander Girl are not going anywhere.

So here I am in this foreign land with no job, no prospects, and very little money. I have a choice. I could cower, get on the first flight home, and expect my mommy to fix everything for me. Or I could lick my wounds, gather my thoughts, and keep on fighting until all hope is lost. I know I will never forgive myself if I admitted defeat and went home now. Things are looking bleak, but as long as I still have a single baht to my name, I’m not going anywhere. I may have been beaten, but I will not lose.

I may not be a particularly good teacher but by God, I can write. If I ever doubted that before, all this fuss has just confirmed that I can be a very powerful writer if I want to be. And yes, I want to be. I am actually quite flattered more than anything. Thank you for the comments, nasty or otherwise. Thank you for getting me fired. And most of all, thank you for finally giving clarity to what it is that I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

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Responses

  1. whoa. i’m appalled. that was so low. i’m glad you’re not connected with that school anymore.

    chin up, woman 🙂 you’ll find a way 🙂

  2. […] on a page of my blog (Iris has it password protected now). Iris’ post about getting fired can be viewed here. It makes a case for anonymous blogging in Thailand because Iris has lost her job and been […]

  3. words are powerful indeed, iris… and you do write very, very well… it’s a pity that some people are just so narrow-minded about some things..

    i wish you luck, sis! i’m sure everything will work out well in the end…. take care… 🙂

  4. Iris,
    If your contract does not prevent you from writing a personal blog then you might have grounds to sue them for unfair dismissal. Try to get some legal advice if you can because Thai labour laws are very much geared in the employees favour.
    Good luck !!!
    Andrew.

  5. I agree with the above statement. Labor laws are geared in your favor, however the trouble and expense might not be worth your while.

  6. Im this girl’s number one fan and she knows it!! this is the best piece of writing she has done yet. Every cloud etc etc . . .
    As for Scott Brown, I would ease up on him – I read the email that he sent her and the one that he was forwarded. I gotta say that he was reasonably even handed in his comments and suggestions HOWEVER the guy who sent it to him, one Ben Thomas . . . total Jerk-off!! To show that kind of disrespect to women in general and south east asian women more paticularly and then it turns out that his “girlfriend” is from Cebu!! What is he trying to say about her?? Real charmer . . . NOT!

  7. Hello, folks! Everyday I’m pleasantly surprised to see so many comments. I really appreciate it. You guys are great.

    I’m sorry, however, that I had to delete some of the comments directed at “S.B.”, my old boss from the school. To be honest, he’s a fairly decent guy who was just doing his job to safeguard the school’s reputation. I’m not saying that it was just to fire me, I’m just saying that he did what he felt he had to do and I don’t take it against him. The real culprits are the jackasses who sent the original email to him, the names of whom are mentioned in the post.

    Anyhow, I’ll be posting more stories within the next few days so stay tuned, lovely people! 😉

  8. That seems very level headed and fair of you Iris On Fire … that will surely win you plaudits.

  9. dont let the white cano babarians get u down iris girl. if they give u shit, u give them shit back girl. love reading ur blog. keep up the good work and never give up honey. viva philippines and everyone filipino

  10. You didn’t deserve this appalling treatment but there’s actually a term for it: being “Dooced” The term comes from a blooger who used the name Dooce who got fired because of something she wrote on her blog.

    This is one of the reasons my blog is anonymous. Conservative employers don’t need much excuse to fire you these days.

  11. I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for quite some time. Tough time won’t last, tough peoples do. Keep your head up.

  12. Just found your blog through The Lost Boy. As my girlfriend and I are unconventional even back in America we are finding ourselves self-censoring in Thailand. It seems as though this country sticks to it’s ways and that your termination was a case of trying to “save face”. I’m not saying that I believe what they did was right, but rather I’m giving my view on the situation from the little that I know. Otherwise I’m just typing to let you know that you have another supporter.

  13. […] ended up in Thailand in some obscure coordinator job, and eventually to teach English where I was unceremoniously fired after my first […]

  14. hehe. you’re one hot fiery lady. anyways, it’s their loss not yours. go, go, go gurl!


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