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Let's Be Honest About Lying, Shall We?

A couple days ago, I told a Nigerian engineer to "Work online. Use freelancing sites. Lie about the country you’re in. [...] There’s a big stigma against Nigeria. That’s just reality, and you need to deal with it."

A reader replies -

I feel for this guy but I am surprised you recommend lying. There has to be another way. ... I have a problem with lying, period, and perhaps I’ve misunderstood Sebastian but I think he stands for straightforwardness.

Let's talk about this straightforwardly, like adults, like grown-ups.

Most people won't do that. It's inherently weird. Most people don't own up to the fact that they lie, yet almost everyone does so. A lot, actually.

Chuckle at demands like those

In the comments on The Keshik Feigned Retreat Ambush, Lingaholic related a story --


I've also had some more or less scary experiences in the developing world. I think the one I most vividly remember was back when I arrived in Saigon, Vietnam, back in 2009. I decided to catch a cycle-rickshaw, or whatever you call them there, and I asked the price beforehand for a ride that would've taken something like 10mn. I knew the usual price went by US$1 (around 15,000 Vietnamese dong I think). The driver responded, cheerfully, "You pay what you want. No worries. Just pay any amount you want." I kind of insisted in knowing how much he charged (rather than firmly making my offer), but just got the big smile with the same response.

I decided to take the ride, and after getting driven around to shops owned by his buddies, and  pressured into buying some crap, I finally arrived to my destination. Disembarking the cycle-rickshaw, I tended a $1 bill to the driver, and said thanks. He then looked at me and said, "No. You pay me $15. This is the price for the ride." At that point I basically laughed and categorically refused to pay him the exorbitant sum he asked. He continued, increasingly more aggressively, to insist on me giving him the equivalent of US$15. After about 10mn--which felt like a long time believe me--where I basically just stood in front of him replying "no" over and over again, he started shouting "I going to kill you. No joking. I kill you right now." 

At that point I started freaking out a little bit, but luckily it was midday, and there was a lot of people around, as well as curious bystanders (all of them Vietnamese, none of them really interested in helping either of us, but most seemed to sympathize with the driver). At that point I basically tended him the equivalent of $5, which is still hugely overpriced, and walked away, never looking back.

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