Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby kees on Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:43 am

wangsuda wrote:I've asked many Thais (of all social strata) what "Thai-ness" is, and none of them can answer me. they simply bandy about a term that has no meaning.

Kuhn Wangsuda hits the nail on its head. If no Thai can explain me what "Thai-ness" is supposed to be, how can they expect a farang to know it and to understand it.
This all is born from the idea that being Thai is something very special and that Thailand has a special (leading) place in this world.
When I started to work with computers (back in 1961) I worked for IBM and I had the strong believe that only IBM could make good computers. I vagely knew that other companies were trying to make something also. After leaving IBM I discovered that other computers could do the job as well: some worse, many just as good and some even better.
Replace IBM with Thailand and you know exactly why Thai people think that they are so special. The simple fact is that they don't know anything else. In my area I could not find a highschool pupil who knows the name of any city in the neighbour countries. Even the teacher had to admit that he did not know "anymore". Extreme simple calculations cannot be made without a calculator and the English lessons are below any minimum level. The word "Paris" did not ring a bell for any of them.
The Thai writing is also a serious obstacle in getting information over the internet. Please do not attack me about this believing that this type of writing is valuable Thai culture. The purpose of reading and writing is communication and if you cannot communicate with 99% of the world you really have a problem.
Being young I always hated school. Since living in Thailand I fully realize how fortunated I have been to get 13 years of excellent education.
I am convinced that, if Thailand can solve its education problems, Thai and Farang do not have to discuss about "thai-ness" anymore.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby dmrich on Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:52 pm

by surinfarm on Fri 15 Jul 2011 1:20 pm
Superlatives and comparatives need not apply, as they have no bearing on anything.
Wiser, would be to throw the predictable stereotypes, myths, and stigmas out the window.

Wiser is a comparative.

Anyway, pretty emotive subject but without any real point. I think it's true, we'll only ever see Thais from an orientalist viewpoint, so some inherent aspects of their culture will always be judged on that basis and be difficult to understand. However, nationalism is just a tool of right wing ideologists designed to separate and alienate the masses from each other to prevent them from forming a cohesive movement for change. People are people, it is only the indoctrination of capitalist ideologies that separates them.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby drake on Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:03 am

kees wrote:
wangsuda wrote:I've asked many Thais (of all social strata) what "Thai-ness" is, and none of them can answer me. they simply bandy about a term that has no meaning.

Kuhn Wangsuda hits the nail on its head. If no Thai can explain me what "Thai-ness" is supposed to be, how can they expect a farang to know it and to understand it.
They don't, and they don't care.
The reason Thais can't answer what Thai-ness means is because it's lost in translation.
You might as well ask an American what is 'American-ness', you know what the answer is going to be.
The correct question should have been - what is Pen Thai (being Thai).

In my area I could not find a highschool pupil who knows the name of any city in the neighbour countries. Even the teacher had to admit that he did not know "anymore". Extreme simple calculations cannot be made without a calculator and the English lessons are below any minimum level.
Have you been to rural New Mexico, USA lately ?
I have friends teaching in one of the school district in central NM an hour and a half N-NW of White Sands and that pretty much the description of the students there ! You know White Sands ? That's where all the egghead rocket scientists do their test launches and a bit under an hour from where they are building the next 'space port, USA'.

The word "Paris" did not ring a bell for any of them.
Yeah, it's "P-aaa-Reeed" to you. They all know what that means.

The Thai writing is also a serious obstacle in getting information over the internet. Please do not attack me about this believing that this type of writing is valuable Thai culture. The purpose of reading and writing is communication and if you cannot communicate with 99% of the world you really have a problem.
Same can be said about Hindi, Chinese (any dialect), Farsi, Burmese, Laos, Cambodian, Swahili.....
I've seen Thais flying through the keyboard (in Thai) in chatrooms and forums or thumbing out Thai text just as fast as English. Too bad if farangs can't read it but they've got NO problem getting THEIR information across the net to their intended audience.

I am convinced that, if Thailand can solve its education problems, Thai and Farang do not have to discuss about "thai-ness" anymore.

Don't know, bro.
I get the feeling you are suggesting that Thais get rid of their culture/language all together and replace it with homogenized Western blahs so farangs won't get too utterly confused anymore, no ?
Oh, and it's just Farangs who are discussing thai-ness.
Thais are just being whatever they are and doing whatever they do, and they don't care.

:cheers:
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby drake on Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:10 am

dmrich wrote:People are people, it is only the indoctrination of capitalist ideologies that separates them.

People are people, it is only the indoctrination of differing ideologies that separates them.
:cheers:
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby keyesgood on Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:01 pm

thai ness , i think is , if your thai, if your not ,then, your not,

im english living in australia where its booming counrty , every ones making tons, off money ,

this is an experence i had , once sitting out side a farang bar in korat,

a dog would not shut up , so i pick up my plastic chair and run him down the street,
too my ammazment every one started clapping, even thai people , why i dont know, to this day, ?????????

i went and sat back on my plastic chair , and a farang , guy , came up to me and said THIS,

THAILAND WILL NOT CHANGE FOR YOU ,,,, YOU HAVE TO CHANGE FOR THAILAND ,

WHICH MADE A HOLE LOT OF SENCE TO THE EXPERENCE ,



ANOTHER , STORY,

I WAS IN A FARANG BAR , AND THE OWNER , {thai women} ASKED ME IF I WANTED ANOTHER BEER , I SAID NO , IM FINE , IL JUST HAVE MY GAME OFF POOL AND IM GOING ,

SHE SAID TO ME THIS , IF YOU DO NOT BUY BEER , I NO MAKE , MONEY , so i tryed to help her , but she got mad ,
i ask her how many hours is your business open, she said 6 hours, aday, and i said your begging me to buy a beer ,
i tryed to tell her that if she had a business open 24 hours in one day , she would be making money when she was asleep , this is called componding , , she was totaly not interested . just to sell me another beer,

mike,
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby kees on Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:07 pm

[quote="drake]I get the feeling you are suggesting that Thais get rid of their culture/language all together and replace it with homogenized Western blahs so farangs won't get too utterly confused anymore, no ?
:[/quote]
I agree with many of your remarks, but that is (for me) beside the point regarding the subject we talk about.
In my (modest) experience Thai people in general regard "Thai-ness" as something that ignorant foreigners can't understand and that lifts them morally and otherwise above all other people in the world. I am Dutch but you never hear any of us dutchmen speak about "dutch-ness" and how special that is. Fact is that the more you know the more you realize that you know only a little.
Of course I know that Thailand is not the only country with an education problem but if they want to improve that I suggest that they try to learn from countries with a better system. It is not wise to hide behind the fact that some other countries are doing bad also. Anyhow I cannot imagine any elementary school in the Netherlands where all pupils do not know any city in Belgium, Germany etc. By the way 'Paris' was a written word in an English lesson and after explanation in English and Thai it did not ring any bell.
We Dutchmen can be compared with Thai people in that respect that outside our country nobody understands us. I learned English at school, just as the Thais, and believe me that was pretty hard especially in a time where there was no TV and you never heard one word of English outside the classroom. I had to study French and German also, but I had the big advantage that I could read and write in all those languages. For Thai children it must be very hard to learn language as well as writing at the same time.
Rest us the big question: "What is regarded as valuable cultural inheritance" together with the remark that it is not my fault that all things change so drastic and rapidly. Not so very long ago people gave their prettiest daughter to their guest for the night and that was regarded as a part of their culture in that time. It is only an example that one must choose carefully what cultural elements one must keep and what elements are outdated and inpractical. In a museum in Amsterdam I see beautiful books handwritten by monks in ancient Dutch with old type of letters. I am very happy that this is not for daily use anymore.
Thai people their selves should decide what is more important TO THEM: the cultural value of their writing or the disadvantage in communicating with the rest of the world.
I personally experience "Thai-ness" as feeling happy, free and relaxed while living here.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby johnnyp on Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:22 pm

:D Thai-ness cannot know Farang-ness. It's culture. That's what attracts us to each other. Thai's and Thailand are a great people and nation. Thailand has such a rich and ancient history, and has transformed it's major cities into 21st century modern utopias. Like all countries, the people have differenent views of foreginers, politics, and other areas of interest. I, for one, agree that it is difficult for farangs (what a term) to know Thai-ness, but I will alway try to respect people that respect me. Y'all have a great and fantastic day.

Johnny James
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby drake on Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:29 am

kees wrote:
drake wrote:I get the feeling you are suggesting that Thais get rid of their culture/language all together and replace it with homogenized Western blahs so farangs won't get too utterly confused anymore, no ?

I agree with many of your remarks, but that is (for me) beside the point regarding the subject we talk about.
In my (modest) experience Thai people in general regard "Thai-ness" as something that ignorant foreigners can't understand and that lifts them morally and otherwise above all other people in the world. I am Dutch but you never hear any of us dutchmen speak about "dutch-ness" and how special that is.
In some way it's about real self-esteem, in some other way it's about nationalism propaganda.
Like I've said, the word is poorly translated and there is a synonym in every culture.
Yours is probably (poorly translated in to English as) 'being Dutch' - but definitely not 'dutch-ness'.
Fact is that the more you know the more you realize that you know only a little.
Ain't that the truth.
Of course I know that Thailand is not the only country with an education problem but if they want to improve that I suggest that they try to learn from countries with a better system. It is not wise to hide behind the fact that some other countries are doing bad also. Anyhow I cannot imagine any elementary school in the Netherlands where all pupils do not know any city in Belgium, Germany etc.
That, itself is an issue. You are applying your frame of reference, I am taking a cultural-anthropologist slant.
By the way 'Paris' was a written word in an English lesson and after explanation in English and Thai it did not ring any bell.
Geographical context in an English lesson. Should they know what it means ?
We Dutchmen can be compared with Thai people in that respect that outside our country nobody understands us. I learned English at school, just as the Thais, and believe me that was pretty hard especially in a time where there was no TV and you never heard one word of English outside the classroom. I had to study French and German also, but I had the big advantage that I could read and write in all those languages. For Thai children it must be very hard to learn language as well as writing at the same time.
Look, I'm a transplanted Texan. Nobody understands us either.
You may not have had TV then but there were definitely RADIO and I'm sure you could have picked up the BBC in Amsterdam on most days then.
Most European languages share the same basic alphabet set and it's less of a handicap to learn other European languages if one is your mother tongue than to learn, say, Chinese, Farsi, or Thai. This is really not a good yard stick for anything.
You learned English to go with Dutch, you did not replaced the language of your heritage with it.
Why are you suggesting that the Thais NOT do the same ?
Rest us the big question: "What is regarded as valuable cultural inheritance" together with the remark that it is not my fault that all things change so drastic and rapidly. Not so very long ago people gave their prettiest daughter to their guest for the night and that was regarded as a part of their culture in that time. It is only an example that one must choose carefully what cultural elements one must keep and what elements are outdated and inpractical. In a museum in Amsterdam I see beautiful books handwritten by monks in ancient Dutch with old type of letters. I am very happy that this is not for daily use anymore.
A society without history has no past and no future. (rah)
Cultural heritage is, in a way, the living summary of the society's history.
At the rate that the world is shedding it's heritage and traditions in favour of a homogenized global culture it soon will be without future. It saddens me to no end to go to cities around the world and see more and more of the old regional architectures getting replaced by the same boring glass and steel abomination and the unique cultures that made the people who they are getting replaced by manufactured garbage fads from the West.
Thai people their selves should decide what is more important TO THEM: the cultural value of their writing or the disadvantage in communicating with the rest of the world.
I personally experience "Thai-ness" as feeling happy, free and relaxed while living here.

That's about the tip of an iceberg.
If they get rid of their cultural heritage, you won't ever know what the rest is.
Everyone loses.

:cheers:
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby surinfarm on Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Drake, what might a homogenized global culture be?
A natural element? Or perhaps a sinister fabrication?
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby drake on Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:43 am

surinfarm wrote:Drake, what might a homogenized global culture be?
A natural element? Or perhaps a sinister fabrication?

It's partly organic and partly forced evolution.

[these bits were swept out to sea with the last high tides]

The Old Way, the Thai-ness that this thread had been trying to fathomed, is buried underneath the shopping arcade that is Thailand. Inside, the Anime character mimicking youngsters and the still trying to be hip but still without a clue older generations shops for more imported coolness. Something to make them different from everyone else.
The poor fools. In chasing the commercialized meme they may have momentarily succeeded at being different from everyone in their immediate surrounding but that makes them immediately the same as everyone else globally.
Them, who were once unique in the world before trying to be unique. Ironic.

The facade of cool comes off when they go 'back home' to see grandma.
There, it's the old way.
But grandma is old and won't last forever.
Who will they take their foolish facade off for then ?
The slow, stoic, and often happy people with the Mai-Pen-Rai attitude that used to be here seems to have left.
In their place, the cloned lawsuit-happy greedy Type-A western chihuahuas yapping on their cell phones.

Out in the sticks, some of the old way can still be experienced but they won't leave the drinking water pot out for travelers anymore, the tourist steals them.

Um, you DID asked ?
:cheers:
Last edited by drake on Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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