Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby MonkeyP on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:13 am

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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby MonkeyP on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:22 am

phetpeter wrote:
MonkeyP wrote:i sign in, hoping to find we've moved on, but no, the same moronic thread... this is so painful: no, phetpeter, thais are not children (god, such a horrible colonialist sentiment), they are people like, well, you (i mean, do they call you daddy or mummy?). and ferniaki, if you really find this interesting, you must be fascinated by drying paint. kmacfarland, do you take lessons in being patronising? i suppose your business is here for the benefit of thais, not your pocket. enuff already.

Monkey painful! One is not calling them children, but their acts are like those of children! both good and bad! and well! I had one or two call me daddy, and I have been known to ask who's your daddy now (LOL).

hilarious. you're quite a buffoon, aren't you? but i'm interested in what motivates this contempt, this hatred, for thais. don't they go along with your paternal diktats? don't they heed your fatherly advice? love to know ... it might even help if you unburden yourself.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby NorDevil on Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:40 am

To be honest I have just about given up trying to understad Thai-ness.Most of my frustration is towards this newspaper.When I first arrived in Thailand in 2003 I had already been to 43 other countries.I have always loved NEWS either in newspapers or on Tv.Censorship is something I thought belong to counties with dictators . . . . not Thailand . . . . but boy have I been proven wrong.I started reading Bangkok Post because I found it easier to read than the Nation.I started getting interested in the posts from the readers.I have worked in Tv and Radio in my own country and have also been in politics and tradeunion work.I was the leader of the local party of my country's 3rd largest party.I started writing my views but was quickly jumped on by Bp.How can we learn about Thais or Thais learn about farang when newspapers sencor anything they dont like ? In most places I have been to it is perfectly legal to call a spade a spade . . . . but not here.Try to say anything negative about Thailand and you get a warning however true it might.Going by the guidelines they still dont approve a comment if it says anything bad about Thailand.I wrote a comment about the latest poll concerning the risk of an oilspill.
Looking at what is happening in this country I will agree in part . . . I will never understand Thai-ness.Just read about Viktor Bout,the 3G flopp,airportscams and airportparking,sigarettepolice that is blind if a Thai drops all his garbage in the streets but go ballestic if a farang drops a piece of paper . . . . . . I will stop trying to understand why when it is illegal to sell sex or porn that you can buychild and animal sex Cd's/DvD's openly anywhere in Bkk or Pattaya and also go and look at sexliveshows in Patpong . . . . . mayeb we should all garee that to understand Thai-ness is an impossible thing to do.The worst part is that you can not even trust the newspapers to neutral and print the truth.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby gerry on Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:24 pm

I'm a relative newcomer - I've only lived in Thailand for 2 years, but I've been married to a Thai for 3 years. I've no qualms about admitting that I do not know "Thai-ness", if we are defining this as an intimate knowledge of Thai culture and customs. Perhaps, I never will do, but equally, I don't feel under pressure to either.

Yes, I have been learning the Thai language (slowly), and the alphabet. I've read up on Thai history and I follow the current events. I frequently discuss Thai politics with my wife. But I'm a Westerner (Scottish to be precise) and always will be. My experience with Thais is generally very postive, though - "ah, Muang Whisky" is a favourite response when I say where I'm from.

But if a Thai feels that as a Farang, I will never truly know about their culture, then I have no issues with this, even if it is my wife's opinion. It is a simple matter of tolerance and gradual learning. As a Westerner, I like to think that I can contribute the postive side of my native (European) culture in whatever way I can, without being arrogant or condescending (that last bit is the real challenge! ). The most obvious being the rationalism and logic that has been part of our culture since the Ancient Greeks. On the other side, we should be ready to embrace the warm and pacific nature that is inherent in the Thais.

One of the ironic things I find about Thai culture though is its readiness to absorb foreign influences (which are then morphed into Thai versions). It is anything but xenophobic.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby clipper461 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:25 pm

I have been wandering Thailand for eight months and I just love the Thainess of the whole country. I know it is there, I admire it and wish I could belong to it but the eliminating factor for me is that I was not born Thai.

I was not indoctrinated from birth with the Thai thinking so I can never be a part of the Thainess. Farangs think outside the box while the majority of Thai’s don’t even know they are in a box, and how nice that must be for them!

If you can understand that you will only ever be a farang in a Thai world, all will be fine – I have seen too many long term ex-pats that are resentful because Thailand hasn’t changed to suit their needs. The country was the same before they arrived and hopefully it can remain the same long after they are gone.

Sadly it won’t, too much western influence joins Thailand everyday and you only have to look at the under 25’s to see that the future will be anything but Thainess.
As for Thailand being all about money – what country isn’t? I am from England and it cost’s an arm and a leg to even wake up there. All types of corruption take place there as they do in many countries, the only difference is that Thailand is more blatant and up front about it.
I love Thailand and want it to stay the same so please please please Long Live The King!
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby Ian Wensor on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:24 pm

Having lived here for 10 years and observing the Thai way, I've given up hope of trying to set better examples because the Thais way is obviously ingrained, based on self preservation and the principal of heaven take the hindmost... If one's astute enough, they'll realise those plastic smiles are merely charades and camouflage and, with the exception of their own families, they'll work on all others ... AND DO UNTO THEM - BEFORE THEY IN TURN ARE DONE :twisted: :lol: :twisted:
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby mnealer on Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:45 pm

As a British citizen now living back in the UK, I feel that the whole world can learn something from Thai-ness as well as Thai's learning something from us. Britain right now is in a complete mess and has far too many scroungers pulling the country down, and far too many silly laws that make life a struggle.

My wife and I have always said that a perfect place would be to take half of so called Thai-ness and Half British-ness. Thai's are hard working, happy and at peace with themselves for most of the time, but lack some basic understandings of things that are obvious to Westerners. We on the other hand are rarely happy, have bad work ethics caused by our own greed and sloth, but we fight against things that matter and like to have a deeper understanding of events.

I see some posts railing against Thai-ness, but there are things that I find amazing. For example, after the protests at the airport, the protesters cleaned up and helped get the airport working again. NO Britain or US citizen would do that. They would rally, shout, drop litter everywhere, break into shops and steal. Then return home and feel complete at their participation. I just feel disgust when I see protesters shouting abuse at Policemen and breaking shop windows.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby theodoric on Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:56 pm

Just wanted to add my perspective. I'm a Thai-American, and sometimes I really wish I wasn't.
When I tell people I'm Thai, here in the States, if it's a guy I'm talking to, very often I'll get asked about the "available" women. Or maybe he knows some other guy who made a trip there and had a "really good time", if you know what I mean. To be from a race that is known around the world first and foremost for generously furnishing sluts for the enjoyment of white men; that's what it means to be Thai. When I visited Thailand recently, I saw a lot of you farangs with Thai wives and not much to make me proud of my ancestry. I mean, the most impressive thing I saw was the ruins of Ayutthaya and those were all built 300 years ago. So the lesson -- be thankful you were born a farang.

Thinking about race too much always leads you to a bad place, the whole "us vs. them" mindset, the darker side of human nature, but with this whole issue of farangs in Thailand this is inevitable because race is so obvious, i.e. there's such a difference between the experience of a farang in Thailand and the experience of a Thai. And the fact is that from a Thai perspective, people who do not look like you are coming into your country and taking your women. And given that so many of you farangs are sex tourists and pedophiles, what I don't understand is why Thai men allow it to happen. I'm not a violent man at all, but as a Thai-American the thought of sex tourists polluting my country of ancestry makes my blood boil, as I think it would for any of you. So here's another aspect of Thai-ness that you all shouldn't forget --- laid-back .... to a fault.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby expatuae on Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:47 pm

This really is a mindless discussion. For starters, there is no single "Thainess"in Thailand. There is more than one culture here, just like in every other country. A Northern Thai has a different culture from a Southern Thai. There is no single rule book for what a Thai should be, and if there was, most Thais wouldn't play by it.
I've been in and out of Thailand for the past 20 years and have lived here for the past 6. I love it here. I don't care if I ever understand the people completely. I don't even understand the people in my own country, the US. What's the big issue?? I think all of these people that can't get their heads around not being able to understand every aspect of Thai culture should perhaps pack it up and go back to their own country.
Also, one writer said that they had had very few experiences where Thai's were nice to them and it didn't involve monetary gain for the Thai. It must take a a very miserable and mean individual to experience that kind of behavior. On the contrary, I have good experiences with the local people here every day and almost none to these encounters involve money. All I do is walk outside and smile and people smile back. I show friendliness and kindness and reap a return a thousand times more. This is a great country with great people, who truly have love for their fellow humans in their hearts. That's why I live here and not in my home country. I don't have to worry about being robbed or shot in a drive-by like I would in any major US city. Bangkok's the best city in the world and Thailand is the best country. I've been in a whole lot of countries in my life, so that opinion is coming from an expert.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby stefanbkk on Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:41 pm

Wow, there's a lot of pages in this thread! :-) I skipped a few to get to the end, so let me know if I am rehashing old thoughts...

I have been here for 9 years. I love my life here. I teach grade three boys and girls and have a blast every day doing it. I feel like I'm really making a difference in their lives. But there are some things about daily life here that bother me... and if this means i don't understand Thai-ness, then so be it, but here goes:

Being invisible in line at 7/11 as people step in front of me, and the cashier and all the customers looking at me like I'm a martian if i react with so much as a raised eyebrow.

The trying experience of being invisible on the sidewalk as I dodge people left and right, who are either too wrapped up in their mobile call, or are just oblivious to anyone around them.

Walking into my condo with an armful of groceries, just to have the door dropped in my face by the gentleman or lady who entered in front of me who are, once again oblivious to my presence.

Waiting in front of a pharmacy counter for 12 minutes while the guy behind the counter chatted on the phone (yes, he saw me when i first came in) only to finally tell me after ending his call that the pharmacy is closed.

Being blocked in by a wall of Thais when the BTS door opens, and their scornful stares when I attempt to get off the train before they get on. To be fair, it's not only farang who get mistreated. I once saw a very pregnant Thai woman get elbowed in the stomach by someone who absolutely had to get on the skytrain before the woman could get off. Nobody batted an eye.... except me... and all that did was bring on that stare. You know the one. The one that says: "Oh no... what's the farang angry about now??"

I'm alone on an elevator. The door opens and when Thais see me in the elevator, they wave me off... apparently deciding that it's better to wait for the next "farang free car". Now this doesn't always happen. But it's happened enough for me to recall it for you now.

I have high speed internet in my building. Sometimes when we have a power outage, the internet needs to be reset in the office downstairs. One Sunday morning, after an outage, I went down to ask the lobby guard if he could go in and push the reset button. As he sat there reading a comicbook, he looked at me and said "Oh, can not. I not know how to fix. Wait till tomorrow." Well I didn't want to wait till tomorrow. And I knew the problem was so easily remedied. So I told him there was a bottle of whiskey in it for him if my internet got repaired right now. He was up in a flash and into the office... where he SUDDENLY remembered how to reset the system. Then he came out of the office and walked up to me with his hand out and said: "Want whiskey". So basically... he knew how to fix the problem, but was not the least bit interested in investing 45 seconds of his time to help me until there was something in it for him. Was I angry? No. Was I sad? You bet. (BTW... I thanked him and got him his bottle of whiskey. Pity I couldn't have gotten a thank you in return.)

Going to Dreamworld for the first time... or to Koh Samet only to discover that I will be paying more than double the admission fee for the same "Dreamworld experience" or to lay on the same beach under the same sun as my Thai counterparts. Why, I ask? "Because you are farang. You have more money. You should pay more." Is that REALLY how it's supposed to work?

Making a date to meet a friend for a movie at 7:00pm. You call him at 6:15 to confirm. He says he's on his way and to "buy the tickets to get good seats". Then he shows up at 8:15 to find you sitting in the lobby holding 2 now-useless tickets, a cold tub of popcorn and two watered down cokes. "Sorry. I was talking to my friend. You angry?" Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh no... not at all. Popcorn?

Constantly encountering people who make it clear after a very short time (either by word or action) that they only want to spend time with you because of what you can do for them. I teach adults part time at a language school where I have a class that I've been with for a long time. We were talking about Thai/Western cultural differences and I flat out asked them if a Thai could ever REALLY love a farang. In unison, they answered: "No. Not really. Not possible".

Now I realize that I will most likely get verbally crucified for my gripes. Yes, some of them seem quite small and insignificant. But when you encounter them day in and day out... year after year, the minor annoyances tend to be the ones that bug you the most.

So there is my quandry. I DO love my life here. I love my job.... maybe more than I've ever loved a job before. I like the weather, the energy of the city and such. But there are times when I feel sooooooooooooooooooo unwelcome. I'm made to feel like a selfish jerk for expecting the same common courtesy and acknowledgment of personal worth which I make an effort to extend to others daily. It's a constant battle NOT to become bitter. And sometimes I feel like I'm losing the battle. I guess I could go on but I think I'll stop. I'm sure I already sound like a whining brat.

But I DO fell better for venting. :-) Please don't judge me too harshly. Maybe I DO expect too much? But I guess I feel "mai pen rai" isn't always enough. :-)
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