America bashing at Esplanade Mall

America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby gohmer on Sun May 09, 2010 1:27 pm

I putting this post up because it is related to international relationships with American citizens living and visiting Thailand. It illustrated to me that little is known about America by most people in Thailand, in fact, I think that few in the world truly understand what America is about and how it is tied to Thailand's economic and political success.

Americans are often accused by foreigners as being "Internationally ignorant". Well, I even because, as a joke, introducing myself as "an internationally ignorant American" when Europeans would ask me where I'm from. They all got the joke. However, what I truly believe is that it is Europeans and Asians who are ignorant about America. Our society, government, politics, economics are just too "foreign" for most Europeans to get. Their history just doesn't allow it. However, this is my little story about America bashing at Esplanade mall and not about America.

Yesterday I was in the Esplanade shopping mall when I passed a retail shirt store that prominently displayed a t-shirt with a hand "flipping-the-bird". On the middle finger was painted the American flag and on another part of the hand "America" was written clearing stating "F-you America". Now, I am one of the biggest proponents of free speech, and even in America the US Supreme Court has ruled that desecrating the American flag is a form of "communicative speech", which is covered by our constitution allowing free speech.

However, I thought, "how insulting, arrogant, and unappreciative". 700,000 US citizens come and spend money here as tourists every year and many of us live here and shop at Esplanade. I could go on a long rant about how many times America has aided Thailand over the past 70+ years, and the proof that we have had a great business relationship is the fact we are simply the only country that has a special treaty - "Amity" - allowing Americans to own 100% of a business here.

So, as my right to exercise free speech, I am going to ask all Americans, and Europeans (if you think it would be offensive if they had your country's flag on the hand) to boycott the Esplanade shopping mall, not just the retail store as that would have little impact and they would not even know it.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the store, but it is the only small shirt retail store directly adjacent to where you purchase tickets for the cinema.

I have written the American Chamber of Commerce of Thailand for their support as well as the management company of the shopping mall, in hopes they might excerpt some influence on the retailer to remove the shirt from the display window.

I believe it would be in good taste, show consideration for American shoppers at the mall if the shirt was taken out of the window and placed on the racks. I would never suggest that they don't have a right to sell what they want, but if they think that bashing America is a good marketing strategy, I would have to take issue with that. While many, even Americans, might find it funny or reflective of their sentiments, not many are brazen enough to buy and wear it, so all it does it promote bad will with the store.

- Insulted American
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby Jefferson on Sun May 09, 2010 1:34 pm

WOW!........as another American, may I respectfully suggest that you recall the concept of free speech......whether or not the speech is insulting does not matter. Free speech means free speech, not speech that you and others approve of. Chill out.......and simply do not buy the shirt.

Some Americans just might think that this post gives all Americans a bad name.......so all readers please take notice: some of us Yanks are perfectly OK with this T-shirt, as it is, after all, merely a T-shirt. :lol: :lol: :lol: :cheers:
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby Na Fianna on Sun May 09, 2010 5:39 pm

700,000 US citizens come and spend money here as tourists every year


Is this a case of US citizens doing Thailand a large favour by choosing to come as you imply?
Or perhaps the fact that an everage earner in America can act like a playboy in Thailand and do (pretty much) what they like?

Our society, government, politics, economics are just too "foreign" for most Europeans to get. Their history just doesn't allow it.


I take exception to this. Quite a ridiculous remark. I've lived in America and met many wonderful Americans however statements like this are what perpetuate the 'Dumb American' stereotype.

Pick up your closest 'American History' book.
Go to the end.
Flick back 5 chapters.
This is the point where our histories diverge.

Edit to say: I'm European

I could go on a long rant about how many times America has aided Thailand over the past 70+ years


Don't forget Thailands neighbours too!!! :roll:

So, as my right to exercise free speech, I am going to ask all Americans, and Europeans (if you think it would be offensive if they had your country's flag on the hand)


Slightly. But then the rest of us Europeans and Americans realise that our \\ //// stinks too and we dont get up in arms over a T-Shirt.

I
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby wesway9 on Sun May 09, 2010 6:17 pm

Get a grip. Perhaps 99% of Thai folks cannot understand English, much less read it. Your underlying assumption is that the store personnel understand and support the message on the tee shirt, which is highly unlikely. Thai people love shirts with English on them (just try to find a shirt in Thai language). I have seen countless instances of incorrect English spelling, or English phrases that don't make sense, on shirts proudly worn by Thai folks who don't understand the problem. Relax. You are not in your own country; most Thai cannot read English, and regardless of that, American values and sensibilities do not apply here.

Posted by an American expat who has lived here 3 years.
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby trtrz on Sun May 09, 2010 6:20 pm

It just a rebel punk t-shirt, nothing serious.

I bet they even have those in USA.
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby Hard_done_by on Sun May 09, 2010 8:03 pm

gohmer wrote:...


Interesting posting gohmer,

You have one foot back in the states, and the other in thailand - now, I'm sure readers might find some humour if they try some targeted imagery, but the point is that you seem to have your values mixed up a bit - utube carries images banned in thailand, yet freely available in the us and yet you raise no objection here - the us flag is burnt as an expression of free speech in the us, and you accept it, but having straddled the pacific, you come to oppress a small t-shirt seller for doing something which would be completely legal (distasteful or otherwise) in your own country - you might see that your actions are precisely why americans earn the reputation you speak of.

[jefferson, you are expressly excluded from being classed as an american with such a reputation]
Last edited by Hard_done_by on Sun May 09, 2010 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby gohmer on Sun May 09, 2010 8:20 pm

I knew when I posted this I would get some heat. No problem, I'm used to it. Everyone had very good counter points and I appreciate it. I will only comment on Khun Na Fianna's comments:

America can act like a playboy in Thailand and do (pretty much) what they like


I'm married and came here to work for an American Company courted by the Thai BOI and far from a Playboy. Also, those that do come here, and there's 2,500,000 Europeans/yr that come here too, to be playboys couldn't do so if Thailand wasn't world renown for offering that type of tourism.

Pick up your closest 'American History' book.
Go to the end.
Flick back 5 chapters.
This is the point where our histories diverge.

Edit to say: I'm European


That's exactly what I was referring to. America rejected European elitism, autocratic rule, imperialism, etc from its beginning. For example: 40 million Germans, 15 million Asians, 45 million Africans, 30 million Irish, etc, etc all leaving those countries because of economic, religious, racial prejudices, and endless wars.

Don't forget Thailands neighbours too!!!


Again, read some history. Vietnam, Laos - if America hadn't been here, Thailand wouldn't have a Monarchy today, it too would be communist. Consider Thai history from 1970-1980 with communists. Remember the 1978 surrender of Thai communists. Also, America wasn't fighting Vietnam, it was fighting the Soviet Union's spread of communism and their mandate to end capitalism and democracy (something that has helped Thailand prosper since the end of WWII). Well, we won that war in 1990 and since then even China has turned capitalists - now look at their success. Oh, and by the way, we didn't start the cold-war. And, it wasn't America, it was France, that ruthlessly occupied Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia and stole land from Thailand for 100+ years.

we dont get up in arms over a T-Shirt


No you don't, because if you had a t-shirt like that about the monarchy, you'd go to prison, so dah!

Last points:

America has been a strategic partner that has helped keep Thailand independent for a long time. Even after WWII when your country sided with \\ ////, Fascists, and Imperialistic Japan, the French and English wanted to put Thailand under their rule, it was America that kept Thailand free from their colonialist tendencies.

America is also Thailand largest export market and 2nd largest investor after Japan in bringing new, high paying jobs to Thailand like the ones my company brought here that pay salaries between B45,000-95,000/month versus the B5,000/mo that's Thailand minimum wage salary (and they work 40 hrs/wk for that, not 60 hrs/wk)
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby gohmer on Sun May 09, 2010 8:28 pm

Hard_done_by wrote:
gohmer wrote:...


Interesting posting gohmer,

You have one foot back in the states, and the other in thailand - now, I'm sure readers might find some humour if they try some targeted imaginery, but the point is that you seem to have your values mixed up a bit - utube carries images banned in thailand, yet freely available in the us and yet you raise no objection here - the us flag is burnt as an expression of free speech in the us, and you accept it, but having straddled the pacific, you come to oppress a small t-shirt seller for doing something which would be completely legal (distasteful or otherwise) in your own country - you might see that your actions are precisely why americans earn the reputation you speak of.

[jefferson, you are expressly excluded from being classed as an American with such a reputation]


Americans have earned the right in their own country to do that, it is our constitution and bill of rights. If a Thai person comes to America and does that, he can. But if I burned a Thai flag, what would happen? What rights I believe in are American rights and privileges I own in my country, as does every person, citizen or not, in America. But when the country I'm visiting, working in, or a permanent resident of doesn't hold the same values, I see no reason to apply American values and principals to them, I should only have to apply their own values and principals, unless you just say what the f, and accept such hypocrisy.
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby gohmer on Sun May 09, 2010 8:29 pm

we dont get up in arms over a T-Shirt.


Oh yes, I forgot to ask...then why are people dying in Thailand over a simple color of t-shirt let alone what it says?
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Re: America bashing at Esplanade Mall

Postby Jefferson on Sun May 09, 2010 8:30 pm

Now, now HDB, not all Americans are like gohmer. Many have completely open minds about free speech. This is unfortunately a group that is shrinking, but nevertheless many Yanks honor free speech whether they get offended by it or not. The easy answer for gohmer was to simply not buy the shirt and move along.......but, ironically, he/she instead chose to exercise the right of semi-free speech allowed here. :D

In my experience, many Yanks would be offended by such a shirt but also defend the owner's right to sell it. :cheers:
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