Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby JayL on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:45 am

ayamin wrote:i think it's patriarchy. it's heavily appeared in Thai society but it's not that less abroad, i think?


I'd say that patriarchy exists everywhere in the world, only it takes different shapes and forms. Some are more mild (say, North American countries or Europe), while some are more explicit (Iraq, Iran, Syria, to name a few.) I can definitely say that it isn't exempt from Thai culture either. Growing up, there were things I took for granted in Thailand, such as how I was expected to treat women. Only when I had to live in a different country did I realize how degrading, if not selfish, it all was.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby OzGeoff on Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:16 am

sawadee krap Kun ayamin

"OzGeoff -- ^-^ thanks for inviting, let's do that if you come to Pattaya!"

I have thoroughly enjoyed your writings and look forward to your invitation. But how to contact.

:cheers:
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby Chmiroau on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:52 am

I too am married to A Thai woman. She is a wonderfully caring person, a great cook and a great mother but she also exibits all the facets of Thainess.

I cant even begin to count the times that I have asked her to change the way how she does something, like leaving dirty nappies around the house. Every time I ask her she feels like I have insulted her, she states that she is not a good person and she never gets anything right. As I say, this has happened hundreds of times, so my patience has worn very thin. Sadly this kind of behaviour from my wife happens in so many different ways. Pronunciation, house work, remembering where she put things, ect. I must state for the record that I do truly love my wife, she is a great person, just that she displays the true essence of Thainess, and that is the inability to learn from past actions and the excuse-ability of actions by saying I didn't mean it.

I see this everywhere. Thai people doing things the way they always have, always having the same problem over and over again, it's like the proverbial mouse in the running wheel, always making the same mistake.

It is my personal belief that Thainess comes from the Thai language. Thai language is a very simple language. It has simple present tense that is augmented with time phrases to imply past, future and continuous. There is no part of Thai language that rivals the English languages to predict the future or learn from the past. As a psychologist and English teacher I have found it easy to see that the more educated a Thai person is and furthermore the higher their ability with the English language, the less this enigmatic Thainess is present in the person.

So, it is my belief that this Thainess comes from a language that is not able to provide the necessary linguistic skills that a person needs to fulfil their ability, easily demonstrated by the fact that countries that have English as their official language are (and history tells us), more successful, innovative, inventive and have much better living conditions.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby mutley on Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:53 am

Yes chmiroau, same problem different wife. They do not seem to learn from past experience. Take my blocked drain for example. Five visits by the Thai 'plumber' resulted in exactly the same thing being done even though it was obvious that it wasn't fixing the problem. In the end I did it myself. (It was full of old building rubbish just shoved down the drain by the house builders). My wife was amazed. "But you are not a plumber so how did you know how to do it', she said. 'Farangness', I replied having seen this thread before. I can't agree with you about the language though since most of the rest of the languages in the world apart from the latin based ones are the same regarding verb forms but not all the people suffer from the same attitude as Thais. I blame 'mai bpen arai'. Sometimes it DOES matter.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby vamphyri on Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:23 pm

Thai people and Thai culture are a bigger assett to the western world more than anyone could imagine. The Western world has forgotten how to "live". Most westerners cannot comprehend why Thai people are the way they are - they are pure and us westerners only believe in greed. This is why farang will never understand or become Thai-ness. "Farang cannot know Thai-ness" how stupid a topic. OF COURSE THEY CAN'T - THEY ARE NOT AND NEVER WILL BE THAI. I am a farang and I am learning alot about Thai people and their culture by living with my Thai family in the South far from the tourist areas - but I know no matter how much I learn I will never know true Thai-ness but I can try.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby O000o on Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:54 pm

I keep on thinking that TO KNOW Thai-ness can not be mistaken with to UNDERSTAND Thai-ness. Any one with a bit of brains soon or later can understand anything. Other different issue is to deply FEEL Thai-ness exactly in the same way Thais do. I think this is exactly the same for every foreigner in every country. Obviously a a Portuguese and an Spaniard will be closer to feel / understand each others than a Anglophone and a Thai. Yes language matter, landscape, history, everything matters.
Lets Look at the Dutch, they have a kind of primitive form of tribal German as a language, as basic as the Thai, and they are creative as far as there is no surprises ( then they get really block, I guess if there is no mountains you always expect to know what is on the horizon). A french person living in Amsterdam for a long time will always understand why Dutch do the thing the way they do it, but probably never will feel/understand the deep need of ensuring a plan for every step. The same way a Dutch living an married with an Spaniard will never feel/understand the need of spending more money in lottery than in insurances. I guess that's the beauty of intercultural relations. To say that Falang can not understand Thainess is almost a racist insult. I understand, I dont have the same emotional relation with thainess as thais do and very often I don't agree with certain way of behaving, as in Germany, Spain or where ever. In the other hand I seriously think that the general non understanding of the Anglosaxon farang of thainess and the other way around basicallyhas something to do with insularity. ( yes being the UK islands and Thailand not geographically but mentally). Sorry for my english grammar , Mai pen lai. :cheers:
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby Spinoza on Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:19 pm

Dear Vamphyri et al.,
I agree with most of what you've said. Part of the definition of Thainess (khwaampenthai) is probably that "farang" (or all "chao thaang prathet") can never understand it. It's in fact a form of circular reasoning. Thainess seems to be a national myth, created to shape a self-identity and keep "others" out. On the DoingBusinessthailand website it's defined as:"... the idea of a common collective identity which is based on the three common elements that is to say, Thai language, Buddhist religion, and Monarchy which all Thai people share." These pillars were strongly emphasized during the era of ultranationalist PM Phibun Songkhram (mid 20th century and WWII). The problem was and is that Thailand has neither one single language or ethnic group nor one single religion. Though Thainess may have a soft and warm feel to it, it does exclude Malay Muslims in the South, ethnic groups such as the Mon etcetera and their languages, and also us non-Thai born. It even degrades phaasaa Isaan. Nice for folklore, but not nice as a daily reality.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby jung on Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:28 pm

There is no such thing as Thainess and there is no such thing as Farangness. This forum is packed with stereotyping and prejudice. If someone's wife leaves dirty nappys around the house and feels insulted when told off, it is not because she is Thai but because she is she. The same goes for other behaviours complained about. What makes me sad is all the condescending attitutes to others expressed in the posts. What I see here, I would call "racial prejudice".
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby khunatm on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:01 pm

Unfortunately as has been mentioned 98% of all Thais will never read this blog ergo no dialogue.This is a shame.It would be nice to have some conversations with the Thai people. Unfortunately no dialogue.. no meeting of the minds and isn't that after all what the powers to be want?? Warren Buffet is credited as saying " if you are in a poker game for twenty minutes and you do not know who the "mark" is...then you are the "mark". So learn what the rules of the game are here and act according to your beliefs.

All cultures/religions/ brain wash their people. One mans racism is another mans nationalism.

I ask myself sometimes when I start whining, self; "if you had a million dollars (US) would you be here??" and the answer is yes I would be but then i wouldn't complain as much when i got stuck for an extra 20 THB...maybe. That's the price for being here. So lighten up boys and girls. There is no mushroom cloud on the horizon and the sun is shining.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby mutley on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:27 pm

My Thai wife's friends won't let me sit with them because I speak reasonable Thai. Wonder why? Thainess perhaps. If it is not fit to be said, then don't say it. Something else for Thais to understand about most western 'falangs'.
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