Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby ubuntu on Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:56 pm

"Thais expect ferangi to pay for meals and drinks whether we like it or not"

"If they have a windfall, they will spend it all and not save for a rainy day. There are many good aspects about living this way"

Let me say that almost all of my Thai friends either share the bill, invite me or I invite them when it is my turn. It is not a one way street and shouldn't be. Our demographics are similar, #education, #cultural awareness #experience living abroad, etc etc.

There is a subculture in which some locals seek / interact with farangs in order to obtain benefits financial and other. This is the most common relationship I have noticed living here. For me personally these relationships are not interesting at all and actually distasteful, but to each their own.

What is wrong with budgeting money, what is wrong with planning for the future? "Spending it all and being broke is a hallmark of chemical addiction (alcoholism, etc) in case some didn't know. It is a dysfunctional characteristic, well maybe not in the eye of the beholder at the moment of celebration but surely is at the "moment of surrender"

Education WITH critical/analytical thinking is the key to the future, for any country, any culture.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby nodomino on Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:49 pm

I figure that to understand Thai-ness you would first need to know what it is and my experience has been that it means different things to different Thai's depending on how they intend to deploy it but in general it is a negative charge used to deflect a word, deed or thought that would or could cause damage or danger within the Thai community. It is to me very reminiscent of what was called the mysteries of the church which as a child growing up in a small rural catholic community many years ago was used to fly over some of the more preposterous assertions of the faith that tended to wilt under scrutiny. The idea is that you simply had to accept with apparent approval these 'mysteries' or be relegated to the outer ring of the community and abide some degree of disapproval. It would seem that modernity overwhelmed this kind of society and the the penalties that could be imposed became trivial and finally irrelevant. That is not the case in Thailand. Here there is a struggle just beginning between modernity and feudalism in which ''Thai-ness' is a necessary defensive identity.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby Ian on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:47 am

Thais (male) have a simple pecking order of priorities, first and paramount comes self, then much lower down the scale family, unless it is a son. He has no friends in the western sense, just people he associates and drinks with, he will dump all and every if there is profit in it. If you think you have a Thai friend then it is because you are useful to him, either as a status symbol or your generosity. If you stop being useful he stops being a friend, I have lost several "friends" by simply refusing to lend them money any more, loans which evolve into gifts. His family exists for his benefit, particularly wife and daughters, they are his personal slaves, for use in the kitchen, the bedroom, and making money and running errands, boys are exempt. Every Thai has a mental checklist of superiors and inferiors, he bullies his inferiors and toadies to his superiors. It is not difficult to understand Thainess, simply study working class Victorian England.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby bobbyd on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:48 pm

by Ian on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:47 am

Thais (male) have a simple pecking order of priorities, first and paramount comes self, then much lower down the scale family, unless it is a son. He has no friends in the western sense, just people he associates and drinks with, he will dump all and every if there is profit in it. If you think you have a Thai friend then it is because you are useful to him, either as a status symbol or your generosity. If you stop being useful he stops being a friend, I have lost several "friends" by simply refusing to lend them money any more, loans which evolve into gifts. His family exists for his benefit, particularly wife and daughters, they are his personal slaves, for use in the kitchen, the bedroom, and making money and running errands, boys are exempt. Every Thai has a mental checklist of superiors and inferiors, he bullies his inferiors and toadies to his superiors. It is not difficult to understand Thainess, simply study working class Victorian England.


Wooonderful news! Looking forward to more uplifting stories on the fairer sex next!
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby JayL on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:42 am

I believe this has something to do with the issue:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shame_society

If there's anything "Thai-ness" can be notorious for, is the fact that we like to think of "culture" as a static unchanging definition. To be Thai is this, to be Thai is to have that, to be Thai is to behave like this, to be Thai is to follow so-and-so rules in conversation. Especially in the face of modernization, and outside influences, there is a growing insecurity even among natives that, at one point, no one will be fully "Thai" anymore. Except for those without the means to access web forums such as these, of course.

I use the term "we" because even a เด็กอินเตอร์ (Dek Inter - "International Kid") has Thai-ness in me. And I dare make such a claim because if I do not, I will be denying my upbringing, my existence, as un-Thai-like that very gesture may seem. My parents were diplomats, and ever since I was young, I traveled to different countries with them, studying both English and Thai at the same time. My parents tried exceedingly hard to keep me as Thai as possible - I read about the temples back at home, I am made to pray before I go to bed even though I haven't a clue what it means in Sanskrit, I am taught how to behave around different types of people, be it adults, friends, family, or guests. Even in different parts of the world my parents enforce on our household His Majesty's ideology of moderation; I was taught how to sing the Royal Anthem even though I've never been exposed to it until I returned home. I think they wanted to keep me from being one of the "expat" kids - seen intrinsically by Thai people to be those rich kids who flaunt their ability to be as Western as possible. If anything, I still have that lingering guilt as well that no matter what I do, I will never be Thai enough for those at home. At the same time, as I studied abroad, I will never be Western enough for them either, regardless of my ability to communicate in English. America had their own English as the British do theirs.

Well, that aside, the issue persists that, ultimately, "Farang cannot know Thai-ness" because the Thai people expect too much of foreigners. Just like the time when I was in the US, there was this expectation that I must behave accordingly to their cultural norms and traditions, and even like them as they do. Not too different here for foreigners: Thai people expect foreigners to speak, act, and even think on their standards, which is virtually impossible. Foreigners do not and will not have the years of being molded into what Thailand wants Thai-ness to be. Yet forum threads such as these exist because there is no sensibility for that. Thai people expect foreigners to reach into our comfort zones, when in fact the most foreigners can ever do is remove themselves from theirs. This is woefully unrealistic. More so is the fact that there is nothing being done about this, no sensibility being taught despite how Thailand gives so much emphasis on tourism and being nice and kind to outsiders.

It is no wonder why foreigners will never be treated as equal, no matter what country you're in (I know for certain I wasn't ever treated as such either, in the countries I've been to.) I post this entry knowing that the people who consider themselves real Thai people will likely speak out against me, perhaps saying that my ideas are too liberal. And maybe they are, but eventually, the issue has to be addressed that in the end we have to be the ones that change too. Thailand has to admit the fact that the very Thai identity is outdated and is creating insecurity within its very people of all classes.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby randall on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:34 pm

I want to first start by saying that having pride in your country, even to the point of nationalism isn't a bad thing.

I am orignally from the United States but the past 6 years I have been living and working in Kuwait, I met my wife who is Thai here, I know in my case it is a little different because my wife was an exchange student in the states, so she had been exposed to life outside of Thailand, but my main point is that for me everything was new in regards to her family and day to day life in Thailand, because she is from Nakhon Si Thammarat, which in my opinion isn't a tourist spot by any means.

Allright onto my view on the topic, I think it is not a "farang" thing, I believe it is an individual people thing, after reading the majority of the posts most people complaining seem to be in the wrong areas or are trying to compare Thailand to their home country, which is unfair on both sides. From my personal experiences even during our traditional Thai wedding which my family attended also, there was no crazy money given, there was money presented for show, but was taken out of the bank, used for the ceremony and given straight back to us, and it was actually from my wifes thai bank account. I might be lucky, but I have never had a bad experience, and I have even gone alone to local muay thai camps to ask if I could train, at first they looked at me strange, but I spoke to them in Thai, told them I was staying with my parents for around 2 weeks and wanted to train, they let me train for free, and 3 of the guys even invited me after to eat at another guys house, so I think it is all in how you handle yourself in sistuations as well. In the future I hope to be fluent in thai, and have children that will learn as much about the thai culture as they can, but I accept that I will never be "Thai" so I can see how people may say farang will never have "thai-ness".

Again my situation is different than most I read, also I don't go to bars, I don't drink, smoke, and am j, so it throws most people off when they first meet me, because I have tattoos and used to play in bands, so most thais think I am a "bad boy, bad boy".

I think it is how you interact and fit into a culture that matters, if you are expecting everything to be your norm than why should people go to any lenghts to accept you or observe that you have picked up on any native traits/mannerisms, I guess that is my view on "Thainess".
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby JoelBayan on Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:39 am

What a unfair opinion item. Bangkok Post supposed to be reputable paper? Farang can know Thai-ness, Chinese, and many other culture, business and political policies of many countries. To assume that Farang cant know Thai-ness is like saying Thai cant understand the world. You insult millions of people with this idea. I know how Thai treat Cambodians and Karen people and how they treat Burmese with your strict immigration policies that stifle innovation and economic growth. I know Thailand has highest AIDS percentage per population than other countries, excluding Africa.
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby JoelBayan on Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:21 pm

Farangs will never understand why Thai girls spend money on skin whitening cream to look caucasian. They are already very beautiful! Being white does not make you beautiful. It didn't work for Michael Jackson. Its also ironic how white people will spend money to go to tanning salon or lay in sun all day to become darker. Do we live in a backwards world?
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby ayamin on Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:49 pm

Ian wrote:Thais (male) have a simple pecking order of priorities, first and paramount comes self, then much lower down the scale family, unless it is a son....


That's ridiculous! Don't worry. As I am no racist (but I'm Thai), I would also stop being a friend to someone who stop contacting you after the attempt to borrow money fail. Many of Thai people who do not speak English well but are well educated would also do the same. one of my friends even say that "if you want to stay friends, don't borrow me money!"

I'd say to understand Thai-ness the most, it's best to study Buddhism with some of Thai history and Hinduism too. You will benefit a lot from that. All Thai-ness is from that...

Jayl, I feel for you. I always thought that these people in the middle would have that kind of thought and that's a shame. You should be accepted in any country though. You should just stay in some multi-international places, it will help.

Anyway, all of this is just perception, individual perception. I don't think that Thai-ness is that bad. It's just everyone has their own agenda. True that Thai-ness is outdated but it's actually now evolved to some modern Thai-ness that some Thai people would consider it to be no more Thai-ness. It is a fraction of Thai-ness between old-fashion and modern people.

I still think that this is the matter of individual perception and open-minded view.
The core of Thai-ness should still be the open-mind to any difference, kindness, to live sufficiently, smile...
All those greedy stuff that evolved along the way are just some selfish actions labelled as Thai-ness by some bad Thai guys.

for instance, the case of Thai wedding that someone mentioned in the forum, it is true to all Thai that the husband party should show gratitude to the wife family (for bringing up the girl to finally be your wife) by offering some money and to show that your family is secure enought to support the wife. the offering should be from husband but it could secretly from any party. The offering is up to the lady's parents to take or giving back.
So if the parents take all, would you call them 'bad' or that the tradition 'Thai-ness' bad - outdated?
Or if they give it back, is the 'Thai-ness' super cool?

It's just attitude and perception. Thai-ness is some value tradition that has been evolving from the past till now, it's still evolving so and will continue forever as long as there're Thai lives on earth. some part of Thai-ness is good some of it is super bad and non-sense (though it made sense at that time of history). Right now, many Thai people are more open to differences in society and welcome more modern Thai-ness but also many Thai people are still living in the dark and deny anything outside their concept.

Anyway, You just have to accept that Thai people are just like other people in other countries, they just have Thai-ness as a shield, a name for their reason of actions. If you understand this point, you can handle Thai-ness and Thai people well.

I just wish you all to meet Thai people who truly are Thai with open-mind and not that greedy.
OzGeoff -- ^-^ thanks for inviting, let's do that if you come to Pattaya!
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Re: Farang cannot know Thai-ness

Postby ayamin on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:01 pm

JoelBayan, What colors do you like? What sports do you like? I surely think that it's different from me. You and the girl just have different opinions, you all just like different things. Aren't it cool? I think that it's their choices to value that Whiteness that other value. If someone beside you likes to do so, just suggest them no, but if they don't accept your words, you just have to live with it, that's all.

Ian Also, that talk about selfish Thais (male)- i think it's patriarchy. it's heavily appeared in Thai society but it's not that less abroad, i think?
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