I read a lot of stories / contributions here that are sometimes shocking in their negativity. Although another reason they shock me is that so much of it rings true! This troubles me a lot. Am I gonna end up like that? Is my lovely girlfriend really a horror in disguise just because someone with more "experience" says so? Of course not.
There are a lot of things about the Thai culture that are ridiculous to us foreigners, sure. I try not to think about them sometimes as it makes me wonder why I am here but you should all think about Thailand in a balanced way. I have had some horrible times of culture shock and just wanting to go home. Then it all disappears with an experience of a Thai doing something very kind that would never happen in my own country.
Yes, they do believe they are the uncolonized race of Asia and are terribly quick to criticize other SE Asian countries / races without having arguments to back their opinions up but no one out there doesn't experience this in Britain / USA / Australia? Take a look at your own countries first.
I believe the main problem is that a lot of us (including me) come out here thinking Thailand is some promised land, some great place where everyone is happy and the girls are beautiful (well, the latter IS true!). Tell that to the poor bastards in the street with limbs missing or the kids that have to beg for someone else's profit at Chatuchak.
My point is that while i'm no expert on society's ills, Thai people are no better or no worse than anywhere else in the world. They have bad days too. They have problems just like those bad tempered idiots in your home country. Thing is, Thais hide it well (most of the time).
It can be irritating when they constantly tell you how great their country / food / etc is and that everything else in Asia is inferior and that all foreingers are "jai rorn" and Thais are "jai yen" (yeah right, that's why they can't wait behind you in the 7-11 queue!). I often wonder, if this is true why do they have to say it so often? Fact is, their food IS wonderful, the people ARE friendly, the females ARE beautiful and they are patient (sometimes). We just have this unreasonable expectation of these people.
Yes I do feel that things are stacked against me in this country sometimes. There are many things I don't like, but it's easy to feel sorry for yourself when you are far from home. I know, I've been doing it enough in the last year! There's always a bitter expat around to reassure you that all Thais are greedy and don't really like you. They only want your money and are liars and cheats. I personally have seen some amazing acts of honesty in Thailand. Ask your self, is honesty REALLY valued in your home country. Are people not terribly greedy at home too? It's a problem everywhere and I don't blame Thais for wanting to take money from some of the rude, dirty, permanently drunk foreigners I have seen around Bangkok. Thais don't respect you, huh? How about respecting them first. How some people expect to have an honest, loving Thai girlfriend when they flash money at girls half their age is beyond me. Yeah, how could that girl have gotten the idea that you had money to burn and no sense…?
If you want a real girl, get OUT of the bar girl scene. I mean, really out. Not just, "This one is different, she has a job." I am no expert but I have realised that there is another class of girl out there. Not just bar girl and nice girl. There are also any girls that don't work in bars that are out for a rich farang's blood / money. Hang around Khao San Road or some of the clubs. The place is full of girls that have jobs, but you wouldn't exactly want to take them home to mother and father! Of course these girls might lie to you. Again, there aren't girls like that at home?
That said there are many nice girls here. I have one. It took a long time to get to know her and it's not easy with a real Thai family's rules etc. But I know my girlfriend is a good person. That's the culture here I think. I'm sure it's possible to have a girlfriend that can do exactly as she pleases, a student far from home etc, but the fact is nice Thai girls are a different breed that nice girls in the west. They obey their family until they are of marriage age in general. Of course there are exceptions and good luck to you if you find one but i am happy to know my lovely girlfriend is not a Khao San money grabber and certainly not a bar girl. Oh yeah, another slightly obvious but usually ignored piece of advice is……it helps if the age difference isn't completely embarrassing! Maybe you should just hang a sign around your neck reading "ATM". Anyway, Thailand is a great place for me, although I have been known to describe it differently now and then.
I always think about something a guy told me in Samui about people in Thailand when someone was enthusing about how great everything was here. "Thailand have good people bad people. Same same everywhere."
Never a truer word spoken.
I don't entirely agree that all countries are the same… Thailand has its good points and its bad and it is up to the individual to establish exactly one wants from life – and whether Thailand is able to deliver. I used to think Thailand could deliver largely what I wanted – and it can, but when it comes to one or two important things, Thailand is far from perfect… But it is still a great place, overall – but like everywhere, it is NOT perfect.