Readers' Submissions

Acceptable Behaviour?

  • Written by Papa John
  • December 12th, 2003
  • 7 min read




I read Phil Mortenson’s submission “For Jiraporn”, and was extremely moved by it. His description of the slow demise of his wife brought a lump to my throat, and I bet quite a few of you felt the same way.

I can just about imagine how I would feel if a family which I respected, felt a part of, and presumed they had the same respect and friendship for me treated me like that. Devastated is about as close as I can get.

So the description of how he was treated by his wife’s family after she passed away brought me to thinking about what type of people the Thais really are.

I am not one to accept the usual stereotypes of different nationalities, (Scots and Jews are mean with money, Americans are loud and brash, Irish are stupid, etc.), but I am coming to the conclusion that maybe the Thais can be stereotyped in certain things because they think in such a different way from us. Of course the experience I have is mostly with Thai women, so I am not sure whether the men are the same.

Obviously not everybody will agree with me, and my conclusions can in no way be described as scientific. But they are based on my experiences of coming to LOS since 1996, and many articles I have read on this site over the years.

Stealing

This is one conclusion that I am not too sure about, because it could be argued that this sort of thing happens in many a country, however it does seem to be much more prevalent in Thailand.

I have read in these submissions about the guys who have had money and items stolen from them by the ladies who visit their rooms. One guy has made an art form out of hiding his money around the room, because he has also had money stolen from what is loosely described as the hotel’s “safe”. Phil’s treatment is another example. His wife’s family stealing items from his house, and finding his stolen microwave in his wife’s uncle’s house quite brazenly on display. An example of shameless thieving. And when they do not succeed in the theft they get angry with you, the victim.

There are numerous examples of this in the reader’s submissions, and it is not always the girls. Their families also are implicated in all sorts of scams. It seems to be prompted by pure greed, their worship of money, their lack of shame, and their ability to lie so convincingly.

Lying

How often have you been lied to when they know full well that they will be found out later, but again they have no shame. I think they feel they have won if you accept their lie, or give them the benefit of the doubt, although you point out to them afterwards that they are liars.

They will never admit their lies. If you give up on the argument and say no more you will get a hug and a kiss, thinking you have forgotten about it.
If you do not give up on it the result is anger and violence.

Also they will lie about the most trivial of things, and you wonder why they lie about such a small thing. Give it some thought and you will realise it is simply to get their own way. Maybe it is to stay somewhere a little longer, or to go to a particular restaurant that you don’t really like. If they lie about the small things so brazenly, what about the really important things?

Shameless

I have mentioned a few times that they have no shame, and I am sure you can think of your own examples. If, like me, you have caught them out in a lie, or in treating somebody quite badly, what is their reaction? They do not show shame do they? When we are ashamed of what we have done we are embarrassed, we look ashamed, we may blush, we may apologise. You will never see that in a Thai.

I was last in LOS last month, and was taken to meet a girl’s family. I stayed in a hotel near the village, and visited for three days. Everyday I bought food and beer for them. I did not burden them in any way. On the last day when we were leaving her mother tied a kind of sash around my waist by way of a present. I was surprised because there had been no communication between me and the old lady, but I gave her the “Kop Khun Ma Kap”. My GF then asked why I hadn’t given her mother a present in return. I had not thought of presents being exchanged. I rummaged in my pocket, and gave her 500 baht.

To my great surprise and embarrassment all the family lined up and as I said goodbye they held out their hands for money. The adults and the children! They must have seen the confusion and disbelief on my face, but did they care? Not one bit. I can understand a little Thai, and I could hear them asking each other how much they got. Brazenly begging with no shame whatsoever. Can you imagine that happening in your country?

This makes me wonder about their personal pride. I know they are very proud of their country and their monarchy, but the average farang would have more personal pride than to beg from somebody, unless they were really down on their luck.

Add to all these “qualities”, the way they act when they can’t get their own way, their inability to accept any sort of criticism, and their inability to accept they can be wrong. I think it can only be described as extremely childlike.

As one contributor said in his email to me in relation to Thai women, “behaviour not too much different than you would get from a 10 year old.

And we think of marrying these women?!?!? What are we….CRAZY…?” I won’t give his name, but he is also a long time contributor with years of experience of Thailand.

Perhaps when all is considered we should think of them as children, and don’t expect any adult behaviour, then we will not be disappointed. Maybe we should not really be critical of what we consider as their faults, but just accept them for what they are. As long as you know what they will get up to, you are forewarned and must put up with it if you are caught out.

We can count ourselves lucky that we have a site like Stick’s where many people’s experiences are related, and we know what to expect. In actual fact some articles on Stick’s site should be required reading for all who apply to their embassies for a fiancé, or marriage visa. “For Jiraporn” should definitely be required reading to know what can be expected from the family.

Can you imagine marrying a woman who will lie about anything however trivial, so you can never have complete trust in her.

And you know the most important thing in her life ­ the family. You also know they are prone to steal. Therefore, she will steal from you and give to the family. You will have to keep any items you don’t want to lose under lock and key, and as for making her a joint signatory on your bank account!!!!! Forget it.

I wish all the best to the guys who are thinking of marrying a Thai lady, and god knows I have been tempted, but there does seem to be an awful lot of difficulty coming your way.

I admire the guys like Stick who are making it work, but I must tell you it makes me think more than twice.

Am I right about these things? I am not 100% sure, but at this moment in time I would not be inclined to take the risk. Tomorrow, who knows? I’m only human. I wish I could really listen to my own advice, but we do love the thrill of taking a risk don’t we?

Stickman says:

I like the way you talk about what I refer to as “misplaced pride”. Someone who has worked hard to achieve something should rightfully take pride in their achievements but someone who has cut corners, and cheated should not have pride. Yet in Thailand many people take pride in what results from all manner of questionable practices. The person who smiles because of the money in their hand or the gold around their neck, which was essentially conned, scammed or cheated from someone else, should feel no pride at all.
They should feel shame.

I truly believe that some of the horribly negative attributes that you have highlighted here cannot be explained. There simply is no valid excuse for such dreadful behaviour. Thankfully, it is only some Thais, and not all, who are like this.