Stickman Readers' Submissions December 31st, 2003

Points Of View

By Foxy Nightdancer

Reading about the experiences of foreigners over here on your website has prompted me to submit my own views of things. What I say should not be taken as an attempt at generalization, but stuff for thought.

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A big age difference between couples is never desirable. If you are on the lookout for a Thai lady, try to pick someone who is a few years younger than yourself, but not too much. An age difference in excess of 15 years is a setup for failure. Does a guy in his fifties really believe that a girl 20+ (who looks more like 16) is in love with him? I would consider that a very rare exception. But if you want to believe it, you are welcome to do so.

Don’t forget the role of money in the relationship. Most Thais have never had much money to speak of in Western terms, and when they enter into a relationship with a guy who has, in their view, so much of it, reason may eventually go out the window. But you should also remember that many Western women are only in it for the money, so to speak.

Do foreigners really understand Thai economics and the way the common people live here? You can get a complete meal for 5 or 10 baht, and Thais are used to eat two or three such meals a day. And consider this. A schoolteacher in primary or secondary school has 6,380 baht salary a month. (Most of them live in lodgings provided free of charge by the school.) If his wife is also a teacher, they can afford to buy a house and a new car with the help of a government loan scheme. With this money they can afford to pay off the loan, send their children to higher educational institutes and buy the necessities of life, food, clothes etc. For most Thais, a salary of 12.000 baht a month is VERY high. For many Thais, eating at a 20 baht restaurant is NOT cheap.

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Thais are not individualistic thinkers, they are collectivists. This means that they consider themselves more in terms of their in-group (family and friends) than as independent individuals. The needs of the group take precedence over the individual needs. This is the reason why the girls always support their mothers. In a typical Thai family, the wife has control over the money, not the husband. A woman with children in her thirties and forties will often think about who will support her in her old age. In most cases, the women outlive their husbands and some fear for their future. But they do not demand or need much.

The real test of love vs. simulated love happens when you go out of money-will your girlfriend leave then? Not if she loves you for real.

There are scam artists in all countries, also here. Most foreigners come from relatively honest and innocent environments. They may believe that they are though, but you don’t get though by watching movies or reading action books. Most foreigners are not at all prepared to handle scam artists (in love and other fields) and are easy pray for the dishonest. But you should not judge all Thais as bad only because you have had a bad experience, because in most cases that very experience was created by your own naivety and inexperience.

Thais have a lot of respect for appearances and ceremony, things that are almost non-existent in Western countries in our time. In most cases, appearance is more important than content. Thais fear a loss of face more than most other things. You must take your time to understand the real culture and traditions of this country. This takes years, not weeks or months.

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Thais expect you to be different, but they will eventually judge you after their own moral code-because they know no other. Similarly, you will misjudge them in many cases.
If you want to understand Thais, you must learn to speak Thai. There is no way around it.

Say no when you feel that things are getting out of hand. If your girlfriend cannot take that, then she is obviously in it for the money only.

Try to see the situation from a different perspective by turning things around a bit. Imagine that you are a young man, and a stream of rich, elderly ladies comes to your country to have sex, even to marry a much younger man. They offer you something like a month’s salary for one night. What would you do?

Stickman says:

A lot of good advice which I agree with, though on the subject of money, eating costs, buying a house and car, I'm not in agreement.

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