Stickman Readers' Submissions January 22nd, 2004

Western Imperialism Will Win

Despite the nationalism of the Thais and all their policies to prevent foreign control of their business interests, Thailand will be conquered like all Asian nations. The Thais like to point out that they are the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized, and that may be true given their small oversight of their virtual surrender to the Japanese army. If this were not so, how do they explain their lack of resistance during the building of the bridge over the River Kwai? The bridge, built by Allied prisoners and slave laborers, was specifically for the purpose of allowing the Japanese to connect into Thailand. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the supposed “treaty” the Thais signed with the Japanese was not so much out of friendship, as out of a last ditch effort to avoid conquest. The Thais were quite happy when the American army came along and pushed the Japanese back. There is even the idea that the Amity Agreement, which allows Americans certain business ownership privileges via Thai companies, was extended as an act of appreciation that extended out of this “liberation” of a country that officially was never conquered.

In the same way, the xenophobic anti-foreigner business laws are often just a matter of smoke and mirrors. Look at the major mega-supermarket-department stores (Tesco Lotus, Carrifour), the slew of franchise food chains (McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Burger King), the slew of Western imports (media, goods), and you see that foreign ownership is alive and well in Thailand. Exceptions are made for most large corporations, as they are easily able to invest the required minimums to own foreign businesses. For foreigners that want to own land and homes above the allowable amounts a foreign “real person” can own, there is always the option of 30-year land leases and ownership via control of a Thai company. Even the majority ownership by a Thai can be overcome by a manipulation of the voting shares in a manner so the Thai owner has no real control.

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In effect, more of Thailand is foreign-owned than the Thai government would want to admit, and a lot of the major growth industries are ultimately controlled and dictated by Western firms. Throw in the Japanese interests and it becomes clear Thailand isn’t so independent after all. And here’s an interesting thought —- what if we threw in all the ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indian owned businesses in Thailand? While they are Thai nationals, they are definitely not of the same people as the “Thai” Thais, are they? If we threw the Chinese and Indian owned businesses in, the reality is that Thailand isn’t even controlled by the Thai people!

However, I don’t think this is why or how Thailand will ultimately be conquered by the West. In the end, it will be through the complete acceptance and promulgation of Western business concepts, social customs, norms, goods, and media. It is already happening. As one other Stickman reader has mentioned, the Thais don’t wai as much to Westerners anymore. We are becoming too common, and they are getting too used to our culture. My wife watched many of the same TV shows I did when I was growing up, yet I was in Boston and she was in a Thai village at the time. She knew about most American cable channels before she ever left Bangkok!

In the future, I highly suspect that Thailand will become much like the Philippines, which is almost like the 52nd American state. This is because Filipinos have a stereotypical reputation for droning all things American. In many ways, the Thais are droning all things Western, with “Amerigah” being the icon for all things Western. Furthermore, it is the lower class Thais that are the first line of interaction with foreign visitors, and they represent the mass of Thailand, given the reality that Thailand is still a developing nation. (Thaksin would like to convince the Thais they are actually approaching developed nation status. Perhaps this is true in Bangkok, but most of the rural areas, where the mass of the Thai population resides, is hardly developed.) This means the speed of penetration by Western culture will only spread faster, as it is the lower class, which is both the bulk of the population and the portion most suggestible to Western media, which is being targeted.

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Already we read about Thaksin making every mayor accountability like a CEO, talk of open trade with the USA, the Thai government’s acquiescence to American demands on piracy and curbing of the sex trade, and image campaigns to make Thailand a “Western friendly” destination for millions of farang families with kids that will demand Western malls, restaurants, and amusement parks to hang out in, while mom and dad visit expensive golf courses and spas. So many of the Thais are already sexual servants of Western punters. The future will likely be Thais becoming servants of Western tourists on a much more massive scale than they are now.

So this is the high and mighty master race of Asia?

I guess we found their weakness. They are just too greedy, not unlike us capitalist Western pigs!

Stickman says:

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Chuckle, chuckle. I'd love hear an educated Thai's response to this.

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