By The Observer
Many of your respondents whinge endlessly about Thailand and Thais and / or how wonderful things were years ago. They often speak from a superior point of view and generally appear to hold the view that their particular Farangland is a better place.
Having worked overseas myself for twelve years in an under-developed country, it is possible to slip into this way of thinking particularly, if one doesn't remain informed about their country of origin. I returned to Australia to find a place that had changed so dramatically, that I felt alien.
We in the 'West' often imagine that our system and ways of thinking are the best. This may have been true in the past so far as organisational skills and some fields of scientific endeavour were concerned however, I would question whether our society as a whole now, is something to hold-up as an example to developing countries. If one looks at the deceit of our own governments, marriage breakdowns, lack of community, creeping poverty, crime rates and types of crime in the West, particularly the USA, it is hardly Utopian.
When working overseas many expats whinged endlessly about the shopping not being the same, how wonderful things were back home or, in years gone it was much better etc. If this is their feelings, then why stay in the country. Usually it amounts to two reasons: they get paid well-over homeland rates, or the way of life allows them to behave in ways that are not necessarily acceptable in Farangland.
Thailand has changed since my first visit in 1990 (change and death are the only certainties) however, these changes were brought about by forced western influence and to a lesser degree by westerners living in the country. Every Thai gets their daily dose of indoctrination through advertising about the great life that can be had if they follow the western system. So why whinge when they try to get their share of the spoils. What will be said by those knockers when Thailand eventually becomes westernised and all the 'Thainess' is gone. You guessed it – remember the good old days when…let's go somewhere else.
Much is made of romance and love by some. In fact romance the way the movies explore it is a relatively new slant on life, mostly manufactured by the movie industry in the twentieth century. This is not to say that romance should not, or does not exist, but merely that romance is a state of chemical euphoria that fades quickly without a true basis in a relationship.
The the bars offer an unreal world, foggy brains and an illusion to the punter that anything is possible – even true love. I wonder how many punters have taken the time to spend a few hours in a bar sober and observe some of the antics and behaviour of fellow patrons. Any wonder the bar-girls become hardened and thrifty. Certainly, many of the bar-girls are cheats and liars but aren't many of the patrons. Aren't many of the Farangland women the same. Westerners, which is culture induced, love blaming someone for their plight or misfortune. Wake up, a bar is a bar, a BUSINESS, to make money for all, the girls included. Bars are NOT introduction agencies. Some employees might have aspirations of love or life abroad but most do it primarily to feed and school family members.
I wonder how many good Thai girls, or for that matter bar-girls, have been jilted and mistreated by the chain of tourists with a few bucks in their pocket, acting like kings from distant lands promising farang utopia without any intention of delivering.
We seem to have forgotten "when in Rome do as the Romans do." The Thais have their cultural pressures to behave in a set way. If you want westernised Thais look to the western world but then you won't be happy because they behave like western women – true! For that matter there are plenty of Thai girls on the game in most western countries.
The Thais have changed because we, the West, have changed them with the advent of globalisation. They aren't on their own, as most developing countries have changed. In fact we have changed: fenced suburbs, more laws, language, accents, greater urbanisation, bottom-line worship, rural dam (water) taxes, higher crime rates, road rage etc. Many things have changed in our own societies that we never thought possible twenty odd years ago. So if The Land of Smiles has changed and the people aren't so friendly and accommodating, it is because they are catching up to us and adopting some of our not so good ways.
Thailand is not the only country that charges expats a different price for entry fees and medical. I'm not justifying this annoying practise however, it is a fact in many developing countries and Thailand is just one of them.
It is so easy to blame and criticise when we have, relatively, a bundle of money in our pocket and the host country's populace lives on a fraction of our earnings. How would we behave if the roles were reversed?
Some Thais do treat us as second class citizens but then don't many of us treat them with similar disdain. One only has to read some of the views on this site to see that some hold quite appalling opinions about Thais. One of the definitions I like that is trotted out from time to is "whores". Aren't whore users just as bad as the whores they refer to, or do they somehow think they are a cut above. It always amuses me that the "whore" knockers see themselves as not like the "whores". I have nothing against the "working girls" or their customers but please, if you use the service, don't take the high ground and denigrate the service provider.
So, to those of you who are the constant whingers, why not try to be positive for a change and enhance your life, as well as the Thais and other expats who may come into contact with you. Some goodwill might gain the same in return.
I maintain that for most foreigners living and working in Bangkok, it is better than ever. Improved infrastructure, more and more services and goods available, better English spoken….I could go on. Yep, the bars might not be the same and the smiles might not be so frequent – but I believe that other things make up for this.