The Thai System – A Point Of View From A Thai
I am a constant reader of Stickman's website and have already contributed a submission here ('A Tale From A Thai'-11/3/2004). First of all, I would like to thank the people who sent feedback to me about the article. After I read 'The Thai System' by Codefreeze, I thought I should write another submission. As I am a Thai girl and do not have such behaviours as described in most of the readers' submissions, I find it is interesting to discuss about this topic. For those who have not read my previous submission, I am a Thai girl who is now studying for a Master's Degree in a town in Southwest Germany, and I have been here for 4 years already. I come from a middle-class family in Bangkok. My parents both were educated in Europe, and they spent many years abroad before they went back to get married in Thailand.
Three questions about Thai girls were discussed in the submission 'The Thai System', namely:
Why do Thai girls seem to be notorious liars?
Why do they seem to be so unfaithful?
Why are they so interested in Westerners?
Now, I am going into the details about my opinion in each question.
> Why do Thai girls seem to be notorious liars? and Why do they seem to be so unfaithful?
I do not know how many Thai girls that the author of the mentioned submission has met. Some Thai girls are liars, but not all. According to the website of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), Ministry of Interior, there are 31,936,547 female populations at 5/5/2004. See https://www.dopa.go.th (Thai version) and http://www.dopa.go.th/English (English version). And according to the CIA World Factbook (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/th.html), there are 22,362,085 female populations in Thailand aged between 15-64 (The information on this web page was last updated on December 18, 2003.). How can you say that 'Thai girls' are liars, when you only met a few Thai women? Or even you met 10 Thai girls and they all lied to you, you cannot make a conclusion at all that Thai girls are liars. In my opinion, lying and cheating do not depend on nationality at all. It is your misfortune that you happened to know Thai girls who have such behaviour. There are plenty of good girls in Thailand. But, if you only hang out at Nana, Soi Cowboy, Patpong, Pattaya or in the pubs or bars or meet girls from the chatroom, it is hardly to find a good one.
Moreover, I think this has nothing to do with Buddhism. The author of the article mentioned above also gave an example of a Buddhist poem:
When hungry, eat.
When tired, sleep.
When walking, just walk.
When talking, just talk.
In my opinion, the idea from this poem is that people should concentrate themselves only in the present. Think about what they are doing. As you see, Thais usually think about the life in the present. Having fun 'Sanuk' in the present is an important concept of life for Thais. Thais do not think about the future as much as Westerners do. And I admit that it is a disadvantage of not to be able to plan for the future. In Theravada Buddhism, one should think about what they are doing in the present and concentrate himself only on what he is now doing. That is why Buddhists practice meditation. If you can concentrate yourself at the present, you can effectively achieve your goal.
The idea of face is also considered important in the Thai society. That maybe the reason, why some Thais do not admit that they are wrong and just tell a lie to avoid losing their face. However, I have to mention again, not all Thais are like this. Although I am a Thai, I do not totally agree with the face concept in Thailand. It is hard to discuss something openly with the Thais, especially if they are older than me or have higher status than me (for example, my parents, relatives or teachers). Thais do not like to have conflicts. When they see that the conversation would make someone in the group lose face, they will stop the conversation. It is considered impolite in Thailand to argue with older people. Here in Farangland I can openly discuss my opinion about my work with professors without being afraid that they will lose face. On the other hand, if I do something like this to the Thai instructors, they would be very angry and think that I am rude. I would even get a bad grade in the exam in their class.
The author of 'The Thai System' also mentioned about the secret and non-secret boyfriend. He concluded that if a Thai girl says she does not have a boyfriend, then she is talking about a non-secret boyfriend, because the secret boyfriend does not count. Again, you cannot make a conclusion or generalization about Thai girls, if you only meet a few girls who are like that. It is again your misfortune to meet such a girl. You cannot judge all Thai girls based on your ex-girlfriend's behaviours or the girls that you knew. People are different.
> Why are Thai girls so interested in Westerners?
Are Thai girls really interested in Westerners as the author claimed? My answer is 'no'. Most Thai girls may think that farang guys are more attractive than Thai guys, because farang guys look different and 'exotic' to us. But if you ask educated Thai girls, who come from a normal family, and have a successful profession, who they are going to marry if there are two choices:
1. A Thai guy, well-educated, from good family, has successful career, not 'Chao Choo-Butterflying', good-looking
2. A farang guy, well-educated, from good family, has successful career, not Chao Choo, good-looking
Of course, the answer would be the Thai guy. Because it is not easy to carry out a cross-cultural marriage. Thai couples can understand each other better, because of the same culture and beliefs, and there is no language barrier. However, some Thai girls may choose to have a farang husband, because 'Thai men no good' as they say. Those girls may have bad experiences with bad Thai guys and think that farang guys are better. Something different is often thought as 'better'. Those girls think farangs are rich and they would have a better life abroad, without knowing the fact that Farangland is not a paradise. Farangs are not rich. The cost of living here is very high. Everyone wants only the best for himself (but wants to pay less or get it for free) without looking at people who are poorer or have inferior status. There are good farangs, I accept. But it seems like farangs' mentality is like that. It is one of the reason that I prefer Thailand to Farangland. Thai people are in fact have more things to worry about in our daily life, because the quality of life in Thailand is not as good as that in Farangland. However, it seems like Thais can 'see' through the heart of other people (=hen jai) better than farangs.
I do have Thai friends who married a farang guy and live their life in Farangland. They are normal Thai girls and have a good education. They all say that if they can choose, they would marry a Thai guy and stay in Thailand. Because it is not easy to live in Farangland. They had to give up so many things before they married a farang, for examples, their family and friends in Thailand or even their profession. Some of them say they will go back to live in Thailand when they are old or when their children already grow up. Love does not depend on nationality and you cannot choose to love someone.
Thai system and culture are definitely different from farang system. Nothing is better. Farang system may suit the life in Farangland but not in Thailand. Every country has its own way of life. You cannot judge another culture based on your culture.
Any feedbacks are welcomed.
Face is one area where east and west will never meet.