Readers' Submissions

A Thai Living In New Zealand

  • Written by Jo
  • July 29th, 2004
  • 3 min read


Just writing to tell u that I really enjoy reading the contents of yr website. Well, what finally prompted me to write to you was when I found out today that you are from New Zealand!

I have been living and studying in NZ for almost 10 years now and I miss Thailand terribly. One thing that frustrated me most about living in New Zealand is that once I tell people that I am from Thailand, people immediately think of drugs, prostitution and corruption. The average Kiwi Joe bloke knows very little about Thailand. Most of the news concerning Thailand here is mostly negative, driven by the sensationalist media. No doubt that these things existed but it does not sum up Thailand. Occasionally I may meet a Kiwi who has been to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya or Phuket, and again think that they know all about Thailand inside out.

The reasons that I wanted to write to you is to give you an insight of what a Thai thinks – of New Zealand and Thailand. A Thais person that is being educated in the west.

New Zealand will never feel like home to a Thai person. Although unlike Thailand, we migrants may be allowed to own land here in New Zealand, the MAJORITY of the people here are not welcoming and many have an anti-Asian migration attitude, especially the Maoris as they feel culturally-threatened. I have never met a Thai living here that would consider New Zealand as his "home". No BS here. Scratch under the surface and this is the reality.

Prostitution is definitely something that I have been trying to get my head around, especially as my home is considered as the world's biggest hub for sex-tourism. When I was living in Thailand, I never knew this, and I still doubt that many Thais living in Thailand know that their home have this sort of an image in the west. One have to think of the sex industry in Thailand as an alien world that existed in Thailand, not entered and comprehend by most Thais and a world where the entered few rarely talks about when he/she leaves it (daily)- my best effort in giving an analogy of what the average Thais think.

I have been trying to understand why proportionately higher number of Thai girls do enter the sex industry. Initially I thought poverty was the major force driving these girls but realised it's not just poverty but a combination of all economics and social factors, so complicated that I don’t think no Social scientists in the world will be able to explain.

I think that the average Thais in the west feel frustrated and even angry by the reputation and image that we have gained. And the average EDUCATED Thais is not too fond of the farangs that congregate in Pattaya, Patpong and Phuket, even though we know that prostitution is also rampant through our own people. I would even go as far to say that some Thais even despite and HATE these sex tourists.

The first time I went back to Bangkok was a real reverse-culture shock. Took me a very long time to get accustomed to Bangkok again, and I remembered being very frustrated (almost Baa= crazy) being stuck in a Bangkok's traffic. But what I have learnt throughout these many years in a Farang's paradise is that Thailand is a paradise to the Thai people. Yes, even Bangkok with all its traffic, Patpong and pollution. No where in the world where a Thais feel most FREE and at home.

Not wanting to sound arrogant but if Thailand was as developed as the west and western high level of education was provided for all families, 99% of Thais would never migrate and leave Thailand.

I, myself can't wait to get back to Krug Thep. Not long before I graduate and return to the Land of the Free…..


Stickman’s thoughts:

It is always good to hear from Thais abroad, but it is a shame to hear that your Kiwi experience as not been as positive as it could’ve.

It is interesting to hear that you dispute what dome Kiwis have said to you about Thailand being known for drugs, prostitution and corruption. Like it or not, that is a side to Thailand which many tourists see. Quite unusual really, given that many Thais are ultra image conscious and hate people to say, or even think, negative things about them or their country.