Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
You came to Thailand for any one of many reasons. Tasty cheap food, fun loving locals, the endless summer, and of course the chance to bed the most impossible girl back home, an Asian. So now you have found your perfect soul mate, burnt out on the bar
scene, and have been here long enough to have forgotten all the reasons you left “home” in the first place. I have read a lot of responses to this subject over the last week, so here’s my two cents worth.
Why are you here?
1. The weather
If you hate the cold, wet winters of the Northern Hemisphere (as I do), you must live between the tropics (of Cancer and Capricorn). Get a map out and outline what countries lay within this area. Those are your choices. Everywhere else will cost you more in heating, clothes, cold medicines, etc. Forget about Latin America. It is full of thieves, and macho attitude. Africa is too primitive and diseased. So you have Southeast Asia, a bit of dirty India, and a slab of Australia. I have been to all of these areas, so I can speak from experience.
2. The girls
You have married a local (girlfriends and long term visas are tough) so why do you care? When living in Thailand, land of beautiful women, it is easy to forget just how bad it can be out there. Western women are overweight, pushy, and loud. (I am sure that there are some thin ones, but it is hard to see them) They are hard on the eyes and tougher in social arenas. They would just love to fatten up your nice little Thai wife so that she looks more like them. Doubtful? Just have a gander at the Asians already there. Oh yeah, after a few years of eating our foods, she’ll be shopping for the plus sizes, believe it. The old saying is “never take a flower from the garden, for it will surely die”. Or get fat and surely diet.
3. The Chaos
Thai drivers make you mad? Try the speeding macho idiot on California highways. Thai police shake you down? In the west everyone gets spammed, telemarketed, and hit up by all and sundry. The west just has more style. Doubt me? Check you mail, occupant. Stray dogs got you down? At least they are not chasing you down the road as in the west. Thai dogs have to be the mellowest I have ever crossed paths with. We train them to kill in the west, because there is always some junkie trying to climb in your window to rip you off.
4. Escape the drugs
That’s right. You forgot about the drug problem in almost every city of the west. Spay painted walls with gang graffiti. Guns everywhere, hard guy attitudes abound. Think we have too many tattooed skin head low life types here? This is just the overflow from the west. Go to a concert or sporting match and take your life into your own hands. Just don’t take your kids. At least most of the Thais are clean cut. Some people complain that the young Thai have an attitude problem. Hey, that’s what they said about us! You want unfriendly? Go to New York, they wrote the book, and it’s well distributed. When was the last time some Thai coldly stared at you with a “what the fuck are you looking at” snarl?
OK so you are tired of being an underpaid, unappreciated English teacher. Last time I checked, kids here look up to teachers (in general). It’s usually the teacher that lets them down. In the west, teachers are beat up and killed. The problem is that it is really hard to get ahead here in Thailand. This is not the American dream, where the immigrant becomes a millionaire. At least not very many. So if you are into getting rich and powerful, you are in the wrong country Tony Montana.
So I drifted around a bit and you’ve lost the plot. I will summarize why one should continue his stay in Thailand
1. Keep you girl (do you really think she will continue to love you with every macho idiot back home hitting up on her?)
2. Keep your girl happy (ever eat Thai food back home? At least here you can get a good burger.)
3. Affordable Lifestyle (it’s easy to forget the cost of heat, clothes, gas, insurance, going out, in the west. And housing is affordable given comparable urban areas. Bangkok is expensive, it’s a big city, like all big cities. I own a house in Hua Hin that would cost 20x more back in Hawaii. This is affordable Hawaii.)
4. Safe Lifestyle (do you feel safe walking the streets over here? Of course you do, people live in fear back home.)
5. Respect (Older people are respected here, Thai or Farang. Back home we are ignored at best, beat up at worst. It makes my day when a lovely Thai girl stranger smiles and wishes me a heartfelt “Sawadee Ka” for whatever reason.)
I would rather live a life where everyday was an event, than to know what to expect everyday. I love the chaos. Sure, I curse the drivers here, Hell, I curse them back home too. But here they let you in with a nod. Try that in Los Angeles.
I have been living in Thailand for five years, but coming here since the mid eighties. It isn’t perfect, but it is as good as it gets for this guy.
Great piece indeed and it goes as far to make one more than a little nervous at the thought of leaving!