I think often one of the biggest problems between Thais and Farangs is the inability of either to understand the other's point of view, thinking because their way is so easy to understand the other point of view must be wrong. I have finally begun to understand the Thai persona. It took me a year to begin to understand the Thai sense of “family” is stronger than what we Farangs understand as love and loyalty to spouse or fiancee or person we are in love with.
I fought with myself on whether to forgive and forget things that were unforgivable with a Farang woman. When my TGF took money from our joint account and gave it to papa because he needed it for the farm and promised her to pay it back in 90 days. She trusted papa, didn’t ask me, but told me the following week. That was a year and half ago. I still have no payback!
We had many heart to heart talks (she speaks English well and is soon to complete her bachelor’s in accounting) often requiring me to stop, think, ask questions of my Hawaii friends who have helped me to understand some of the oriental thinking that was so different from the Haole (Hawaiian for Farang) thinking. I now realize as much as my Paraya loves me, the most I can hope for is to be equal to papa but never ahead of him.
This was made perfectly clear when, for an engagement ring she chose a band that had 3 hearts, she told me the middle one was hers (justifiably the biggest) the two side ones represented papa’s heart and mine. Actually at that point I was flattered that I was now considered equal to papa.
After hounding papa for a year to pay me back the money he borrowed I figured a way to give me satisfaction and to allow him to save face. My Sin Sot is B100,000 of which B30,000 is paid immediately and he will pay me back B17,000 he owes me, the balance of B70,000 will be put in bank for his welfare but in my name, if he has legitimate need I will allow it, but drinking with buddies, carousing with loose moraled women will not be paid for by me from those funds. He has agreed to this, (using a interpreter). My GF was sure he would insist on B100,000 cash. In order to allow him to save face and me to feel comfortable, at the wedding, in front of the village I will give Grandma the B100,000 in big envelope and she will give it back to me after the ceremony.
Papa and I have finally come to terms, I am not just a ATM, I am the one that will provide for his daughter for the rest of my life (I’m 60 she 28), she is the one that will provide for him not me. I will give her an allowance monthly; she can do with what she pleases without having to ask me. I have no idea how much she will give to papa, and I don’t really care, the battle is over about me contributing.
Last time papa wanted money from me (to fix his motorbike) I refused, my GF questioned why, I told her because papa never showed gratitude, never smiled at me, just looked at me as a ATM who was going to marry to his daughter. She explained this to him; he walked over to me, looked me straight in the eye, smiled for first time and said “Thank you Bob”. I had told my GF to tell him my name was Bob not ATM (he never had called me either to my face)
Things are much better now, my GF understands, my future father in law understands and I have a much better understanding of Thai way vs. Farang ways. I will be moving to LOS 2 months out of 3 in 2005 and hopefully 3 out of 3 in 2006 and expect to share a wonderful life with my extended Thai family.
While I agree that some people do not understand the other's point of view, there are also many who understand but simply do not agree with it, nor can they accept it!