Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 75

  • Written by Dana
  • January 8th, 2005
  • 4 min read


Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes #75


ADULT–CHILD

Recently I was reminded of an especially astute and handsome farang (me) who had notated in an email a while back to a western man who was involved with a Thai woman in a hopefully mature way that the trouble with farang-Thai relationships was one of human development. The farangs were adults and the Thais were children. More and more for me this is the issue! You can only go so far with children and you can only expect so much from children. And the beauty of this for the child (read: Thai female) is that there is only so much responsible and mature behavior they can be expected to exhibit or be held individually or socially responsible for. They are children.

I was reminded of this recently in reviewing two new Thai sites that an email friend had turned me on to. Both sites are excellent and I would not have found them on my own. Reading the reader submissions or letters or posts from ex-pats or farangs of the shorter duration variety you are continually struck by the Adult-Child slant. The other thing that these sites reminded me of is how much we know about the Thais. That is really what I want to talk about here. There are now many excellent Thai themed sites for farangs on the web and the thing they all have in common is the density of the information. The information comes in every category but the most common thread of information relates to social commentary and Thai behavior. We actually know a lot about the Thais and how they think and how they behave. Since it is not particularly sexy to get too analytical regarding Thailand this isn't the sort of thing that gets much play on the net. But if you put on your western trained analytical glasses and read the sites for content we farangs know an incredible amount about Thai behavior. In fact, the point could be made that because of their often poor powers of introspection or unwillingness to ‘hurt the head' that we farangs in many cases know more about Thai behavior than they know about farang behavior. Normally, this situation would be of limited import but I am about to do the loop and connect the dots here.

It all has to do with the Adult-Child thing. Thais are not reading these farang sites so they have no clue how much many farangs know about how they think and why they behave the way they do. So their blissfully ignorant opinions of us are not disturbed by facts. The Thais think we know nothing and that we can be easily fooled. Every time they get us to pay 20 baht for a 10 baht item, or they are rude to us in public and get away with it, or they make some factless remark and get away with it; they assume that they are the dominant part of the relationship. What they don't know, what they can't know; is that we know exactly what is going on. Just because we don't go into an Asian paroxysm of rage over some issue of face, or pull a knife, or refuse to pay the inflated price; does not mean that we are ignorant of what is going on! We are simply playing a game of stamina and prioritizing.

Not every social slight from a child is worth going to the wall for, not every overcharge is worth pulling knives for, not every act of rudeness is worth the social and mental energy required to get involved with. In other words, this nonsense from these children is simply not worth our time or the raising of our blood pressure or the empty gesture of face saving or dubious vanity of proving them wrong and proving us right. They are children. Social reciprocity is not possible. Adult mature responsible behavior to get the right price or to get respect or to keep our dignity simply isn't worth the effort.

When I go to Thailand I am treated like an object by simple minded greedy children from the first day. And they assume that because I don't react that I am dumb. No Thailand I am not dumb. In your childish behavior you display your cards for all to see. I can read you like a book and I can spot you at a thousand yards. But I am in Thailand on a mission. The mission is pleasure. I am in Thailand to make myself happy. It is called a vacation. So I have the tunnel vision and limited social needs of the happy wanderer with enough money in my pocket and a return ticket back home to civilization. The fact that I have a brown stripe down my back from you shitting on me really doesn't bother me that much. I just consider the source. Children. So I'll keep coming to Thailand and you'll keep shitting on me. It is all part of the social mix. But don't think you are getting away with something. I know exactly how you think and I know why you do what you do. I'm a smart, educated farang capable of absorbing incoming data and reaching accurate conclusions. We are not equal. Some day I might be the president of the World Bank. Your silver tongued, smiling and waiing emissaries will be in Geneva asking for a bail-out loan for your government and your people. You won't get it.

Stickman's thoughts:

Perhaps it is something a little simpler. Perhaps it is simply that the locals who deal with Western tourists on a daily basis are fed up with many of us. But then again, perhaps Dana is right?!