Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 79

  • Written by Dana
  • April 18th, 2005
  • 4 min read


FILTHY FARANGS?

"In front of his eyes, the rain came down in swift, slanting strokes–italic script across the unopened black cover that hid the secret hours that lay ahead." Ian Fleming

Sometimes it's all about social currency. Ian Fleming of the James Bond novels was an author making money for his publisher. So the above quote probably looks like great writing.

Really? Let's try this a different way. Suppose I had written those words. I am a nonpublished scribbler and I am not making money for anyone. I can easily imagine someone saying that the quote reads like overwrought comic book melodrama.

What's the difference? The difference is social currency. Ian Fleming had social currency so people assumed that what he said and thought and wrote had value. I have no social currency so people assume that what I think and what I say and what I write has no value. Same words–different currency.

If you have no social currency you are invisible. But it does not mean you have no value. It just means that you are not attracting attention to yourself in a positive or in a negative way. You may be doing many wonderful civic things but it is behind the curtain stuff. Anonymous contributions to the general good. I am getting really really tired of people beating up on farangs in Thailand. They don't behave well, they don't dress well, they don't mean well, they smell; ad nauseum–So lets get out the keyboard and start the beating. Another easy target for the mental midgets who imagine that fascism is a philosophy. I have been going to Thailand every six months for a long time and contrary to many peoples self-serving opinion of me I have been all over the damn country and participated in a large and random and representative bunch of activities. And everywhere I have gone I have run into farangs. Or foreigners. Or ex-pats. Whatever you want to call them. This is not unique to Thailand. There are over 300 countries in the world and there are foreigners living in or visiting every country. So the subject of farangs in Thailand is not really that interesting. But I am heartily tired of the beatings. It has not been my experience that the farangs of Thailand are markedly different than the foreigners in any other country and it has certainly not been my experience that the farangs of Thailand are markedly different than the natives of their own country. If one magnet is attracting gold and another magnet is attracting brass then maybe the difference is in the magnets. I spend a great deal of my time in the so-called (by someone else) ‘cess-pit' of South Pattaya and the farang men I meet there are in the main smart, kind, educated, reliable men. There is something self-filtering about the process of getting to South Pattaya in the first place. For some foreigner to be in a bar in Thailand he had to have a dream that he followed through on. That takes focus. He had to have a job so that he could save money. That takes skills and discipline. And he had to have a high tolerance for social bullshit once he got to the Kingdom. That takes maturity. So just as a minimum the average farang I meet is a skilled mature man with discipline who can focus on a dream and save money. These are not losers. These are life's winners. I love the fact that getting to Thailand is so difficult. It means that the guys I meet in Thailand are the winners. I don't know who these unhappy little whiners are who are having their lives cluttered up with smelly filthy farang. I'm meeting funny smart guys who I would allow to babysit my children.

If you are not really experienced enough to take sides on this issue I suggest you use the internet to read the Pattaya Mail newspaper. Any other paper in Thailand is fine, I am just using the Pattaya Mail as an example. You will be surprised perhaps at the plethora of stories and features and news by and about farang that are involved in charitable or beneficial programs for the community. Per capita Pattaya probably has the highest percentage of community interested farang and farang sponsored charitable activities of any city in Thailand. These are the invisible farang. The guys who go to meetings at night and talk about ways to raise money for orphans and hospitals and churches and amputees. In the pictures they are often wearing dress clothes and smiles. They are the invisible farang. The behind the curtain farang. Part of the backbone of the community. And there are thousands of them. They and their families and their friends and the people they influence outnumber the so-called ‘filthy farang' by numbers so great that it is not really an interesting conversation. These winners from other cultures who have decided to spend some of their time on earth in Thailand do not deserve the negative broad brush that is used by knee-jerk politically correct ignorant sensationalists. Beating on people is easy and fun; that is why it is so popular. Taking the time to get to know someone is harder; and it takes a grown-up point of view.

I'm proud to be a farang in Thailand and I am happy and glad to meet the other farang. Winners.

Stickman's thoughts:

I'm in NZ at the moment, so no silly comments from me on submissions for a week or two…