Feedback From A Thai
By A Thai Guy
I'm Thai, male. My name's Tanut. (please bear with my English)
I'm reading your article, the working & living page. I haven't finished it yet coz it's so long, still I want to share my opinions as a Thai.
I'm really impressed that you know a lot about Thailand. You know Thai people better than ourselves. You even go travelling a lot than a native like me. (how envious!). Ironically, a foreigner gives me a clear(er) shot about Thailand. It makes me realized both good and bad things. Talking about bad things which always trouble my mind. Those are logically unreasonable and we, Thais, are doing them…..
But can't help it.. we are raised like this.. we have grown in this environment.. Something I've realized before and I'm trying to change my habits and attitudes.
I've been working in IT industry for 4-5 years all in international companies. I've worked with both Asians and westerners. I found that some 'Thai' habits or culture, whatever, are not efficient for working.
– Seniority & hierarchy system
Someone believes that they have more experience or in a 'higher' position, they are always right, so they don't listen to younger persons in age or work experience. because it's 'losing face' if you get recommended from younger (I hate this).
– Losing face
Many Thai workers don't even realized themselves. During the meeting with foreign colleagues, some Thai guys don't understand (by language problem). They still nod cause they don't want to 'lose face'. My foreign colleague told me that it was annoying but he knew that criticizing to someone's bad shouldn't be done in Thailand. Or you're proposing something against or better than your more-experienced colleagues or your supervisors, You can make them 'lose face'. As you mentioned, I can't even guess what they're gonna do with me.
– Gaining face
Someone try to do everything to 'gain face'. They absolutely agree with boss' ideas or policies. Even claming that my idea was his…. And you know, some Thai managers are stupid enough to prefer the likes of employee than working-hard type with bad self-presentation skill.
– Kreng Jai
Let's continue the previous example, the meeting, I believe someone do it (nodding) unintentionally because they're 'kreng jai' or something like 'considerate'. We do worry (too much) about other people, don't want him to get annoying or slowing the meeting by asking to repeat everything again. Come to think of it, staff works without understanding.. this is the real slowing progress..
– Fear of being center of attention.
For example, introducing an idea in the meeting, if the idea is right.. it's fine. If it turns into a bad one, this is called 'losing face'. It is exactly what you mention, feeling someone's looking, someone's giving me a score.
Sometimes I can think of a solution roughly, I introduce it and just want to progress the meeting. After discussion, that solution doesn't work and I can feel that someone's treating me like a joker or dumb. They don't even think that at least we can count this solution off. It's from both side.. One side is who's not brave to introduce an idea, the other side is who always laugh at other's false. This is same as dressing. I believe you don't care what you wear but if people around you look down on you by your dress…….. it's difficult to bear that, right?
Sometimes introducing an idea is considered trying to 'gain face'.
Asking many questions in the class are 'show off'. Someone with much self-confident is considered to be 'aggressive'. When I attend an interesting class (which is Sanuk :P), I'm curious and ask many questions (I also slows the class). Someone thinks that I'm trying to 'show off' to be a wise man or something…… woah! isn't that I don't know that make me ask? Come to think of it, If I don't really care how they think about me.. why worry????
yes… you're right about this syndrome and I'm having it. (Any suggestion to quit this?
I can definite how western colleagues work. 'Result-oriented'. That's simple and efficient.
Note that not everyone's like this. I've met many good colleagues in international companies. They're Thai and have good attitude. And not all the westerners have good attitude (at least I found some when I was working in UK for a short period).
Ahhh! It's taking long. Can I write you more? I want to tell about Thai education system that I graduated. I realize that it's terrible. It's pitiful to realize what I was doing during studying. T_T. It's not totally the system.. It was me.
I appreciate your wish for the better education. This country is my homeland, I love it. I also want to see it better. I want to help this country in some ways someday.