Readers' Submissions

The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking

  • Written by Akasha
  • September 7th, 2005
  • 9 min read


Thanks to all the people who sent me such positive responses to my first post, and the two rather bitter and abusive sounding gentlemen who emailed me and called me names. Only two emails that contained abuse!… I am very impressed! I am definitely NOT interested in man bashing (or anyone bashing for that matter), only observation and exchange of views and opinions…. I happen to like men unless they are cruel and/or dull, and even dullness can be excused in some cases! Criticising another group (or "bashing") as USAns like to call it is not really productive, and in my experience people who criticise or abuse a person or group for having a particular opinion, tend to lend that behaviour to other areas too. It's a symptom of something much deeper. I call it tribalism. Constructive criticism I'll take any time, but abuse is pretty childish.

I felt compelled to write a general response to all the submissions I've read, and what are, in essence, not only gender differences, but also culture differences. I can understand Ben Dover's frustrations at not being able to get across the simplest thing like ordering a thickshake!! But I think Ben would also agree that some of these Thai traits are the very things that make them endearing. (Correct me if I'm wrong, here, Ben!) This does NOT excuse things like renting out a faulty jetski, nearly killing the passengers in the process, then asking for 20k to fix the damned thing! By the way, Ben, thanks for being (mostly) evenhanded in your eloquent and funny posts, and thanks for such a gentlemanly response to mine! I certainly agree with Ben that much female conversation is in fact pretty inane. (Notice I said "much" not "all".

To the guy who emailed me (and I can't recall your name because I didn't read your email in full), once I read your sentence "Women are too lazy to learn to speak properly", I had no interest in reading further.

Stick often talks about the need to understand Asians in general and Thais in particular, and I agree. I've been to Thailand three times and now know that Thais are quite different in the way that they think, from the average westerner. What makes the world such a fascinating place, is that we have such diversity. Imagine a 'MacWorld" where everyone thought and dressed alike. That to me would be too Orwellian for comfort, so I guess what I'm saying is that while we should celebrate this diversity, it does NOT mean we should get "Rip off a Naive Farang" tattooed on our foreheads. Western civilization is a splendid thing when you look at what it has born in terms of music, art, philosophy and emancipation of women (yes guys we are human beings…I know it may come as a shock to some, but it's the truth! We are like you in many ways!!)

When you examine other cultures and do a compare/contrast, western civilization is pretty amazing. This is not to say that other cultures aren't just as unique, but as somebody recently said in a post on Stick's site, Thailand did not have a renaissance. It has changed little in the last 50 years.

Some of the perhaps more negative aspects of western culture seem to have oozed out into the East and this is a shame. When I was last in Bali, one day I was taking a ride to Denpasar, and I asked the kids (probably late teens) in the corner shop if they wanted anything brought back (my treat), and they all asked for KFC!! (Kentucky Fried Mystery). All the smells of wonderful Indonesian curries wafting around and they want KFC!!… but then why shouldn't they? They see the west as a mysteriously glamorous and "free" place where you can say/do/think whatever you like (little do they know!!)…and they want to partake of it whenever they can. The younger generation (meaning the kids under 20) seem to want to emulate their counterparts in the west, and this change has come about largely because of TV, Internet and Hollywood. The west seems to them (and yes, many of them have TOLD me this) a place full of shiny "toys", money to burn and freedom of thought and expression. They think that anyone who can afford a ticket to travel to a faraway place for a vacation MUST have much more money than they do…and of course, with very few exceptions, they are right.

The different cultures around the world are complex, ancient, have have many deeply embedded traditions, religions, customs and even superstitions, and I don't want to go off on a political tangent here as is my wont, but I think that this is what makes travelling so enlightening. You've also got to take into account the whole "tribalism" thing, and by that I mean the "my /team/ race/ village/ country is better than yours" mindset. Unfortunately you need only go to a football game in order to see that tribalism is alive and well. Many westerners seem also to almost hate countrymen who "support" another political party. Just another form of tribalism?

I fully understand a man (especially one who has had a few bad experiences with women) wanting to go to Thailand for "no strings" sex with a beautiful young girl. I even have sympathy for guys who get conned, but I also sympathize with the bargirls to some degree, even though I would NEVER condone theft, deceit and downright manipulation of a man's heart.

I must say though, that so many gentlemen have emailed me and told me that they feel ALL women are gold diggers. I feel sorry for men who have this view of women because obviously it isn't true. Perhaps Thailand has more than its share of gold diggers, but here we're talking about a people who not only place a great deal of importance on "face" and therefore status and money, but who are also in a lot of cases relatively poor. Add that strange juxtaposition to "rich" tourists and large numbers of people working in the sex trade and you end up with a bizarre kind of symbiosis.

I find it disturbing that so many men have the view that ALL women are after only money, and after having pondered it for some time, I have a theory, and I would LOVE some feedback on this.

I think a lot of human behaviour is instinctive. Survival of the species (and therefore self) is perhaps the strongest instinct that exists. Sex drive is a manifestation of the survival instinct. Look at any species….some creatures go to extraordinary lengths to mate. For this reason I think it's unfair for women to label men as "only after one thing". Of course they want to have sex. It assures the survival of not only the species but the family name (which is important to some people). I personally don't understand this (what's in a name?). Sex is also fun and lets people know that they are still attractive to the opposite sex (another manifestation of the same instinct). Women have that instinct too of course, but it manifests itself in a slightly different way. The female of the species has a stronger instinct to protect the young, while the male is usually the hunter/provider. (Yes I know I'm oversimplifying). Are women acting on instinct when they set out to be sure their partners can provide for their young? Women who try to take men for all they've got in my book are just plain greedy.

There's a big difference between wanting to be sure their kids are cared for, and surrounding themselves with luxury by way of flat out deceit.

The emancipation of women in the west means that women want the same rights as men, and this has caused a shift in the male/female relationship in the last century. It is still pretty much a "man's world", but western women are no longer happy with the role of only bearing children and keeping house. They want to be able to have a career as well as having a say in how things are done in the political arena. This shift has caused problems. Many men may now say that women in the west are demanding and aggressive, and perhaps they are right. Since education is now just as available to women as it is to men in the west, equality in terms of rights and control is a reality, even though still evolving. I realise I have oversimplified this, but there's only so much space!

So, we have a situation where many relationships have suffered because of this shift in dynamics. Was there such a thing as a house husband in the 19th century? I doubt it! Some individuals will deal with this, others will not. For men who are single or find it hard to have a relationship on home ground, Thailand offers sex without the negative aspects of a long term relationship (made even more complex now by the aforementioned "shift"). Of course long term relationships between a Thai woman and a western man have their own sets of problems because cultural differences are added to the mix. Many men have stated on this site how their long term relationships have turned into a nightmare because of the importance placed on material possessions by some Thai women. Also, many men have stated on this forum that they prefer the submissiveness of Thai women to the relative assertiveness of western women.

Every individual has needs and wants; an agenda if you like. On the hierarchy of basic human needs, food and shelter is first, but love and respect is important too. Everyone wants love and respect. It is fundamental.

I have made quite a few generalizations in this post. Generalizations are handy for the purpose of discussion and debate, but there are obviously always exceptions to the rule. Not all men are "after only one thing"; not all Thai women are liars and gold diggers; not all western women are fat and demanding; not all Thai men are immature thieves. It's a hell of a mix (the Thai/Farang syndrome) but the mix contains individuals who are the way they are because of environment, culture, upbringing, circumstance and genes, and perhaps that's how they should be judged.


Stickman's thoughts:

Ok gents, she has thrown down the gauntlet to you….but actually, I thought her words were fairly sensible.