Stickman Readers' Submissions March 16th, 2006

Farangs In Thailand, Who Are You Calling Farang?

This is my first post on Stickman's. Having read numerous posts about the word "Farang" I'm left with, what else or how else would you have the Thais refer to you? Really I know sometimes it's used in an intentionally rude manner but what's the big deal? Most often it's the most convenient way of identifying the subject of conversation. You are in their country, you better have a thick skin and be emotionally mature enough not to let rudeness upset you. Rude, racist, ignorant people exist in every culture, every population, every country. How you react to such people is your choice. In that you are in their country a non-emotional mature approach is most likely going to benefit you and all other Farangs. Personally I could care less what others say or think about me. I try hard to always be nice, polite and considerate. It does not come natural to me, it takes a lot of hard work because deep down inside I'm a bit of a bully and a hot head. However I have learned the hard way over the years that being immature in my reactions to others causes more harm than good. If a person offends me by their rudeness I choose to not associate with them. If circumstances force me to associate with them, I strive to limit my interaction with such people. However I never let it bother me. I can't control what others think of me. In the long run, does it really matter as long as I continue to hold up my end of the social contract and strive to be kind, considerate and gracious in my dealings with all other human beings?

The shoe on the other foot…

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Here in America, well there are all sorts of "Farangs" moving into my hood. I live in the "OC" (Orange County California), it is alarming to many. I hear all sorts of derogatory remarks all the time. Most of it is not open hostility but more of a concerned about what are these people going to end up doing to the status quo. I could care less. You want to live the "OC", be my guest, step up to the plate have a swing at it. We are truly more than ever a melting pot. I think it's a good thing. Eurasian women are about the most exotic beautiful creatures on the planet. Same with the mixed women of Brazil, Venezuela, and Costa Rica, etc. From a biological point of view, genetic diversity mostly benefits a given population.

The only for sure truisms in life that I have observed is things rarely remain the same, change is the order of the universe. However people instinctively are afraid of change. At the deepest most basic level of understating, it frightens them, it's uncomfortable. Dealing with change requires thought, consideration, contemplation. Change disrupts our daily routine, our self automation. We are creatures of habit. When the habitat is changed it's upsetting.

So it is with the "Farangs" in Thailand. It's unsettling, it disturbs the status quo, it requires the Thais to deal with things they are not used to. Deep down inside it's alarming. They ask, what is to become of us? What if these people over time change our identity? What will become of our Thai culture? These questions are being asked every day by every culture in every part of the globe. Mass migration, mass cultural exchange is the new rule of the planet. I used to worry myself about what was happening in America. With all the foreigners moving into my hood. Now, I just don't care. All I ask is keep the peace, obey the laws, and strive to prosper.

I'm a mixed breed. While I look "European" my genetic make up includes American Indian. Some of my relatives definitely look American Indian while others look European. We are one family. While my European brothers and sisters forever changed my American Indian culture, I embrace the new age. I choose the new world of change over the old ways. I have a healthy respect for my American Indian past but I really don't want to live in a tepee, hunt buffalo, or live under tribal rule.

To the Brits, I say thanks for the rule of common law, thanks for the ideals of freedom, democracy, and reason. While many don't always practice what they preach, in my opinion, it's still the best standard and code to live by. It's been my observation that the countries with the most freedoms produce the most wealth. Wealthy countries tend to be happy countries. I can't expect other countries, cultures, populations to embrace my beliefs. Conversely the more isolated, the more oppressed, the more tribal the country, the less wealth, the more poverty, the more unhappy the populations. These are general observations and I acknowledge the exceptions to the rule.

So, in summation, our presence in Thailand is disturbing to most Thais at the most basic level of human understating and existence. It's unavoidable and just natural instinct hard wired into their DNA, as it is in ours. How we react to the use of the word "Farang" will define us in the following years. Can we over come our basic instincts? Can we react in an mature, rational, non-emotional, non-instinctive manner? I guess time will tell.

Stickman's thoughts:

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I wish some Thais would actually come out and admit that in certain contexts and in certain situations, the use of the word "farang" is questionable.

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