Readers' Submissions

The Intercultural Monologue

  • Written by Anonymous
  • March 10th, 2006
  • 11 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

A Thai who grew up in Thailand is a simple minded person. That is the reason why we either like or dislike them.

Why do I say a Thai is simple minded? Let me explain what I mean. Growing up in the free world (this slogan comes en vogue with a new meaning again), we are encouraged to explore and learn and use our own brains. In Thailand the kids are pushed to obey dogmatic norms and codes of conduct nobody can reasonably justify. They are taught to believe what they hear without questioning what they learn. For some I may go too far now, but I don't see much difference from a way a Thai grows up and gets indoctrinated – and a young Moslem who gets brainwashed in his Madrassa (Koran school). I see also alarming threats to the free world within the free world. New born Christians are such a threat. People who want to replace science with dogmatic beliefs. How do they call the evolution? Intelligent design? That is exactly what the Thais also do: Instead of learning scientific history, they hear myths and legends about their country and they believe it in the end that it is real. We, the people of the so called free world, we have to watch out in this moment in time that we do not get over run by the barbarians and the simple minded (or on the other hand the over tolerant) forces within ourselves like it happened to the sophisticated Romans 1500 years ago. Our free world is on the edge of being extinct. Look around! If we are not defending our free world now, we will take the same destiny as the Romans.

What have the turtle minded Thais, the radical Moslems and the New Born Christians in common? I tell you what. Our free life in the West is complicated. It is crazy, funny, terrible and it needs a lot of understanding and learning. Otherwise one gets lost in its labyrinth. For some people, the free world just is too scary. Too many decisions to make, they can not handle the big machine, it is too complicated for them. They wish they could deal with a smaller easier machine with less buttons (maybe that is why some flee to Thailan ?). They don't want to live in New York City, they want to live in small town Kansas, where everybody knows everybody and nothing unusual ever happens. In that way, there is no difference between the turtle Thais, the fanatic Moslems and the extreme Christians (and many other groups keep adding).

Here is the thing: Everybody likes the Internet and mobile phones, everybody wants to profit from the fruits of a free minded society, but they don't want to take the whole package. They want to have 10 choices in life, not 10,000. I found it funny, that the fanatical Moslems were debating (actually not debating as if they could debate accusing us is the right word) on answers.yahoo.com about the Danish cartoons. I always told them, hey guys, what is wrong with you? If you don't want to take part in the 21st century, just throw away your laptops! And your cellphone and your jeans. But they don't wanna do that. They still want to listen to Britney Spears but they don't want to participate in a free society where the women can do what they like. They want strict rules, because they can not handle free minded people. They are scared of them. They are scared of themselves that they will be mentally overstrained. They want to keep it simple. Unfortunately, we can not set back the time. The fruits of our free minded culture are not a self service supermarket one can just pick what one needs. To the Thais I would say: Send back your mobile phones to Finland if you don't let us hug a girl on the street. Get out of the chat-rooms if you want us to pay sin sot.

You think I am coming on too strong? I think that myself. But they judge us very hard too. Listen to this:

[email protected] sagt:
so why don't the Thais like foreigners?

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
we always think that foreigners look down on us

[email protected] sagt:
like how, explain more…

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
if you ever go to Khao Sarn Road

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
you see?

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
many foreigners make Thai girls just sex object

[email protected] sagt:
really what about the Thais who go to Mona Lisa?

[email protected] sagt:
Thais take prostitutes too

[email protected] sagt:
so?

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
ok I know actually guy have both of good and bad

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
both of Thai and foreigners

[email protected] sagt:
no stick to the point

[email protected] sagt:
most Thai men use prostitutes

[email protected] sagt:
so

[email protected] sagt:
?

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
no!!

[email protected] sagt:
tell me why u don't like foreigners

[email protected] sagt:
of course yes

[email protected] sagt:
if u say no that means u ignore the reality

[email protected] sagt:
that is it

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
I never told you that I don't like foreigner

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
ok so I'll say again

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
I like both of Thai and foreigner

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
ok?

[email protected] sagt:
we don't talk about u

[email protected] sagt:
I asked why Thais don't like foreigners

[email protected] sagt:
u said they use hookers

[email protected] sagt:
so I said Thais also use hookers

[email protected] sagt:
so why don't they like us?

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
ok listen to me

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
this is Thailand

[email protected] sagt:
aha

[email protected] sagt:
this is Thailand

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
that have both of good and bad guys in this country

[email protected] sagt:
go on

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
and almost foreigner who come to Thailand

[email protected] sagt:
yes yes what what

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
almost but not all of them ok?

[email protected] sagt:
go on

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
almost all are bad

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
so it's normal that why Thais don't like foreigner

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
do you understand?

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
and other point is

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
your culture different from us

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
such as you can kiss hug everywhere that you want

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
but for Thai it's impolite to do at the public place

[email protected] sagt:
aha and?

[email protected] sagt:
what is your point?

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
so Thais feel that foreigner 're impolite

Do you believe in Destiny? sagt:
we always decide someone just first impression

So we are impolite, we foreigners. We get drunk, like most of the Thais and we use prostitutes like most of the Thais. But the terrible difference is, we hug a girl in the street. We are emancipated and we are free, that is why we do that. But this is a thorn in their eyes. Are they hiding their xenophobia behind their culture? I think so, because they totally accept Thai katoeys and Thai gays. So it can't be that they are so totally intolerant really. Seems they have a specific problem with us. Also in being gay. They accept Thai gayness, I know this must sound weird, but they don't accept Western gays, they think its decadent. I wanted to see "Brokeback Mountain" with several girls, but they all said that it is disgusting and they would not want to see it. Can somebody tell me why this is? They don't mind to have Thai gay friends en masse but they don't want to see a very well made movie about gay love. Interesting. Either their tolerance is not real, or their tolerance is only limited to Thais.

We love a simple minded Thai girl who has instant sex with us. She knows no concept of waiting, she just wants it here and now and when it's over, it's over, and she pretends nothing happened.

We hate a Thai guy who is equally simple minded and does not get our orders right at the restaurant. We have to tell him three times that we want tom yum gung without coriander but when the dish arrives, we can smell the patchee without taking a bite.

So we are in a dilemma. We love the simple minded girls and all advantages they may have, but we dislike the brain deaf mentality. But here there is not one without the other, the two things come in a package and once you start to dislike the simple minded Thai girl, because you are tired of the kindergarten talks, then you better pack your bags and leave, because the balance has shifted to double negative.

I think that is what happened to me over the last few months. Of course I can not determine on what exact day it happened, that I stopped having positive emotions about the Thais, but I guess there was such a day. It could have been the day when I walked with a Thammasart student through the future park at Rangsit. She was a pretty 20 year old girl in uniform. I was in my early 30ies wearing jeans and a polo shirt. I was not shaved and wore sneakers. The beauty and the beast went shopping. I never got more angry looks from the Thais than on this day. They could simply not take it. When I walk around in Ploenchit or Siam, I get these stares as well, but they are more surprised looks, in the sense of how the hell does he get a normal girl when he is a Farang and is supposed to walk around with a bar girl. It also helps when I wear a shirt and a necktie (never say tie in Thailand – it's an insult), then I wear something like a Teflon suit and I just have beat them with their own weapon. But of course, in Future Park, I wore just normal every day clothes. If I had walked alone, nobody would have cared. Another farang kinok who can't afford to stay at Lang Suan.

Anyway. Then we went to eat in an ice cream restaurant. She got what she wanted instantly. I wanted to have a very complicated thing called a vanilla milkshake. I told the waitress 3 times what I wanted, but she came back for a 4th time to ask me. I pointed at the photo on the menu. When the girl got what she ordered, I asked the waitress where my milkshake was. She said she needed to check on it. Then another waiter came and asked me what wanted to order. I said, I had ordered a vanilla milkshake. He said, there was no such order. I needed to order again. I ordered my milkshake again, maybe in a grumpy tone, because my girl said: Why do you need to make them sad? I am making them sad. They make me sad, because I don't get what I want. But in her eyes, it's I am making them sad. She automatically took sides with the idiotic waiters. Whatever.

Then, as logic takes place in this country, she wanted to eat barbeque. First the ice cream, then the meat. Fine, whatever. So we go there, I order beef, I get pork. I don't know what to say. I got just tired with it all. I am asking myself what keeps me here. I lost my patience with them. It's not getting better. I always thought, after a while, they will understand something when you speak to them,

but I see no improvement. Sometimes I get what I want, most of the times, the people do the exact opposite of what I like them to do. It's not a comedy anymore, it is a tragedy. Basically, it is that they refuse to listen what I have to say. They don't really want to deal with me. Have you ever been to a restaurant and you saw, how they push each other on who has to go serve the Farang? They push one girl, she takes one step forward and then falls back and pushes another girl

I see this website as a manifesto on how many efforts we make to understand the Thai culture. We celebrate the intercultural dialogue. But in reality, we are just talking to ourselves. It is an intercultural monologue. The Thais are not in the slightest interested to hear what we would like to say to them.


Stickman's thoughts:

That last paragraph is oh so true. For what its worth, I think a number of guys have been through similar stages, and I am one of them. For anyone who is a purest, the huge differences between Thailand and the West mean that living here long term becomes a huge struggle.