Readers' Submissions

No More Missy Independent



Why is it that Thai people are so afraid of “losing face”? Why do they (“we”) have to care what other people think before our own happiness? Is that really a good thing? I don’t think so.

If you read my last submission, (I know now that it was way too positive because recently someone I love had to deal with this Thai girl’s tricks and since the person is someone I love, I was kinda in it too…I’m telling you, she was really good. I didn’t know we are that dangerous?), you’d know that I’m a Thai girl.

I have MSN and my screen name (not email addy) is Missy Independent. I know I’m not that independent (and don’t want to be that independent, too much of everything is not good) since I’m Thai and I live with my parents. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are awesome. It just stabbed me in the heart big time when I told Daddy that I was gonna go to Samui with my friends. I didn’t ask for permission or anything. I was just telling him that I’ll not be home for the weekend. He said “NO” with that upset look on his face. I was confused. I understand that I’ve just come back from Samet 2 weeks ago but I’m going to finish my MBA in another country pretty soon. I just wanted to spend time with my friends at the beaches I have never been to.

My Daddy usually is not a typical Thai man. He was for many years but he has changed. I keep telling him all the little good things I learned when I went to school in Farangland (sorry for using the word :P). He even admits that losing face thingy is stupid but he is always more than 100% careful that he won’t lose face, even with his kids.

Oops, I’m sorry…back to the beaches story.

Well, I asked him to give me a good reason why all the sudden I’m not allowed to travel. He said, NO MEANS NO. IT’S JUST TOO MUCH. So I said, Geez, Daddy, too much of what? I know Daddy never changes his mind when he says no. I kept thinking of the way to talk to him about it. Since he doesn’t talk when he doesn’t like something or has problems because he’s Thai and I have used the writing letter trick already. I came up with the SMS idea.

“Good Morning, Daddy. Are you really not going to let me go to the beach with my friends? It’s holiday and they’ve been planning this trip for months. My friends know that I’m leaving soon and I love beaches. Please let me go but if you don’t think I should, I won’t go because you’re the best Daddy. I love you and respect your decision always.”

I think communicating is very important. He was upset at me for some reasons but didn’t wanna talk about it. How would I know what it’s all about? Anyways, he has calmed down after the SMS and wasn’t mad at me anymore (is it because I said I respected his decision?). I asked him if it’s ok to go to Pattaya for 2 days? He said “I still have loads of time to go to the beaches. This is just too soon. I don’t want you to go yet.” I tried so hard not to get upset. I told him okay, love you.

I was really disappointed. I talked to my friends (not the one I was gonna go to the beach with), he said, “Black Mercedes, your problem is that in your heart and in the real world you’re independent but with your family, you can’t be. You’re 23 and you’re not allowed to travel. Jesus!”. I was like OUCH! He’s a Daddy. What can I do? Move out or something?

I figured that it’s because he doesn’t want people to think of me as a bad Thai girl that he’s a Daddy and he lets his daughter go wherever she wants to go. He doesn’t want neighbors to think that his daughter is going out again…blah blah blah. These are not all but there’re a lot more silly reasons but I do understand that I live here in Bangkok. Maybe it’s just how things work out here.

My foreign friends don’t understand why I can’t go when I’m 23. How can I explain that many Thai parents are like that? Some of my friends are not allowed to go out at night at all and they are turning 24. Some of them have to come up with all the white lies or sneak out at night. I go out at night but Daddy has asked me not to go so often since I’m a GIRL and in Thailand. If girls are out at night, people assume that we are bad. (That’s exactly what he said).

Is that a part of caring about what other people think?

It’s worse when I have a boyfriend. He would assume that I’m with a boyfriend, I’ll go with a boyfriend, and I was with a boyfriend. He doesn’t ask but he just assumes. (My dad is usually a cool person. It seems to me like he understands how things should work and he talks to me about everything except when I have a boyfriend. I have to be the one who talks about it first or he would just look upset but doesn’t talk or ask me about it.) Is this a typical Thai thing? Is it how dads are supposed to be? Is it just he’s very protective because he loves me too much? Is it because he wants the best for me and nobody is good enough? I ain’t no angel so why can’t daddy be happy for his girl that she might have found someone who really loves her? Is it because he’s a man and he thinks that MEN are MEN, no exceptional?

Haha! God! I’m sorry. This is more like a compliant letter than a submission! I love my dad but sometimes I just don’t understand especially about travel issue.

Thank you for reading! I appreciate it 😉

Stickman's thoughts:

I wish I had some advice for you, but I don't. All I can says is that I know that the constraints of growing up and living in a traditional Thai family can be tough.