Readers' Submissions

Throwing Rocks From Glasshouses

  • Written by Lookpapa
  • August 15th, 2006
  • 7 min read


What prompted me to write this submission were several complaints by people about the way they get treated by Thai people, be it in nightlife areas or just about anywhere in the normal course of everyday activities or in their workplace.

There seems to be a backlash against farangs, as the Thai perceive us to be lowlifes, engaging in debauchery and lowering moral standards in the Kingdom.

Unfortunately, a lot of farangs actually play into this perception by their behavior and the way they go about flaunting their activities, be it day or night.

Most of these people are in Thailand on a short visit, mainly for sex, so it’s not surprising that they “let their hair down”. Add to this the over-indulgence in alcohol and we have a spectacle of highly objectionable behavior. Is there any wonder that the average local Thai citizen forms a very negative opinion of farangs in general?

The problem is that as always, you can’t make judgments about a people as a whole, by looking at only those who are not representative of all of us.

Try to explain that to the local citizens of lower Sukhumvit, lower Silom, many of whom work in banks, offices and other legitimate businesses! I’m not mentioning Pattaya, as that place is so far gone from being “normal” that even the locals there had abandoned any resemblance of what regular living used to be.

However having said all the above, we’re always looking at the farang / Thai interaction, especially vis a vis male / female affairs, but let's stop for a moment and examine the Thai customs regarding morality and sexual practices.

While many of the contributors to this website concentrate on the farang areas of nightlife in Thailand, probably because that’s all they know about and it’s so “in your face”, it only represents a portion of what’s going on elsewhere.

I think most of you know that the farang type bar scene started in a big way in Patpong during the Vietnam War, when Thailand had American military bases here and used Thailand for re-supply of the war plus R&R for their military.

In 1978, when I first came to Thailand, Patpong was THE place to go for fun, with Soi Cowboy a quiet backwater and Nana Plaza did not exist. Pattaya did not have any high rises, no walking street, some gogo bars along the beachfront, that was it.

Well, we’ve come a long way since. A long way for Thailand to become the Mecca for sex tourism and with it the billions of dollars that came into the coffers of the Thai economy.
But to think that it was the farangs that have corrupted the moral fiber of Thai society is nonsense.

In 1994 a study was conducted by three respected Thai university researchers about the illegal economy of Thailand and they published the results in a book, entitled : “Guns, girls, gambling and ganja”

This book was an expose on all aspects of criminal activities, including gambling, prostitution, drugs, arms trading, oil smuggling and trafficking in people. They are linked together through networks of protection and organized crime.

Corruption of the police, the judicial system and politicians make these activities possible.
I strongly recommend to everyone reading this to buy the book. It had many reprints and is available in many bookshops in Thailand.

It is an eye opener and makes you realize that the problems that exist in Thailand today are very deep-seated and ingrained. It did not need farangs and their input. The Thais are quite adept at all these things without our help.

From the very beginning of my visits to Thailand I was privy to the “secrets” of Thai prostitution in all its forms, ”thanks” to my business connections to Thai associates, who had “educated” me with the full “curriculum” that is being offered here.

The difference in the way they go about it is that they do it in a convoluting way, to keep up appearances and subterfuge while we do it up front and openly.

To my way of thinking it is highly hypocritical of them to “look down” on us for doing things that they’re also indulging in and in fact it is a way of life for most Thai men.

And another thing, they’re providing the place, the workers, profiting from the punters, so why pretend that their morality is higher than ours?

I’m talking about the Thais collectively here, not just the people involved in prostitution. If they as a people, nation, race disapprove of those farangs who come to their country to engage in sexual pursuits, then CLOSE IT DOWN! And if you don’t, then you’ll have to wear the stigma that attaches to Thailand in western countries, where many decent Thai women have to face hardships, because people think badly of all Thai women, unjustly of course!

Do I think that they’ll close it down? Not in a million years. Too many influential people are reaping huge financial benefits from it. As far as I’m concerned, you reap what you sow and Thailand is where it’s at because the society let its standards fall. They should face up to this and not look for scapegoats like the farangs. So do not throw stones at people if you live in glass houses!

In addition, I have this to say to those of you who live in Thailand, maybe married to a Thai lady and struggling to fit in to “Thai society”.

I am of the opinion that just because you live in a community or society that is not of your own culture, it should not mean that you must abandon your personal traits and “self” to fit in . That would be too high of a price to pay for “acceptance”. <Abso-f'ing-lutelyStick>

In the context of Thai society, acceptance does not even come into it. It is more like tolerance of you by them. Then you have to consider who it is you’re seeking validation from, to judge whether that person’s standing in your eyes is high enough to offer them to be your judge.

I’m of course talking about self-esteem, self-worth and being content in your own skin.

How you feel about yourself and your values go with you, irrespective of where you live.

I’ve read some of your submissions (without mentioning names, after all this is not a forum or chat room) and were struck by your “soul searching” in trying to find your place, either by yourselves or in your interactions with your wives, and her relatives or friends.
Mr. Stickman knows it’s not easy and says so and I gather he also struggles with it at times.

I believe that you’re not doing justice to yourselves if you try to become a quasi-Thai, just because you live there. And it is futile. My modus operandi always was and always will be, that I may make some concessions to my surroundings and people I interact with but I would not change my beliefs and standards I live by, no matter of my place of abode. If I felt that it is objectionable to some people, then we can agree to disagree and part ways. If some people do not want to associate with me, so be it, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink (sounds familiar?).

If you live in Thailand and you love it for a number of different reasons but have complaints about the social structure that are not to your liking, I say, DO NOT

COMPROMISE YOUR STANDARDS and VALUES. Take what’s good and reject the rest, if that does not endear you to some of the hi-so, hypocritical locals, well who wants to be “friends” with them anyway?

Take it easy, enjoy, it’s later than you think….

Stickman's thoughts:

Outstanding. One should never let go of their principles.