Readers' Submissions

How To Kick The Thailand Habit

  • Written by Lookpapa
  • September 5th, 2006
  • 6 min read


A recent submission by Slow Learner gave a brilliant description of how we fall for the allures of Thailand and her maidens, among other things.

This article deals with some suggestions on how to get the “monkey off your back”, so to speak and obviously it’s directed to those farangs who are living in Thailand of their own volition.

There are many reasons for farangs to come to live here, but the common denominator seems an emotional upheaval, either caused by divorce, financial strain, boredom, relationship difficulties or mid-life crises.

Once the move is made it seems to provide an immediate relief from the above pains and a general feeling of well being and new beginnings seems to revitalize most of us.

In my opinion, this is really a quick fix, treating the symptom, rather than the cause and satisfies our western, instant gratification desires.

The problem is that a lot of us get so dependent on this crutch that we loose all logic and reason and fall into the traps of addiction, no different from other vices.

A lot of intrinsically good men are subjected to this dependency and end up wasting their lives, many of them in their most “productive” years.

I’m not talking about the older generation, like retirees, who are having their last hurrahs, good luck to them, they deserve to have a bit of fun before they’re put out to pasture.

I’m talking about the surprising age group as young as twenties and thirties, who have their whole life ahead of them and yet they can’t seem to see the forest for the trees.

Some of these men are beguiled by the Thai lasses and feel that they can’t live without her. They seem to think that living in Thailand and having a Thai wife / girlfriend is the ultimate in the love stakes. It may be, but it does not have to be in Thailand.

You can have a Thai wife and you don’t have to live in Thailand. But you have to do your homework!

In my case, the first time I attempted this, I took the girl out of Thailand, but I could not take Thailand out of her! Eventually, the Thainess triumphed over the relationship and there I was “up the creek without a paddle”.

Now, second time around, I was more careful in my selection, I was putting adaptability high on the list of qualifications and it seems to be working out, although it’s still a work in progress.

So since it is not really necessary to live in Thailand even if you have a Thai partner, providing you’ve chosen wisely, why are so many of you still opt to reside here?

The cost of living is certainly a big plus, when compared to the West, but your earnings are also substantially less than back home.

If you’re going to be focusing on the cost of living as a reason, you’re making a big mistake, as you’re coming down to the lowest denominator.

So you’re thinking, Ok, I can earn less and still manage very well in Thailand.

This is the way a loser thinks. It automatically discourages you from reaching your full potential and you can end up in a rut.

But you’re in your “comfort zone”, you think you are ”SOMEBODY”, you got this cosy feeling that you really count, whereas back home you were just one of the crowd.

This is because Thailand induces you into an illusory state, both in your love life (hello hansum man) and in your professional life. You tend to forget that you had real prospects back home; now you’re wearing rose coloured glasses.
It took Slow Learner 10 years to come to his senses (no wonder he calls himself that name). He did it “cold turkey” and seems to be succeeding at it.

It took a decision some time back then to pull up your roots and come to live in Thailand and it’ll take an even bigger decision to leave. Addictions are difficult to be rid of and it takes a man with intestinal fortitude and motivation to act.
What are you likely to lose, if you leave?

Your status as an alien, without any legal rights whatsoever, your minority label with discriminatory aspects, your being looked upon as a cash cow by the system, tolerance at best and disdain at worst, just to name a few.

The culture you’re taken with does not allow you to fully integrate, as you’re being seen as an outsider who does not understand the Thai ways.

What intellectual insights have you gained while you lived here, where are the opportunities in Thailand to sample the classical arts, operas, theatre, grand art galleries and literary pursuits, which you had at your fingertips before.

In the intellectual desert that Thailand is, just look at what the locals do for their leisure; off they go to an air-conditioned mall, do some discretionary shopping, go to eat in a restaurant, then maybe get their driver to drive them home in the traffic jam, while they have a snooze in the back. And this is the upper middle class “intelligencia”! Surely if you’re aspiring to something a bit more challenging, you would not take a leaf out of their books?

I’ve heard many farangs saying one of the reasons they like it here is because it’s so much more free than back home. Of course back home you would not think of behaving inappropriately, like many do here, you would not sh*t in your own nest, would you? Lack of regulations work both ways, it’s easier to get things done, for you but against you too!

In the West we regulate to safeguard the rights of citizens, at least in Aussie where I live. In Thailand, there are laws to ignore and abuse, and the “justice system” works only for those with money.

I think it is perfectly in order to spend some time in Thailand to experience an exotic culture and lifestyle, but if you stay too long you’ll reach a point of no return. For those of you who are still there approaching your late 30’s, your time is running out, you’re in danger of leaving it too late to reintegrate into the western workforce and your careers will be severely hampered.

I remember not long ago Mr. Stick posed this question, “when is the right time to repatriate”? I’d say if you’re finding yourself going about repeating the same mundane tasks and visiting the same watering holes and listening to the same asinine conversations, it’s time to go, baby! If you’re not fulfilled in your jobs, no chance of advancement, no job satisfaction and feeling useless, time to look for greener pastures.

I give you a good test to try, imagine yourself 5 years down the track still in Thailand and see if you like what you see! By the way I’m not so much against Thailand as much as I am for better options elsewhere. Of course, I’m assuming you have options. If you hail from Russia, the Middle East, North Korea, Iraq, etc. , then you better stay put.

My friends, if you still have self esteem and a desire to excel, don’t be afraid to ACT!

There is life beyond Thailand, just like Slow Learner said, believe him!


Stickman's thoughts:

I agree with what you say, in principle. The thing that is interesting is that there are a lot of guys here in their 20s and 30s doing quite well. When I say quite well, I mean, at least as well as they could do at home. They are the minority though, it has to be said.