Thoughts From a (real) Thai Girl
I’ve been a reader on your site for a while now. The first time I came to know it was because I read a forum in pantip.com. Somebody wrote a link of your site. I don’t remember exactly what the forum was about but the link was posted to show how foreigners really think about Thailand and Thai women. As far as I recall, the submission that was posted was about a foreigner who was lied or cheated from a Thai girl. The comments on the post were both positive and negative. Most Thai people will feel bad for a foreigner who was fooled by a Thai (bar) girl. But Thai people will feel offended if someone assumes that most Thai girls would do the same thing; asking for money, lying or cheating etc. This group of women is not a representative of Thai women at all, but unfortunately they are seen most by foreigners who travel or live in Thailand. So I guess it’s not difficult to misjudge Thai women based on who you meet.
There was once a forum in a Thai website asking what people think about bar girls and how they impact the image of the country especially Thai women. There were many responses to the forum. I think it split into two groups. One group says they’re indifferent because they understand that these women are poor and they need to do what they can to get money. The other group has bad attitudes about bargirls and says that having no money is not an excuse for women to sell themselves for sex. Take a look at poor women who become maids in hotels or offices, they’re poor but they have an honest job. Overall, I would say bargirls and prostitution are still not acceptable in society. Personally, I have no problem with it. I even think prostitution should be legalized in Thailand like in the Netherlands so the government can control mafias, STDs or HIV problems more effectively.
Anyway, I just want to write something about what my life is like, so that people get an idea of what middle class women with a good education and good families want or how they live their lives in Thailand, regarding morals, values, interests and what they’re looking for in a man. I’m writing this based on my personal thoughts and what my friends also think. Again, I can’t say we represent a major part of Thai women but we do exist in Thailand.
For my background, I am from a Thai-Chinese middle class family (not hi-so by any means). I went to one of the top secondary schools in Thailand. I spent one year in America as a high school exchange student. That’s how I learned to speak English well. I studied in a government iniversity in Thailand and so did my friends (Chula, Thammasat , Mahidol). Some of my friends got a scholarship from the government to study abroad either in Europe, Japan or America. My family and also my friends’ families value education greatly. Our parents will do anything to make sure we’re in good schools to ensure we can go to good universities. My parents always teach me that good education is the key to successful lives. My dad actually came from a poor background but he got an engineering degree, works in a good company and provides more than enough to my family.
Currently, I am 26 years old and have a good job in Thailand. I have a lot of girlfriends both from secondary school and university. A few are married, some are dating and some are single. Most of my friends have studied master degrees abroad after a bachelor degree in Thailand i.e. MBA in America, Hotel management in Switzerland and master of Law in London. Some went abroad by parents’ support but most by scholarship. My friends and I are not from hi-so families but I believe if we value education, we’ll put an effort to get good grades, get a scholarship and further our chances of education. Right now most of my friends are back in Bangkok. Everyone has a good job like doctors, lawyers, accountants and university teachers etc. Everyone has a career goal and I believe on a path to a successful life.
The issue of dating has been discussed frequently every time I meet up with my girlfriends. My current boyfriend is Australian; I met him in Thailand while he was working in Bangkok. I have dated both Thai and foreign men. Personally, Thai guys I met in my cycle of friends are too conservative for my taste so I feel more comfortable dating a foreign guy. I have brought my boyfriend to meet my friends sometimes and a discussion of dating a foreign guy would come up. Some of my friends have dated foreign men while studying abroad, some have not. I have asked them if they would date a foreign guy and everyone would say yes. The issue of boyfriends which my friends are looking for is not where they’re from. It doesn’t matter if they’re Thai or not. (Most of my friends can speak English fluently.) The standards of men and what we are looking for are the same; compatibility is the key, however good education and good family with a career goal is very important. Of course, all my friends have their own career, so if they’re looking for a future husband, he should be someone who has a future and a good job to guarantee a good future of the family. It’s hard enough to find a good quality Thai man in Bangkok so it’s even harder to find a foreign man who has the same quality.
Personally, I don’t think a bargirl stigma (If a Thai girl walks with a foreigner, people will think she is a bargirl) is an issue for me. I don’t think this stigma would prevent my friends from dating a foreigner either. Because if a girl has white skin, maybe Chinese looking and dresses appropriately, nobody will think she is a bargirl. Actually the bar girl scene is so far away from our world, I bet none of my friends know what’s going on in the bar scene or even where Soi Nana is. (I only know this from Stickman’s website) I suppose that it’s the same for most educated girls in Bangkok. I remember when I went to Pattaya with my friends when I was a first year university student. We were not allowed to visit Walking Street because it was very dangerous in our parents’ eyes.
Most of my friends are fairly conservative, they do believe in ‘no sex before marriage’. And I still think a good quality Thai man would prefer a conservative girl as well. But I guess that becomes an individual’s belief now, a lot of people are more liberal about this subject. Some of my friends’ parents are very strict, for example, staying overnight with a boyfriend is unacceptable unless you’re married. I guess my parents are not, they believe in my judgments. I have introduced all my boyfriends to them. At first before I introduced my current boyfriend, I was afraid that they would not like him because he’s not Thai. But when I explained what he does for a living and what his background is, he is very well liked by my parents. For me, I believe my parents will like any guys I choose, no matter where they’re from as long as he’s good enough and loves me so race is not an issue.
Lastly, I’d like to sum up some ideas of what my friends and I would or would not do. Most of what I write, I have talked to my friends about.
– We would never ask for money from a boyfriend. Personally, I haven’t asked for anyone’s money since my graduation day, not even from my parents. This is the same for my friends. They never ask for money from any boyfriends either (Thai or foreigner). Asking for money is a no-no. I think it’s almost degrading for a woman.
– When we go out on a date, we don’t always expect guys to pay all the time (same for Thai and foreign). My boyfriend and I take turns to pay, I only think it’s fair and so do my friends.
– We’re not looking for a guy to rescue or support us nor our family. We’re looking for a compatible guy who shares the same feelings and same interests. He should have the same background in terms of family values and education.
– If we get married (a few of my friends did), our parents will not take sin-sod money away from the groom. In fact, sin-sod will be given back to the couple to start a family. This happens to every couple I know who got married. They’re all Thai couples. But my parents say the same if I ever get married, they don’t need the money, they just want me to have a good life. Although, sin-sod is a Thai tradition to show that the groom can take care of the bride, so a groom has to present it in the ceremony.
– Giving money to parents varies in each family. In Thai culture, daughters and sons have to take care of their parents when they’re old. It is very common for people to give their parents money to show gratitude. However for me, when I started to work, I gave part of my salary to my mother but she said she doesn’t need money and she will only save it for me. So I stopped and started investing money instead. Anyway, if I ever give my parents money again, it would be my own money and certainly not anyone else's. Some of my friends don’t give their parents money either but we do help out with other things like taking our parents to the hospital etc.
Currently, I don’t know anyone in my group of friends both from university and secondary school who are dating a foreign guy except one of my friend’s sister who works in an international company and was sent to England for work, now married with a British guy. Anyway, many of them are single and don’t mind dating a foreign man. It’s just their lifestyle won’t allow them to meet any foreign men, that’s all. They usually ask my boyfriend if he has any good friends to introduce.
I think how most of my friends meet their boyfriends are from work or though friends. For my friends, the way of meeting men would not be from nightclubs or a website because those are not always good quality guys like what they’re looking for. Although sometimes we go out and party at a place like Bed Supper Club etc, but just to have a good time with friends and not to find a guy. The point is all my friends are really open to date good foreign men but the only problem is they don’t know how to find these men.
Anyway, that’s all I can think of right now. I can tell you Stickman; I believe a lot of Thai people read this website. Hope I can put some positive thoughts about Thai women to the readers.
I thought this was a really tremendous submission. You explained the situation of middle class Thai women – exactly the group I have ALWAYS said Western men should be aiming for – really well. And I guess I like it a lot because pretty much everything I have always said about this group you have now verified!
Of course it takes some effort to meet women in this group and with the average foreign resident really not trying hard to meet decent, they seldom end up with women like you and your friends. That's a shame.