Dear Lady in Black
Hi all…this is an email reply to Sanuk Sanan, and Stick suggested I post it here to share some of my thoughts. Hence, I’ve done some editing and removed my name and also key institutions to protect the innocent. Like any postings, the opinions and thoughts expressed herein are purely my own but Stick felt it may provide some food for thought for other readers here…
Dear Lady in Black,
I’m a Singaporean living in Thailand for over 6 years now…not long compared to many of the other expats living in this country but I’ve managed to learn how to converse in Thai during that time, not through some formal classes/training but through daily contact with Thai people including my ex-Thai girlfriend (who happens to speak English quite well) and also my staff, clients etc, so according to Jayson’s posting, that should put me ahead of the pack as far as Thai women are concerned.
I read with interest your response to Jayson’s posting and found it interesting to get an insight from a Thai lady who has a more international outlook and obviously speaks and writes English a lot better than many supposed bilingual well-educated Thai girls including the ones from some of the top tertiary institutions in Thailand and even the ones who graduated overseas. I can say this for a fact since I do some guest lecturing in some of these institutions for their post-grad programs.
To give you a little background of myself and also some of my thoughts about Thailand, perhaps you may want to read 2 previous postings I had written at Stick’s website: In Search of a better life, and Opportunity Cost in the LOS. I’m currently 36 and very comfortable financially, have lived in 6 countries, speak 7 languages so I guess have a more international outlook.
There’s no particular reason for my writing other than to share some of my own thoughts from a foreign Asian guy living in this beautiful country (though looking at the way things are going, not quite sure how long more it’ll be that way) since you took the effort to give a Thai lady’s point of view.
By and large, I find merit in both Jayson’s and your postings.
However from my own experience, I find that even the hi-society Thai ladies still prefer to date and marry Thai guys of equal or preferably higher social status. This need not be from the Forbes 40 list but can include the girls from the well-to-do Thai-Chinese families where they don’t really need to work for a living, work for their family business or are supported by their F&M (father & mother) family trusts.
Not that it bothers me at all because as Jayson and yourself had agreed, communication is a very important part of any successful relationship, and being financially independent, I don’t look for a life partner because she won the ovarian lottery of being born wealthy.
And herein lies the difficulty of trying to categorize the girls according to their place of birth, family’s wealth, language competency etc. Because beyond the language competency, I personally feel that a much more important factor for good communication is the girl’s personal attributes and outlook towards HER own life (not what her family or society and friends want of her) and this has to do with their environment and also the kind of experiences they go through in life.
I’m not sure if you’ll agree with me but I find that even for many of these supposed well-educated girls who come from “good families” (whatever that means), they may speak relatively better English, been schooled overseas but their outlook is still very local. They don’t have much of an opinion regarding issues of substance, and frankly speaking, are a real boring bunch to date regardless of the material pleasures their background provides. They are happy to date and marry a local Thai guy from a “good family” as a matter of “doing the normal thing”…nothing wrong with that, to each their own really.
I was just discussing about the local political situation yesterday with a male Thai friend who comes from a wealthy family, goes to the top post-graduate school in the country, mixes with friends from the same social background etc. I was sharing with him what I felt were what most people of a nation would expect from their government, elected or otherwise, and that is (i) put food on the table, (ii) provide security and safety from physical harm and diseases, and (iii) provide opportunities for her people to contribute to society in a positive manner. His response was that mine was a “very interesting viewpoint and his friends and him have never thought about it in that manner”. It was really surprising to hear that my viewpoint is very different, as frankly I felt that would be the norm anywhere else in the world…I really would like to know what his friends’ and his viewpoint was just to understand how the local elites really think but didn’t want to kick up a fuss and left it at that as I’m no big fan of politicians in this country.
Without being offensive, I feel therein lies a key problem of Thai society that has lasted for way too long…the problem of education. Even at the higher echelons and the supposed “good school”, I hate to say that much of what is taught today in Thailand is rather superficial. At the village levels and less well-known schools, I question what the students really learn in terms of analysis and independent thinking.
One of my clients…a very wealthy tycoon and famous personality in Thailand once shared with me his thought by asking me a rhetorical question – “I wonder if anybody can name the last 3 Thai education ministers or for that matter the current one?”. The point he made I think is obvious to you.
I think for more Thai ladies to open up and be like you, there needs to be a lot of changes in this country, education, opportunities, incorrupt politicians etc.
I’ve dated some very good looking girls (at least in my own humble opinion) in this country but it’s really hard to find someone who can hold their own discussing about an issue of substance. In Vietnam and China, I have met girls who are younger than some of the lovely Thai girls I’ve dated but can actually carry out a decent conversation despite the fact they may be less well off and blessed with less opportunities in life. I attribute that to the character of the nation and her people due to their history where they actually had to struggle for their independence and their very survival. Sadly in Thailand as the saying goes “in the water there is fish, in the land there is rice”.
A very wealthy (and wise) client of mine once highlighted to me that never before has there been social unrest in Thailand because there’s not enough food for the people. The protests we see today and before have always been because of different political views and interests of different groups of people.
Most Thai people have been blessed with abundant resources to the extent that they have not learnt to work hard for a better life. Adversity brings out the best in people if they can pull through the challenges.
From what you have written, I think you’re the exception rather than the norm. Perhaps for things to change, Thailand needs to go through some of the hardships that her neighboring ASEAN neighbors had gone through for the people to go through the “baptism of fire” and be truly mature, have a more well-rounded education and outlook.
Without a doubt, the education system in Thailand is a big problem and this lack lack of ability to think and refusal to accept reality causes problems in relationships as well as other areas of life.