Readers' Submissions

The Mysterious Second World Of Thailand

  • Written by Professor
  • August 12th, 2011
  • 4 min read

There is another world of Thailand that many foreigners sitting in a bar in Nana or Cowboy never get to see. A strange world, full of surprises. A world tucked away, hidden from the sight of Sukhumvit Road and its surroundings. A world filled with mystery, excitement, and, dare I say it, hope?

It is the Normal World.

Yes, my friends, there is another Thailand out there. A Thailand filled with businessmen who are not on the take. Who go to their office every morning in a coat and tie, who do their jobs, go to the gym, and at night go home to their wives and families. There is a Thailand filled with women who stay at home and raise their children, making them lunch every day and sitting with them at night as they do their homework. Children who know what it is like to have a mother and father and home to look after them, and tuck them into bed at night.

None of these people have ever seen the inside of a girly bar.

Surprisingly, there is also another Farang world out there. A world of foreigners who work in the Kingdom, have good jobs, make top pay, have families and go home to the UK or Australia or America every year for Christmas or summer holidays. They fly business class and stay at 5-star hotels. They go to Amcham or Britcham or Auscham meetings, sundowners and golf outings, and while they might have a drink at a bar once a month or so, they would never dream of barfining anyone.

There is a world of Thai women, young ladies, who are not from Isaan, who go to university and know how to find Denmark on a map, know who Shakespeare was and can recognise a few bars of classical music. They are curious about the world, and read books. They are modest in speech and dress and will cross the street to avoid walking past a bar or a foreigner.

What's the point, you may ask?

When I read submissions like "All Thai Women Are Liars" or read about people saying that all women in Thailand are whores, that all Thai men are drunks who get their women pregnant and then leave them, that all foreigners are three time losers who make piss all in salary and only want to root the night away, I get a bit sad.

There is such a thing called statistical bias. Here's how it works. Let's say that 95% of Thai marriages are happy (the divorce rate in Thailand is difficult to determine exactly, but many studies place it between 5-10%) and the men stay with their wives and treat them well. These women will never work in a bar.

There are about 15 million households in Thailand. Assuming some households are single person, let's assume there are 10 million families, with a husband and wife. If 5% of the families break up that's 500,000 women who are left without a husband, about the same as the reliable estimates of number of sex workers in the country.

What that means is, when you meet a girl in a bar and she says ,"Thai men no good. My husband get me pregnant and leave me when baby come" she may be telling the truth.

But that does not mean that all Thai men are like that. You are talking to a self selected group.

By definition, if a woman ends up in a bar she most likely comes from a broken home. But that doesn't mean ALL homes in Thailand are broken. It’s just that you haven’t spoken with the 95% of happy Thai wives. (By the way, statistics also show that the divorce rate among Thai women who marry foreigners is significantly higher than the divorce rate among Thai/Thai couples).

I work with several companies in Thailand. Most of the executives in my companies are women. They do a great job and prefer working for a foreigner as they have equal opportunity. They raise their kids, love their husbands, dress modestly and rarely drink. If I were to speak only with these women, I would get a completely different viewpoint about Thai women than if I were to speak only with bar girls.

The same goes for my male Thai business friends. They are decent, well meaning, hard working men who love their families. They would never be caught dead in a girly bar. That's not to say they don't fool around. But they do so with discretion. One Thai friend of mine in a very public position has a list of girls who he calls and they meet him in a hotel room.

There is no point to this submission, no grand explanation of the universe. It is simply a plea to recognise that there are other worlds out there, worlds outside the girly bars, the worlds of a normal country. It is a plea to recognise that there are good Thai women out there, who are not liars and who don't spend the day trying to think up ways to fleece foreigners. It is a plea to recognise that there are decent Thai men out there, who work their jobs and raise their families and treat their women well.

It is a world well worth getting to know.


Stickman's thoughts:

I really liked this. I get annoyed at all of the misconceptions out there about Thailand and its people that come from those who have led a very one-dimensional existence in the country. As I have said numerous times, you don't learn shit about Thailand sitting in the front row of Tilac Bar every night.