Stickman Readers' Submissions October 24th, 2011

New Thai Movie About Farang / Thai Relationships?

Well, not exactly. I apologize that the title is a tad misleading because the movie wasn’t about the farang / Thai dating scene. But there was a farang sighting! More on that later. This new movie is titled “30+ (Single on Sale).” It’s a light-hearted, feel-good film that could be best described as a Thai “chick flick.” It’s about a relatively successful, independent Thai woman (played by popular Thai actress Chermarn Boonyasak “Ploy”) who was dumped by her long-time Thai boyfriend and is in search of a new guy before her “use-by” date…in a manner of speaking (hence the movie title). She meets up with some street vendor (played by Thai actor Arak Amornsupasiri “Pae,” one of the hottest local stars around) who promises to find her the right guy. Well she does, actually, a rich Thai guy, but by then, she’s already fallen for the first guy, the not-so-rich Thai guy. Pretty predictable.

That’s not really the point of this submission, however. The movie itself was fairly average, even by Thai standards. It had its entertaining moments, but even as a Thai who understands the language, I thought it was a bit bland. There was lots and lots of female dialogue. So a farang guy going to watch this movie may find it tedious and boring beyond words. My Thai GF, of course, loved it. Which is sort of my point (or one of them).

Part of the reason why I’m even writing this relates to the depiction of the lone farang in this movie. The guy was part of the plot, although in a small, insignificant way. The main female characters in this movie were the lead character (hot) and her two female best friends, one stunning and the other….well, not so—rather unattractive, actually, but funny (she’s had many roles, pretty much all comedic roles). So they run into this farang guy at one point and you sort of get the feeling that one of the ladies was going to end up with this guy. And one did. Could it be the lead hottie? No. The second hottie? No. It turned out to be the least attractive one, of course. And this farang guy was significantly more impressive than your typical expat. He was young, successful, wealthy, and pretty good looking. So the hot, rich farang guy ends up with the least attractive Thai girl of the three.

But that’s not even my point. Well not entirely. I’m reminded of my “reality check” submission some time back. Do you recall? That Thais really don’t think much of farangs on any given day and just go about their business. Thais are certainly aware that farangs exist, but they don’t make a big deal about it and certainly don’t look at farangs in a way that it seems farangs see themselves in Thailand. In this movie, the farang guy is really just part of the landscape, with the farang guy’s character being rather inconsequential. Not negative. Not positive. He’s just sort of “there” as part of the scenery. It's almost as if the farang character was included as an afterthought, but they had to ensure a bit of realism. The Thai girls certainly don’t gush over this guy, even though he’s young, rich, and handsome. He’s just another guy that they can’t communicate with so why even bother. Even the unattractive girl didn’t see anything particularly special about the guy initially, but falls for him through a random accident sort of thing (a bit cheesy, I might add). But it had to be the unattractive Thai girl that ends up with this farang, otherwise the whole movie might come across as somewhat unrealistic. I mean, in Thailand, what sort of Thai girl do we normally see with a farang? The audience can relate. The two hotties certainly wouldn’t settle for a guy that they could barely communicate with.

So why am I even sharing this movie with your readership? Firstly, I’ve seen a lot of Thai movies and farangs are rarely in them. So I thought it worth noting. Secondly, this is the sort of movie that Thai girls will flock to go see. Perhaps not for the story, but for the two lead actors (guy and girl) who are pretty darn popular at the moment. And as we all know, media—particularly entertainment—shapes cultures, everything from style, to behavior, to taste, etc. And lastly, this movie portrays on the screen much of what I’ve said in words. If this mainstream movie is any indication, I thought it rather appropriate to say that the contents of my previous submissions from years back are still valid today. In October, 2011, the Thai thoughts about relationships, both Thai / Thai and farang / Thai, are still pretty much as I described in my Green Star submissions. Communication is still the most important thing…although in the movies, the lead guy had to be pretty smokin hot. In this movie, the girl falls for the guy that she can relate to, talk to, have fun with, consult with, laugh with, connect with, in short, freakin COMMUNICATE with. This is what a normal Thai girl looks for, that sort of relationship. The other guy that she rejected was also Thai and filthy rich, travels the world, etc., but she preferred to stay in Thailand and be with the guy next door. Romantic drivel, yes, but from a good sampling of Thai girls that I’ve spoken to who’ve seen the movie, they all concur. Money and financial security are not the most important things to most normal Thai girls.

In all fairness, this is just one movie from one perspective. It’s not going to win any awards or even venture out beyond the Thai market. Another movie may come out in the future with an entirely different point-of-view. Note: There was a movie about a year back that had an American guy in Thailand who gets hooked up with a Thai girl. But that was an American movie made from an American perspective. And it was all in English. Thais like American movies, of course, but it won’t touch and move and influence them the same way as a well-made Thai movie which they can understand intimately and follow without question.

So in summary, this movie is somewhat of an accurate representation of the mainstream Thai dating scene in modern day Thailand. Not hi-so, not lo-so, but normal, middle class Thais. Farangs are included, but are minor bit players. Normal Thai women will respect farangs as guest of the Kingdom, but are not in awe of farangs, nor do they worship said farangs in ways that many farangs may find in the much smaller farang / Thai dating scene. This is in stark contrast to what I see as the farang perception of the dating scene. Perhaps I’ve become jaded, reading some of these farang forums and the like, and seeing how farangs are convinced that they’re the center of the Thai universe. Farangs tend to overstate their importance in Thailand, both in economic and social terms. They think that every Thai woman secretly wants to be with them. But worse, they think that the Thai women who actually do are typical Thai women when in fact, these so-called farang-hunters (including BGs) are so off the beaten path as to almost be considered radical deviants, relative to normal Thai women. That tiny subculture called the farang / Thai dating scene consists mostly of desperate and poor Thai women who don’t have the looks to land them a guy like Mr. “Pae.” (and also explains why money seems to be at the center of many of these relationships) And most farangs think that this is it, that’s all there is. Well I’m happy to say that there is a thriving Thai dating scene out there that for the most part, doesn’t include farangs—unless, of course, you can speak Thai.

Stickman's thoughts:

I haven't seen the movie but I agree entirely with what you say. To experience the best of Thailand, you need to get away from the tourist areas and the benefits of speaking Thai are massive. It really opens up both the country and its people. And then it is like you are in a whole new world!

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