Greener Pastures or Opposites Attract?
Being Asian and having studied in the West for a while, I dare say that for both Asians and farangs the grass is always greener on the other side. You see it in the mannerisms of both characters. But why do Asians wanna leave Asia and yet Farangs come here by the thousands?
If you really think about it, I blame it not to loneliness but mere wanderlust. A detachment from your home environment. Perhaps it came from too many Travel and Living channels where the hosts exchange local currency and plonk themselves down in a cafe in the middle of the busy street like it's the most normal thing to do when you first arrive and try to 'blend in'. "Get a local SIM card, stay off the tourist areas and soak in" would typically be the instruction in your hipster tourist guide printed on organic recycled hemp. Blame TV. Blame travel guides for this RIDICULOUS PRETENTIOUSNESS. Below are a couple of examples.
Asians are sick of humidity and heat. The moment a little bit of cold or freak global warming effects happen, we LOVE to dress up. Look at Taipei in December and January. It's about 18 degrees Celsius and people are wearing THERMAL, gloves and faux fur. Caucasian people on vacation certainly seem amused at this phenomenon.
Farangs love the sun. Particularly Canadians, Swedes and Finnish tourists in Pattaya. Full-on no sunscreen exposure to lovely UV rays! Something you can't quite get back home without looking spray painted in orange. Asians will NEVER do this. Years ago, the only tanned Asians were the ones whose families worked in agriculture and the fairer ones didn't have to labour under the sun. So tanned = peasant. This no longer rings true but the psychological effects still linger on decades after…
Asian women typically are small and petite. As a young Asian teenage boy in the 80s, I longed to chat with Caucasian women. I didn't want 'Fon' from Soi Cowboy or some half-Thai Channel 7 actress as a trophy wife. I wanted full-bodied, voluptuous WESTERN women. I wanted the Pam Anderson, Paris Hiltons and Kate Mosses of my time. You see, I grew up with the typical small and petite Asian women all my life. There was NO MSYTERY and definitely nothing exotic for me. As a non-native English speaker, I studied English language voraciously and took every opportunity to practise with Farangs to improve my diction and pronunciation. Eventually I plucked up the courage to start chatting up western women in bars and several successful nights of this justified all the years of effort I took to learn English as a non-native speaker.
Farangs are sick of the feminist, self-righteous women they deem stereotypical of First World Nations. They argue that Western women grow fat and are boring. So you turn to Asia. Have you seen how your girlfriend's mom looks like in her 50s or 60s? That should clue you in on that Asian women age as well. I'm sure by now you'd know that you'll be the laughing stock of Thais if you think your honey-toned Isaan girl is the epitome of Thai beauty. Look at Channel 7 and 3, those actress types are closer in line with the Asian mould of what beautiful girls should look like.
Many Farangs have praised Thailand for its orderly and respectful culture. That Asians in general respect authority and obey the rules. That we avoid conflict and arguments, silence our disdain etc all in the name of harmony. Asians in my general way of thinking long to break away from this. Too many rules, too many penalties and idiots telling the rest what to do has us up in arms. Many of us appreciated the fact that anyone could say ANYTHING to anyone, regardless of social ranking or title. This may seem childish to you but this new-found freedom IS a novelty in Asia. I personally wanted to experience the type of social problems you get from a high tax rate and young teenagers using welfare money for drugs. WHY? Because I could, because I wanted to. The voyeur in me manifested itself whilst studying overseas. I found that, I LIKE a government that takes care of its people; regardless of who they were, they were citizens and they took care of all citizens. Equality was present for the rich and poor.
Many farangs complain that the Thai authorities only protect their own. Look a little deeper and see the difference between the rich and the poor here. Compare that to Sweden or Switzerland where a homeless bum can get sick and yet have access to medical care without proper insurance or in some cases, even basic identification. You talk about leeches but what about your girl's family or the dude who shamelessly smiles as he asks you to "kor ngern noi"?
The year is 2012 and I personally know of three friends who sought life abroad. All 3 of us are born and bred in SEA. We are Asians. One went to the States and vowed never to return. The other two happily set their roots in Canada. I personally intend to move to Thailand when the time is right, pending certain financial instruments that need to be set in place before I make the big move. I view Thailand through rose-tinted glasses and love everything about it.
This post is simply my own amused observation of Westerners misbehaving in Thailand and certain clichés we all know to be true. I certainly hope that I didn't offend anyone by providing an Asian perspective on things and how we all want what we didn't have before. Cheers.
Stick, over to you.
Your perspective is interesting indeed and provides food for thought!