Readers' Submissions

Only Sheep Need A Leader

  • Written by Kyoto 1981
  • September 9th, 2014
  • 5 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok



Leadership! A word meaning someone is able to lead, someone charismatic enough so a majority accept him as a leader.

To have leadership we need 3 basic things: 1) Someone wanting that role 2) People or crowd to accept him as a leader 3) Someone has been sworn with that role despite point 1) and 2). Leaders don’t give orders, they give the example and people follow his directions when people are identified with, or in other hand, people decide to follow their own path.

In Thailand we have a variety of nationalities and cultures in addition to Thai culture, being Thai culture the most predominant above all, like it was supposed to be. In fact, western expats living in Thailand are a small minority and not representative of their home countries. For that purpose (I mean representation) we have embassies. Make any sense for someone, in our home countries, that another culture from abroad (for example China) can prevail above our own culture and elect someone (a leader) to make representation of the entire community? For that purpose I have my embassy in Bangkok…

Why westerner expats should complain about leadership in a foreign country when they aren’t, not near close, the majority? What might argue Cambodians and Myanmar people? They are in much more proportion than westerner expats living and working in Thailand. Make any sense make complaints about something that we were not called for? Everyone who comes to Thailand comes for their own feet (in my hometown we have a joke about this, and it can be said about every single nationality, telling something like this: “How you call (nationality) here?” Reply: “We don’t call them. They come by plane.”). Thailand isn’t calling they, neither give them any special care. There isn’t any special political resolution to call westerner investment from individuals. They want multinational corporations to make jobs for their own people. Can you check about visa requirements? What are the requirements to make a local business for an expat? What can an English teacher teaching in Thailand do for the local economy? Spend their low salaries in booze and whores? Some of the English teachers don’t even have work permit or qualifications, they rather want to make a living in the sunny Thailand by all means and teaching English is an easy way out. How can a Scottish guy teach English if he has a damn hard accent? Most of westerners come to Thailand and make it their retirement country, but this don’t give them absolute no right to be more than that, a simple retired, and don’t automatically grant them the right to be an expat (I understand expat is someone working outside of his country). Some of the westerners come in a retirement mode, age above 50, and some are making business, small business in tourism related areas and real estate. Is that the core of economics that deserve to be represented?

In the countries located in south of Europe there’s a lot of rich people or with comfortable incomes coming from north Europe and USA on retirement mode. They enjoy the sun, the good wine, the food, the nice views, the medical care, etc, etc, etc. Everything looks so perfect for them to retire and have a peaceful life. They are there to spend their money and for that reason they are welcome. Economy loves big spenders. Locals will accept them because they are a plus to the local economy in the small villages, but in fact they didn’t call them and probably they will not accept these people to interfere in their politics or steal their businesses. They came on their own feet, because they felt in love for the country, his climate and/or his food. Same happened with many of the westerner expats that decided to live in Thailand. Their motives are solely the splendid climate, the nice beaches, the exotic food and the pleasant life they don’t have in the west for the same value. If you put together with the beautiful smiles of the natives, the gorgeous women living there and the low level of life this is the dream of many westerners.

What contribution have most of the expats in Thailand made to deserve the right to demand a leader? They need a leader, for what? Will they be represented in the Thai Parliament? Will they have any rights besides wasting their sweaty money? In my modest opinion I would reject any leader that won’t speak my native language or don’t live the way I live or haven’t the same interests and hobbies I have. Like me, I believe most of the expats will feel the same. Brits, Aussies, Yankees, Kiwis and English spoken natives will be together. Germans, Dutch, Austrians and Swiss people will also group. French, Italians, Spanish will group also. Chinese and “Ruskies” will be alone because they are too many and because of their specific language and culture. Scandinavian people might join former Commonwealth people because they speak English so fluently. Africans like Nigerians will be together for sure. Middle East people have many people living in Thailand people like Lebanese, Egyptians and other nationalities in Arabic Gulf. Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi will make their own group. You can see the picture here? They will join groups because of language, culture and/or geographical proximity.

Now a sensitive issue for every one thinking about… what makes people connecting? Some will say language. I agree! Some will say nationality. I also agree! Some will say geographical proximity. I agree too! Some will say religion. I will agree “nid noi”! Some will say politics. Yes, for sure! Some will say hobbies and interests in general. I agree! Some will say socialization, connections network and profit in general. That is true and I agree because some people will put money and social status above everything, even for scamming people! Some will say a mix of everything was told before. I will agree too! But I think language, nationality, geographical proximity and way of living are the factors that will help the most people to connect. Why Yankees, Aussies, Brits and English spoken people in general have more chances to connect with each other in Thailand? Because of the factors listed before. The language barrier is not always easy to take down. Can some of the former commonwealth nationals consider been led by a French or a German national or even an Egyptian for example? I sure think not. If the unthinkable thought of having a representation or a “leader” in Thailand who will lead you and don’t speak the same language you speak, don’t have the same culture and points of view it would be a huge turn down on your pretensions.