Stickman Readers' Submissions October 6th, 2014

What Is Missing?

Comparisons are things we should not engage in while in a relationship that is supposedly based on issues of attraction, trust and love – but, for those of us who embark on such a relationship, where two very different cultures are involved, there is that inevitable component that can grow to the proportions of the proverbial elephant in the room. Even the words "should not" in the first line emphasize a behavior trait that can be frowned upon because that thought suggests an unacceptable line of thinking when broken down into cognitive terms. With particular focus on a relationship between an Asian and a Westerner, the biggest problem lies in accommodating the differences in cultures and in being perceptive enough to make allowances so that harmony can prevail.

For those of us who have entered into a liaison between a Thai lady and a Farang man, this will most likely be the combination that we will examine – because it is the most likely combination that will be encountered on this website.

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Let us clear the air by isolating the different types of people who are likely to comprise the participants in partnerships in the love / sex stakes in Thailand. Can a liaison between a Thai lady and a Farang man who meet in a bar venue accurately be described as a "relationship"? Likewise, for a couple who meet via an escort agency, we may ask the same question. Both of those scenarios, at that point, are not a proper "relationship" – they are merely an arranged liaison for the purpose of sex – however, there may be the possibility that something more than that may evolve over time. The odds are against that being a probability, mainly because the motivations from both sides are purely selfish – one wanting sex and the other wanting money – generally speaking.

Supposing that the proper channels of introduction are involved where a decent Farang man meets a good Thai lady – and both of them have the goal of creating a proper, caring relationship that will, hopefully, end in marriage. Of course, it goes without saying that both of them must be totally free from involvement with any other person and carrying around no old "baggage". A situation such as this gives the most likely foundation that such a union is likely to have the best possible chance of survival for the long term. So, we have the most likely combination of circumstances in basic terms – but then we must consider the accommodation of different social and cultural factors that must meld to allow this liason to exist.

The man must be able and willing to support his intended wife – and, very likely some or all of her near and / or extended family and provide the sin sod to cement his good intentions. An excellent explanation of the subject of sin sod and the part it plays in Thai culture has been given by Average Thai Girl in Dowry Money – An Average Thai Girl's View
so I shall avoid any comment on that subject as I salute her superior knowledge of such matters.

Before we can move on to the mechanics of making such a liaison perform as it should to morph into a relationship, there are matters to be considered such as willingness by both parties to "bend" to accommodate the expectations of the other party – and this can only be established by direct discussion. Once more, we come to the subject of communication – that is so often lost or never established in the beginning, even for partners of the same culture. Of course, without communication and a spoken dialogue of personal needs, there is absolutely no chance of a liaison becoming a relationship and a lasting union. No relationship can exist without communication.

A friend of mine, an Asian lady, with whom I have been communicating by e-mail for a number of years, asked me why so many relationships or marriages between Thai and Farang persons fail – but that is a hard one to answer because there are likely to be different specific reasons for this and many of those would be rooted in each of the different cultures.

Lack of conversation on topics of common interest is one of those reasons that comes to mind – and that becomes harder to overcome if there is not at least a basic skill in both languages used by both partners – at least spoken in a fluent way but preferably being able to be read and write by both partners. On top of that is a requirement that each partner must have a knowledge of each other's culture – and that should be an absolute necessity for any Farang going to Thailand (or any Asian country) who has even the remotest likelihood of considering a serious liaison with a Thai woman. Failure to have that knowledge would most certainly lessen the likelihood of a successful outcome in the partnership stakes.

For example, take two people from the same culture (a Farang man and woman) who have a normal upbringing, are well adjusted and have a reasonable education that has resulted in both of them having a decent level of employment. It is common knowledge that more than 50% of all marriages in America end in divorce – and I suspect that the majority of those failures result from loss of interest in sexual relations, infidelity, failure in consideration of the other person's needs or a breakdown in communication and sharing of common interests. If this is the situation that exists for two people of the same culture, then consider how much more difficult it will be for two people from different cultures to survive in a liaison – let alone a relationship / marriage.

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Expectations today are very different to what they were even 10 years ago – and social media has become a curse that has replaced normal conversation between intending couples trolling the web for meaningless liaisons based on a quick romp in the sack or on personal exhibitionism that they wish to share with other like-minded air-heads. The most unfortunate aspect of societal norms today is "trending" (an "in" descriptive term) toward the dumbing-down of basic intelligence and homogenization of thinking, dictated by governments (and companies) with vested interests in producing non-thinking clones that will conform to any new idea ("trend") – whether it has any merit or not. I have a friend who collects old bicycle wheels (expensive ones – carbon fibre) and hangs them from hooks on his ceiling in his "studio". I suggested to another friend of mine (a retired Telecom Australia engineer) that social media was dictating a "trend" toward collecting bicycle wheels – and that I could put him in a position in contact with the "kingpin" where he could be in on the ground floor and make a coup on this coming "trend". His reply was "I don't look at social media or TV". A very wise man.

Anyhow, after that little aside, let's get back to how this would impact on a Thai lady and a Farang man who were trying to sew up a liaison (in Thailand) that was hopefully going to last the distance and become an enduring relationship. Let's hope this guy doesn't collect bicycle wheels as I think that could detract from the success of the liaison.

Can you imagine, these two are together now (not married but just testing the water) and it is a pleasant evening where they are watching a ghost movie on TV (he doesn't have a clue what it is all about) and he decides to start drilling holes in the ceiling of their rented apartment, screwing in hooks and hanging up his collection of bicycle wheels in the same room (he has 50 of them). There is a knock at the door – and she opens the door and in comes Mama and Papa. I won't even try and elaborate on what happens next – but I would imagine that there would be a serious discussion (in Thai) that would very likely result in the death knell for any parental permission being given for this "match in heaven" to survive.

Let's be real. For any chance that a liaison will last the distance, we must assume that both candidates are "normal" people. Don't ask me what is normal – but I can tell you that anyone who hangs bicycle wheels from the ceiling of their rented apartment's living room is far from "normal".

When I think back on my early years, if I were in my late 20s and looking to find a Thai lady who I may like to date and eventually marry, I would be looking for a Thai girl who possibly worked as a shop assistant in Central Department Store – or perhaps even one who worked as a nurse in a hospital in Thailand. I say this because I think that such a person would have a reasonable understanding of English and would be an intelligent person, having been chosen for that job because of having those skills. For a Farang who had a reasonable understanding of Thai culture and language to consider a liaison with a lady such as this, I do believe that the chances of surviving to become a lasting relationship would be reasonable to expect. Do not let sexual attraction be the primary reason for selecting a person with whom you may like to settle down with – that will fade – and what will you have left if there is nothing else to bind you together?

Stickman's thoughts:

So many wise words! I agree that nurses often make great partners…although with that said the local dating sites are full of the ladies who list nurse as their occupation and many bang like a barnyard door – and as a good few friends tell me of their exploits with ladies they meet online, those working in healthcare really ought to better understand the inherent risks associated with unprotected sex. Many, it seems, are remarkably lax, or is that just reckless, when it comes to protection.

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