Generalizations Part-III-A, or ‘My Bar-girl is Different’
For those who haven’t read the first two parts of this submission [http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/ReadersSubmissions2015/reader9063.html & ‘http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/ReadersSubmissions2015/reader9068.html ’] let me just repeat that I am concerned how so frequently discussions between Thais and farang (even the whole of humanity, at times) appear to be short-lived or non-existent because of the general terms in which they are often couched… and yet these generalisations are often intended by the writer/speaker to be regarded as written in stone and inviolable…
Part-I dealt with my pet-hate generalisations (‘All bar-girls will take you to the cleaners’; ‘There is no need to wai bar-girls’; and ‘All expats in Thailand are old, fat, misers’… with an additional Part-Ib due to a confusion I created for some readers), and Part-II sprang from two articles here about: ‘Farang should never marry Thais… and vice versa’.
Simon’s initial piece I responded to in Part-II, and now, without wishing to upset anyone (but I expect I shall, as some people are so easily upset…), I would like to compare it with FarangDave’s response… though I have to admit it is difficult to know whether to direct my comments at the possibly phantom ‘Nam-anator’, or to Mrs FarangDave who allegedly conveyed this story to her husband, or to FarangDave himself who might be the dupe of a Thai deception.
I do however sometimes wonder why a Thai lady is even aware of the Stickman site, let alone reading it, and submitting articles to it. Though it is great to read counter-arguments I sometimes find them as blinkered and generalised as the articles they are attempting to decrie. I have occasionally come across Thai websites, and found them interesting, even though they are not aimed at me, but my Thai reading skills might be no better than online translation engines so I would never dare to respond to them, on the grounds that I might very obviously have misunderstood the original article.
On Bangkok Post, for example, the comments are invariably polarized to the stage where there is no point whatsoever responding, or even voting up/down… there will never be a real discussion about anything, and nobody will ever change his original opinion.
All generalisations are liable to be of little long-lasting value (as a rule…) because they are frequently, at best, only a biased account of any particular situation… and are at the same time only an account of a single situation.
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Why I Would Never Marry a Westerner: Lack of Anything
FarangDave chose to respond to Simon’s piece by pretending that his article had originated from a Thai lady… but turned out to have been written by him, allegedly as told to him by his wife… who had heard it from another Thai lady. I think I know why he might have done this but, ultimately, I fear it might have failed – even back-fired. From the first paragraph it seemed to me this wasn’t written by a natural English speaker and so the denoument had no surprise for me, and any intended clever effect was lost. Equally I suspect that anybody who was surprised by the final paragraph might have felt tricked… and thus few readers might have been sufficiently impressed for it to have been worth the trouble.
My second problem with this piece is its not too well hidden, and perhaps nasty, agenda – the (‘original’) writer was offfended by Simon’s article and chose to strike back… Why…? Was it because she failed to understand (or even bothered to actually read beyond the title), or was her own baggage (albatross…?) already weighing her down. Impossible to tell, as presented, because it claims to have been twice interpretted before it ever reached our eyes.
This lady also claims, ‘my family is well off, not hi-so’, which is also intriguing – it is often more enlightening to read what people claim not to be, than what they assert they are. [Think about it…] Simon, in his original article, never mentioned ‘hi-so’ women – just Thai women – so I wonder why the topic is introduced here, other than to be able to deny it…
First, ‘hi-so’ is not exactly a scientific term and has no clear and obvious definition. It is a relative term that each society and individual defines, usually from their own point of view. It goes with expressions like ‘middle-aged’ and ‘working-class’. For example, middle-age could refer, in Western society, as perhaps between 40-60, but I would suggest many people of 44 would still regard themselves as young, in much the same way that those of 66 would not consider themselves old. When my daughter was five she asked if the Beatles were from my century… I was then in my late-30’s but boy, did I suddenly feel old…
Claiming not to be ‘hi-so’ is thus inadmissable evidence – do any real ‘hi-so’s actually admit to it…? In Britain do ‘Sloane Rangers’ ever admit to it…? In America do ‘Jewish-American Princesses’ admit to it…? These are all potentially derogatory terms and will inevitably be denied. One definition of insanity is that mad people can never admit to being insane. To declaim being ‘hi-so’ is as invalid as claiming to be intellectual after a visit to ‘The Theatre’.
But what intrigues me here is that Nam-anator has herself introduced the topic seemingly only to be able to deny, and then discard it. This attitude runs throughout FarangDave’s portrayal, of his wife’s friend’s reaction, to Simon’s comment, that Thai women lack intellectual curiosity.
Right from the title it is clear the writer (whoever he/she is) is out for revenge, not debate. She seems to have taken the whole thing personally (though allegedly on behalf of the Thai race) but has been so blinkered she has failed to notice all the good things Simon said about her country and it’s people (as well as missing the whole point of his article), and simply blown up his one simple (and arguably proven here, by Nam-anator herself) theory – that most Thai women lack intellectual curiosity – out of all realistic proportion.
[I would like to add that we are only discussing Thai women but that should not suggest that ALL other women (and men) around the world are, therefore, intellectually curious. Many of them are not – see below…]
Of the two hundred or so Thai women I have met and known, one on one (and I don’t mean, in bed…!), in almost twenty years, only a handful have ever been as blindly vindictive as the writer of this piece. I feel as sorry for this person as I do for the desperate farang who declare all Thai women are the lowest of the low – these are both extreme viewpoints possibly created from deep within their own psyche…
As Nam-anator’s attitude proclaims Westerners lack anything (or did she mean, everything…? – it’s not the same thing…) I imagine all Western men will be eternally grateful for being instantly excluded from her selection.
Right from the get-go this odd woman is indignant and self-righteous, completely, it seems, without reason… although her alleged reason appears to be a simple dogmatic claim (without support) that Thai women are anything but intellectually incurious – a school-kid level of debate. She also asserts there are many other reasons why not to marry a Thai (with which many of us can perhaps agree), and then illustrates her claim with a peculiar analogy about a love of car horns. Simon never stated he disliked the lack of curiosity – he said he was just disappointed such curiosity didn’t exist. Not buying a car because you don’t like the horn makes little sense because you can always change the horn. Maybe she meant that the car didn’t have a horn… or that… but why should I re-write her stuff for her…? If she is as fluent in English as she claims, and as intellectually advanced, she ought to have been able to present a better example… Or did FarangDave slip this quip in…?
Anyway this woman uses this to dive into her first vindictive retort: that Simon’s ‘incredible ego about his own self-worth is more at play’ – which is astonishingly presumptuous, and not a very erudite argument… Amusingly she then exhibits her own ego and self-esteem by trying to assert this, of course, is only Simon’s opinion, and the rest of us would obviously disagree with him. Wake up, dear…!
Then, having declared in the title that Western men lack everything (I’m assuming that’s the one she meant, but did you ever see a bigger generalisation… or a more useless idea for debate…?), she tries to recover her footing by claiming she has no prejudice against Westerners… and then slips completely into the mire by admitting to having prejudged Americans before her arrival in the States as being, ‘the smartest and most beautiful people in the world’… She was soon disenchanted that those ‘Damn Yankees’ didn’t meet up to her idiotic beliefs – and, of course, it must be their fault… Is she saying Americans are to blame for not being what she thought…? or should she blame herself for having such idiotic thoughts…? This is no different to the idiotic farang who falls in love with a ‘Thai babe’ on the internet and six months later wonders where his money has gone, and is then disappointed that all Thais didn’t come up to his expectations. Or the poor Swiss sap in Bangkok Airport-4 who was amazed his darling didn’t meet him at the airport…
It very often is not the other person’s fault.
I was delighted by the story of Nam-anator’s first date with a Western boy: ‘his idea of a good time was to go to a bar, get drunk, and then try to get into my pants’… This couldn’t have been because they had nothing to talk about, could it…! LOL.
Now the generalisations start to pile up. On the basis of five boyfriends in six years this person sets herself up as an authority on American manhood… Please note, I’m not saying she’s wrong (I know nothing about the desires of young guys today), just that, like all of us, she generalises… but also makes the mistake of believing her limited view is universal gospel.
My favourite part of this article, which I doubt I’ll ever forget, is the revelation that, when she did find the man of her dreams who, of all intellectual experiences he might have come up with, took her to, ‘chic bars and fusion restaurants’… I nearly choked on my Bacardi Breezer… And I can assure this lady that, ‘even going to the local theatre’… does not make one an intellectual (any more than one swallow makes a summer – though it might certainly make your holiday ;), especially when prefixed with ‘even’… It also misunderstands the whole point of Simon’s theories of intellectual curiosity, and confuses it with plain intellectualism.
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I had to take a break there. As the story moved to Act-II, and I couldn’t stop laughing… I just had to take a break…
This lady and her beau now arrive in Thailand for a holiday and are whisked from the airport to her parents’ spare bedroom… Hmm… does this really happen in ‘hi-so’ families these days…? and then, the very next day, comes… The Bombshell…! Twenty-odd relatives [NB: this is not the same as” twenty odd relatives… ;)] have dinner in what sounds like an expensive restaurant and, guess what… the poor boy is expected to pay… Nothing is said, he is just handed the bill and told how nice it would be for him to pay… and his refusal both surprises and shocks his fair damsel. Again, I must ask why…?
This is (sometimes) a Thai custom, but after ten years in LA this woman ought to have known her beau would not necessarily understand it… so why the heck had she not at least warned him…!? and preferably actually discussed it with him. I say, Yea! that he stood his ground – if indeed he did – because there is always a possibility he did pay, and that this is just her way of getting revenge, by asserting what a little shit he was. Indeed, I’m not sure, by this stage, I even believe this particular story. It’s such a cliché.
Then they went sightseeing and the boy became a whining baby – allegedly – ‘complaining’ about the heat, the rain, the waitresses… Oh dear me, is it not possible he was simply commenting on the differences he was experiencing…? which, as they were all known to the lady, were taken by her as complaints… And then he apparently hit the roof at being expected to pay to enter a museum, when she wasn’t. Did she ever have to pay in an American museum when he didn’t…? or did they never indulge in such intellectually fascinating pursuits over there…? This also could have been better dealt with if the girl, as the ‘host’, had simply paid – or at least said something in advance. If she reaslly is as superior as she seems to believe then maybe the onus is on her to ‘educate’ lesser mortals…
By now, as I already doubted this piece was actually written by a Thai person, I began to wonder if the whole thing was just a hoax, as the poor beau seemed remarkably au fait (for a first-timer) with the things that many farang have to learn to complain about. I can recall my first trips to Thailand but do not recall making such complaints at that time… but I do, now, for example, refuse to pay ten times as much as Thais pay to enter anywhere, despite whose taxes allegedly pay for it…! Incidentally… I have yet to meet a single person in Thailand (who is not monthly salaried) who admits to paying ‘income-tax’… and secondly, when I was a property owner here, the annual land-taxes were less than a double-latte… so I suggest many Thais visiting these sites pay (if at all) via VAT – as do all visitors.
But this is also a generalisation… and I need to take another brief break, and brew some coffee.
To be continued…