The Things They Got
South Pacific is one of the most famous and popular of American Broadway musicals. It tells two parallel stories.
The first story is about an older, successful businessman who falls in love with a young, poor farm girl from a different culture. He worries about their age and culture gap. He worries that she may not be intellectually curious enough for him. He worries what his associates will think.
She also worries about the age and culture gap, and that he might be too “intellectual” for her. She worries what her family would think when she brings home an older man.
He is French. She is American.
The second story, told at the same time, is about a young American man who falls in love with a native Polynesian girl. He worries that she doesn’t speak his language and they can only communicate through sign language. He worries that her skin is too dark. He worries what his associates will think if he brings her home, and whether her poor background will reflect negatively on him.
Did I mention this was written in 1947?
The theme of racism is key to the musical. The young man can love this native girl, but cannot overcome his racism to be able to marry her.
The young American farm girl also struggles with racism when she learns that the older man has two children by a now dead native woman, but the farm girl is able to overcome this and finally accept the older businessman’s love.
I study history because I believe that there are lessons to be learned, and those who don’t follow history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. All of us, when we face problems, believe our problems to be unique, which in some sense they are. But one can take comfort in knowing that other people have faced similar problems to us.
In a previous sub, Captain's Paradise, I talked about a 1950’s movie in which a man marries two women to fulfill different parts of his personality. I received quite a lot of response, much of which centered on my not discussing what the two women felt.
The character married one woman to have a boring domestic life with home cooked meals, a family and bed by 9 PM with a glass of warm milk. He married at the same time another woman for parties, all night drinking and dancing and (one has to assume) wild and persistent sex.
In my original sub, I did not relate the end of the movie. (Spoiler Alert). The first woman leaves the main character because she is bored staying at home all day and wants to go out and party. The second woman leaves the main character because she wants to stay at home, cook and raise a family.
The Captain’s Paradise turns out to be a paradise for him, but not for the ladies. In his great wisdom, he failed to look after their needs, caring only for himself.
Let’s get back to South Pacific. In one of the most famous songs, the American sailors sing about being stuck on an island without female company, and they sing about how much they love women in general. But in the last verse of the song “There Is Nothin Like A Dame”, they sing
So suppose a dame ain't right
Or completely free from flaws,
Or as faithful as a bird dog,
Or as kind as Santa Claus,
It's a waste of time to worry
Over things that they have not,
Be thankful for the things they got!
There’s a lot of negatively from many writers to this website.
Negativity against Thailand. Yes, there are things wrong with Thailand. You can’t own land. They charge 100 baht for foreigners to enter a temple while locals pay 50 baht. <Note, at the Grand Palace foreigners pay 500 baht and Thais enter free – Stick> You have to leave the country every 90 days if you don’t have the proper visa.
There are things wrong with many countries. My feeling is, if you don’t like it, leave. Don’t complain, just leave.
Negativity against women. Yes, there are things wrong with women. There are things wrong with men. There are things wrong with you. And with me.
Don’t complain. Fix yourself. Fix the woman. If you can’t fix her, dump her and get a new one. Just don’t complain.
Her skin is too dark. Deal with it.
We can’t communicate. Learn Thai. Send her to English classes
She wastes money. Show her how to make a budget.
She’s not intellectually curious. Send her to university.
She works in a bar. Help her find a non-bar related job
Her family asks for money. Give her a proper allowance and tell her to deal with her family’s requests.
It's a waste of time to worry over things that they have not, be thankful for the things they got.