A Good Country for Older Men
Stay or Flee from the “Homeland”?
Seeing the changes to American life after 911, I decided to escape, while escape was still possible. That decision has led to increased liberty and increased comfort and safety in my daily life. Plus, a level of respect that has disappeared for men in Western countries today. How much longer will it be possible for you to escape? When will the gates slam shut?
To escape from what?
• From government intrusion into every nook and cranny of life, with laws and regulations that choke off individual initiative and individual thinking.
• From “empowered” attitudes of various “minority” groups (which I won’t name here) who have “rights”; whereas older, white men now have few to none.
Here (in Thailand) I live in a middle-class style similar to the USA 30 – 40 years ago. With new, modern conveniences like Internet and shopping malls, air-conditioning and Uber cars. Plus familiar foods like rib-eye steak, fish tacos, apple pie and Haagen Dazs ice cream. Even Amazon delivers here (albeit not free delivery).
Plus a wide range of services like restaurant delivery to my door, and maid service in my apartment. The maid washes and irons clothes, cleans the bathrooms, dusts furniture, sweeps and mops the floors. She washes any dishes I’ve left in the sink and, yes, she does windows. If she were asked about “sexual harassment” she would have no concept of that at all.
Along with doctors and dentists of good ability and available quickly. Example: When I needed a kidney stone removed, I called a local hospital to make an appointment. I called about 10:30 AM on a Saturday, hoping for an appointment within a few weeks. (It wasn’t an emergency). “I’m sorry,” said the receptionist. “the next open appointment with a urologist is not until 1:00PM.” Thinking I’d missed something in her heavily-accented English, I asked, “What day? What date?” Foolish questions. At 1:10 PM that same afternoon I was being examined by a doctor. The kidney stone was removed (by ultra-sound) and I was back home within a few hours. Can you expect that kind of medical care where you are now? USA? Canada? UK?
In that hospital, while guiding me to the ultra-sound room, the nurse gently grasped my arm and looked up at me with a kind smile. She was about 30, slender, and very pretty. One of many like that, in that hospital. As an older man, can you expect that kind of “care” where you are now?
To judge public safety here, I look for young girls walking alone — or in twos and threes — without adult supervision. They are my “canaries in the coal mine”. When I see local girls out and about, I know that place and time if likely to be safe for me, too. Where I live, in the huge city of Bangkok, I often see young girls walking alone. So I am comfortable walking alone, too. Are you comfortable walking where you live now?
In daily life, an expat here encounters virtually no interference from government at all. Rarely do I even see a policeman, and then just one directing traffic in front of the neighborhood school on weekday afternoons.
As a foreigner, expats must report their address to the immigration office every three months. Nobody smiles there, but in-and-out usually less than 30 minutes. No cost, no bribes, no corruption (that I‘ve seen).
So, how do the local people respond to government attempts to interfere in their lives? They just “make a show”, but don’t really do much. Here’s a brief example:
Inter-city buses here are quite comfortable, even luxurious, and very popular. At one inter-city bus station, I noticed some luggage inspection machines that looked like airport inspection machines, but they didn’t inspect anything! The “machines” were merely large plywood boxes, turned on their sides, painted white, with a conveyor belt inside. On the front, a big electrical panel with an impressive array of colored lights. That’s all. No X-ray scanner, no display screen, and no inspectors!
When a bus departure was announced, an employee pressed a button to start the conveyor and turn on the colored lights. Some passengers put their luggage on the belt, then walked 15 feet to the other end and picked up their luggage. No shoes off. No keys and coins out of pockets. No wands beeping over belt buckles. None of that.
Other passengers just bypassed the fake inspection machines entirely. They simply walked right on past, wheeling their luggage into the departure area. No one stopped them. And other people walked into the departure area and then came out again, after saying goodbye to departing passengers. No one stopped them, either. Very relaxed in all directions. In Thailand, response to government mandates is not always just a “show” like that, but it often is.
What about government-enforced political correctness: fear of saying the wrong word about the wrong minority group, or immigrant group, or sexually deviant group? There is a bit of political correctness here, but very little. In daily life, most people aren’t even aware of the concept of “PC”. Bosses flirt with office girls, and some office girls flirt with bosses. I sometimes flirt with waitresses, and some flirt back with me. (Not all.) That kind of light-hearted fun disappeared from public conversation in The West many years ago. But here it is still considered just light-hearted fun.
On a more delicate topic, Voltaire wrote, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” That applies here, too. I won’t go into details, but it is not a problem, unless some individual decides to make a problem.
What older men experience here is a high level of politeness and respect in most public and social interaction. Not everywhere, and not all the time, but most of the time. Do you experience politeness and respect where you are now?
So, it this paradise? Is it Shangri-La? Well … no. But, for an older man, who remembers a life that was safe, comfortable, and (mostly) free from interference by government, Thailand is a good option today. One of very few.
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Larry Cameron is a retired, American, business owner. He’s fond of saying, “I grew up in the Middle West, in the middle-fifties, in the middle class — and I still hold those values.” In Thailand, he doesn’t sell real estate, doesn’t rent apartments, doesn’t lead tours for future expats. None of that. He wrote this essay only to offer the idea that, “ideas have consequences”. He can be contacted at: [email protected]