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TOPIC: A Thai Trueism
Aug 28, 2009
A Thai Trueism
Thailand is a great place to live, believe me, I have lived here since 23rd of March 1992.
It was never my intention to stay here, I was simply passing through after a year in South America, and never left.
Thailand is nicknamed the “Land of Smiles”, this was an advertising campaign launched by the Thai government of the time, back in about 1995. With the exception of the service industries, all encompassing as this description is, It may surprise most people to know that Thai’s probably don’t smile any more than any other nationality.
They are a nation of many different classes, and the haves have, and the have nots work like dogs.
The Thai mentality is, if you have money then show it. There are more Benz and BMW’s in Thailand than your average western country, per head of capita. Germany excluded of course. And there are more big expensive houses than you would ever expect to see in what is otherwise referred to as a ‘developing’ country.
Monied Thais in general are very well educated and like talking with westerners. There manners are for the most part more defined, and more in line with what us foreigner would consider normal. Generally they drink a bit too much, the men anyway, but it is normally fine wines or real scotch whisky. The men play golf as much as possible, and gamble like crazy on every hole, around every bunker or before every water crossing.
The women enjoy social gatherings and meeting friends in some fine establishment over lunch. It really Is a good life here for the people who have money to spare.
The emerging middle class aspire to be rich, and as such work like mad and dream of ways to make it big. That new venture, that new product or idea, that connection with someone in the know, that conversation they had with a foreigner last week that mentioned something new. It could all be there big break. Thais are entrepreneurial in the true sense of the word, and have the courage to strike out on some lame brained idea that us meek westerners wouldn’t even dream of. What’s the worst that could happen, they could fail, and in Thai society you simply walk away from the failure and move on to the next ‘sure thing’.
What you and I would call the ‘lower classes’ are the true Thai people. The ones that bods lucky enough to be born in countries with social security and the Dole (unemployment benefit for the uninitiated) think of when our minds travel to far off 3rd world Thailand while dreaming of our next paid holiday.
These are the Thais that are filling the factories, cleaning the floors, working in the small shops and driving the economy. They are the true heart and sole of the country, and probably the social group that I feel the most comfortable being around. They call a spade a spade, they work every hour possible, and when the times get hard they are the ones that go home of their own accord because they don’t want to burden the factory by clocking in when there’s nothing to do. I have seen this with my own eyes.
These are the people who are working day to day to make the money to send their kids to school, to put food on the table and buy clothes for themselves and their families. Sounds familiar, it is because that is what we all do in our lives. In this the Thais are no different to any other nationality, it basically just comes down to how much money they have that determines the type of food, the quality of the clothes, and the grade of school.
I have been to many countries in my life, and in my own opinion, it’s not the tourist attractions or the fancy hotels or even the bargains to be had that make a country good, bad or indifferent, it’s the people. Don’t expect for a minute to see Thai people going about there lives in the exact same way we do in “the west’ because it isn’t exactly the same. There culture is different, and the way they see things is definitely different to ours. But I suggest that in visiting Thailand you get off the beaten path a little and try to experience how the real people live. I guess in this sense I’m luckier than most because I speak the language. 17+ years of being here and working in a company for 12 of those years where nobody else spoke English I was forced to learn, but it’s the best thing because you can only really learn from someone if you can communicate with them.
Learn a few phrases before you come. The Thais may either laugh at you or completely misunderstand your way of pronouncing their beloved language, but guaranteed it will break down barriers and open up an opportunity for some real meaningful exchange. It may well end up being sign language, but you will have a ball being involved.
To end my story I can only say again that Thailand is a great place to live. Come here open minded, and think through all the situations you find yourself in. Enjoy it for what it is, but don’t be fooled by something that sounds to good to be true. If you take my advise and really see the best Thailand has to offer, it will be you smiling, all the way home.
29/9/2009 We (AusWaThai forum Moderator) sent Dale an email requesting more information .. it follows
1. where do you live in Thailand: A:
We live in Ban Pong, Ratchaburi. It's 80 kms west of Bangkok.
2. what do you do for work: A:
I am the International sales/marketing manager for a company that sells water well screens.
(easier than trying to explain)
3. what about your wife: A:
My wife's small company exports many things, mostly sewn items such as bags (of all sizes), seat covers and seat back organizers etc. We tend to work more as a sourcing agent type business though, for anything that companies want to develop in low labour cost countries. What ever people want, if we can find it here in Thailand, or have it made here then we will.
4. how did you find us:
I was doing my normal nightly activity of searching the net, I somehow got directed to Dan the Man's article on not being able to learn Thai, so being the ?.?.?. (ask your Thai friends about this one if you like, basically it means, sort of, know-it-all), the Thai letters by the way are S.T.L., I thought that I would throw in my 10 cents. You responded after he did, and as they say, the rest is history.
As for the story, I tend to think a lot before I say too much about this country, but what is there is the truth and quite heart felt. I worked in another company here in Ban Pong for 12 years, and the best friends I had were the factory floor workers.
-- Edited by Sawasdee on Saturday 29th of August 2009 01:41:33 PM
-- Edited by Sawasdee on Saturday 29th of August 2009 01:43:30 PM
-- Edited by Sawasdee on Saturday 29th of August 2009 10:26:35 PM
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