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Post Info TOPIC: Greng Jai ... in thai culture has it lost it's place?

Lucky Phill

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Greng Jai ... in thai culture has it lost it's place?

Interesting Commentary On Thai Culture

In the Sunday September 6, 2009 edition of the Bangkok Post there was an interesting commentary by Voranai Vanijaka entitled "That Which Nourishes Thailand May Destroy Thailand" in which he offered a critical evaluation of an aspect of Thai culture.

Specifically, he wrote about how the 'greng jai' aspect of Thai culture seems to have led to a situation where young people hesitate to raise questions to their elders (teachers and other people in authority) while those same people in authority are not comfortable being questioned.

From this analysis he goes on to infer that Thai youth lack skills in critical thinking and problem solving. As a result of this element of the culture, Thailand is suffering from a range of problems, from social inequality and increased poverty domestically to falling economic competitiveness in the global market.

This is not the first time that this argument has been made, but it is one of the most approachable and persuasive discussions of the issue that I have seen recently. That said, it is interesting that a Thai columnist would make the case - and in some ways weaken his own argument - because by his logic the article itself is rather counter-cultural. Another thought that I had when reading the article was that the opposite might also be true in some Western cultures - where even when people have nothing to say they feel obligated to ask questions and/or critique the position of the speaker.

WAT on Thai Culture - Heart values - defines Greng (Graeng Jai)

-- Edited by Lucky on Wednesday 9th of September 2009 01:33:27 AM

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