Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Thai People
by Stickman

There are many reasons why people decide to move to Thailand - the tropical weather, the exotic and paradise-like islands and beaches, the delicious food and the reasonable prices but the Thai people themselves are a huge attraction. Thai people are warm and friendly and seldom will you smile at a real Thai person and not receive a smile back. Certainly of all of the places that I have been lucky to visit around the world, I have never met a nation of people as genuinely warm and friendly as the Thais.

There is a real community spirit amongst the Thais. Thai people simply seem to get along with each other a whole lot better than people in other countries though exactly why this is, I'm not entirely sure. Where in the West there always seems to be all sorts of conflict between people, in Thailand these petty problems do not seem so prevalent. A classic example is in schools. In the West, bullying is a problem with the bigger, tougher kids often picking on the younger ones. This sort of nonsense bullshit does not occur in Thailand (though they do have some really fierce inter school battles with knives and guns as reported in the press from time to time)! You also see it in general communities where the everyday regular folks live. People will go well out of their way to help their neighbours, far more so than in the West. When cooking food, one person may cook extra and walk around the community, be it an apartment building, a village or wherever, and deliver bowls / plates of food to their neighbours. This all contributes towards creating a very warm spirit amongst the Thai people, a warmth that I have not seen in the West where the aforementioned infighting seems to prevail.

Thais are incredibly patriotic and love their country. Ask the average Thai where they would like to go for a holiday and they will usually say somewhere in Thailand, even if you state that money is not an issue. Hypothetically, give a Thai the option to emigrate to another country and they would usually turn it down. As one of my Thai teachers once said to me, "I feel very lucky to have been born in Thailand" and she then looked at me as if being born in the West was based on some sort of bad karma, a sin that I had committed in a previous life! The Thais really are happy in their own country and this contributes to making Thailand a really nice place to live.

Thai culture is extremely complex and even the most conscientious and diligent foreigners who have lived in country for a long time and have made an effort to understand as much as they can will inadvertently make cultural mistakes, yet Thai people are generally very tolerant of foreigners. Foreigners continually make cultural mistakes in Thailand, yet the Thais will more often than not waive these cultural errors, choosing to overlook them and continue to smile and be happy.

This happy go lucky attitude and the level of tolerance in Thailand makes it a very easy and pleasant place to live. To a certain extent, Thailand has isolated itself culturally, setting up a sort of way of distinguishing itself from so many other places, though they seem to realise that if they want to get on with things, they do need to be tolerant of those who do not understand Mother Thailand's ways.

No comments: