Thai – Farang Friends, Do we ever really KNOW each other?

There was a guy student of mine that was of Chinese
descent when I was teaching in Ubon. He had graduated
from a great school in Bangkok, and his father had a
construction business in Ubon so he returned after he
graduated to take an engineering position with the

Smart guy. Worldly Thai guy, considering that most,
even the educated Thais' I would never consider
"worldly".  This guy had been around to many different
countries over the past 10 years both with and without
his family. Some of his friends were rather wealthy too
so they all went to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taiwan,
China, Australia, and many other spots they could
hang loose and see how others' lived.

We got along pretty well and he was always asking me
to go out with him to different bars.  I did go a few times
and he taught me a lot about Thai social interaction
that was great to know.  The do's and dont's of  interacting
with Thai men and women and what is the norm… so,
from that aspect it was a great learning experience.

As it turns out, after about 9 times of going out and doing
things I realized that the guy says one thing and does the
opposite. Not a real reliable person, nor truthful in my
understanding of things. So I stopped going out with him.
I realized when I did that I never really understood the guy
much at all.  Maybe not AT ALL.  We laughed, we had a
good time – on the surface. But I wonder if anything he
told me was true, or if it was all a fabrication to build

I'm still not sure.

Anyway…  kind of the point of the notecard is that Thai
people with money, with prestige, with a life here they are
not much interested in same-sex visitors. They may
play the role a bit… they might have some interest but
their interest might not be in sharing a piece of them-
selves… their feelings, their TRUE feelings. Social
interaction between me and all Thais' seems to be more
of a social dance… they are very aware of what they are
revealing about themselves. They don't let you see the
dirty side of things. They only present the cleanest

I wonder if they are that way with each other too.  I have
heard my girlfriend talk about negative things that were
affecting her – to her closest friends. But, never everything.
She reserves that. Not for me – just to hold inside hereself
I guess. I don't think it ever comes out.

She never cries… she never really seems sad or bored. To
me she might appear bored – but it is because I THINK she
MUST be bored without something to do for a long time.
But, she's not. She's quite OK with it…

So, this notecard is just another comment on the state of
farangs and Thai relationships. It's a shallow state of
friendship and maybe of love.  Shallow from what I consider
to be meaningful…

If a Thai person appears really interested in you and shows
a LOT of interest or gets excited about seeing you – I think
maybe it's because of the money factor. In some or most
cases I would guess this.

Those with money don't really associate with foreigners.
They don't care. They don't see us as an ATM because they
likely have as much or more money than we do.  They kind
of ignore us.

It's strange to notice…

I guess since I'm currently ranked LOW on the "connected"
scale of social prestige here in Thailand I see this.  Yes,
there are many Thais' with money that will associate with
farangs with money. Don't get me wrong. But, since overall
most Thais' don't have money. Most Thais' are very curious
about and want to have interaction with – foreigners.

Am I crazy or is someone else seeing this?

Thai People, Thai Friends

Thai culture: Getting to know Thai people

If you stay here a bit you might find this to be true. Even
if you think you are getting to know the Thai people and
becoming their good friend, in reality – you are separated by a thick membrane of differences.

Thai’s grow up with a completely different environment. What is important to them and what is not important is vastly different from any foreigner’s experience. Sometimes I think we are WORLDS apart in how we look at
things and in what we believe.

To me, Thais’ appear to have little depth. On the surface that sounds callous, but, given that we’re completely different – it is not really a bad thing. My idea of depth is something I picked up in the environment of the USA.

Depth to me means – caring about achievement, caring about a person’s feelings, expressing true emotions so we all can know where the person stands… It involves things like – interest in things outside of the self… art?
politics? religion? questioning where we came from. interest in other’s cultures. Interests in things outside of Thailand – anything! Interest in some hobbies or just some curiousity about some different areas of life that one doesn’t normally experience in their own culture… stuff like that.

Thais’ are not this way overall.

So – from my American perspective they have no depth. Depth is a quality that is revered in America and, from what I’ve picked up from my friends from other English speaking countries , other places too.

Now, WHY is there no “depth” as I call it?

They have a culture where Buddhism and Animism is what everything is, or more accurately, was based on.

Buddhism teaches impermanence. Everything is changing and there is nothing that is permanent and worth “grasping” or clinging to with the mind.

“Modernization” is changing this view of things, but slowly. In Bangkok and other tourist areas they are changing faster but in the rural provinces they are quite conventional in their views and outlook.

Thais’ seem to be “in the moment”, another Buddhist concept. They seem to rarely worry about the future or what happened in the past. In America we
tend to obsess over things that are wrong and things that are coming up that we fear – the Thais’ don’t. They may think about a problem as they’re discussing it with someone. They will work on it to resolve it.

But, when the conversation is over, I think that’s it. They leave it… and go on about living in the moment like they usually do.

This concept is quite baffling to us that come from a different perspective. To see Thais’ go about their day seemingly not worried about anything is a bit weird to us.

To see them not interested in cultures outside of their own is odd to us. To see them laugh beside the road as someone is lying dead in the street, their friend perhaps, is very strange to us.

But, it’s based on how they grew up. Nothing is permanent. This life is transitory too, same as our experiences in this life. Nothing is worth getting
worked up over… everything passes, this too shall pass (I heard somewhere).

To me – I think I would have liked better to grow up in Thai society where I don’t look at things as too serious. I don’t think too deeply about anything.
I don’t obsess about the future or crap that happened in the past that cannot be changed. I just move on, move forward, being in the moment and not being affected for the most part by small things that happen throughout the day that really, in the big picture, don’t mean a thing.

Mai Bpen Rai, Krup… is the prevailing attitude here. “fa get about it…” or “no worries mate…” or “no problem”… that’s really the attitude I’d like to have
more of…

Is it shallow? Without depth? Maybe to us, but it’s also an alternative to the weirdness that we’ve become in America and other cultures that take
everything so seriously….