Appearance is everything in Thailand.
The Thais’ will be nice to you anyway, regardless
– but their real feeling when they see a
backpacker or other person from abroad (or another
Thai) that doesn’t shower much, dresses like hell, doesn’t shave, and just generally isn’t concerned about appearance is that they are “Kee Nok”.
Today I heard from a co-worker that he was given the axe at work. Fired. Not going to renew his contract for the next year. Now this guy takes teaching
seriously. He puts his heart into it. His time, his effort at school all go into his lesson plans. When we see him interact with the kids in the office – you can tell he GENUINELY cares about the kids and wants to teach them everything he can. That’s obvious to all of us that teach here (12 foreign teachers).
Yeah, they gave no explanation – just gave him a letter. We’ve chosen not to renew your contract. He is the ONLY one out of the teachers here. The guy is brilliant obviously genius level IQ. He’s about 46 years old from the states and has a bachelors degree and teaching certificate from somewhere – I forget where.
There is only one thing this guy DOESN’T have going for him in Thialand. His appearance isn’t cutting it. He’s overweight, doesn’t dress sharply, he is frequently unkempt. He is frequently unshaven. He is often times slovenly. His breath smells like cigarette smoke BAD. I think he smokes the roll your own cigarettes. His class put an ad for underarm deoderant in his mailbox.
To give a hint I guess – though I’ve not smelled that.
He usually has stains of some sort on his shirt or pants.
Twice he has cut his hair with scissors very short but you could see EVERY cut. Very odd hairstyle.
His teeth are greyish and black and he doesn’t seem to care. Cosmetic dental surgery here is VERY cheap.
SO, that’s the story. That’s what I’m thinking the story is anyway. Appearance in Thailand is absolutely everything there is. If you have it – you’re set. If you
don’t – you need to GET it.
Another guy here – covered with tattoos decided he was going to get cut too if he didn’t bail first – so he’s bailing.
Tattoos are not so great either. He covered his up with long-sleeves but he had some idea that he needed to show them to the kids and staff and that wasn’t going over all that well (like a BIG BIRD KEE NOK).
If you want to stay in Thailand and be relatively successful, work here, and have others treat you well not only to your face, but behind your back – you’d
do better if you play the part.
If you just don’t fit the part – no worries – appearances aren’t for everyone – and I’m quite tired of having to maintain one. I’d love to come to work in jeans and unshaven… but I also want to maintain some sort of level of respect from the kids, neighbors, and others.