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No other outlet to air.

Discussion in 'Staffroom' started by bahn_farang, 24 Jan 2017.

  1. DigitalGypsy

    DigitalGypsy Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it's unfair to make these kinds of generalisations IMO, mostly because I believe they are somewhat true. Out of the 67+ million here I'd say it's a nano-fraction of that that have actually traveled abroad, have any knowledge (modern or historical) of the world outside of Thailand (possibly South East Asia then, to be fair), or even care about that world beyond the horizon. We're talking about a country that thinks it's OK to talk about foreign people in the third person whilst within earshot and call them 'farang', point at them, make open jibes and so on. Yes, not all people are the same, but I'm not having many firsthand experiences here in Thailand to convince me otherwise, and I've worked in numerous locations and met many people. I'm not offended by that however, and realize it's probably a cultural product of a poor education system, superficial media, and lack of libraries, etc etc.

    Have you watched Thai TV lately? Do you see any programs aimed at the masses that would motivate them to travel? How often do you see a Thai person with a book that's not a comic? When was the last documentary you heard a Thai person talk about, or one you even saw on TV that rivaled an expose that the BBC or Channel 4 or whatever churn out. Critical thinking seems to be limited here, and that applies to all aspects of life, including a desire to understand the world at large, or bother to explore it. Yes, some do, mostly those with money. In a world of rote learning there's not much kindling to spark a fire for exploring the world, would you agree?

    Another aspect that lends credibility to my point is that of a lack of concern, empathy, or general interest of Thais in a foreigner living here in Thailand (work colleagues for one example). Let me explain that a little further: all the years I've been here nobody has ever asked me do I miss home (nobody beyond extremely close people that is, so less than 3 people), or enquired about my family back there, or even discussed any aspect of the fact that I'm half a planet away and that it must be a strange and an often terrifying scenario to find oneself in, especially as there are few rights for us here, almost zero social security and so on. It's also amazing how many Thais don't understand the hoops we jump through with 90 day reporting, visas, work permits and so on. They think it's a simple process with an infinity of applications at our disposal. They never seem to 'get it' that our stay here could end on a whim of some unthinking official. It's as if they don't even comprehend the gravity of that. Yet, if mama back home in the sticks kicks up a fuss over some trivial day-to-day detail the world is ending and they're on the first overnight bus home. I find Thai people (again not all, and they are quite often soft, charming, and friendly to a fault I might add) to be quite solipsistic, perhaps unwittingly so, but nevertheless... If you look at the overall cultural traits of the country, the tag of 'Thainess' (I refer to the foreign interpretation of that term) whilst an unfair stereotype to whitewash everyone with, has a lot of evidence to perpetuate the mythology.
     
  2. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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  3. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    You've nailed it and I have to agree with all points you've made. :cold


    What's a sort of scary to me is that not many foreigners who live in Thailand, no matter how long they've been living here, have got friends?


    Maybe the usual drinking buddies where the gossip's always about others after a few Archa beers. And if one can't make it on that particular day, he's the victim of the day.


    Yep, and the "quality of foreign teachers" is hardly something we foreigners can be proud of, without trying to put you into the same category.


    I had the "good luck" to come to this country at a time where I had the opportunity to gain some "paid teaching experience" through teaching and trying to sort out what worked out for me. And what not……


    Growing up in a bilingual environment did help me a lot, but now I sometimes know the word in English and Thai, but not the German one, when it comes to a not "really wanted conversation."


    I've worked with the crème de la' crème. A guy from an unknown English speaking country, who "blew somebody's head off”, then even sat for 16 years in the high security prison where the Australians came from and later threatened a Thai guy to kill him and his staff of Karaoke girls, just because he couldn't speak Thai and misunderstood something very important.


    Two others from the same country were only 7, and 8 years behind bars, just because of an armed robbery? C’ mon. Man, how could you forget to wipe your prints off the used pump gun, man? (“Where do you go with that gun in your hand from Jimi comes to mind".....................)


    And what was meant as a joke turned out to be the naked truth of an agency I've worked for. I was hired from the school next door just because they didn't have enough teachers and the pay was 14 grand higher.


    One day when we sat in the office and made jokes about mentioned agency where they'd find their teachers, somebody was asking why they wouldn't go to Khao San road with a big sign and hire them straight off the road.


    What we didn't know at the time was that we were pretty much close. One of the "new teachers", who’d ran out of money in Pattaya, and his bargirl wife had a baby inside and he slept somewhere on the roof of a house, when a van of the agency stopped next to him.\


    When they heard that he was from A....a, they immediately told him that he could immediately become a teacher for them and he started at our school two days later. Money for new clothes was then deducted from his first salary.


    He approached me after his first lesson just to ask me: " How do you spell Wednesday?" I thought what a damn bad joke in the morning with a self-triggered hungover, but he really wrote it the way he said he’d learned it, on the board: W E D S D A Y.


    He didn't listen to the screaming high school kids at all who pointed that mistake out pretty quickly. The same guy and Mr. Pumpgun then were on countless drinking tours that usually ended in a lot of fights, stress and amusement for various Thai people at the local market.


    Their last day was when their motorbike collided with one of the students', where 2 innocent students got injured by their foreign English teachers.


    They were too drunk to make it home and a teacher from the school had to bite the bitter apple and drive them home.

    Back to topic now. My apologies. :cold:cold:cold
     
  4. OxfordDon

    OxfordDon Well-Known Member

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    That's actually your misunderstanding of the way pronouns work in the Thai language.

    The BBC is the oldest public broadcasting system in the world afaik, how can you possibly expect Thailand to have something similar!

    Nobody ever asked you if you miss home? Do you speak Thai well enough to have that kind of conversation with them? You mentioned before you were totally nonplussed by the simple Thai in Mathayom textbooks, but perhaps your spoken Thai is better. You have advocated an "immersion" approach in your classroom, so your Thai should be excellent given that you've been immersed in the language here for many years apparently.

    Why on earth do you think Thai people have to travel or show interest in you? You get paid over the odds compared to Thais to do a job here!

    You seem intent on becoming unhappy by attaching yourself to your preconceptions about how Thais should behave in their own country, but have offered no critical appraisal of yourself at all.

    By the way, this mantrum about "critical thinking" really does make me smile. Observe the behaviour of westerners on expat forums, if that's evidence of critical thinking then give me the opposite any day.
     
  5. DigitalGypsy

    DigitalGypsy Well-Known Member

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    Similar? Anything would be a plus to be honest, and my conversations were in English.

    You seem to have an issue with my opinion, one that I'm entitled to, albeit subjective. Yet, yours is too, lest you forget

    You only have to witness road-sense here to see the lack of 'thinking', not alone critical thinking. It appears you are biased because of some personal investment, attachment, agenda, or whatever. As I said, some, but not all fall foul. Statistically however, I'd consider you very naive to suggest it measures up to first world countries in terms of the mean intellectual ability. We both know it's lagging, and not through any fault of the suffering and impoverished. Things are as they are, and that does not mean I love my adopted home any less, but it also does not mean I should be denied an opinion on it either

    Any irate stance against that is your business, not mine. My opinion still stands as is
     
  6. SundayJam

    SundayJam Well-Known Member

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    I admit I had to look up marmite after reading a few posts on this thread...and wonder why someone would have stock piled it. Most of the expats I converse with brag about their having tried gang kiaow wan or pad thai to explain their...meh...attitude for Thai food. I consider Thai food world-class, varied, and fresh. Heck, I even enjoy fried crickets....something no one back home would ever eat...unless on a dare.

    Other than foodies, Brits, Aussies, and Americans tend to prefer bland comfort foods. Foreigners are better travelers than Thais? Really?

    Whenever I want a best burger in Thailand....I simply cook my own. ;-) Getting quality steak and sashimi are another issue altogether.

    I'm sorry you're stuck in this dilemma, BF. There's plenty to be gained from both worlds and I'm sure whichever you decide on will work out for you.
     
  7. Hey_ewe

    Hey_ewe Well-Known Member

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    Points taken as intended =D. I will preface with a disclaimer and apology, that my post will be riddled with generalisations.

    Yes, I read the article it was an interesting piece. There is on occasion a collective 'Thainess' but I have noticed a trend towards more individualistic behaviour, more prevalent in richer Thais. Perhaps as your own sense of self importance rises there's a tendancy to shut out anyone or anything outside your social bubble?

    I also have observed an almost isolated state that Thai people can exist in. My two best friends are Thai. I grew up with them, as they were schooled in the UK. I observed this very focused state that they'd get into when concentrating on something (particularly TV or computer games) to the point where it would be almost impossible to draw their attention. This is something I had thought was particular to them, until I'd been here a few years. This is something I now see on a regular basis. How many times have you seen someone ensconced in some TV show or cartoon book, when the world is virtually exploding around them with huge loud distractions? Yet,Thai people seem better able to block out the surrounding chaos. We have all been engrossed in a good book but this is something different.

    Of course, not everyone fits into these stereotypes but they don't come from thin air either. As you've already alluded to, many Thai people have very strong stereotypes and in my experience are very racist. People are gradually becoming more willing to travel and try new foods but it won't happen over night. I know Thai people who have never left their province. I would imagine you could have made the same observations about the British in the 60's and 70's before tourism really took off. There are British people who would go on a weeks holiday and eat nothing but egg and chips, saying "I'm not eating any of that foreign muck!" People like that are few and far between nowadays. It's just a gradual change a society goes through. One of the things I love about the UK, is the vast range of countries and backgrounds people come from, food is huge part of that and international cuisine has become a big part of the British culture.

    I have Thai friends and colleagues who are intelligent, informed on world affairs and are well travelled. I also have Thai friends and colleagues, who are not so bright and totally ignorant of anything outside of Thailand. I like them all equally. Thailand is very inward looking and unwilling to accept any world history that might paint Thailand in a bad light. A large proportion of the population have no idea of what actually happened in WW2, whether it's the holocaust or events closer to home such as the death railway.

    It's just a cultural thing. The government and media push a very nationalistic agenda and are very inward looking. British culture tends to be outward looking, perhaps due our colonial past and the fact we are an island nation.

    A final few sweeping generalisations....I would say a fair proportion of older people come here because they are disillusioned with their home countries and to find a woman. Younger people tend to come here for some adventure. The group that makes me laugh the most, is the grumpy British expat, who moved here because of all the immigrants back home, to then come here and moan about all the foreigners he suddenly finds himself surrounded by. Irate that the local 7/11 clerk doesn't speak English. :hilarious

    I don't miss food that often but when I am feeling sick, stressed or tired, I tend to head for comfort foods from childhood. I cook and eat a good mix of Thai and foreign food. In fact when I go back to the UK I find myself missing Thai food.
     
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  8. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting thread. I love the life here in Thailand. I love the food. I love the general ease of things. But I hated working here though perhaps recognise that as being down to the simple misfortune of working at the wrong school.

    Let me qualify that however, there are a lot of wrong schools out there but the school in question gave me my first break in teaching so I need to be grateful for that opportunity even if it showed the management of the school to be very reckless! I was also fortunate that I was thrown in to teach subjects in English in a real classroom. They were fortunate in that I responded positively to that opportunity. Plus I think my students were wonderful - we had fun, they learned, I learned , and most importantly they knew they learned. Now in the broader debate about the education system, it is self-evident that it is the politicians, the bureaucrats, the administrators and a lot of the teachers, the adult players, who betray the country's youth by their ineptitude and corruption. It is not because the students are thick, my experience is the opposite.

    In China, now, I miss Thai food, the weather, the comparative cleanliness of the air. I guess I've been away from the UK for long enough to get over the taste of black pudding, tattie scones and square sausage! But it is a huge adventure being in China, bringing the family in now and God alone knows where we will go from here. Our children's education made the decision easy - we want them to be able to gain entry to any academic institution in the world if that is what they wish to do. So it has to be international certification. As the older partner, my job is to stay in employment that allows this and thereafter to stay fit and healthy so I can work for as long as possible. As I've said before I'll let my hair down if I make it to 70!

    In real terms everywhere has its pros and cons. I think it was old Voltaire who said: il faut cultiver votre jardin - you've got to take care of your own garden. That's what I am trying to do but I am hugely aided by having happy home circumstances which give my life meaning and purpose.
     
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  9. DigitalGypsy

    DigitalGypsy Well-Known Member

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    100 percent agreed on that. Every child's mind is an unblemished and blank page awaiting knowledge - it's the obstacles that hinder that fulfillment that I lambast. Said children are the victims of an apathetic elite.

    However, it's not a problem easily fixed and would take generations if it started as early as today.

    DG
     
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