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khunsanuk

Are Thais Childish?

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Hi,

 

Are Thais as a people childish, or rather do they act / behave in a childlike manner?

 

I've notice a lot of childlike behavior in many Thais including lack of responsibility, inability to accept logic, naive in their beliefs (ghosts, fortune telling, dreams), prone to throw tantrums, 'afraid' of authority figures.

 

I know I am generalizing, but I really feel that Thais are often like little kids and I wonder why this is so. Could it be because they were never really thought to think for themselves, take responsibility for their own actions?

 

Sanuk!

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I'd say it is the way they are raised. Children are "protected" to the extent of not even being allowed to think for themselves. It is worse for girls, who may be told what to study and where by their parents - especially if they are Chinese-Thai. I would say that a large percent of the girls studying accounting do not want to; the parents forced them to so they could have a free accountant!

 

On the whole, Thai students seem much younger than their chronological age. Years ago I knew an American teacher who seemed quite proud of having seduced one of his teenage students. The girl was broken hearted, thinking her archan had wanted to marry her - not just shag her and dump her. That 18-year-old girl had the maturity level of a 12-year-old in our countries. I'd have been ashamed of myself if I had done such a thing.

 

Even at a top university, I found that many of the female students had never been on a date, never allowed to do so. The Thai system "protects" children until they come of age. Then it turns them loose on the world totally unprepared to do so. Some never do grow up, including their politicians.

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I've commented about this before in relation to emotional maturity, MLG is 27 but seems more like 21. My ex Thai wife really only got what I'd call 'normal' maturity when she hit 40.

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Also, they are not taught any critical thinking skills, a lot of ways of thinking that we Westerners (and people from other parts of the world) take for granted...I think this can make them seem childlike.

 

Furthermore, Thai adults seem to me not to have much capacity for empathy: imagining themselves in someone else's situation or shoes. Their sense of reality begins and ends with their exact situation, they don't seem to have the ability to imagine the problems, situation, views or perspective of someone unlike them. I think this extends right to the (oft-complained about by farangs!) inability for Thais to walk down the sidewalk in a manner consistent with a mature adult. For instance, if a Thai is going to walk in a certain direction, they walk there, regardless of the obstacles or the trajectories of other pedestrians. I don't know about all of you, but I'm always aware of my surroundings when walking down a city sidewalk, and over decades I've learned to read--in people's body language and general path--where others on the sidewalk intend to go, and I adjust my own path accordingly. Furthermore, I assume--when I'm in the West--that other adults will do the same. The result, even in a crowded city like New York, is very few collisions or near-collisions.

 

If a Thai has decided that they need to walk in a certain path, no matter how you may be walking, if you end up in their intended path they will literally crash right into you. I find myself jumping out of their way all the time, haha.

 

So I think that is also a kind of walking behavior one might expect from children, and not from adults.

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Hi,

 

"For instance, if a Thai is going to walk in a certain direction, they walk there, regardless of the obstacles or the trajectories of other pedestrians."

 

Yep, I notice this a LOT with my wife. If we are walking side-by-side and turn a corner on my side she will inevitably cut me off, and be totally oblivous to it. I've gotten so used to this that I automatically slow down before the corner - so she can go first - and then speed up to catch up again.

 

Sanuk!

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I don't know how many times I have nearly been run over when crossing a street, because a Thai crossing from the opposite directions runs straight into me with traffic bearing down on us! :p

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Thanks for the clarification - it was beginning to feel like Groundhog Day. Weird creatures, groundhogs - I have never seen a single reference to them other than Poughkeepsie Pete or whatever the little rodent's name is.

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Is Childish the same as immature?

 

As Coss and Flash nave both pointed out Thai's / Asians on a whole tend to reach maturity much later than happens in the West, now if this is down to Family Life or Education System I have no Idea, Faustian was the resident shrink on this board but has not posted in a long while now.

 

I have had the fortune to know / work with many intelligent Thais but overall there does seem to be a higher proportion of Immaturity than one would see in the west, it's just the way they are.

 

Preahko

 

I empathise with your observations about pedestrian traffic but the one that really pisses me off are the ones in a Shopping Mall who stop dead just before getting onto an escalator,

 

Aggghhhh, it's a moving staircase make up you mind where you want to go before approaching don't stop dead at the top of one and then discuss where you are going, make your minds up and get out of my way please, some of us actually know where we are going. I know I should be used to it by now but it still makes my blood boil.

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