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You Know You're Thai When...

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Are you Thai? 11 ways to tell

 

Songkran Grachangnetara

 

Bangkok Post

Published: 25/12/2012 at 12:00 AM

 

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for this newspaper titled "How to Tell Whether You're a Farang". I got so many Tweets suggesting that I write a follow-up to even things out that I felt obligated to pen a simple test for those Thais attempting to become farang, and to determine whether they have indeed made that transformation successfully. So here's my simple test, for what it's worth.

 

• You're Thai if you still can't tell the difference between a heated argument and a free and honest debate. In Thai society, to question the judgement of someone in authority - be that a boss, a teacher or even a father - can be construed as an act tantamount to mutiny. Therefore, it's rather sad that in our culture, a valid statement is determined more by who said it, rather than the merits and reasoning behind what was actually said.

 

• You're Thai if you're a Sunday driver even on weekdays. Thai motorists are infamous for inventing their own secret traffic code, and all foreigners need to get to to grips with this quickly or else life on the roads will be a nightmare. In any other country, flashing your headlights would signal giving way for the other car to pass. But in Thailand flashing headlights is equivalent to a rattlesnake shaking its tail; it means don't make a move or I'll run you over.

 

• You're Thai if you still find it amusing that a group of farang will go to a restaurant and each person would order the same appetiser and main course instead of what a group of Thais would do, namely each person ordering something different and then sharing the variety of dishes. Thais are confident that this is the most rewarding way to enjoy a communal meal, until of course an argument breaks out on how to fairly split the bill because nobody got to eat enough of what they really wanted.

 

• You're Thai if you have an obsession with skin colour. Thai women would willingly climb Mount Everest barefoot rather than spend a day slogging in the glare of the afternoon sun and risk losing that porcelain white complexion they've acquired through years of diligently living without any exposure to natural sunlight. This obsession has spurned a whole industry based on products that promise to make you white; from moisturisers to pills and even deodorants that allegedly improve the complexion of your armpits.

 

Full Article Link:

 

http://www.bangkokpo...-re-really-thai

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Hi,

 

"You're Thai if you prefer to delegate life-changing decisions like who to marry or when to plunge into the stock market to one of those phoney C-grade celebrity palm readers we see too much of on television. Instead of censoring meaningful discussions on relevant issues, maybe Thai authorities should make it more difficult for these scam artists to make a living off the backs of innocent people whose only crime seems to be their own gullibility."

 

Hear, hear!

 

Sanuk!

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Other than the Thais who actually work for them, and the odd Thai academic, how many Thais would actually read the English language newspapers in Thailand ? Would hi-so kids try to look hip in a Starbucks (!) by tearing themselves away from social media long enough to read the Bangkok Post ? I've never seen that anywhere in Asia, nor in Oz (Asian kids here are obsessed with Starbucks - go figure).

 

Seriously - not rattling anyone's chain, but I have seen very few Thai people reading English language papers. I'm sure its a lot easier to poke fun at your fellow Thais when you know that very few of them are likely to be offended by it : happy to hear otherwise.

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The average Thai could not read an English paper, any more than the average expat could read a Thai paper. The Bangkok Post now claims a circulation of 450,000. That surely must be including internet readers. There is no way there could be that many reading an English language paper in LOS.

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Thanks Flasher - I know how thrilling it must be to know that, despite your best efforts, many of your students simply wont pick up the ball and run with it. Compare that to a country like China, where the middle class seem to embrace the opportunity to learn a language (and culture) other than their own. Doesn't make them 'less Chinese', just better equipped to do business outside their own borders. Pragmatists - gotta love em.

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It's true...reading a newspaper is quite difficult in some languages, due to the level of colloquial language used, which differs surprisingly from country to country. English newspapers and magazines are written fairly colloquially, making them rather advanced reading material for non-native speakers...Thai is even worse, when you add to the colloquial language the Thai obsession with abbreviations and nicknames. Lao and Khmer are, on the other hand, quite straightforward...Intermediate Lao and Khmer language students can do quite well with everyday newspaper articles in those languages; Intermediate students of Thai, forget it.

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• You're Thai if you still find it amusing that a group of farang will go to a restaurant and each person would order the same appetiser and main course instead of what a group of Thais would do, namely each person ordering something different and then sharing the variety of dishes. Thais are confident that this is the most rewarding way to enjoy a communal meal, until of course an argument breaks out on how to fairly split the bill because nobody got to eat enough of what they really wanted.

 

Except for the being shady on the bill part, this is not a bad thing and I prefer to eat this way with friends and good acquaintances. The practice is also a norm with Chinese, Japanese, Koreans (and I'm sure more, that''s where my direct experience ends). The Chinese call it eating 'family style.'

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You know you'r thai when you can't make it through a phone conversation without saying hello, hello every time there is a pause for more than 2 seconds in the dialog/

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That sounds like my sister - explains a great deal in our relationship over the years, All this time, I thought she was from another planet - turns out I was very, very close.

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