Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Thailand: An inventory after one year

Staying over one year in Thailand now, I felt it was time to make an inventory..

Positive things:

1. Social people - Thailand forms a highly social society where in general everybody takes care of other people also if they're into problems or without money, especially if they come from the same area and provided the problems are not too big to be helped, like severe alcoholists, beggars, thiefs and so on.

2. High tolerance - Probably also thanks to Buddhism, Thai people are open towards other cultures and easily adapt towards positive features of foreign cultures.

3. Happiness - The Thai smile is famous and I saw so many people working in the heath or under miserable conditions and still looked happy, how different from the West, were those peope look and act very grumpy. It now gives me a reverse culture shock when coming back in other countries, like my own.

4. Food - Thai food is delicious and healthy, there's little starvation or illnesses due to food, since everybody has enough healthy food to eat. I have to shyly admit though, that I like Japanese, Chinese and Korean food better, since they have an older and more developed kitchen, but really I have nothing to complain here. E.g. I like French, Italian and Turkish food too, just I like the three mentioned better.

5. Weather - Very pleasant and it makes people live outdoors, enabling an open society, but without rain or a fresh breeze in the South it is actually a bit too hot for me at noon, therefore I actually prefer the North.

6. Price - Many things are still very cheap in Thailand, despite the low value of Western currencies.

Negative things:
Seen through Western eyes: Don't get me wrong here, I try to view the nation with a 'helicopter view' living here one year, comparing society to other countries I know.

1. Little freedom of speech - This year Thailand dropped to an international all time low. Of course the Lèse majesté, where it is a severe crime to insult the King and all of his family has a great influence on this judgement. In the mean time I learned here it would also be hard to imagine a Thailand where everybody was allowed to openly insult everybody, up to the highest institution. Like in my country.

2. Intransparency - Maybe similar to the USA with lobbyists having big money can influence the government; you never know who really makes the decisions..

3. Corruption - Obvious everywhere and the last two years it hit an all time low.

4. Big difference between rich and poor - Not an ethnical item as in the USA, but a geographical one.
Unfortunately Isan, where 1/3rd of the population lives, remains to be poor, the only person to recently attempt to improve things for them, despite his megalomania, was Thaksin, but logically enough reason for the elder to still adore him.

5. Superstition - A major domain of the poor; if you're not lucky in your live about money, where you have to turn to? Hoping to win the lottery, blaming bad ghosts, praying to be lucky, etc.

6. TV - For me Thai TV looks like a mixture between Italian TV, which is one of the worst in the world and where the commercials are usually better than the actual content, mixed with sitcoms seeming only fit for children, where they make artificial sounds to enhance things with "Boings and "Bangs" etc., unfortunately it's very popular amongst adults, but who needs to watch TV?
Now and then for relaxation I watch good movies on own my laptop.

So now I gathered six positive things and six negative things what I feel about Thailand, so is it still worthwhile to stay? I would say yes, since the negative things do not affect my daily life, were as the positive things do play a more important role making me feel happy every day living here..
Touching some sensitive items about the glorious nation of Thailand, people living in Thailand, who are not cowardice, please respond below..

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