My last post was about a situation I witnessed in Australia where a Thai woman was ignored, whether intentionally or not by a group of western women at a junior sports function.
I left off saying that I had a couple of contrasting experiences myself when I was in Thailand with my Thai girlfriend Angella. Personally I must say that I think that we can learn much from Thai culture and Thai people as you will see.
The first contrasting experience is when I went with Angella to a a large seminar that she was acting as MC at. It was a full day at a large hotel in Bangkok with over 200 attendees…”All Thai”. Not only all Thai but 85% were Thai women with only a hand full of Thai men and then me..the only Farang Western guy there. I think I only knew about 3 people there also who were the organisers who I had met only once a few days before with Angella when they were planning the event.
Now I should point out that I can only speak a few words of Thai…Hello, I’m fine and thankyou and that’s about it…whereas Angella can speak English quite well and is very capable of holding a conversation in English.
But back to my experience, the day finished at around 4.30pm and I can hardly count how many Thai people had said hello to me in some way or another..it would be at least 20 or 30 people. All day long I was made to feel welcome whether it was a sawasdee ka (hello) or even just a smile..I never once felt like an alien westerner among Thai people and when we had lunch I even was asked many questions and had conversations with Thai people.
The second is Angella’s young niece of 4 years old. I know she is family but when I went to Angell’ s brothers house his gorgeous daughter served me with drinks, food and made sure I was welcome..she was not prompted to do this by her parents and she showed no fear of this big Farang man in her house…
does it make you think?
…..but what can be learned that is positive is that we can learn much from our Thai counterparts in the way that they welcome us into their country, their homes and their hearts….even at the tender age of 4 years old!!
On this planet which is forever growing smaller by the day we should learn to take the best from all cultures…there are also many good and positive things about our western culture that the asians can and do learn from….it’s time we stop thinking we know it all and open our eyes, our hearts and minds to all that that the people of this world have to offer..
The Intercultural and Social Commentor