Thai Girlfriend Advisor

Relationship advice for Western Men and Thai Women

Category: Thai Culture (Page 1 of 2)

Thai Culture – Why we “Wai” a lot…

Thai Culture and the practice of “Wai”.

Thai girl waiOne of the things about our Thai culture that I know can seem confusing to many Westerners (Farang) when they spend some time in Thailand is our practice of “Wai”. Just in case you are not sure what this is it is when we put our hands together in what you would call a prayer position and seem to pray to any Temple, Buddha statue or even buildings. It is also what we use to say “Sawasdee” or Hello. I hear many Farang ask “Why does my Thai Girlfriend” do this all the time so I will try to explain “Why we Wai” all the time. First though I would ask that you try not to compare our various cultures to your Western concepts of religion. To us although this may seem like a religious practice it really has nothing to do with religion or God. Also please understand I don’y say that our culture is any better or there is any right or wrong, I just want to give you a Thai perspective that you will hopefully understand better our culture.

Thai Culture SawasdeeReally I think we could say that the practice of “Wai” in our culture is a mixture of Cultural habit or tradition, Social conditioning and some Thai National doctrines as well as Buddhism, which of course is not so much of a religion as more of a philosophy or a way of living and being. You may well have noticed that Thai people from all walks of life will stop and ‘wai’ at various places such as any statues or figures of Buddha, Temples with Buddha, other types of shrines, pictures and anything to do with the Thai King and also previous Thai Kings and a few other places as well. Sometimes we may stop and kneel and seem to say a small prayer and other times we will simply “wai” in passing. When we are more serious about ‘wai’ I am sure you have all seen us burning incense sticks and presenting all types of gifts and flowers at various shrines and Temples and other Holy Places as well as the simple small shrines you can see almost everywhere on the streets of Thailand.

So let me try to explain a few things for you here about this Thai Culture

The practice of “wai” is more often to do with showing respect than it is praying to anything in particular and it is also done through more concern of what will happen if we don’t. This is not to be confused with the traditional Western view of a “God” or some other Holy being that will punish you if you do not pray or do good things. In Thai culture we believe that by showing respect to such things that we cannot see but believe to be there, such as spirits, then we can avoid any bad thing happening to us like an accident or some sort of misfortune.Thai women and Thai girl wai Thai kings

The truth is that much of this is almost socially and culturally habitual and works almost like the 100 monkey effect rather than a strict doctrine or rule of being Thai. If you ask many Thai people how they know to do this they will simply say “I don’t know, we just do”. Although some of this is taught in Thai schools it really is just something we do as Thai people.

Thai women believe and wai

This is why I say there is a mixture of reasons behind it all..

“Faith and Belief  are sometimes  taken automatically  from our culture  without question”

Let me show you something….an example that might make it clear for you….

Imagine there is a very old tree, let’s say well over 100 years old in a park. ..I could go and buy 3 silk colored scarves pink, yellow and green to respect the tree with and  carefully tie them around the tree trunk. Then I could ‘wai’ with 9 incense sticks placed into the ground under the tree and also some ” pung ma lai ”  ( Garland) because these are symbols that have meaning in Thai culture.  That’s it… finished and I just leave everything there with the tree. ……..Do you know what would happen?…….. Thai people passing who see this will begin to ‘wai’ as they pass and some will also kneel and ‘wai’ to the tree , even though they don’t know the story of that tree it’s because they see and know the meaning of symbols. Eventually this tree will become a regular place to ‘wai’ and bare gifts to because the belief will grow that there is something Holy about this tree as more symbols are placed there and so rather than pass it without any concern Thai people will ‘wai’ as a sign of respect”………  Even I would do the same.

I know it may seem a little strange to Farang but that is the belief system we have in our Thai culture. This is why you may see some shrines at the front of houses or in the corners of buildings. they may just be to honor deceased people and so everyone passing will ‘wai’ even if only for a quick second. You can see that it is almost automatic.

To put it into a Western perspective you could say that Thai Culture is quite Superstitious.

Now something to consider here is that it doesn’t take only good Thai people to do this. It is not exclusive to good people, Buddhists or anything like that. A criminal who has just killed someone is just as likely to stop and ‘wai’ at some shrine as is a person of good. Thai TV and film also have humor about this when sometimes they show criminals trying to escape from police running down backstreets but stopping to ‘wai’ when they pass a statue of Buddha.

Thai women  and Thai Respect and Thai culture

It is for this reason that I know some Farang men get confused if they have become embroiled with  Thai bar girls or Thai girls who have cheated them because they can’t separate the western view of people who practice religion as only being good from the Thai culture of ‘wai’. So they think if their Thai girlfriend ‘wai’ all the time then surely she must be a good person and would not cheat them. But as you can see this is not the case and some can ‘wai’ and then quite easily cheat you for money the next moment.

Thai Culture, Wai, The Buddhist way and Monks

Something I have not really mentioned here is “Thai Monks”. There are 2 very real doctrines that Thai Culture does impose and one is that we must always show respect to Thai Kings and the other is the respect we show to Monks.

Of course the practice of being a monk comes from Buddhism and Buddha and being a Thai monk is more of a religious practice because they must follow quite strict way of life as laid down by the doctrines of Buddism. Because of this Thai people will always show respect in many ways to Monks similar in the way that Western people might show respect to a priest.

 

 


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Greng Jai and Thai women

I have written about the subject of Greng Jai and Thai women before on this site but I am going to write another post about this because I get a few questions about it.

Here is the link to the previous post on Greng Jai Thai Culture and Greng Jai

Now I don’t think I can give you a one off explanation that will make it all clear for you but I will talk about what I have noticed so far and hopefully it will at least give you western men some better idea of this Thai culture behavior.

The funny thing is this is not a problem between Thai people, for example  with Thai couple Thai men do not have this problem with their Thai women and so it really seems to be mainly a problem between Farang men and their Thai girlfriends or Thai wives. What seems to confuse Farang is that Greng Jai appears like lying…even my Father in law when I first tried to explain said as a joke ‘oh its like lying then’. So it’s easy for me now to understand this must be confusing for Farang.

 

Greng Jai is not to be confused with lying

We greng jai to make things easy, not make it difficult.For example:Rather than ask for something that we feel may be against your wishes we will say nothing or maybe find another way around it. You see what is important to understand is that we don’t greng jai for no reason…not like we wake up in the morning and decide to greng jai today. There is a reason and the reason is we don’t want to upset. We prefer peaceful ways and non conflict.

Ok here is one example of Greng jai for you:

An Australian man asks his Thai wife…would you like to live with me  in Australia or  in Thailand…. now she may think because maybe he gives this impression that really he wants to live in Australia …so rather than upset him..or not grant his wish  she may greng jai and say. I don’t mind.its up to you…in fact she may want to live in Thailand as Thais like to living near their family…but she wont want to cause a problem and so she greng jai and not tell him exactly what she would like.

So how to tell difference between lying and greng jai…very difficult but greng jai has a reason not to upset. Where lying is trying to conceal something you don’t want the person to know and usually for a negative purpose. For Thai we are born with it.so we can justfeel or sense the truth from greng jai…but for western they are not born with it which make’s it difficult to recognize…for us we have a natural instinct to tell the difference

In some ways you can call it politeness or good manners or not wishing to take advantage..or be greedy or put people out on your behalf. Like not wanting to order something too expensive to eat on a first date…This will typically be with Thai couple date as Thai men can tell this is just greng jai and this is not confusing for them.

I know there are many western men who sadly will say this is all just BS and that really I am trying to cover up for Thai women lying but I can tell you this is not so. Sadly of course in all walks of life there are extremes and manipulators. There is black and white and every shade of grey in between…innocent Thai Greng jai is as I describe it but yes the other extreme it can be used by less scrupulous people to lie and manipulate you…and I understand completely those Farang who have been caught by this.

Ok so another analogy I can think of is with English accents.

I know that people from England will know this very well that there are many changes in accents between county’s…and so to different accents in America if you are from Chicago or Idaho and different accents if you are from Manchester or London. But for a Thai person like me I cannot tell the difference. Perhaps one may sound clearer than another and I can notice a slight difference but I have no idea what is the difference or where that person is from. But for those who are from that country you just know because you have grown up with it. It is the same with Greng jai for Thai people…we just know the difference between blatant lying and greng jai.

So what can you do if your Thai girlfriend greng jai you?

Well the best advice I can give for now is just talk to her. Ask her not to greng jai you. You could also try a tactic like using the reason to greng jai as a reason not to greng jai, here is what I mean:

For example…if you ask a question to choose between 2 holidays one in Norway and one in Italy……try explaining that you don’t want her to greng jai because if she does and chooses the wrong one it will cause a problem, maybe Norway will be cold and she don’t like it but she feel you want to go there and so she greng jai and choose Norway but once you book the tickets and get there you cannot go back, and she will be unhappy and so will you….so now you will make her greng jai to not cause a problem and so she will now choose the one she really wants….I hope that makes sense!

However listen to this warning about Greng Jai and Thai women

This technique will not work with bad insincere people because they want to get what they want. This will work with sincere people because good people will generally greng jai for the right reasons and with a good purpose of being polite and not wanting to offend, upset or cause problem. Just for an easy and peaceful way.

I guess like any relationship issues you also need to be able to read human nature well to tell if they are sincere or not, whether it be Thai or Farang!!..Lol

Read my funny coffee conversation with Dean about Greng Jai here Angella and Dean talk about Greng Jai

 

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Thai Songkran Dance Music – รำวงวันสงกรานต์ วงสุนทราภรณ์

Thai Songkran Dance Music – รำวงวันสงกรานต์  วง สุนทราภรณ์


 

 

 

The History of  Thai New Year or  Songkran Festival

In ancient times has. Songkran Festival is held on the new year. Because the country is considered the torrid start time .as summer is the best time. With free from. Farming.

Also, cold weather is past. With the winter is over so that all other stops, whether the tree is stopped bloom. All animals. It stationary bed hermitage. With the cold weather is not easy in life. Or growth of living things all day, sure enough, it is the Songkran Festival. The New Year in hot countries. Unlike the countries discussed in the winter on New Year’s Day message to all the Songkran Festival is 3 days together are.

On 13 April Mhasgkrants. Day or New Year’s Eve means a big step up grilled or Songkran is the year that orbit the sun into Aries. A major cleaning day. Cleansing the body. And hearts to clean. Start playing a splash on the first day.

14 days on medium or Wannena means is located on the next day from day 1 Mhasgkrants the sun into the Ram already. A day that typically has many local activities such as play. Kntraiekgawand. J. King make good soup. Songkran Festival parade. The cultural and entertain other play … splash traditional Thai often play this very special day.

And on April 15 is New Year’s day means the day the new era. Is put on merits welcome the new year. Emissions released birds, fish. The charity dedicated to fathers who passed away. The water Dmhaw adult.
The man who for. People respect. To ask for forgiveness and cry b hat to the new year is similar to the glory of New Life and provide a clean priest Buddha is also honorable national importance. .. Today also played the same splash. But in the legend of the Songkran Festival, as well as related traditions. Songkran is always with her. Evidence has shown in the main stone inscription of Wat Ram Praechtupn stainless perhaps Clarke.

Songkran Festival activities.

1. Beneficence to put the fate of life.
2. Let the birds leave the fish. Thai people believe that emissions are released birds, fish. Considered and forgiveness.
Payment is sin in their creator. Also, make misfortune to occur out.
3. Largesse to the poor, such as disabled children, orphans, elderly, etc..
4. Bathe Buddha. Clean and novice monks.
5. The water prayer adults and adults, including parents, relatives, people with kindness. Adults in the water.
Songkran Festival with need. To ask pardon what may be harassment in some adults, including a prayer for.
A fortune and to remind their own ideas. Also, to show gratitude to those obliged to have.
King, you are also watering tradition has ancient. Demonstrating gratitude.
Appreciative of the child to the parent or other adult relatives and a prayer by parents relatives.
Adults to a fortune in the New Year.
6. Play splash. This tradition is considered a symbol of the Songkran Festival ever. By Day Celebration.
Songkran is a summer tradition started by the pour water. And water relative to adults.
Play douse them popular among the young. Splash water used to put together the fragrance, but Ngmab today.
This is a good tradition to fade over time and era. There are currently spraying with water.
Violence and have different equipment to use in play with more splatter.

 

Note : The History Information from Nakhonkorat.com


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Angella takes Dean to Tam Buhn with Master Monk “Luang Phor Jarun”

I thought I would add this post here as it is a very positive article about the experiences I have had with the practice of Tam Buhn in Thailand. I have had a few experiences now and I feel that as a Western man married to a Thai woman I should show respect for her culture and gain an understanding of it to help me in our relationship, so here is one experience I have had.

Luang Phor Jarun is a well respected Thai Monk

Angella had been planning for some time to take me to see the Master monk Luang Phor Jarun. He is quite a well reknown and respected monk who is now into his 80′s……..you can read about him at http://www.jarun.org

So on one Sunday morning we set off to The Abbot, Wat Ambhavan, Promburi District. He only comes out to recieve Tam Buhn twice a day and so we aimed at the morning session which we guessed would be at 11am. However when we arrived we found out that we had missed him that morning but he would be back out again at 2pm. Driving all that way we decided to wait until 2pm and just enjoy exploring around the Abbot as it is a very peaceful place.

the abbot is a place for meditation and I know Angella has often been there sometimes for 3 days or 7 Days to practice Vippissana  meditation

In fact the abbot is a place for meditation and I know Angella has often been there sometimes for 3 days or 7 Days to practice Vippissana  meditation, the practice of mindfulness meditation. I won’t go into detail here but from what I have learned it involves many hours of meditation and silence and although I also practice meditation I have yet to try this.

A Tarot Card Reader told us there was a possibility of some accidents involving our children!!

The first thing we decided to do was to set some creatures free into the River. By this I mean in particlar turtles and eels that we bought from some sellers at the gates of the Abbot. You see the day before we had been for a tarot card reading with a reader that Angella respects very much and she had told us both that there was possibility of some accidents involving our children. Clearly this is not something we cold ignore and so the practice of setting some creatures free and saying some prayers about our children at the same time is a way of helping to keep them safe.

We took time to chat to a Chinese Monk before the Master came out

So down by the rivers edge we set 2 turtles free, which was really quite funny and cute to watch and some eels also. We then spent some more time wondering the Abbot which included having some lunch that the meditation groups who are there for the 3 day meditation practice would eat (which is all free I might add…not the tastiest but there you go)…We wondered the souveneir type stalls and took some time to chat to a Chinese monk in the temple area before The Master came out.

You could see how well known and respected this monk is as many people began to gather in and around the temple area 30 minutes before 2pm. Many of these people would bear gifts to give to the Monk and many like ourselves would have an envelope with money to present to him in the form of Tam Buhn. This money is a gift and is used by the Monk to do good things with such as build Temples, shelters and other things that can help people.

It seems that dogs have figured out that Temples are a good place to sleep and eat for free!

What is important to understand about these temples is that are in fact a refuge also for people in need. If you have no food or money you can go to a temple and get food for free. You can pray and meditate. One funny note is it seems dogs have figured this one out because there are many dogs hanging around but I don’t know if it was just me but they seemed quite passive and peaceful almost as if the whole Spiritual experience and way of being had influenced their behavior in some way. Not sure if they practiced meditation but many seemed happy sleeping all over the place and when the chimes rang for the hour clock they all started howling!!!

As the time approached 2pm it was amazing to see how many people had gathered and now the temple area was quite full and overflowing. We took off our shoes as is the custom and found a spot to sit and wait for the Monk to appear. When he did it was almost like a celebrity had arrived, he had helpers to help him of course because he is very old and there was a sort of soft gasp from everyone when he came out and sat in the grand chair.

You offer your Tam Buhn gift to create good Karma

As he came out everyone shuffled on their knees closer to him and to be able to see him and then people begin to line up to present their Tam Buhn gift to him. What is important here is to offer the gift with both hands and lifted up to him. The idea is he will bless you for this and use it for good thus creating good karma for you in this life and also the next life.

What impresses me is how this promotes giving and sharing

Eventually we made it to our turn and presented our gifts. It was all over very quickly but there is a sort of reverence and energy you feel when you do this and I must be honest I quite enjoyed it. What impresses me is how this promotes giving and sharing without any real expectation which is very much the Buddhist way.

Next time I will share even more experiences that I have had with the various practices of Thai Buddhist Culture which I feel are good to know if you are in a relationship with a Thai woman.

Until then..Stay safe and Peaceful

Dean

The Social Commenter


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Thai National Anthem เพลงชาติไทย

Thai National Anthem

เพลงชาติไทย “Phleng Chat Thai”





เนื้อเพลงชาติไทย


ประเทศไทยรวมเลือดเนื้อชาติเชื้อไทย

เป็นประชารัฐ ไผทของไทยทุกส่วน

อยู่ดำรงค งไว้ได้ทั้งมวล

ด้วยไทยล้วนหมาย รักสามัคคี

ไทยนี้รักสงบ แต่ถึงรบไม่ขลาด

เอกราชจะไม่ให้ใครข่มขี่

สละเลือดทุกหยาดเป็นชาติพลี

เถลิงประเทศชาติไทยทวี มีชัย ชโย.



The Meaning of Thai National Anthem

Thailand is the unity of Thai blood and body.
The whole country belongs to the Thai people, maintaining thus far for the Thai.
All Thais intend to unite together.
Thais love peace, but do not fear to fight.
They will never let anyone threaten their independence.
They will sacrifice every drop of their blood to contribute to the nation,
will serve their country whith pride and prestige–full of victory, Chai Yo.

>




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