Hello gents, It’s me Seven again. Back with another op-ed praising some smart person’s “love Thailand” blog. Amazingly, this one was written by a female farang. Shocking, right? How refreshing is it to not read some whiney diatribe about how her “eat-pray-love” holiday didn’t pan out how she expected. How nice not to be called a pedophile simply by virtue of living here. How original to hear something sensible and logical from a Western woman who came to Thailand and loved it. While once again skipping the BPCFW common to all love-Thailand blogs, let’s see what else she has to say:
“Every fibre of my body aches to live in Thailand.
I step outside, the heat wraps around me, and the smells waft up my nostril. Despite the stench of durian, rotten fruit, previous evening’s garbage and falang vomit, I feel alive. Two steps later, I’ll smell incense and pork roasting and all will be good again. Every step in Thailand brings you something new to savour: tastes, smells, warmth, humility, friendliness and spiritual peace.”
Harsh, but true. Farang is spelled with an ‘r’ but no harm done. This is a poignant reminder that Bangkok (and Thailand in general) has a split personality. Among the hustle-bustle busy-ness and frenetic holiday makers there exists a culture made by people who pursue peace, calm, and solace. This is the yin and yang of Thai life, and both contribute to the thrill of living here.
Australia is a culture that is rigid with rules, fees, fines, taxes and expectations. Our natural state of being is freedom. We actually hate being placed in boxes as it limits our ability to thrive and grow. I love what seems to be almost an absence of rules in Thailand. Despite this people generally go about living their life making responsible decisions and being kind to one another.”
One of my many reasons for coming here was to escape the emerging Orwellian dystopia in the United States. It’s taking over all of Western society, and while it likely will eventually engulf Asia, Thailand might well be the last bastion of freedom on Earth before it’s over. Thailand isn’t completely devoid of rules, but it’s nothing close to the oppressive soul-sucking hell of America. Aside from the occasional ridiculous motorbike ticket or inane visa rule, life here is a continuum of bliss.
Thailand is an exotic country. There is so much to appreciate and savour here that is unique and different. I love their cultural celebrations, their religious ceremonies, their strange food, beautiful beaches and charming people.”
This topic nicely encompasses so many lovely traits about Thailand. For Western eyes, the temples, festivals, clothes, food, geography, and faces here are totally removed from what we know. When an American goes to Europe, sure the language is different, and the buildings don’t look the same. But there’s an ancestral familiarity there. Like DNA recognition. But Asia is the opposite. The whole continent feels like another planet, and while that out-of-water feeling can be abrasive and even uncomfortable in places like Shanghai and Seoul, in Thailand it brings on nothing but thrills.
The Thai people amaze me with how thoughtful and considerate they are. They’ll deviate two blocks on the walking tour just to buy you a bag of food to munch on because you look tired and hungry. Even though you just ate for the tenth time two minutes ago. Their attitude is to be kind always. Choose happiness, be respectful, consider others, laugh often. I love how they stop to honour Buddha and the King at every photo and statue they see. They bend low to pass you something with two hands. They greet you with a wai blessing. They are so reverent and believe that your actions have consequences, so choose the actions that bring about those happy, positive results for all people involved.”
It’s too bad farang don’t believe in karma. If they did, maybe there wouldn’t be so many billions of cunts in this world.
I don’t know why I love the Thai language. I think it’s because it’s exotic and the only language where I can have very short conversations in it. This is because we lived in Bangkok for 6 months and so picked up a bit. Apart from the intonations, which I struggle with, I find it quite a simple language to learn and I love trying. I also love to see the joy from Thai people when you practice speaking it with them. They will sit for hours teaching you and laughing with you at all your silly mistakes and pathetic attempts!”
I’m not super in love with the Thai language. That might seem surprising considering I’ve no plan to ever leave here. It’s just that the sound of Thai sometimes grates on my nerves. I do love how practical it is, and I really love when I can speak Thai to Thais when other farang are around who can’t understand our conversation. And of course, the reaction from Thais when you rattle off a sentence in Thai is just priceless. I love watching them break into fits of giggles when I come out with an old saying in the Isaan dialect, or tell them that I’m from Roi Et, which loosely translates to L.A. And it does look super cool, the Thai language, on paper. Like something out of a Star Wars movie.
Thailand forces me to be present in every moment. It’s not just a street I can walk dwn in mind preoccupation, but an adventure I share with tuk tuks, cars, mobile street carts, motorbikes, people, all moving amongst one another. I’m forced to be present or die. This is living. Besides there are so many great things to take in when in Thailand why would you choose to live in the world of your head?”
I understand what she’s saying here, but I personally walk with one foot in both worlds. I’m in the “now” and also in my head, especially if I’m listening to music. I can be on Sukhumvit, walking to get the skytrain, and Peter Gabriel comes on and suddenly I’m also on the beach in Malibu, scraping old wax off my dented clunker of a longboard. Simultaneously in and out of time. This is my constant waking state.
“Learn(ing) to deal with chaos
Thais learn to get along with the chaos and I do when I’m there. The chaos looks maddening but it does not disturb their inner peace. One just has to be in the middle of a Bangkok traffic jam to see this in action. It progresses in an orderly manner of acceptance. There is rarely a tooting horn or a word shouted out in anger. They just laugh, shake their head and say ‘This is Bangkok – Mai Pen Rai.’”
Being in the eye of the storm is just another aspect of Buddhism. So much of what makes Thais great people is their religion. Christians could really take a lesson from these kind, patient, humble, generous, selfless people.
One of my favourite things about Thailand is that you will be loved and accepted no matter who you are and what you believe in. I loved how the lady boys were treated with respect and love within the schools I taught at. They were teased in a friendly way and hugged often by other boys. There was absolutely no bullying at all-ever. All of them were treated in the respectful way that says ‘You are a person just like I am and for that you deserve to be honoured.’”
One of the reasons Thailand has an inordinate number of ladyboys is the country’s wide acceptance of any and all peoples and beliefs. The rest of the world should follow the example set by these good folks, whose attitude of “live and let live” is a reflection of how good humanity could be.
“Mopeds and tuk tuks
I love a wild tuk tuk ride coming home from Khao San Road at 2am, Bangkok traffic has almost disappeared and you clap and laugh as your driver careens around bends on one wheel. Yes. I did say how I loved the absence of Rules. I just find tuk tuks fun. And I love cruising around the islands and mountains on a back of a moped. Just me, Craig, the wind, sun and stunning scenery to explore.”
She’s right, tuk tuks are fun. So is writing a scooter. It’s a shame that in current year the stupid government is cracking down on farangs with bikes. Hopefully that’ll end soon, and we can go back to enjoying the wind in our hair. Like in that Death Cab for Cutie song, “…on the back of a motorbike, with your arms outstretched trying to take flight, leaving everything behind.” Except in Thailand, everything’s ahead, your destination being perhaps a beachside reggae bar or if you’re lucky, a red light district.
In Thailand life begins at night time. With everything in our home town closing by 5pm we really miss the Thai night. You could wander the streets shopping at night markets, stopping for a feed at street stalls and roam the streets with a beer in one hand and full conversation with friends and giggles with locals.
Not to mention the cheap massages you can get at markets.”
Now she’s speaking my language. I love the nightlife (in Bangkok). I got to boogie–and by boogie I mean, troll the red light district as a champion whoremonger. I’m sure that’s not what our intrepid blogger was referring to, but she’s still not wrong. After the sun goes down, this city positively hums with energy. The clubs, bars, speak-easy’s, live music venues, art galleries, night markets, and genre DJs make up literally hundreds of nightly options. Not to mention that simply walking the streets in the busier areas is an adventure in itself. And if you stay long enough to exhaust all these “acceptable” options, you can, as a last resort and “just for a laugh,” finally hit the gogo bars without hypocrisy. Matter of fact, it’s something I’ve been seeing a lot lately: shit tons of vanilla, mainstream, “normal” people plopping their fat asses down inside a loud, crowded gogo chock full of bikini clad seductresses. It’s definitely an oil-and-water scenario, but I’m actually kind of glad to see it. It’s nice to see people embracing this very real, very necessary, very ordinary setting. As long as humans have walked the Earth, there’ve been gogo bars. And no matter how PC, social justicey, or mentally retarded society becomes, the gogo will endure. So here’s to wider acceptance of girls dancing on a stage in lingerie, and to this female farang’s great blog. Speaking of, I think this’ll be my last entry in the “Love It” series. I’m sure you’d agree, it’s played-out. So here’s to anyone who stuck with it to Part 6. And finally, let’s raise a glass to everyone living their best possible life by doing it in the greatest city in the world: Bangkok. Cheers!