Forums > Social Discussion > Decency as a new years resolution?

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Heyas,

currently I'm travelling in Thailand and I really love Thai people, the country and the culture...

They are very decent people - a little proud on themselves, a little bit much into military and authority - but well rolleyes what can you do? nobody's perfect... but also not the folowing...

So I walk down Kao-Sarn Road in Bangkok at 4am and I see this pommie-bloke lying on the street (not not speaking the truth but he lies there on the ground... ach - you know what I mean)... he's restrained by the Thai cops and absolutely wasted. I see a Thai-citizen coming up with a stick in his hand and giving this fellow a hefty beating eek until he get slowly stopped by the cops. The Thai is obviously very angry. frown

I was absolutely bewildered and ask a western bystander what was happening and he says that the bloke was totally pissed, running around screaming and behaving obnoxious until the cops came and they tried to calm him down - without success, so they wanted to arrest him and he started fighting the cops - wrong idea! So I understand and I walk on. On Christmas eve I leave my hotel and see a (yankee)-chick with her girlfriends walking down Kao Sarn... in hotpants and bikini-top... redface

So I arrived in Pha'Ngan for to spend New years eve here and I watch an even bigger number of blokes running around totally pissed at 1pm (obviously late for them but anyways) - but to round it up I see a dozen chicks on the beach topless... umm

I'm really not too happy about this - it paints a certain picture of western habits and culture and leaves an imprint that brandmarks all the rest of the travellers. I mean helloooo - mind your surroundings a little pleeease, not everywhere is Ibiza or Mallorca (and even there this behaviour isn't welcomed) - am I a "Spiesser"? (very conservative?).

Personally as long as they don't bother me, they can let it all hang out (I don't mind seeing a few nice ones to brighten up my day biggrin) - but here in Thailand... c'mon... I don't want to take away the "fun", but hey... Thailand is generally rated "G" (except for certain areas)...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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_Clare_
_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2002
Total posts: 5967
Posted:Hmmm... tis very sad... and has been happening for years.



We want to travel to learn more about other cultures, but by doing so we either directly impact, or encourage others to impact, on the fragile places we visit.


Getting to the other side smile

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:No Tom, you're not a Spiesser, it sounds like you've actually read the article on cultural sensetivity in the Lonely Planet however I'm sure you know KSR and Pha'Ngan aren't really Thailand.

Both these places, and several others, are purpose built for tourist debauchery and they're all about the money, nothing more.

If you build it, they will come, and drink booze from a bucket. Full moon party? eek

Do yourself a favour, head down to Koh Lanta and do some diving,


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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Yes, british tourists are known and feared throughout Europe as people to avoid on holiday. Seems we're even moving out of Europe... pity.

I'm waiting for "No-English" zones to be set up in places like Ibiza, Spain and Greece.

Bloody British... (I reserve the right to complain, seeing how I am one rolleyes)


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Libra
Libra

member
Location: Norway
Member Since: 13th Nov 2001
Total posts: 47
Posted:So you're enjoying the land of smiles.. lucky you!ubbrollsmile

I don't think you're being too conservative at all! I think the limit has been pushed a bit to far.. even if it is in khao Sarn or Ko Phangnan or whereever.. anyway, if it's really going on your nerves you should mabe concider going to a non-touristy area..
and then tell everyone how nice it is so that more and more people will discover it and then help spoiling it.. umm


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Dom
Dom

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK
Member Since: 19th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3009
Posted:I agree that some of the way people behave on holiday is really disgusting, regardless of country. I agree that some cultural sensitivity needs to be observed, but it's more important that normal decency and sensitivity to other be maintained. These are things that people wouldn't do in thier home country, so why elsewhere! And it isn't just the Brits, I've seen Aussies pissing in the gutter and Yanks smoking opium after drunkenly jumping off Mekong river boats. But at least it shut them up!

People tend to think that on holidays the rules are suspended for them, and that leads to all sorts of messes and paints a bad picture of all westerners which we all have to deal with.

Some parts of Pha Ngan are very nice - the further you go from Hat Rin the better it gets. But I agree there are a lot nicer places to go. Avoid the obvious tourist trail and you'll find some great places which aren't swarmed by tourists, especially in this high season. And if you've got time visit Lao!

Written by: FireTom

currently I'm travelling in Thailand and I really love Thai people, the country and the culture...

They are very decent people -



I which point I find myself wanting to disagree, quite strongly. The land of smiles is a lovely place to visit, but never assume that Thai, and most Asian people, are all friendly and lovely. They hide thier feelings well, it's in the culture, and I often feel that I've met less decent Thai's than indecent ones. I'm not going to get explicit with my gripes, but just be aware that everything isn't always as it seems and some of those smiles are false. Ang enjoy the trip!


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BansheeCat
veteran
Location: lost
Member Since: 29th Jul 2005
Total posts: 1247
Posted:I have to agree with Dom, it is not wise to generalize about a whole culture! All of them have a full range of characteristics. That said, I am going to go ahead and do it regardless... ;-)



Thai people definately do not show what is really going on on the surface, at all, ever. Even speaking the language fluently, and living within the culture off and on for many many years, I can find it difficult to ascertain what is at the core. No assumptions!People are people, and it takes time to know them.



I do find though, that the basic values held within the normal Thai community, that which is not tourist based, are more people/family centered than typical North American, grounded within the strong buddhist influence.Not so capalistic and isolating. Neighbors knowing and caring for each other and all that good stuff that we used to see more of in Canada a generation ago... It changes place to place, and over time, as all things do...



I hate, absolutely hate, the kind of behaviours you are commenting on. My Thai friends are appalled by it, and I get embarrassed.



The only I know to deal with it is to "be the change that which you wish to see in the world"... So stay firm in your own respectful behaviour, and model it for others.



I also comment on other peoples rudeness, and let them know how inappropriate it is to behave that way in that culture-- when I feel it necessary. This is not always advised however! Can be most unpleasant, people are not likely to be receptiveto what you say! I hope though, that some part of them registers it as important, and it may sink in eventually altering their behaviour..



As Stout says, get away from the hard core tourist areas, and you will see much less of this. Perhaps go volunteer in the most beautiful Khao Lak region...



www.tsunamivolunteers.net for more info.



You will meet real people, Thai and foreign, at their best not their worst!



I will be there soon, smiling thinking of it!

~A

EDITED_BY: andrealee (1135886592)


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Sorry to all - I didn't mean to offend and put this out to (a) specific nationalitie(s)... I know that Germans behave even worse on Mallorca and as my hometown hosts the Octoberfest I'm used to some derailed behaviour und der the influence of drugs...



I certainly have to agree what Dom and Andrealee said - it's not my first visit and I came across some very disturbing scenery from Thias also... when they freak out it's all about stones, sticks, broken beer bottles, knifes and finally gnus! There is not much reasoning anymore, once a Thai (or Indonesian freaks out)



grouphug



But one thing I have noticed too: Even though pissed ove the limit, so far I have not seen ANY firespinner showing such behaviour! Why is that? shrug



grouphug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:wink but maybe I just happen not to notice that the guy lying around half naked in his pi55 usually uses poi for a past-time.

Now, after these very interesting 2 weeks in Thailand, I do have a slightly different insight in Thai-customs and people in general...

But anyways - initially I meant "decency" also in a certain way to dress yourself... "decent" people are also dressed people (is that word legal in this context?)...

So please - even if you decide to get pi55ed as much as possible, you may consider where and how your clothing is (not) suiting the occasion (your condition)...

You can't go naked into a Thai-sauna and especially NOT if it's on temple grounds.

You shouldn't involve in heavy kissing and petting in public!

You may not yell into the face of Thai-people!

Please stay out of any kind of conflict with (intoxicated) Thai - most of the people fighting with Thai have ended up with a broken bottleneck pulled through their faces! And all of the above is considered an offence!

Ah, yes and if you decide to go to the movies and just before the main screen starts and everyone around you is getting up - consider to get up on your feet too, as they are showing respect to their King! And any action or speech you may direct against the King, or Royal family will certainly leave you with a lot of problems in Thailand!

However cool you may think disrespectful behaviour is in the West - it's certainly NOT here in Thailand!

I have no judgement on this, or misbehaviour of tourists, but please - if you have some bloke going Thailand: Spread the word! Because I too face stereotypical predjudice from Thaipeople, just because I'm Farang... and it's growing every year!

ubblove and ubbidea to biggrin all of you out there


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:Tom are you STILL in Haad Rin??? It's a beach resort, of course people are going to be running around half naked.

You do hold a judgement on this as an issue, otherwise why would you start this thread? I gave you the best piece of advice you could have gotten, which was GET OUT of there if this sort of behavior offends you.

I've spent a total of 5 months in Thailand, and never once had to yell into anyone's face, nor have I gotten into a fight, or even a mild disagrement for that matter.

Thailand has a huge problem with alcohol abuse amongst Thai people. Did they ever implement that midnight bar closing rule? That rule was to be aimed at Thais in particular, but exempted tourist areas because the Thai government knows where tourists spend their money, in the bars.

The predjudice you are experiencing doesn't come from the actions of drunken tourists, it's a Thai cultural thing. You are a foreigner first, and a walking cash machine second. If you combine that with the fact that on Koh Pha'Ngn, the Thais have compromised their culture in an effort to accommodate the wishes of tourists ( i.e. bland food, imported music, that restaurant that plays The Simpsons 16/7 etc...) there's your recipe for resentment.

This whole attitude can be avoided though, all you need to do is get yourself to a location that focuses on something other than partying. Something like diving ( note how the population of neighbouring Koh Tao explodes after the full moon party hangovers have worn off. Now there's a classic case of " I really should do something with my vacation"

I'd never reccomend Koh Tao for an experienced diver, not at this time of year, but the south, now there's a different story. manta rays, lion fish, clear visibility, and lots of sharks.

That's a holiday, IMO, but the chioce is yours.


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Groovy_Dream
Groovy_Dream

addict

Member Since: 26th May 2005
Total posts: 449
Posted:Not as bad as the massive american blobs that lie on deck chairs all day long on ko samui.

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:stout... wo-hoh... hang on a second smile

first I am not offended by nudity or much of the above desrcibed practices... smile but in general the Thai... shrug

Just as much as "we" would like "foreigners" to adapt to our culture, when coming/ moving/ spending time in "our" countries, "we" should just make a "try" to attempt respecting their culture when visiting "their" country...

I have a fair idea of where to go, if I really cannot take this behaviour - but even there I am judged upon the way my "fellow" race is behaving... shrug

They partly implemented the "no sale of beer after 12pm" - of course the bars are still open and of course the Thai suffer the curse of alcoholism as does the rest of Asia...

Also in Pha'Ngan one can get away from the party-crowd that is... smile I do know that - but thanks a lot for the advice, honestly ubbrollsmile

Sure it was (and always is) my choice... I was there to shake off my Bali-experience and to spin every night on the beach and to see the guys again from the "Drop-In" Bar... that's what I got biggrin I'm not getting dragged down too much from thast behaviour - hence I'd like to raise some awareness... smile

hug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:Tom, I know you're not offended by the whole "decency" issue. I know exactly what you're saying and why you're saying it. I just don't agree, that's all.

I also know your sentiments are well meaning, and an attempt to educate readers on this forum about cultural sensitivity.The reasons I don't agree stem largely from my experiences in the environments from which you are posting what I read as complaints.

I was also curious as to your motivations for staying in an area that was Thai built specifically FOR the behavoiur you view as disrespectful towards Thai culture. That's why I said in a previous post "that's not Thailand".

I don't see anything wrong with running around a beach in beach attire ( read: bikini tops) and of course if you put the bars right on the beach, customers are going to walk right in ibeach attire. Maybe the Thais need to explore the idea of posting No shoes, No shirt, No service signs if they want to enforce a dress code.

There's a reason Thai women don't appear in bikini tops very often, and it has nothing to do with modesty, it has to do with sun exposure. One of the last things an Asian woman wants is a suntan, yes it's a cultural thing, just look at Thai fashion magazines. What colour skin do the models have? White,,,really white ( even though their Asian )

Thais are very ethnocentric, and will judge you more on the fact that you ARE a forigner, rather than on your behaviour,and the behavior of people who look like you.

In general I have great respest for Thailand and it's citizens, just look at Bangkok, all those ( what has to be hundreds of thousands of ) potted plants and koi/lotus pots lining the streets. Never once have I noticed any of those vandalised, that says somthing IMO.


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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Stout - after my time spent here, I am likely to agree a lot more now.

Thais are ethnocentric to a racist extent (not meant offensive, but that's just what the culture is)

I also get your opinion reg. "why are you buidling tourist centres, if you dislike foreigners, or are not educating them properly before they offend you"

... but apart from that there is more controversy (monarchy, all due respect to authority and their form of bhuddism)

However: If you're "farang" - don't fight with the Thai. In December there were again two blokes from Oz and NZ that I scraped off the concretes of Kao Sarn and may I direct you to the section of the Lonely Planet guide (Bangkok section) where they talk about "urban species"?

farang khii-nok... "bird [censored] foreigner" is an actual term! Meant by that are the fisherman pantied, dreadlocked and unwashed travellers, with intense body and hair-odor... shrug not my term, guys - you do what you feel like...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:Tom... smile hug

It's unfortunate that such a rich culture like Thailand is basically inaccessible to the non Thai speaking foreigner, and what we really get is a Thailand that the Thai's think we want. Lemme rephrase that,,, a culture that we really do want. The tourist wants to drink, Thailand will oblige. The tourist wants to act like a moron under the influence of drink, Thailand will educate.

Fisherman pantied ? Tom, given your reference to wearing lingerie on another thread, is there something you need to tell us? wink . Anyways, yes, Thai people laugh at tourists wearing those things because they don't understand why anyone would want to self identify with the working class. It's kind of like adopting a shovel as a fashion accessory, or trying to make a statement by wearing a garbage collectors uniform, in our culture.

I don't have a photobucket account, otherwise I'd post a photo of a sign I took on Koh Tao. It's really just a painting of a tourist with a dollar in his hands and some grinning Thai people but the text reads.

For Holiday
Not Thinking
Just Spend Money
Anyone Happy.
Mr J

It's sad, really, for the tourist who wants to experience "the real Thailand" and instead runs up against the manufactured tourist experience, but unless you learn to speak Thai, the real culture will remain elusive.

Been diving in the Similans yet ? if not..at least dive Koh Lanta , same sea, same fish, just cheaper.


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