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Thread: Westerners in Thailand, how much is enough?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    Westerners in Thailand, how much is enough?

    The question came up in another thread, but I thought that it might deserve a thread of it's own...

    As a westerner, I get certain things from a life in (and out) of Thailand, things I can't really find anywhere else, some easily described, and some much more subtle. On balance they add up to a happy and contented life(style). As a resident of Patong Phuket, I am satisfied that I have a valid place within the "international community" here, but know full and well that I can never have a place within "Thai" society proper. I'm OK with that on it's face, and I accept that as part of the price of being a foreigner in Thailand.

    In discussion with other westerners, it seems that every one of them has found some level of connection to Thai society that constitutes "enough" for them, knowing that no matter how much or little they might wish for it, they can never be more than a tolerated outsider. It seems that somewhere in the "farang in Thailand" cycle, everybody reaches a point of either acceptance of this fact, or the inability to accept it, in which case they leave or quit coming back.

    In reflection I was thinking about the old PI forum, and the nature of the posting and posters there. Most of the posts, and the focus of the board related to holiday drinking and mongering activities in and around Bangla Rd. Patong Phuket. For MOST of the posters there, a raucous booze and BG filled holiday once or twice a year was all they cared for. It was enough. At the time, we had begun "wintering" in Phuket, and were content to enjoy as consumers the lifestyle we have come to love. We discovered during this period that we wanted "more", that coming as winter visitors for 2-3 months was not "enough". We escalated our involvement by buying and renovating a condo in a lovely and well placed building, and starting to build a life in Thailand. Fast forward a few years, and here we sit. We have friends in many parts of the island, relationships or even friendships with many of the local business/shopkeepers in our neighborhood. We know our way around, have a number of good friends, and feel very much "at home" here.

    We're grateful to be able to live where we want, even if we know that in one sense, we can never be more than "foreigners" here. We can accept all the "Thainess", and expect it. It can be frustrating at times to be seen by those who don't know you (and some that do) as nothing more than a source of revenue (even the pure mongers know the "walking ATM" bit), but we're willing to accept that in exchange for the ability to live in a place like this. Nothing is ever perfect, but life is fulfilling, friendships are satisfying, and at least for the time being, this is enough.

    I know that the board membership encompasses a great range of people with differing relationship to Thailand from occasional visitors to long term expats who have spent may years and built successful businesses and lives here in Thailand. Many are married to Thai women both inside and outside of Thailand, and have all the associated family issues that go along with that. That said, What does "enough" mean to you as a westerner? Do you still yearn for a "deeper" relationship to Thailand than you have now, or are you happy or content with where things stand for you now.

    Thanks,

    Gordo
    Last edited by Easycpl; 1st February 2017 at 04:48.
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    I think it all depends on where you are in life and what you want out of it.
    I think a lot of farangs, even guys involved and married with TG's sort of hold their Thai families at a distance....

    I'm an all-in guy.........my co-workers in Canada joke that I am more Canadian than them 555
    Although I don't see them as often as I'd like.....I think I have a very good relationship with my wife's family(especially her mom and brothers/sister)
    I honestly don't see any difference between my relationship with them vs any other of my ex's families

    As I said before........I'd be interested to see how it would be living there with my stepson and a child of our own because there might be more opportunity to meet other parents through school, as it is here in the west


    Now this is where it gets sort of strange/peculiar
    My wife will associate with any Thai here in Vancouver, no matter how wealthy they may be. I think she may feel my occupation gives her equal footing here.
    But she is actually reluctant to associate with those same people when they are back in Thailand..........she reverts back to that "poor girl" caste system of sorts.

    So if we lived back in Thailand she may actually be an impediment to meeting other Thais that I might have more in common with

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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    Well I've never had any desire to become Thai.

    I like the contrast in culture etc but only in small doses.So it doesn't take long before I start hankering back to a more 'Western lifestyle' if you can call it that.

    Build up a bit of a war chest and then have the best of both world's is the way I see it.

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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    So stay in two countries is kinda ideal but also must be financially doable.

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thin White Duke View Post
    Well I've never had any desire to become Thai.

    I like the contrast in culture etc but only in small doses.So it doesn't take long before I start hankering back to a more 'Western lifestyle' if you can call it that.

    Build up a bit of a war chest and then have the best of both world's is the way I see it.
    I don't think wanting to build relationships with people in the country you live in is trying to become Thai
    It's called connecting....


    PS......I think you can be perfectly happy just having expat friends in Thailand. Most will be from other countries so you are experiencing a bit of different cultures.
    And a positive living in a country with a decent expat population is it's a lot more easy to make friends later in life than in the West.
    In the West, unless through work or having kids and meeting other parents it can be hard meeting new friends after a certain age, about mid to late ,30's
    Last edited by marc26; 1st February 2017 at 04:41.

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    Senior Member Loop's Avatar
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    ^ often like trying to connect a square plug into a round hole. They be wired very differently to us.

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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    You are a farang in Thailand.

    Sure you can connect but at the end of the day you are a foreigner in quite a racist country.....take the great natural beauty and nice gals out of the equation and it is quite hostile.

    Nice place to retire with some cash but wouldn't bother otherwise.
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    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loop View Post
    ^ often like trying to connect a square plug into a round hole. They be wired very differently to us.
    Yeah, certainly wired differently from us. One of the qualities I respect and value the most in my western friends and associates is the quality of open minded (self) examination. The ability to take the things we believe down off the shelf, dust them off, and examine them objectively... Perhaps even discarding some of our old beliefs or behaviors when examination in the light of current knowledge, and our life experience suggests that they may be ill-founded or counterproductive. Sort of a process of personal evolution. I can't remember ever seeing this happen in a Thai person. Discarding an old belief would be tantamount to admitting you were wrong, and that's just not going to happen.

    Not just wired differently... HARD-wired differently, with no way to re-flash the e-prom.
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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easycpl View Post
    I know that the board membership encompasses a great range of people with differing relationship to Thailand from occasional visitors to long term expats who have spent may years and built successful businesses and lives here in Thailand. Many are married to Thai women both inside and outside of Thailand, and have all the associated family issues that go along with that. That said, What does "enough" mean to you as a westerner? Do you still yearn for a "deeper" relationship to Thailand than you have now, or are you happy or content with where things stand for you now.
    Firstly, if you dont speak Thai, and I dont conversationally, its your fault !! Your isolation from Thais and Thai thinking, getting clarity and honesty, all those things are if not solved, at least helped a huge margin by fluency. I have a few properly fluent Thai speaking (western) friends and thier integration and lifestyles because of that are so much closer to that goal, which we may say we are excluded from, than mine.

    That said.. I simply dont buy the 'your a visitor you cant have a (negative) opinion on anything'.. The dont like it go home crowd, etc etc.. In any non xenophobic country after decade plus there, marriages, etc you would be a citizen.. Also for expats who have kids here, that goes even moreso.. I personally wouldnt want a child of mine to grow up in this society as it has aspects to equality, greed, consumerism, which I dont think a child would be able to not take on board in a very deep and damaging level (just look at how Justice for Jesse is morphing into a teenage tits out model) That then goes double that those same kids would be part of the wealthy elite side which in Thai society appears to be the worst elements of Thainess.

    These days I dont often have conflicts with 'thainess' socially or in my interactions with folks, partly because I live around softer Thais, partly because I know how to deal with or avoid those issues, partly because I expect them and probably in some ways have become adapted to or even do them (driving punctuality etc) and partly because some things really have progressed. These days mai mee wallanty isnt true any more, etc etc.. I do however still become annoyed at the developing world aspects.. As someone put it before the 4 D's.. Dirt decrepitude driving and dishonesty.. When I got back here for winter in Nov the first few weeks I wasnt happy to be back at all, I find I enjoy western levels of engineering and services. I find the total avoidance of responsibility something I just cannot change.. Also you rapidly become adjusted to the constant building and roadworks and it needs some time in a place where things are planned and done properly to come back and be again shocked by it.. I am currently looking at the next few years of European summers and potentially asian winters, but even then nice villas with pools in Portugal are not expensive, a quick cheap flight, or a days drive, from where I can make large sums of money fairly easily, and present a climate I could handle Nov to March. Once you take bar brass and partying out of the equation, the pros and cons stack up differently.. Thing is its hard to take it fully out of the equation
    Last edited by LivinLOS; 1st February 2017 at 10:08.
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    Firstly, if you dont speak Thai, and I dont conversationally, its your fault !! Your isolation from Thais and Thai thinking, getting clarity and honesty, all those things are if not solved, at least helped a huge margin by fluency. I have a few properly fluent Thai speaking (western) friends and thier integration and lifestyles because of that are so much closer to that goal, which we may say we are excluded from, than mine.

    That said.. I simply dont buy the 'your a visitor you cant have a (negative) opinion on anything'.. The dont like it go home crowd, etc etc.. In any non xenophobic country after decade plus there, marriages, etc you would be a citizen.. Also for expats who have kids here, that goes even moreso.. I personally wouldnt want a child of mine to grow up in this society as it has aspects to equality, greed, consumerism, which I dont think a child would be able to not take on board in a very deep and damaging level (just look at how Justice for Jesse is morphing into a teenage tits out model) That then goes double that those same kids would be part of the wealthy elite side which in Thai society appears to be the worst elements of Thainess.

    These days I dont often have conflicts with 'thainess' socially or in my interactions with folks, partly because I live around softer Thais, partly because I know how to deal with or avoid those issues, partly because I expect them and probably in some ways have become adapted to or even do them (driving punctuality etc) and partly because some things really have progressed. These days mai mee wallanty isnt true any more, etc etc.. I do however still become annoyed at the developing world aspects.. As someone put it before the 4 D's.. Dirt decrepitude driving and dishonesty.. When I got back here for winter in Nov the first few weeks I wasnt happy to be back at all, I find I enjoy western levels of engineering and services. I find the total avoidance of responsibility something I just cannot change.. Also you rapidly become adjusted to the constant building and roadworks and it needs some time in a place where things are planned and done properly to come back and be again shocked by it.. I am currently looking at the next few years of European summers and potentially asian winters, but even then nice villas with pools in Portugal are not expensive, a quick cheap flight, or a days drive, from where I can make large sums of money fairly easily, and present a climate I could handle Nov to March. Once you take bar brass and partying out of the equation, the pros and cons stack up differently.. Thing is its hard to take it fully out of the equation
    About raising kids in Thailand ....

    Not many of us are that well off that the kids would be in the real elite status and just the fact of our relationships, I don't think many of us would be accepted into that environment.

    That being said..... We'd certainly be in the upper middle class and I've found those Thais are some of the warmest, most polite and considerate people I have ever met.

    When Ao 1st got to Vancouver, she was meeting mostly girls brought over by guys and it went as expected......Drama.

    Then she started working and met Thai students, kids doing gap years, chefs that lived in a few different countries working and it couldn't have been smoother.
    Many Thais that we didn't even know, would end up at our house for holidays and you couldn't meet a better bunch of people.

    I do think there is a lot of assholes in Thailand, and not just towards farang, I think they treat each other just as bad or worse....

    But a lot of those middle class Thais are good people

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    Senior Member 2girls1cup's Avatar
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    Not many ladyboys in Portugal though?
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    What you feel is "Enough" changes over your lifetime.
    A younger guy trying to fit into an alien culture might be at a bigger disadvantage than an older guy who is in already in the process of changing his habits of a lifetime, albeit in a new environment.
    As LIL says, jetting off to somewhere you know you can re-fill the gas tank in a way that would be impossible for a local gives you a real edge.
    In the end there is always something you get out of being where you are that you just don't get elsewhere. Otherwise why would you stay even a minute longer?

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    Senior Member geir's Avatar
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    I feel that it's easier to get to know Thais in smaller places. I'm being invited to birthday parties from local people on Phayam, while it almost never happens in Ranong. I got much closer to some of the local Thais on Phayam than I thought was possible. Maybe mainly because their wives are friends with my wife, but I get often invited for a beer even without her.
    As a non residence (or call me an immigrant) I feel that we have to earn respect from the locals in the same way I think immigrants should do in our countries.
    That said marriage/kids should lead to residency after some years.

    Being tired of the bar and drinking may be they only thing that would make me consider moving back to Norway. It's for sure a self destructive job.
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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    TBH when I came to live in Phuket (Kamala) 8 years ago I had no real inclination to befriend and hang out with Thai guys...the odd TG sure but there was no way I was gonna hang out down at the local MTB rank and drink laos kaow all day...fast forward 8 years (4 years in Kamala) with the last 4 in Samui nothing much has changed in that department

    I have a couple of Thai male friends here who I can discuss almost anything with...and whose english is superb...but these friendships have been developed over time and both have lived outside the country for decent lengths of time...they have included me in their family outings/dinners/drinks etc and introduced me to their group of friends. so yeah, I would call them proper friends as apposed to others who I am Friendly with...I also have some great female friends who I have valued relationships with (non sexual) and a few gals on the go at any one time in casual (sexual) relationships...been married twice and there is no way I am saddling up again with a TG....well, unless someone exceptional comes along and blows me off my feet...but I don't see that happening

    Naturally most of my local mates are expats and even then its only a handful as I can't deal with going down the "boozer" all day...most of these guys have businesses here and a reason for living...we get together to watch sports, have a BBQ or a meal with families...and one or two join me at the beach for lunch/swim most days..plus I have plenty of friends dropping in on holidays once or twice a year...many of whom I met via PI...TBH it is quite rare that I don't have a holidaying friend in town at any given time

    In the local area we all have the daily routine "friendlies" who wave and say hello, the woman at the talat you buy your fruit from, the veg woman, the khanom lady etc...the gals at the checkouts in Tesco who always smile and chat about what you are cooking tonight (they seem fascinated that a man would cook for himself)...the great friendly guys who look after my bike for whom nothing is a problem and only ever ask for money if they have to buy parts...the local mom and pop restaurant owners..the soup lady...the koaw ka moo lady etc etc..you get to know all of these sorts of folks over time and one day you realise that little daughter of theirs you knew as a baby is now 10yo...time moves fwd and so do people..you gather an "ease" rather than true friendship with these Thais through routine and familiarity

    one of the funniest ones like this I have is with a massage gal who sits outside her shop every day and calls out to "men of a certain age" offering her manifold solicitous services..I have never spoken to her, never even got off my bike as I ride by...but every single time I ride by she waves and calls out "hello hansum man...I want to fuck you" (well except for when I have a gal on the back...she just smiles and waves then)...it has become a standing joke these days...she knows I ain't coming in after 4 years..but she still goes through the routine and bursts into laughter at the joke of it as I smile and wave back...occasionally she will stand and give her pussy a rub for me if she is particularly bored or do the international hand to mouth wanking BJ sign...she's a hoot always makes me smile 555

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    Senior Member Petter's Avatar
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    Nice place to retire with some cash but wouldn't bother otherwise
    Yea more and more a winter resident would be ideal and you can maneuver in the direction you want ,but only if the cash is there, living there as a cheap Charlie must be worst to noting IMO
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    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petter View Post
    Yea more and more a winter resident would be ideal and you can maneuver in the direction you want ,but only if the cash is there, living there as a cheap Charlie must be worst to noting IMO
    Yeah, it's a fine model if you have the money, and if being able to get warm in the winter is all you want. Thailand is a shitty place to be broke. You see these guys with their 7-11 Changs, and their hard luck stories, and honestly I feel for them. They tried to grab the brass ring, but fell off their horses instead. Can't make it here, can't or won't go back home... Or even the guys on TV, bragging about getting by on 15K a month. Possible perhaps, but It sure wouldn't be anything to brag about, or any life I'd want to have.
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easycpl View Post
    Yeah, it's a fine model if you have the money, and if being able to get warm in the winter is all you want. Thailand is a shitty place to be broke. You see these guys with their 7-11 Changs, and their hard luck stories, and honestly I feel for them. They tried to grab the brass ring, but fell off their horses instead. Can't make it here, can't or won't go back home... Or even the guys on TV, bragging about getting by on 15K a month. Possible perhaps, but It sure wouldn't be anything to brag about, or any life I'd want to have.
    I doubt very much most of those poor expats tried to grab the barss ring.
    I'd say most were likely losers, at best ordinary guys, back home and they decided they'd rather live a meager existence and feel "special" in Thailand than try and do something productive and worthwhile at home

  18. #18
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonone View Post
    TBH when I came to live in Phuket (Kamala) 8 years ago I had no real inclination to befriend and hang out with Thai guys...the odd TG sure but there was no way I was gonna hang out down at the local MTB rank and drink laos kaow all day...fast forward 8 years (4 years in Kamala) with the last 4 in Samui nothing much has changed in that department

    I have a couple of Thai male friends here who I can discuss almost anything with...and whose english is superb...but these friendships have been developed over time and both have lived outside the country for decent lengths of time...they have included me in their family outings/dinners/drinks etc and introduced me to their group of friends. so yeah, I would call them proper friends as apposed to others who I am Friendly with...I also have some great female friends who I have valued relationships with (non sexual) and a few gals on the go at any one time in casual (sexual) relationships...been married twice and there is no way I am saddling up again with a TG....well, unless someone exceptional comes along and blows me off my feet...but I don't see that happening

    Naturally most of my local mates are expats and even then its only a handful as I can't deal with going down the "boozer" all day...most of these guys have businesses here and a reason for living...we get together to watch sports, have a BBQ or a meal with families...and one or two join me at the beach for lunch/swim most days..plus I have plenty of friends dropping in on holidays once or twice a year...many of whom I met via PI...TBH it is quite rare that I don't have a holidaying friend in town at any given time

    In the local area we all have the daily routine "friendlies" who wave and say hello, the woman at the talat you buy your fruit from, the veg woman, the khanom lady etc...the gals at the checkouts in Tesco who always smile and chat about what you are cooking tonight (they seem fascinated that a man would cook for himself)...the great friendly guys who look after my bike for whom nothing is a problem and only ever ask for money if they have to buy parts...the local mom and pop restaurant owners..the soup lady...the koaw ka moo lady etc etc..you get to know all of these sorts of folks over time and one day you realise that little daughter of theirs you knew as a baby is now 10yo...time moves fwd and so do people..you gather an "ease" rather than true friendship with these Thais through routine and familiarity

    one of the funniest ones like this I have is with a massage gal who sits outside her shop every day and calls out to "men of a certain age" offering her manifold solicitous services..I have never spoken to her, never even got off my bike as I ride by...but every single time I ride by she waves and calls out "hello hansum man...I want to fuck you" (well except for when I have a gal on the back...she just smiles and waves then)...it has become a standing joke these days...she knows I ain't coming in after 4 years..but she still goes through the routine and bursts into laughter at the joke of it as I smile and wave back...occasionally she will stand and give her pussy a rub for me if she is particularly bored or do the international hand to mouth wanking BJ sign...she's a hoot always makes me smile 555
    We are talking about connections and deeper relationships....
    But there is something to be said for the casual banter you get also.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    I've said it before....
    I have some of the best interactions with Thai people and some of the worse interactions with Thai people out of any country I have been to

    And as the expats pointed out, once living there you can try and surround yourself with enough of that great casual banter, and sort of get to see when someone is going to be an asshole and just try and get enough of that regular banter that it cancels out the assholes when it does happen.
    Last edited by marc26; 1st February 2017 at 22:38.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    I doubt very much most of those poor expats tried to grab the barss ring.
    I'd say most were likely losers, at best ordinary guys, back home and they decided they'd rather live a meager existence and feel "special" in Thailand than try and do something productive and worthwhile at home
    I think theres a combo.. Lots of people think a couple hundred k, part proceeds of a house sale, is a retirement nestegg at 50.. And in a home country, with state benefits coming in, free healthcare, and knowing how everything works its a good start..

    Transport that to asia.. Lose a couple of gambles on a copycat biz, a missus that takes a car, maybe get someone pregnant or build a house in the baan.. And it whittles down fast !! I have seen so many arrivals look at spending far faster than thier assets will stretch. or make poor investments, that over a longer old age and it just doesnt stack up.
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