Name Taken wrote:in Thailand most Thais are ashamed to speak English and think speaking English is a big 'loss of face'.
??? I have never experienced anything of the sort. Every Thai I have met wants to be able to speak English. They may not all want to put the time or effort involved into learning the language, but they all seem to wish they could.
I agree with Pleng.
I think there's a lot of dubious theories tossed around about 'face'. I'm not disputing its existence, but we tend to forget that 'face' plays a part in western culture as well. Apparently you lose face if you lose your rag and yell at people in Thailand. Well, IMO the same applies in the UK, it's just that some people in the UK don't appear to mind looking like twats. Face is really about being polite and not making others look stupid. It's just taken a step or two further here.
The face problems I encounter at uni level are in class and in staff meetings.
In class, students are either reluctant to display their ability for fear of looking like a smart alec or are reluctant to speak English at all for fear of looking stupid. Bizarrely, once the class is over, they all (well okay, some of them) suddenly want to speak to me in English!
In staff meetings, most Thai staff simply do not speak. There is an agenda, but the items aren't really up for discussion, they're actually 'faits accomplis' and the meeting is simply an opportunity to pass on the info.
I don't think Thais are in any way ashamed to speak English: most are just not given the right education, and those that are seem to believe that they'll wake up one morning speaking fluent English without doing any work...