Some Thais' perception of foreigners

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Vital Spark
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Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by Vital Spark » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:50 pm

So, I'm doing the Culture of English Speaking Countries course again this year. This is one of my favourite courses to teach as it isn't Academic Writing or Basic English. My remit (as I see it) is to open the eyes of my students to life outside Thailand - not always easy. Anyway, we've just done the mid-term exam and I asked them to write a short essay about ethnocentrism and how being less ethnocentric could possibly benefit Thailand - I have to tread a bit carefully...

Here are a few of excerpts from student:
"Europeans don't wash their dishes with water."
"If I have a European boyfriend I have to expect that he won't remember important dates, like the first time we met."
"We cannot adopt anything from foreign countries, or we will lose our identity and then everywhere in the world will be the same."
:?

I have yet to do the class when I show them what foreigners think of Thais (thank you everyone for your lovely input). I did it last year and there was a mixture of giggles with death stares.

VS :wink:
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by Big Boy » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:58 pm

LOL - I don't wash dishes, full stop :D My wife says I don't know how. Who am I to argue? :twisted:

Forgetting dates? Guilty as charged, but we've both forgotten our wedding anniversary 3 years running, and I'm the one who remembered we'd forgotten.
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by 404cameljockey » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:58 pm

Misconceptions of other cultures can be funny, and hopefully you can educated a small number of Thais in what really goes on in the West (good luck with the bum gun issue) . :)

But I do think that their ethnocentricity is paramount to their keeping their own culture not 'pure' but at least in the front of their mind. In the west we seems to have been trained to believe that's just a dirty thought.

I for one do not want the world to be 'just a great big melting pot' despite what some pretty ancient songwriters thought was cool.

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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by Nereus » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:01 pm

"Europeans don't wash their dishes with water."
What they should of said was: Europeans don't wash their dishes with COLD water!
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by Vital Spark » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:53 pm

404cameljockey wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:58 pm
I for one do not want the world to be 'just a great big melting pot' despite what some pretty ancient songwriters thought was cool.
Agree totally, that would take the fun out of travelling. You've got to admit, though, this was a totally cool, totally non-politically correct song. But I like it:

[url]
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by 404cameljockey » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:21 am

I admit I did too. It's just that the modern reality of overwhelming mass migration sadly isn't so nice. You can only hope that eventually it will have a good outcome, but not in our lifetime.

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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by huahin4ever » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:01 pm

Washing dishes??? In 2017 I thought most developed farang/Thai households have dishwasher? And I mean the hardware type, not the one made from flesh and bones, 555!
YNWA

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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by Spitfire » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:32 pm

Unfortunately, by the time they get to university it's usually too late and there isn't much you can do to realistically help a fair % of them in an 11 week course (or whatever it is), sink or swim really. By this stage they are either lost or still with a lingering possibility of being slightly still open to minor influence if they are of reasonable competence. However, only a certain % of them can be reached and hopefully that may enact small change in the future when these ones end up in positions where they can influence things themselves. Whether they have the integrity to do so then is another question, as at least half of those capable of affecting society probably bottle-out and go for the path of least resistance so they can end up rich from the system.

High school here (by design) is a great big giant brain washing machine that few escape the effects of..and if they do survive it with their minds still slightly working/open, then they soon learn their place after university when the jackboot of the patronage system grinds them into place and interjects reality into their pampered lives.

I interview students just before they leave university for the real world and I'm always amazed by their lack of ambition, propensity to set their sights low and their fear to move off into the world as most want to remain in their locality to which they have bee n brought up in.

However, good on you for trying VS...commendable.
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by 404cameljockey » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:45 pm

huahin4ever wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:01 pm
Washing dishes??? In 2017 I thought most developed farang/Thai households have dishwasher? And I mean the hardware type, not the one made from flesh and bones, 555!
I doubt that. Even in Dubai our dishwasher was made in Sri Lanka, and a lovely lady to boot.

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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by Vital Spark » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:04 am

Spitfire wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:32 pm
Unfortunately, by the time they get to university it's usually too late and there isn't much you can do to realistically help a fair % of them...
Totally agree. I can lead the horses/students to water, but...
Spitfire wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:32 pm
I interview students just before they leave university for the real world and I'm always amazed by their lack of ambition, propensity to set their sights low and their fear to move off into the world as most want to remain in their locality to which they have bee n brought up in.
I don't know whether it is location (most of my student come from Bangkok), but the ones I speak to have ambitions way above their station. "So, what do you want to do when you leave university", says I. Replies: Run a coffee shop; be an author, be a film director, run my own business, be an editor of a major newspaper. For god's sake! You know nothing about the world! So you like going to coffee shops, therefore you want to own one. Not the same thing, sweetheart. I have students barely 5ft tall wanting to be flight attendants. It ain't going to happen - you're too short. The flight attendant (money grabbing) schools will take all your dosh and then you won't get a job. Forget it!

The students I teach who have the most open minds are those who have spent some time abroad. Sadly, their open-mindedness gets beaten out of them once they're back on Thai soil.

VS
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by J.J.B. » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:38 am

Vital Spark wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:04 am
The students I teach who have the most open minds are those who have spent some time abroad. Sadly, their open-mindedness gets beaten out of them once they're back on Thai soil.
My father was born during WWII in Liverpool and certainly remembered the aftermath. He expressed many xenophobic, racist and bigoted views despite having travelled the world with the army in his early adult life. He died - too young - in 2005 and would not have been able to cope with the runaway train that the PC ‘industry’ has become. My daughter, 18 next month, sees everybody as a potential friend and feels threatened by nobody of any persuasion. I do everything I can to follow what my daughter has shown me rather than my father.

A wise person once taught me that diversity is a given; inclusion is a choice. To my mind, it’s fine for Thais to think we don’t wash dishes with water, or perhaps that we don’t wash at all, so long as they are happy to accept this as a way of life, equal in merit to their own.

In many ways my father knew this, even if he didn’t entirely understand it applied to him, as he would frequently tell me that “everyone sits down to take a sh*t: nobody is better or worse than you”.
"A man who does not think for himself, does not think at all."
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by Ginjaninja » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:06 am

J.J.B. wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:38 am
“everyone sits down to take a sh*t: nobody is better or worse than you”.
"We are all God's children..."

Unfortunately J.J.B., I have more respect for your father's perceptions. I've not had a 'great' war to distort my views, however I have travelled the world quite extensively....

:cheers:
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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by oakdale160 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:49 am

JJB--You say your father remained a bigot and racist despite having time in the British Army. I can assure you that the Armed Forces is no place to lessen those feelings. The British Army saw it as their mandate to keep the "natives" in line.

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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by oakdale160 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:53 am

My impression of Thais and ambition
The Women are full of ambition, the men are not.

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Re: Some Thais' perception of foreigners

Post by J.J.B. » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:30 am

oakdale160 wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:49 am
JJB--You say your father remained a bigot and racist despite having time in the British Army. I can assure you that the Armed Forces is no place to lessen those feelings. The British Army saw it as their mandate to keep the "natives" in line.
Let me correct my miscommunication. My father was a bigot and a racist despite him travelling the world, which was the differentiation in VS’s post about Thais who tended to be more broad-minded in their approach of others. That he did so on Her Majesty’s coin, as opposed to the Salvation Army, is neither here nor there, although I accept that a professional organisation whose sole purpose is to quell any uprising of said “natives” is unlikely to sing Kum Ba Yah with them around the camp fire.

I have travelled extensively and experienced many cultures by living and working among them. Strange, foreign, unfamiliar and downright weird cultures abound. All I wanted to get across was that I’m in no position to judge - and, boy, do I try!
"A man who does not think for himself, does not think at all."
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