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  • News & article

    Soap song 'theft' claims get airing, Sia Po keen to settle scores

    News, Mae Moo, Published on 19/05/2019

    » The singer at the centre of a copyright mixup which resulted in the leading song for two rival soaps which went to air the same day sounding almost the same denies he benefited personally from the dispute.

  • News & article

    A patriotic watch

    Life, Kanokporn Chanasongkram, Published on 06/07/2017

    » One of last year's biggest TV hits, Tae-Yang-Eui Hoo-Ye (Descendants Of The Sun) had distinguished followers including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who encouraged Thais to watch the South Korean series too.

  • News & article

    Chuvit makes news twice

    Terry Fredrickson, Published on 30/09/2011

    » Chuvit Kamolvisit was back in the news yesterday, first embarrassing police about illegal casinos and then being embarrassed himself over his involvement in the sex business.

  • Forum

    About Face.

    By Sean Moran, Created on: 14/10/2008, Last updated on: 13/04/2014

    » One olde axiom that comes to mind is, '[i:3b539sim]If you can't say something nice, then keep your mouth s.h.u.t.[/i:3b539sim]' Just a thread that pertains to one of the cultural differences one might notice in venturing from a typical 'westernised' society of the assertive kind to the shores of...

    • klauskent commented : Face in Thai Culture Randall Moss said, “Understanding Thai culture is quite irrelevant. I lived in Thaland for three years. I have eyes and ears, and it does not take a mental giant to see how hypocritical the saving face philosophy is. in principal I understand the idea quite well. It really comes down to saving ones respect and moral integrity. Someone tell me how this is practiced in Thailand as a good guiding principle.” I suggest the following: Any one precept of “Thai culture” (like saving face) cannot be understood without an understanding of how that one precept is interrelated with the entire Thai cultural system. When you understand the whole, you can better comprehend the seemingly incomprehensible pieces. Thai culture (when adhered to) is a functioning and viable system with its own checks, balances, and leveling mechanisms built in. If you analyze the culture long enough you will see that many Thai cultural precepts are actually the cure and not the problem. I think Randall’s problem is that he got lost somewhere between the emic and etic approach. As an insider, (Thai or Farang) a person may save face and slither away without histrionics and a mad display, but that person knows full well that there are at least 5 other Thai precepts that will hold him (or her) responsible at a later date. First and foremost the person that has (for the moment) saved face will be subjected to the insidious trampling of the Thai rumor mill. This is a much worse fate than loosing face in public. *The transgressor will face humiliation among the local social network. This has economic as well as social repercussions, especially in a society that is communal based rather than a western model where independence is the norm. Thais live or die socially and or economically on patronage networks and family ties. Once they are excluded they will wither. Even the richest Thais I know, if they are not “accepted” will pretty much live in purgatory on a daily basis. I think the problem here is that Farangs don’t know how to react properly within the cultural contexts they are placed. When a Thai does something incongruent with what was agreed upon, don’t jump up and down like a mad dog. Do what a well cultured and mannered Thai person would do. 1) Act calmly, speak quietly, and simply Never do business or socialize with them again, exclude them forever. 2) If you see them again, act polite, smile as if nothing is wrong, and continue on your way. If they inquire or ask something of you- make a polite excuse. They will FULLY understand what has happened. In the end, the Thai smile is a formidable weapon when applied correctly. If you are truly wronged, feed the story to the Thai gossip mill. The transgressor will loose more than face. Once they commit enough transgressions they will be ostracized thereby loosing their access to wealth, prestige, and power. But you positively must make sure you hold them to the precepts of their own culture in order to be effective, and you the Farang must have a pretty good standing in the community and be somewhat well respected for this to be effective. How is all this beneficial? Well, for one, saving face is conflict avoidance. This means tempers remain calm (Jai Yen) and there are no acts of violence and or subsequent violent reprisals. The transgressors generally get what’s coming to them (som nam na) and we can all act as civilized Humans and not mad apes. Additionally, There are some words in English that do not have a corollary word in the Thai lexicon. The verb, “to patronize” for example, the Thais I have spoken to, have a very hard time understanding the meaning of that word is. Words and categories are man made referents. Thus the comprehension and adherence to their resultant conditions is culture bound. Expecting your average Thai to adhere to social systems that are largely unknown to them, borders on Racism and a form of Neo-colonialism. However, I would imagine that Randall, by saying, “Understanding Thai culture is quite irrelevant” and then saying, “saving face is hypocritical”, rather misses the boat im afraid. How does he hope to understand Thai culture if he believes it is “irrelevant” to understand Thai culture? His statement is an ad absurdum. *[Please note- these social norms do not apply to bar girls but rather your average Thai person in your average context and setting]

    • 61 replies, 76,687 views

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