Reverse Racism

Since I started working in Thailand I’ve heard quite a lot of complaining from colleagues about how farang get paid more than Thai people. If you weren’t aware the minimum wage for a farang in Thailand is 45,000 Baht per month (or somewhere therabout), and the wage for a Thai person performing the same job would probably be around 10,000 baht per month.

My colleagues look to me as if I should apologise or provide an explanation, but I don’t (mainly because I don’t get 45,000 Baht per month and would kill to get such a figure) because this situation is perpetuated by none other than Thai people themselves.

There seems to be a common perception in Thailand that farang have more knowledge/expertise. The flip-side of that coin is that Thai people feel they don’t have knowledge/expertise (or not as much as farang). This idea can be seen in how much an international degree is valued over a local one (let’s not get into the fact that a degree is required to get any job such as Receptionist!).

When asked do I think farang are paid too much, I would answer yes. In many cases, they are paid astronomical figures that I regularly have fantasies about (dreams of rolling around in mountains of money can wait for another day). The problem isn’t only that farang are paid so much, though. Thai people seem to live the ‘mai bpen rai’ lifestyle and while complaining of the high salaries that farang receive, never stop and realise that the real problem is they are being paid so little.

Who can change this? Thai people.

2 Comments so far

  1. Paul (unregistered) on January 14th, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

    Don’t forget that these are also the same people who employ a two-tiered pricing system when jacking over foreigners in cabs, temples, etc etc.

  2. jeremy (unregistered) on January 15th, 2005 @ 10:49 pm

    there’s no need to provide more of an explanation than it’s market forces at work- supply vs demand dictating wages.

    a company won’t pay a foreigner more money because they feel like giving him/her more- it’s because that’s the going rate for the work they need the foreigner to perform.

    in some cases there will be foreigners will be doing the same activities as thais – but i’d venture a guess that the employer needs the foreigner there for one reason or another. the premium is required or the company wouldn’t be able to get a foreigner to work there.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.