Shame On You, Farang

Being farang and living in Thailand invariably leads to a number of predictable questions like:

  • How long have you been in Thailand?
  • (after you tell them) Can you speak Thai?
  • (when you tell them you work in Thailand) Do you teach english?
  • (after you tell them where you live) How much does it cost?
  • Can you eat spicy food?
  • Do you think Thai women are beautiful?
  • (if a woman is asking) Do you think I’m beautiful?
  • etc…

Sure, I’m generalising but you get the idea.

My whole point for bringing this up wasn’t to express my irritation at being asked any of the above, but to admit that I’m embarrassed to answer them because there is no good reason why I haven’t integrated myself into Thai society more. I don’t want to be one of ‘those’ farang, who never try to integrate and incessantly whinge that everything isn’t the way they expect.

For example, I can barely speak Thai after 2.5 years and I only know the name of about four Thai dishes and end up eating them the majority of the time. I really need to learn the names of more dishes!

2 Comments so far

  1. Baba (unregistered) on February 17th, 2005 @ 10:19 am

    When I did teach for a while when I was travelling through Thailand, I used to often get asked by my students how much I earnt and how much I paid for my rent. It was an embarrassing situation and I know that they don’t go around asking each other, but they feel it’s OK to ask a ‘farang’ as they’re curious at how disparate our lives were. To them I earnt a fortune and compared to a Thai teacher I earnt an even bigger fortune.

  2. Lisa (unregistered) on March 1st, 2005 @ 9:47 am

    You know, I grew up in the states, but both of my parents are Thai so I grew up watching a lot of Thai TV and it always amazed me at the types of questions they ask in interviews. They come off as being rude and a little too forward at times.

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