This is a country I find I enjoy more with every visit. While I’ve visited before, just this year alone I was in Thailand on three different occasions. From Bangkok, Krabi, Koh Samui to Chiang Mai I saw my fare share of Thailand this year. On a few of these trips there seemed to be one topic of conversation that kept recurring about how most people percieve Thailand to be some sort of hedonistic play ground for the sexually excited or depraved and that how most people only visit for their ‘ ping pong’ shows and young female companions or the widely talked about ‘ happy ending ‘ massages.
While all this is quite rampant in the country, most locals find it highly offensive to club this as part of Thai culutre and I couldn’t agree more. On one trip a gentleman very innocently insisted that his idea of Thai culture includes all this which slowly snowballed into a very heated discussion where the local was patiently and rather dejectedly trying hard to insist that it isn’t but it exists and one has no choice but to accept.
No one is denying that this happens and to each their own. The problem is when you start to think the entire country is only about that. While it isn’t something to be ignored there are many reasons for why people do the things they do. Every time a young skittish Thai girl is seen along side a geriatric man automatically people whisper and insist she’s a prostitute. I hate to break it to you this happens all over the world not just Thailand. Most of these young women all over the world are gold diggers and end up marrying but of course that’s socially acceptable. Everything isn’t so black and white either. Maybe this girl likes expensive things and wants a whale ( as they say in the gambling world ) maybe she’s poor and feels this is her golden ticket to a slightly more comfortable and cushy life. Maybe she likes it or that man in particular and has feelings for him or maybe she is forced into it. It’s not our place to judge but the point is that it’s not just a Thai thing this happens in a lot of countries so it’s not just special to Thailand.
An intelligent and wonderful young lady I was chatting with from the Amari Watergate hotel who is a local born and bred in Bangkok very passionately insisted that it’s not Thai culture and that infact a lot of Thai people are very traditional and conservative. I find that easy to believe since you’re asked to dress appropriately at any temple or even when you visit the Grand Palace. It just goes to show that not every Thai local embraces this image of Thailand that the west seems to think so. The point is not really to sit and ponder about that but to look beyond the stereotypical cliches and understand a far more beautiful culture that is seeped in history.
It breaks my heart when people say ” oh you’re going to Thailand ahh… have fun ” with a not so subtle wink. What is that suppose to mean? Interestingly enough I get this a lot from men. My point isn’t to rant or try to change anything, I accept everything for what it is and why it is so. The point of this post is to remind you to look beyond and explore and understand. It is not a representation of Thai people or Thailand in totality.
It’s as ridiculous as when people say ” oh my god, India is so unsafe and the only thing that happens all the time is rape and theft “. Well of course it happens, it’s terrible and we hate it but there is so much more to India than that! It isn’t the image of India we want people to think about when they think of our country, at least I certainly don’t want that.
From beautiful temples and intriguing history, exotic beaches and fantastic food, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for what Thailand has to offer. My only request to you my dear reader is to look beyond. Meet people, walk around, visit different cities. Don’t turn your nose up at Thailand because its only good for Bachelor/Bachelorette parties or young female escorts or prostitution in various forms. Visit Thailand because it’s so much more than all that.