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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-11-2007, 12:54 AM   #21
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Thanks for sharing. But your story could have occurred anywhere in the world and the actors could have been natives and/or non-natives of the respective location. Many of us have had noisy neighbors, wack-o neighbors and suicidal neighbors. I've never seen a monopoly on outrageous behavior.

It's all part of Happy Land Life.
Yes, crazies come in every nationality. But when you are the foreigner and the local gets crazy, you -the foreigner- are in a very weak position IMHO.
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-11-2007, 12:59 PM   #22
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
BTW... why do they not construct these places with better floors... like the poster who said about the downstairs people hearing them walk... it only cost a little bit more and you can't hear anything except very loud stuff...

All the buildings I lived in NY, I could not hear any of my neighbors... one place I could hear the dang PIPES screeching when someone took a shower every night at 2 AM... but not through the ceiling, the walls or the floor..
I own my apartment where I live in Europe and I can't hear anyone else. My building (4 stories) was constructed in 1959 and made of concrete, cement block and stone panels. I think the key is just to know where you're buying and what it's like there. I asked the residents of the building what the other neighbors were like before I purchased and inquired about the building construction. (Plus I had visited friends that lived in similar type buildings and noticed minimal to no noise). It probably helps that I live in a culture where people as a whole are generally more quiet and reserved in the first place. You have to do a little homework but buying overseas can be a great investment. Now if you don't plan to stay in one place very long, then renting makes more sense.



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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-11-2007, 01:02 PM   #23
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

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Originally Posted by Lancelot
Yes, crazies come in every nationality. But when you are the foreigner and the local gets crazy, you -the foreigner- are in a very weak position IMHO.
I would say that is very country dependent.
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-13-2007, 04:28 PM   #24
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

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"Westerners fight to win; Asians fight to kill."
I find this not totally fair. You had a bad experience with a Thai Chinese neighbor and now Asians fight to kill? Talk about stereotyping.

There are mean-spirited people in any culture including the US. There is discrimination anywhere as long as there are human beings. Your having a bad encounter in Thailand does not justify using the words like "ugly Thai" or "ugly Asian".

If you really don't like it there why linger? Come home.

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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-13-2007, 05:36 PM   #25
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

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Originally Posted by LoveNumbers
I find this not totally fair. You had a bad experience with a Thai Chinese neighbor and now Asians fight to kill? Talk about stereotyping.

There are mean-spirited people in any culture including the US. There is discrimination anywhere as long as there are human beings. Your having a bad encounter in Thailand does not justify using the words like "ugly Thai" or "ugly Asian".

If you really don't like it there why linger? Come home.

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Remember he said, "There is a saying here..."

Do you wish to suppress his right to report from the scene? Do you work in the travel industry? I have spent some time working abroad, and my direct experience is such that I really distrust the happy talk about foreign countries that one finds on the internet.

Lance knows we are sophisticated enough to figure out that it is easy to get into trouble in the USA, but we may not know the realities of Thailand. Especially if our information sources are limited to those who have something to gain, either directly or indirectly, from lying about or whitewashing some of the downsides. Or even if permissible topics must be approved by thought police who can't bear the idea that some groups may on average have characteristics that are different from some other groups. Of course this is stereotyping. Many, many trees have been sacrificed to print scientific papers that support the conclusion that stereotypes tend to be a) accurate and b) quick summaries of what to expect, on average, from a group.

We already know what we are supposed to believe- could we be allowed to find out what some who are not so constrained have found to be otherwise in their own personal experience?

Ha

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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-14-2007, 03:43 AM   #26
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Thanks Ha
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 02:08 AM   #27
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Good job, Ha. Well said.

Billy and I have been coming to Thailand for 1/2 dozen years now. If one is able to look beyond the surface smiles, one can actually see 'the life' the locals live.

We frequented a restaurant down our soi most of the times we have visited here, and got to know the restaurant owner well. Or thought we did. We joked back and forth, hired her catering services and brought friends to her place to help her out by supporting her business.

The Thai owner is a single woman in her late 30's, and a large one at that. Billly's brother is 6 foot 6, and when he came to visit, we joked that maybe they would make a nice couple, looking good together. This was the wrong thing to say, apparently, because Billy's brother did not take a shining to her (it wasn't a promise or a contract... ) and we had to pay for the fallout. The restaurant owner was so hurt, lost face and felt betrayed, that even after 5 years of frequenting her business, she 'kicked us out' and now doesn't even say hello to us anymore.

There are lots of things that we as foreigners take for granted - like being able to work things out with a local, or subtleties in humor.

Ah well, like Lance says, TIT, This is Thailand.

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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 08:30 AM   #28
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

I worked in Hong Kong for two years and it was a great experience and I learned many thing.
Previously to living there I traveled to China, India and Nepal. Also, lived in London for 2 years.

When Traveling I learned:

1. You are a guest in a country act respectfully.

1. It is not the United States of Asia - each country has a long history that greatly influences the perceptions and actions of the inhabitants. We from the United States of America are not great on history nor on its affects.

2. If you don't want to be thought of as being the usual American tourist - Don't smile so much; don't laugh at everything; don't talk so much; don't tell too much personal information; don't ask too much personal information; don't wear bright clothing; loose weight (if you are big); don't smell! I learned these rules from my observations in working in China and Japan. I can tell I am taken more seriously when I follow these guidelines.

4. Americans are very friendly and egalitarian in their dealings with people. In many countries in the world the structure is hierarchical. This influences the interaction you have with the locals.

5. Don't think the people you meet are just like you but just don't speak English (or it is a 2, 3, or 4th language). Generally, a traveling American has greater wealth; more education, a european historical background and wider experiences than the local people you will meet.

Some of these thoughts will be attacked by others as being culturally insensitive. The opposite is true. Realize that uninformed preceptions and assumptions of the locals do not allow you to see what is truly there.

Finally, remember that the locals have assumptions about you. If you do not fulfill those assumptions when they first meet you; they may treat you differently than the usual tourist.
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 09:01 AM   #29
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
There are lots of things that we as foreigners take for granted - like being able to work things out with a local, or subtleties in humor.
The phrase that comes to mind in both Lance's and Billy's/Akaisha's situations is:
"drama queen".

Apparently a global phenomenon.

And, Dex, your observations sure have me wanting to jump up out of my recliner and travel! Not. I think it's fair to say that most people who come in contact with foreign visitors are in the travel/service industry and their profit depends on being polite & engaging. But in the end none of us are more than business, some easier to do business with than others, yet certainly not family.

Hawaii had a multi-century retail business that morphed into a 20th-century department store called "Liberty House". In the Japanese market's go-go years of the 1980s they totally focused their attention on the Japanses visitor to the point of shuttling tour groups to the store, favoring bilingual clerks with little/no retail experience, and carrying whatever fashion/home merchandise was popular in Japan (not always in Hawaii). At the same time they neglected their local customers because locals just weren't bringing in the profits per employee the way the Japanese visitors were.

So the locals stopped shopping there, although it took a while for LH to care. The store didn't last more than a few months after the Japanese visitor stream dried up and was bought out of bankruptcy by Macy's. 150 years of tradition were destroyed in less than a decade.

So I think there'll always be some institutional/cultural bias against visitors. I don't think it's being Americans or not fitting in or having too much money as much as it's not being family. Even after 18 years in Hawaii our family is no longer malihini but certainly not kama'aina. Our kid (tall blonde Caucasian) is accepted as "local" since she's born & raised here, but we parents may never be. "Locals" who look no more Hawaiian or Asian than I do find it hard to believe that I'd want to spend the rest of my life here. Again I don't think it's cultural rudeness or paranoia or exploitive-- it's simply just whether or not you're family, even if nothing more than a hanai cousin.

I haven't been to my "home"town since 1983 and I lived less than 18 years there. Yet if I returned to my old street tomorrow I'd be hailed as a local by anyone old enough to remember me or my family. Weird. Of course they'd still make fun of me for collapsing into a fetal ball at the first sign of cold weather, but that's just because you can behave that way with family!

Oddly enough, one of the reasons spouse and I like it here is because once again it's far away from our families...
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 11:37 AM   #30
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

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Originally Posted by Nords

And, Dex, your observations sure have me wanting to jump up out of my recliner and travel! Not.
I don't know which recommendation I mentioned would put off anyone who like to travel in international cultures. On the contrary they are intended to make the experience more enriching. They were not specifically aimed at commercial transactions.

When I travel I try to be as unobtrusive as possible (similar to when I go camping - "Take only photographs and leave only footprints.") I do this in the hopes to see another view on life and learn.

For example, the items in item number 2 were told to me directly, indirectly and in other ways from some business people I met in Japan and news reporters I knew there.




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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 12:14 PM   #31
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Well, now I'm worried about living in Japan because I smile too much - it is just one of my many flaws!
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 12:20 PM   #32
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

I am not a world traveler, but I've never been in a place on earth where a smile is not appreciated.

Geez, don't smile to much A smile is the best you can bring to people around you, regardless of time or location.

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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 12:38 PM   #33
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

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Originally Posted by Sam
I am not a world traveler, but I've never been in a place on earth where a smile is not appreciated.

Geez, don't smile to much A smile is the best you can bring to people around you, regardless of time or location.
You really can make errors even with smiles. Like smiles from men to women or women to men can create various types of difficulty. Sometimes it's OK, sometimes not. The truth is, usually you get away with things. But depending on where you are and what your surroundings are, not necessarily.

Often what we assume is friendly or unsophisticated or happy go lucky behavior is just behavior we don't catch the nuances of. Face it, we may have nonexistent to mediocre understanding of the local language and almost no understanding of local customs, history, vendettas, etc. Even people who are specifically trained to look beneath the surface get confused at times. What chance does a typical American who is essentially trained to ignore what is staring him in the face have?

If you go from Minnesota to Mississippi, do you think you really know what is going on when everyone calls you sir and your server is saying Honey this and Honey that? Clue- they arenít calling you sir because they think you have earned it!

It isnít a slam dunk for transplants to Seattle from other US cities to figure out the social signals. Good luck in Paraguay or Cambodia!

Ha


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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 12:49 PM   #34
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Ha is right. We have a number of close friends from France, other Asia and Latin America. Among other things, they all say that the grinning, too-eager-to-laugh American stereotype (in their home culture, at least) comes out as being kind of goofy, someone you wouldn't take seriously, kind of low-brow, etc.

And smiling at another man's wife or girl friend can generate a lot more jealousy than it normally would here. If you don't wish to inadvertently offend, it's best to initially play it safe.

Other: many places, grown-up don't wear shorts or jeans other than for soccer or working in the garden.

If you don't care whether you are offending, well, I guess you're just reinforcing the stereotype of Ugly American.
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 01:04 PM   #35
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

I do travel a lot and I probably smile too much. One good thing about not working is that I don't have to worry about doing something wrong in that context.

It's just hard for me to grasp not being me (smiles and all) because it has worked to well in the past. People I have met overseas have: emailed me often, sent me champagne, come to visit me in the US, asked me to be "aunt" and godmother to their children, asked to have their pictures taken with me, encircled me in a restaurant to teach them how to pronounce english words on the menu, let me spend the night at their house (once), given me countless rides and helped me when I'm lost and even ask ME directions when I'm not even sure where I am myself.

So, I guess there are people I have confused along the way, but I don't feel that I'm being an ugly american. I will be more careful about joking after reading Akaisha's story though.
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 01:30 PM   #36
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
You really can make errors even with smiles. Like smiles from men to women or women to men can create various types of difficulty.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
And smiling at another man's wife or girl friend can generate a lot more jealousy than it normally would here. If you don't wish to inadvertently offend, it's best to initially play it safe.
Ha and Rich,

I have the feeling you two are confusing (intentionally or habitually) smiling with flirting. Am I correct?

Anyway, flirting with someone's girlfriend or wife is a no no, abroad or at home. But I'm sure you already know that
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 01:33 PM   #37
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny
So, I guess there are people I have confused along the way, but I don't feel that I'm being an ugly american. I will be more careful about joking after reading Akaisha's story though.
Since I have met you, I can say without any doubt you are a very subtle person who misses nothing.

I am more talking about me-I have made some greenhorn mistakes that put me in tough situations. People visited me too, but it wasn't fun.

My wife says that over the years I have slowly gone from stupid to somewhat less stupid. :P

Ha
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 01:43 PM   #38
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
Ha and Rich,

I have the feeling you two are confusing (intentionally or habitually) smiling with flirting. Am I correct?
Anyway, flirting with someone's girlfriend or wife is a no no, abroad or at home. But I'm sure you already know that
Well, I guess that's really the heart of the matter: what we consider just a friendly smile with no flirtation might be viewed differently in other cultures.

And I think Shiny makes a good point. The better-traveled and educated folks in foreign countries likely know that Americans just do such things, and they don't tend to overreact that much. Kind of like a Japanese person giving you a little bow of the head - you just know it's what they do, and don't interpret it otherwise.
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 01:55 PM   #39
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

I don't think I am talking about flirting either. I am pretty careful about flirting even when I am being flirted with.

Anyway, anyone can do whatever he/she wants. I just know that it is easy to misunderstand what all might be going down.

Some environments are easier than others. I spent long periods on horseback in places that roads didn't go. Like, how would you interpret it when a guy at a cockfight picks up his bird and French kisses its anus? It was the same for me; I didn't really know how to see these things, so I tried to appear cool.

I think smiling is good. Important in many environments is that one can be sure that his smile signals respect, and not necessarily familiarity.

Ha
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Re: The Ugly Thai...
Old 03-15-2007, 02:00 PM   #40
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Re: The Ugly Thai...

Ha, you sound serious. As I said, I have not been around that much, most likely a lot less than you.

So, please elaborate on the trouble caused by smiling. Situation, country, surrounding elements... Thanks.
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