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waiking

Newbie observations on the expat community and the Bangkok podcast

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Something is wrong with you. I am preparing a move to Thailand, after seven years in China and before that a couple in Japan and South Korea, and I have spent some time checking out the "expat scene" - blogs, forums, pod casts, books. Especially pod casts have been a great resource in China. But I have to say I'm shocked. I've been listening to the back catalog of the Bangkok podcast, by far the biggest Thailand expat pod cast. I am shocked at how cringlingly, embarrassingly, bad it is. The hosts are, literally, completely unprepared, and after the best part of two decades in Thailand (for at least one of them) they seem to completely lack any insight or interest in current affairs or culture or politics or history or economics or anything really beyond the usual trivial tourist tropes. Case in point: can you imagine staying for more than a decade in a country, any country, and not even learning the language properly?

 

The Bangkok podcast is not without value. It is at its best when interviewing interesting people. I am right now enjoying the interview with the American who runs a successful bar/restaurent in Bangkok. But here is just one example of how ill-prepared the podcast is: in the opening the host says that the place has been open for eleven years, only to be corrected by the owner that it has only been open for six years. The lack of preparation or any real interest in their subjects is ridicoulous.

 

Here is a suggestion: compare the Bangkok podcast to any of the main Chinese expat podcasts - Sinica for example. I can understand that "where to get the best burger" and "how to avoid getting scammed" might be of interest to first-time tourists, but if that is the depth of your insight into a country you have stayed in for years I feel truly sorry for you.

 

I know I go on about this particular pod cast. But the worst thing is that I have a strong feeling that it is indicative of the whole expat scene: it is lazy. What boggles my mind is, why move to a country if you are not really interested in it? Please convince me that I am wrong. Are there any non-infantile resources for expats that I am not aware of?


 

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Posted (edited)

The expats are lazy, ya think? Maybe they have assimilated to the local "tropical" environment better than you think. What do you think the locals mostly talk about? Just replace noodle soup for hamburgers.

Edited by Jingthing
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12 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

The expats are lazy, ya think? Maybe they have assimilated to the local "tropical" environment better than you think. What do you think the locals mostly talk about? Just replace noodle soup for hamburgers.

I'll grant that is a good point. But if you are serious about being lazy you should at least do it properly. Lazy Thai people don't hang around in Starbucks or McDonalds, I imagine.

 

Just saw your hamburger edit: yes, sure. I suppose it is mainly the lack of progression that blows my mind. It is like someone staying in China for two decades and still talking about how different it is to use chopsticks.

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2 minutes ago, Gumballl said:

Or perhaps there is something wrong with you, making such general comments.

That might be a false dichotomy.

 

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6 minutes ago, waiking said:

That might be a false dichotomy.

 

That's the best kind of dichotomy.

Farang pub anyone?

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

I started to give your O.P. the benefit of the doubt but then I read your trivial nit pit about an interviewer not knowing the specific number of years some bar had been open and then decided you're taking the piss.

 

Yes, I agree people living in China should learn how to use chopsticks. Duh. 

 

I kind of have the opposite problem. I'm so conditioned to the Thai style fork-spoon method that I like to use it with western food. That's more or less OK in Thailand but traveling in the west it inspires stares and pity (like I must be developmentally challenged). 

Regardless where one is eating, I have found that eating dishes of food, in particular those which include rice, is best done with a spoon. The hell with what the western world thinks.

 

Regarding chopsticks, IMHO, they are inefficient. They're great if you cannot afford a spoon or a fork, and it looks cool to use them when eating Asian food, but that's about it.

 

P.S. I forgot; chopsticks also come in handy if one finds themselves in e kung <deleted> [foo] fight.

Edited by Gumballl
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2 minutes ago, Gumballl said:

Regardless where one is eating, I have found that eating dishes of food, in particular those which include rice, is best done with a spoon. The hell with what the western world thinks.

 

Regarding chopsticks, IMHO, they are inefficient. They're great if you cannot afford a spoon or a fork, and it looks cool to use them when eating Asian food, but that's about it.

 

P.S. I forgot; chopsticks also come in handy if one finds themselves in e kung <deleted> fight.

They are good for noodles and of course Thais use them for noodles (as do I). 

It's especially hilarious in the west to watch people eating regular non-noodle Thai food with chopsticks!

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

They are good for noodles and of course Thais use them for noodles (as do I). 

It's especially hilarious in the west to watch people eating regular non-noodle Thai food with chopsticks!

Sorry, I've been coming to LOS since 1997. I cannot recall (perhaps I have not paid attention) to anyone eating noodles with chopsticks. Even my wifey does not use them, and she's from a humble background.

 

In the US, those eating Pho eat with chopsticks. Yes, funny, and inefficient.

 

P.S. I have to add that eating Japanese sticky rice is somewhat easier with chopsticks than, say, eating Thai jasmine rice.

Edited by Gumballl

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