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How To Fit-In In The Village


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I think almost all the advice given on the first page of this thread is totally wrong.

1) Never wai anyone, you are telling them you are their social inferior which is clearly wrong as they all know you are rich and educated. Initiating a wai just indicates you are a fool. I pretty much only wave to Thais now ...... apart from MIL who does get a wai.

2) Do not learn the language, or do learn it but never let on. Then when those difficult situations occur where someone is trying to sell you their daughter (or the daughter jumps in for a direct sell) you can just pretend not to understand. (and what language are you going to learn, they don't speak central Thai in the village, and nobody teaches the local language anyway)

3) Never lend or give anyone money, that includes your wife, else they just think you are stupid with money. Have you ever seen a Thai village man give his wife or anyone else money EXCEPT ..... it is OK to give the pretty little 17YO girl money, all the other Thai guys do too. (I did up the age of the girl quite a bit so as not to offend the Mods sense of decency)

4) Always carry around a large bottle of SangSom, this avoids you having to pay for everyone elses drinks, they see you already have a bottle and also you don't need to drink their Ci-Seep. But you can let them have a glass from your bottle.

5) You will never fit in, so don't try, go your own way.

And who cares about what the poles do ....... apart from their dancing, which can be of interest.

I'm afraid I disagree with you on all points of your post.

I will always wai to somebody who wai's to me first. That is just being polite.

Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

After you have been in the village a while and have got to know the locals, the lending of money to those that appear a reasonable risk is OK as far as I am concerned. I have lent money on numerous occasions and have only once been let down. I admit sometimes that it has taken a while to get the loan repaid but it will come back eventually. What would you do if a local came to you and asked for a loan so that he could get his truck repaired. This is just before the sugar cane carting season where the bulk of his yearly income comes from. He either has to forgo the carting or borrow the money from a moneylender at exorbitant rates of interest. By lending him the money he was able to repair his truck, cart the cane, and repay me the loan. By lending him the money to repair his lively hood I have made a friend for life.

I will never lend money or buy lao kow. I used to get asked a lot when I first came to live here but now, as they know I will not do it, I don't get asked any more.

I will never be a Thai, but certainly try and fit in. I respect their customs, keep a low profile and generally be friendly and courteous. The locals have got used to me now.

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I think almost all the advice given on the first page of this thread is totally wrong.

1) Never wai anyone, you are telling them you are their social inferior which is clearly wrong as they all know you are rich and educated. Initiating a wai just indicates you are a fool. I pretty much only wave to Thais now ...... apart from MIL who does get a wai.

2) Do not learn the language, or do learn it but never let on. Then when those difficult situations occur where someone is trying to sell you their daughter (or the daughter jumps in for a direct sell) you can just pretend not to understand. (and what language are you going to learn, they don't speak central Thai in the village, and nobody teaches the local language anyway)

3) Never lend or give anyone money, that includes your wife, else they just think you are stupid with money. Have you ever seen a Thai village man give his wife or anyone else money EXCEPT ..... it is OK to give the pretty little 17YO girl money, all the other Thai guys do too. (I did up the age of the girl quite a bit so as not to offend the Mods sense of decency)

4) Always carry around a large bottle of SangSom, this avoids you having to pay for everyone elses drinks, they see you already have a bottle and also you don't need to drink their Ci-Seep. But you can let them have a glass from your bottle.

5) You will never fit in, so don't try, go your own way.

And who cares about what the poles do ....... apart from their dancing, which can be of interest.

I'm afraid I disagree with you on all points of your post.

I will always wai to somebody who wai's to me first. That is just being polite.

Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

After you have been in the village a while and have got to know the locals, the lending of money to those that appear a reasonable risk is OK as far as I am concerned. I have lent money on numerous occasions and have only once been let down. I admit sometimes that it has taken a while to get the loan repaid but it will come back eventually. What would you do if a local came to you and asked for a loan so that he could get his truck repaired. This is just before the sugar cane carting season where the bulk of his yearly income comes from. He either has to forgo the carting or borrow the money from a moneylender at exorbitant rates of interest. By lending him the money he was able to repair his truck, cart the cane, and repay me the loan. By lending him the money to repair his lively hood I have made a friend for life.

I will never lend money or buy lao kow. I used to get asked a lot when I first came to live here but now, as they know I will not do it, I don't get asked any more.

I will never be a Thai, but certainly try and fit in. I respect their customs, keep a low profile and generally be friendly and courteous. The locals have got used to me now.

One has to wonder why Sarahsbloke even bothers living here. His life seems very dark, depressing, and morose - when it probably doesn't need to be that way....

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Hi all

Guess everyones situation is different, here I am the only white man and for many locals the only white man they have ever seen. Except for people visiting me the only other farang to come here in 8 years, arrived at 4 pm, too late to head back to Ubon and was forced to stay the night in the girls family hut. Left the next morning never to be seen again.

As far as I know the locals think of me as a smiling idiot. I seldom attend wedding etc and only when the wife tells me that attendance is necessary. I don't give money to monks or give loans, that's what the wife is for. We do transport some of the elderly to Buddha ceremonies in the district [have the only 7 seater in town ]. Have been know to take a few people to hospital, babies etc. On occasions some of the locals come round for a few beers, Lao Kow, but they bring there own. As most of the village is related to us, people come and go all day long. To say we have an open door policy would be an understatement, we have no front door. You walk straight in of the street, the only doors are on the bedrooms.

I do have a few Thai friends who speak some English, but we will never be able to sit and talk world events etc, So in the words of Johnny Cash "I'll be a solitary man." Jim

.

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Hi all

Guess everyones situation is different, here I am the only white man and for many locals the only white man they have ever seen. Except for people visiting me the only other farang to come here in 8 years, arrived at 4 pm, too late to head back to Ubon and was forced to stay the night in the girls family hut. Left the next morning never to be seen again.

As far as I know the locals think of me as a smiling idiot. I seldom attend wedding etc and only when the wife tells me that attendance is necessary. I don't give money to monks or give loans, that's what the wife is for. We do transport some of the elderly to Buddha ceremonies in the district [have the only 7 seater in town ]. Have been know to take a few people to hospital, babies etc. On occasions some of the locals come round for a few beers, Lao Kow, but they bring there own. As most of the village is related to us, people come and go all day long. To say we have an open door policy would be an understatement, we have no front door. You walk straight in of the street, the only doors are on the bedrooms.

I do have a few Thai friends who speak some English, but we will never be able to sit and talk world events etc, So in the words of Johnny Cash "I'll be a solitary man." Jim

.

Basically I'm with you, James.

I speak Thai, badly, but exchange mutually unintelligible comments with familiar locals I happen to meet. Ours too is open house. All matters concerning loans, and other relations with villagers, are my partner's business; many of the villagers are his relatives anyway.

As for myself, as I've said twice on this thread already, just be yourself... in my 70s, I don't know how to be anyone else anyway. And life is very pleasant this way.

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The query that really needs to be examined is not so much "how" one connects, but better to ask "why one needs to fit-in?".

ZZAA,

Isnt your byline the answer?

Nothing ever exist entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.

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The query that really needs to be examined is not so much "how" one connects, but better to ask "why one needs to fit-in?".

ZZAA,

Isnt your byline the answer?

Nothing ever exist entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.

Still not getting it.

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I'm in a village, but not in the sticks. I neither try to fit in nor display any sort of aloofness. I mostly stay in .. for any number of reasons. I don't drink so don't enjoy the company of most of those who do. Have always been a loner and probably always will be. And I'm far past retirement age.

A number of the local who walk past our house get a warm greeting. Quite a number get a smile and nod. Some just go past unnoticed. I'm / was a bit of a novelty in the village. Just one other farang, I believe .. only recently a fella has driven past in a jeep a few times. The kids like to stare and talk among themselves. I wave, they giggle .. some wave back. They are getting used to seeing me.

I speak a bit of Thai, but no Isaan. My (used to be old maid) wife does .. and is sufficiently competent in virtually all aspects of life to make our small homestead and existence very pleasant. So I cooperate with her and usually follow her advice.

My wife is my best friend, my computer second, Truevisions a close third.

So do I fit in? So far, no Moletov cocktails.

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I think I could be relatively happy living anywhere in Thailand. I do like life in the boonies the best because I have room to play with my little four wheel drive tractor and can ride my motor scooter in light traffic. I can go slow to avoid chickens, ducks, dogs, buffalo, cattle, kids and two wheel Kubotas with little danger of having some maniac run over me.

I appreciate the village because I have my privacy. At first we had a lot of walk in visitors. I DIDN'T like that. I put a two meter high block wall around two and a half rai. I have a big dog and people no longer open the gate and walk in. I enjoy my own company and am happy to allow my wife to do the village socializing. I often talk to my dog and he never argues with me. He is a good friend. I spend a lot of time with my computer also. I don't watch TV and my wife wasn't happy paying for UBC/True so I told her to take it out. She did. She has one of those pay once for a satellite dish and never pay again. She's happy with that.

I drink beer with a couple guys about twice a week. One is Thai and the other a farang. The Thai guy was an interpreter during the Vietnam era at the US Udon air base. He speaks very good English and even uses slang. There are a few farangs who come and go but most don't stay long. The farangs leave for the same reason I stay. They just can't adapt to the isolation.

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I speak Thai, badly, but exchange mutually unintelligible comments with familiar locals I happen to meet.

Had to grin at this. I lived for 3 years in Ban Krut (Bangsaphan, PKK). I walked the beach often and had a habit of engaging the local fishermen in conversations while they worked on their boats.

Someone watching might assume we understood each other completely. I don't know about the fishermen, but other than the "hello" exchange, I usually picked up about a half-dozen words in a standard conversation.

I did learn that black pendants on the bamboo poles attached to the fish traps meant "crab". :)

About Isaan (language), I'm totally clueless.

Edited by klikster
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Best friends: a computer and a tv satellite system. :unsure:

No. Please don't misquote or distort my comments for the sake of drama.

What I wrote >> "My wife is my best friend .."

You will find that ZZAA does that - it makes his life more interesting.

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The last few posts really make me smile. It is so refreshing to read that other people are here just because they choose to be. I wish you health and happiness guys.

IA

GrimleyBob always seems to give me a sense of perspective that I interpret as "you are here because you are here, appreciate what you have and adapt as you choose to". What you sow you will reap.

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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

I don't see why not as quite a few Thais in my village say much the same to me though I always deny it.

I try to explain to them the I only have about 70% hearing in my right ear, 80% in the left, I wear glasses and my brain only works at about 50% and they still say it.

It must be my charm and tact which is still functioning at 99%, plus the fact at 66 I am still a hansum man. :rolleyes:

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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

I most certainly have heard this on many occasions. When I post on this forum I never pretend anything, what would be the point?

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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

I most certainly have heard this on many occasions. When I post on this forum I never pretend anything, what would be the point?

Yep, sorry Mr Clark, but I have heard it too, and slight variations, it isn't 'correct' Thai, but just as we dumb down our English for them, are they not allowed to dumb down their language for us?

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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

I most certainly have heard this on many occasions. When I post on this forum I never pretend anything, what would be the point?

Yep, sorry Mr Clark, but I have heard it too, and slight variations, it isn't 'correct' Thai, but just as we dumb down our English for them, are they not allowed to dumb down their language for us?

Maybe he's just being pedantic, as they say "poot Thai dai", not "proot Thai dai".

Edited by ballpoint
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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

I most certainly have heard this on many occasions. When I post on this forum I never pretend anything, what would be the point?

Yep, sorry Mr Clark, but I have heard it too, and slight variations, it isn't 'correct' Thai, but just as we dumb down our English for them, are they not allowed to dumb down their language for us?

Some - Falang and Thai - are more adept at dumbing down than others.

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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

I don't see why not as quite a few Thais in my village say much the same to me though I always deny it.

I try to explain to them the I only have about 70% hearing in my right ear, 80% in the left, I wear glasses and my brain only works at about 50% and they still say it.

It must be my charm and tact which is still functioning at 99%, plus the fact at 66 I am still a hansum man. :rolleyes:

billd776 - (no offence intended) you do not live in an Isan village which I believe what this topic is about. Oops come to think about it, neither do I.

However I have been married to an Isan girl for several years. She is more than capable of speaking in central Thai but prefers to use the Isan Lao dialect, and occaisonally is not averse to shouting at me in what she calls Khymen.

Isan girls are just a little different to what you see on the Thai nightly soaps. :ph34r:

Edited by phutoie2
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Try and learn the language. Some people are better at this than others. When you are getting on in years and have never been good at languages it's somewhat difficult but I have tried. There is for me nothing better than seeing a Thai to whom you have addressed in their own language break into a huge grin and say to their friends 'farang proot thai dai' he speaks Thai. Just making the effort even if you only speak a little and badly gives you great prestige.

Quite frankly I don' believe you have ever heard any Thai say 'farang proot thai dai' so why pretend you have!

I don't see why not as quite a few Thais in my village say much the same to me though I always deny it.

I try to explain to them the I only have about 70% hearing in my right ear, 80% in the left, I wear glasses and my brain only works at about 50% and they still say it.

It must be my charm and tact which is still functioning at 99%, plus the fact at 66 I am still a hansum man. :rolleyes:

billd776 - (no offence intended) you do not live in an Isan village which I believe what this topic is about. Oops come to think about it, neither do I.

However I have been married to an Isan girl for several years. She is more than capable of speaking in central Thai but prefers to use the Isan Lao dialect, and occaisonally is not averse to shouting at me in what she calls Khymen.

Isan girls are just a little different to what you see on the Thai nightly soaps. :ph34r:

My apologies to you as you are correct but I do live in a village in Central Thailand and I have replied to this topic several times before. I had thought it was all about life in any village in Thailand with the exception of course of the bigger ones like Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket etc though I believe that there are farang villages within there, more commonly known to us country boys as ghettos.

Sorry

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i think neil diamond was the solitary man, johnny walked the line.

Govoner you are correct Neil Diamond wrote and sang the song, but Johonny Cash also sang it to. I think those of us who live in the forgoten places are more Cash than Diamond types, Jim from somewhere in the jungle

.

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i think neil diamond was the solitary man, johnny walked the line.

Govoner you are correct Neil Diamond wrote and sang the song, but Johonny Cash also sang it to. I think those of us who live in the forgoten places are more Cash than Diamond types, Jim from somewhere in the jungle

.

Jungle Jim :ph34r:

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  • 8 months later...

Reading all these posts is a hoot....hahahahahaaa I must be seriously bored. Waiting in a motel room in the states for my next job assignment overseas. I work 4-5 mos. and stay 2 mos. with my lady and new baby in the Issan sticks. I know when I stop working I have to figure out something to do if I stay for long time in her village.

Reading these pages I've determined I'm doing just fine. I've never talked to anyone for suggestions on anything I've done from taking care of my lady to building our house. Can I sit in the village for a year without a holiday to the beaches??? H#** no As much as I like it there and feel more and more comfortable in her village, I'll never be nor will I try to be one of the guys. I can go 2 months eating shrimp, squid and fish . But, man after awhile I dreams about cheeseburgers.

Living the dream..........hahahahaaa

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Even if you're not religious, drop by the temple occasionally. It won't hurt.

You may be lucky enough to find a monk that has some English.

I don't care for religion, but do like old architecture, so will go to temples for a look.

As hypocritical as it seems, I'll go to temple once a month with TW or the sisters.

The head monk appreciates me being there, as do the older villagers.

The kids seem to think it's a hoot as I have a lot of trouble siting on the floor for so long.

It's a small price to pay.

Every time when we are in the village, we bring food to the local temple and talk with the abbot.

At the beginning I thought we should talk about religious matter, but not at all. It's just a chat about what's going on in the village. As we don't live there full time, it's a good way to catch up with what happen since our last visit. Also we meet other people who come for the same reason. And I can say, once you have met with these new people in the temple, talk together with the abbot, if you met them later in the village, the relation is completely different, we are not strangers anymore, it's like if we belong to the same club.

A regular visit to your local temple is definitively a good idea.

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