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'nam Civilised' Versus Betelnut

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If there was comment on its illegality, I missed that. Illegal it is, since one of the last cen :o tury's modernizing campaigns (wear hats, bras, shoes...)

Easy to notice in Tachilek what a filthy habit it tends to be, what with unrestricted spitting. It is still a very popular habit all over Burma (cultural preservation) and indeed, with older people in Isan, but one sure doesn't notice it in Vientianne!

When I lived in Buriram, a neighbor's mother-in-law was a betel addict (despite living usually in BKK). The kids were taking care of some baby angora rabbits I had hopes for, but got distracted. They thought, as grandma was there, nevermind. She thought, nothing. The door was left open, rabbits ran outside, local dogs had a feast. Mai pen rai.


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It's illegal??? In the same way prostitution is, or what?

Tell me more.

I am frequently having a "mouthful" in the presence of police acquaintances and while crossing borders. Most find it amusing, my gf finds it embarrassing.

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It's illegal??? In the same way prostitution is, or what?

Tell me more.

I am frequently having a "mouthful" in the presence of police acquaintances and while crossing borders. Most find it amusing, my gf finds it embarrassing.

Even if it not forbidden, even if you have a 'mouthful' in the presence of police acquaintances and while crossing borders, you still can respect the fact that your girlfriend finds it embarrasing.

I am an addicted smoker, but I avoid to confront others with my habit. I know they don't like it, so why would I affront them?

People might find it amusing to see a foreigner doing things which only old people do, but I doubt you gain respect by it. There is an element of provocation in it too.

My avatar shows two old ladies enjoying betelnut. If I would be in their company and they would offer me some I would certainly and in gratitude accept. I would love to try it out. But I would never use it as a way to show how tuff I am. Your story points a little bit in that direction, but I think that my lousy English made me misunderstand you.

I think Joel Barlow comes close when he compairs it with the modernizing campaigns of wearing hats, bras and shoes. Prostitution seems to me to be of another category and therefore I see no links to betelnuts.


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Dear Dr Limbo:

I think the best beer is from Holland. I have been to a very famous brewery (don't want to advertise for them) and very impressed with what I saw. When I first relocated to Bangkok some 21 years ago, I was out each night at Patpong. And in those days you could only get Amarit, Kloster and Singh. None to my liking...Singh was just too strong and could almost knock me off after a couple of drinks. I once met the farang master brewer of Singh and he told me it was because Thais love the kick therefore the alchohol content was higher than 5% (the norm I believe). Only later when they started to export they realize not all foreigners like strong beer. After doing their market reasearch, then came Chang, Leo and what else.

As far as chewing betel nuts is concerned...

By the way, i think this was probably originated from India along with Buddishism??? It had been a popular habits for people in Burma, Malaysia, Thailand and some other Southeast Asian countries. But strangely also in Taiwan. Although I believe it has been banned in Malaysia and of course Singapore long time ago (or the habit just died out) it is still very popular in Taiwan. But I don't seem to see the Taiwanese betel chewers have black teeth. Perhaps they have a special tooth-paste to get rid of the stains. Anyway, the BIG thing about this betel nut trade in Taiwan is all those very sexy young girls hawking their "ware" by the the roadsides wearing hardly anything. Road accidents are frequent occurance as they make heads turn. The police crack down on them very often as they were accused of "hanging a goat head and selling dog's meat" in Chinese saying. It is still happening today. Lately, this business seems to have been exported to Bangkok by some smart ass from Taiwan! Thanks God it is still contained among the Taiwanese community. Just imagine with the kind of Bangkok traffic and drivers we have, the betel nuts girls will really be able to create havoc...

The effect of chewing betel nut does seem to make one feels good. I had tried it when I was a kid and it was fun just like I also had tried smoking grass in college. I am not sure if one can actually get addicted to chewing betel nuts. I believe it is more of a habit forming thing. I do hope there is a law not necessarily banning people from the enjoyment of chewing but rather banning people from spitting their reddish remains on the street after chewing the nuts as it is really a sickening sight.

As we all know the first beer was imported in Siam from Europe.

No, not from Germany but from England!

This was towards the end of the nineteenth century. Soon after that the western civilisation 'contributed' also with whiskey to Siamese culture.

In the beginning beer was called 'civilised water' in Thailand.

We would call it anything, but certainly not this.

Because in many cases, after drinking too much of it, beer seems to remove a layer of civilisation rather than adding one. Beer opens some buttons of the mental 'corset' which we call civilsation.

Traditionally chewing betel, the Siamese 'chew', was the great distraction of men and women of Siam.

Even at the Court of the Great King Rama V at that time. If we believe Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg, a German nobleman with access to the court, the teeth of the Siamese nobility were black. It was said that when the King and his dignitaries received Europeans at the Court, they covered their blackened teeth with dentures of an immaculate white.

There is no antique shop without a collection of betelnut boxes or scissors to cut the nuts. Which sometimes are very beautiful decorated. So the betelnut must have been widely enjoyed in Siamese and later Thai society.

A couple of years ago in Maesai there was still a cart where they prepared and sold betelnut. I haven't seen it for a long time.

What is the effect of chewing betelnut, aside from getting black teeth? If you look at the two ladies on my avater it seems to make people happy.

Is it forbidden by law?


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Dear Zapp, I humbly apologize: There IS a connection between prostitution and the chewing of betelnut. At least in Taiwan. The only thing to defence myself is to say that this connection is not visible in Chiang Rai.

Thanks dekbannok for your great posting!

Limbo :o

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