I thought once, I thought twice, I even slept on it: Should I make this blog? I even asked my wife, but I knew the answer there – of course post it she would say, and, of course, that is what she said. So my conclusion, it is my blog and my personal space to share my thoughts and opinions on being in Thailand, so yes I will post it. We are all entitled to an opinion, even if it turns out to be a minority view.
Now the story begins a few weeks ago when I was driving to Bangkok with two of my foreign staff and we were discussing the pros and cons of living in Thailand. I am sure this type of conversation is common among expats in Thailand; Thailand is beautiful and has so many redeeming factors – but it also has a few cons to it too. And yes, before you all leap to the defence of living here, all countries have pros and cons I am aware of this. Do remember, I have chosen Thailand as I think on average it is still my best option. I just wanted to give this blog some positioning and background before I got to the heart of my message.
Anyway playfully someone in the car, in a throw away comment, said of Thais the comment ‘Because they don’t care’ (the actual phrase used had a bit more of an expletive, but I thought best about using this here!). Normally I would dismiss such a comment as a bit nasty, but then I stopped and applied this comment to a number of scenarios I have experienced living here.
It was one of those moments, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This hypothesis seemingly had some merit to it. “Let me test it again, it must just be chance that it seems to fit with any problem I have had here” I thought to myself. “The reason Thais are late to meetings…”, “Why is my nanny late to my house most days…”, “Why is customer service bad in many of the restaurants I eat in…”,”Why does xxx in my team keep forgetting to do certain tasks…”, “Why was my balcony ceiling repaired and finished using a gloss paint when the rest of the ceiling was painted with matt?”. It fit and it kept fitting. So, I threw the hypothesis out to my team in the car: Apply ‘because they don’t care’ to any issue you have had living in Thailand (which by the way are frequent).
They started to laugh, as the applied ‘because they don’t care!’ to problems they had experienced living here, and it finished the sentence perfectly. “Why did my work permit get completed late…”, “Why did my repair on my house get done wrong…”. It went on.
Now there were two exceptions: family and food to this rule.
I think really it can be toned down and re-positioned. ‘Because they realise it is not that important to them’ (but it does not make quite the impact for a blog title) and this is where us Westerners can make much needed learnings.
But maybe the Thais have it right (and we have it wrong)?
OK, now at this point I needed to rationalise this better than the damning phrase. I think Thais can actually teach us a thing or two about chilling out and enjoying the moment. Us Westerners ‘care’ about everything, in fact far too much. We care what others think about us, about getting our jobs done right, about how we look, about being on time…everything you can think of we ‘care’ and that can be at the expense of enjoying and living in the moment.
We all are just serving out time in this world before we die, they are the facts if you strip it to the basics.
Should we really overburden ourselves with the stress of ‘caring’ about absolutely everything we do in this world – Is it that important after all? You know, just maybe, Thais have got it right and we have got it wrong.
There is a chance I have got this all wrong by the way, I would welcome your thinking’s in the comments section below.