Mumpsimus, an old English word that has almost gone entirely out of fashion and therefore in its spoken use, and I have absolutely no idea why, as it is certainly an extremely useful noun indeed.
It means 'an incorrect view on something that a person refuses to let go of'. (Dictionary definition; a person who adheres to unreasonable customs and ideas).
For a while now, I have been wondering why such a high percentage of foreign expats living in Thailand, suffer from mumpsimus. I have long lost count of the number times I have been sitting in a teachers' office, or having a few drinks, when a foreign teaching colleague has stated something completely incorrectly as if it were written gospel, and something they had already had pointed out to them, was not the reality of the situation. Mumpsimus!
When you find yourself in a position where you know something for sure, and everyone else is under a different impression. your options aren't good. You have the choice of trying to convince others that they've got it wrong, and then probably come over as a controversial know-all, or letting it go in the form of self imposed mind-numbing irony.
For a good many years, I opted to be a controversial know-all, although in more recent years I've been numbing out.
So here goes, back to my old style. Here is an example, 'A foreigner can't win and claim the Thai National Lottery'. Not true! The rules clearly state that anyone of any nationality can, in fact, win and claim the given prize money.
Actually, a Cambodian immigrant had the great fortune to both win and claim the six million baht first prize earlier this year. Furthermore, his story was spread right across the kingdom's media.
Another example, 'South Africans are native English speakers'. This one has only been doing the rounds among foreigners for a few years. Nevertheless, it couldn't be more wrong as their native language is Afrikaans, and a great number of South Africans cannot even speak English.
This fallacy was presumably founded by someone at the Ministry of Education when they decided that South Africans were natives speakers, alongside British, American, Irish, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealanders. They aren't and never have they been.
Another is, 'Bar girls speak the best English' as opposed to the rest of the Thai population. This one is most frequently inaccurately spoken by newcomers; those ex-pats that have only been living here in 'The land of the Smiles' for couple of years or so. Generally speaking, those free spirits who are still enjoying life's adventures.
Interestingly, some bar girls often acquire an uncanny knack of getting the gist of 'where someone is coming from.' As in, if someone is talking to them about something serious, their persona takes on a serious tone; making statements like 'Really?' whilst looking surprised, or laughing at the right moment for a joke or better still, turning on the tears for a sad narrative. Such as when they can barely understand a word anyone is saying, let alone being able to contribute to the conversation themselves. So I have been told by those who know about these forms of acquaintances.
Another one that can sometimes get my goat is 'an EFL teacher's contract in Thailand isn't worth the paper it's written on' or words to that effect. Favorite misconceptions are often 'because a foreigner doesn't have any rights here' or 'there are always clauses written into it that make it worthless.
Fortunately, there are some fine Thai government offices at the Central Thai Labor Court in Hua Lamphong that are able to prove otherwise.
Keeping with education is 'the schools in my country are far better than the schools in Thailand' This is a difficult one to prove either way. Are they really saying that every school in their country is good while every school in Thailand is shit? By law of averages, that would surely be a highly unlikely equation.
All Issarn wives of foreigners only married them for money to help their poor families' Hmmm, is that actually the case? There must be some sort of individuality, even if it is not massive. Namely, twenty-five million people and not one good woman has ever came from their number to make a genuine attachment to a foreign male. It cannot be possible.
Lastly, the most controversial of all - 'foreigners can't own land in Thailand' and that's why I'm going to keep it as brief as possible. My parents, who are both English, bought and sold land here no less than four times, over a period of nine and a half years, without so much as a hiccup.
Mumpsimus, is a wonderful old fashioned English word that has all but died a death and been laid to rest. May it rest in peace.