Is it possible to find the perfect balance?
It's just interesting to note that it is the relaxed attitude that keeps the East "developing" while it's our go-go attitude that makes us "prosperous". The same attitude that hinders them in business allows them to be happily content with life, whereas it's our work ethic that erodes at our physical and emotional well being.
The Filipinos at my school are overly obedient and never question management. To the point that they end up working evenings and weekends for free. The Thai management see this and now expect the same from westerners.
Don't come to Thailand if this kind of stuff makes you mad
As westerners, we like to have schedules and we like to know things ahead of time. Stuff like that doesn't happen so much in Asian culture.
Should we see ourselves as missionaries for Western culture values?
As foreigners teaching in a foreign country, what are the expectations and where are the boundaries?
The tone of the letters here is often such that if you’re qualified and want to teach in Thailand, there’s something wrong with you, because otherwise you’d be elsewhere accumulating capital.
Life is easy here and that's why people want to stay. Most teachers here are here to enhance their career and stamp on the teachers below them.
The concept of face and other things
If a waiter in a restaurant screws up your order and brings you fishballs instead of the fried pork-skin on rice you ordered, most people won’t send it back or make a fuss about it. The waiter might lose face. So what? Well, by embarrassing him this way, you too will be considered as having lost face. It’s really a lose-lose situation. You can either eat your smelly fishballs or lose face.
Loud music and slouching
Now let me first get one thing straight. I like Thailand and I like Thai people. They are very friendly and I usually don’t mind their strange behaviour and views. They say it’s culture. It’s not a problem for me, but the question is: can you handle it? With ‘you’, I mean the newly arrived farangs who are still in the so-called honeymoon period and think Thailand is heaven on earth
Introducing this week's guest columnist
A guest column - the vast majority of which wasn't written by myself. All about the cultural differences Thai ajarns face upon going to and then returning from a western country to study
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