The Culture of Thailand

The Culture of Thailand

The Culture of Thailand

I’m a culture geek and  Thailand’ culture is my main amusement. I’ve lived in five  cultures – Australian, Japanese, American, Fijian, and Thai – and loved ‘em all. But the culture of Thailand is a real collector’s item. If you want to see an intricate, Oriental culture that really works, look no further than Thailand!

Cultures are pre-solved environments composed of myths, ideologies, assumptions, rules, regulations, laws, customs and attitudes which help its members get along with each other and survive the onslaughts of outsiders.

Thailand has one of the most highly evolved cultures on earth, but one that receives little attention. Perhaps people overlook its culture because the natural and man-made beauty of the country is so beguiling. But to overlook Thai culture would be to miss the country’s greatest achievement. Listen to Nancy and Roger talk about it:

Thai Cultural Accomplishments

At the very top of Thailand’s cultural accomplishments is the national practice of happiness.

Thais understand that there is nothing you can do to become happy. Nothing you can acquire or accomplish will do anything more than distract you from unhappiness. No person or thing can make you happy. You can only be happy.

So Thais are taught from infancy how to be happy. They look and feel and act (and consequently are) happy under almost all circumstances. Many Westerners, seeing this, criticize the Thais for what they regard as an ‘act’.
“Nobody is that happy all the time” they complain. “They’re just faking it”.

But this is simply a cultural misunderstanding. In the West we are told that things outside us make us happy. Every TV commercial tells us so, even though we know it’s a big lie.

Are Thais perfectly happy? Of course not. They endure the same hurts, disappointments, slights, insults and humiliations that we all do. They suffer and die like us. But in the midst of life’s drama they are happy.

Where did they learn this basic wisdom? Probably from Confucius for, though Thais are mostly Buddhists, they are of Chinese extraction and the social structure of Thailand is Confucian. Confucius said, “Admirable indeed a man who, though living in a mean, narrow street with only a single bamboo dish to eat from, does not allow his joy to be affected”.

Thailand is still an emerging country. Many Thais live in mean narrow streets and have little more than a single bamboo dish. But speak to them and you discover a remarkable truth: they do not allow their joy to be affected.

Come to Thailand. Study the Thais practice of happiness. It grows on you.

More Reading

  • Can Thailand escape its middle-income trap? – ANU College of Asia … – One of the most pernicious and ubiquitous effects of the decadent culture spawned by Thai Royalism is the idea “merit” comes from one’s place/position at birth and from what patrons one has rather than merit coming form …
  • A sign of progress? – ANU College of Asia and the Pacific – Anything that contradicts the Thai culture, and is just a fashion, cannot be sustained. In sum, what I see from the emergence of the White Mask group is not the sign of progress, but rather the sign of regression among the …
  • Desiring a pure people’s politics – ANU College of Asia and the … – These sentiments raise the question of why Thai elites, or those within its minority civil society sector, harbor such a desire for a ‘people’s politics’ disassociated from political interests. It is my contention that this virtual fetishization of a … Whilst they may indeed be found, one wonders why these values are projected onto the most vulnerable sectors of society, and whether this isn’t a form of subtle cultural imperialism. One wonders also, if this isn’t just another excuse …
  • Review of A Life’s Work – ANU College of Asia and the Pacific – For one, the law is rooted in Thai culture and the Thai people’s “unique” (p. 312) relationship to the monarchy, royalist legal expert Bowornsak Uwanno explains. Anand says: “I am sure that the king does not mind whether the …
  • Is it wrong to visit indigenous Thai Hill Tribes? – Where Sidewalks End – Comprising seven major tribes: Akha, Karen (including “Long Neck”), Hmong , Yao, Lisu, Lawa, and Lahu, each have their own distinct culture, language, art and colourful style of dress. Thai hill tribes’ people make their …
  • A Foreigner’s Place In Muay Thai Gyms In Thailand | Milk.Blitz.Street … – The culture of a muay thai gym is no different. In traditional muay thai gyms where the main source of income is the Thai fighters, you’ll be Other and expected to fall into the hierarchy below the established fighters regardless …
  • Tips for understanding Thai Culture: Part 1 | Off The Path Travel – Most people who travel to Thailand love the culture and overall demeanor of the people they meet on their trips. Thai culture is very refreshing for many people are usually very friendly, relaxed, and tend to smile a …
  • Is Buddhist culture in Thailand opening doorways to demonic activity … – I have been doing research on buddhist culture in Thailand and found that these spirit houses are quite common, and I have seen a documentary where a tourist visited Thailand and a myriad of idols can be found. I am not ignorant about …
  • Handmade Traditions in Thailand | Paper Planes – One of Thailand’s greatest dichotomies is how centuries-old traditions seem to live alongside high tech trends. Thais are tied to their smartphones, clamor to buy new cars and seem to use an unnecessary amount of plastic bags and bottles. Yet at the same time, a large portion of the goods are still handmade…
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