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.

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