As with any country and culture when you move abroad, there will be things that you love and embrace, as well as things that you might not be too crazy about. Looking on the positive side though, here are a few things expats can maybe learn from the Thai people and Thai culture.
Ditch the Watch
If you observe many western tourists in particular, you’ll see them following a tight timetable, trying to fit as much as possible into one day. You’ll often see them rushing around with a frown as they try to meet their self imposed ‘life timetable’. That would be fine in business or in an emergency situation, but really, is the rush worth it? You’ll notice that many Thai people don’t wear a watch most of the time and have slowed the pace of their life down to a more enjoyable pace.
A Refreshing Lack of Questions
Except for tourist destinations, in real Thai areas not many Thai people ask intrusive questions or judge people. There are exceptions of course, but most Thai people will stay out of your business, as you are expected to stay out of theirs; as opposed to some countries where everyone’s asking where you are going, why you are doing what you’re doing, and then telling you other people’s business etc. A refreshing live-and-let-live attitude exists in Thailand that curtain twitching, gossiping busybodies who revel in sticking their nose into everyone’s business should adopt.
Many expats will say that eating Thai food sometimes still leaves them feeling hungry. A light meal revolving around rice, herbs and a little bit of meat, instead of chips, pies and baked beans has kept Thai people on the slimmer side of the line. In the west especially, people are becoming increasingly fatter. Yes, a burger and French fries probably will be more delicious than rice, fish and vegetables, but there’s a price to pay if you continually eat heavily. There are exceptions of course, but most Thai people only eat junk food moderately and stay slimmer than most nationalities on average.
Take western nations as an example, there are rules upon rules upon rules, red tape wrapped around pretty much everything you do. There are councils who make more rules and then the EU imposes even more rules on top of those rules. In Thailand everything is so much simpler without unneeded complications. If you want to fly a model helicopter in England for example, you have to get a model helicopter pilot’s licence, wear a reflective jacket and jump through hoops to even fly it. In Thailand you can just buy a model helicopter and fly it in your garden.
In many countries people rant on about plastic bags as if anyone owning one is guilty of causing global warming. Yes, plastic bags are bad for the environment, and yes, there is litter. However, at least Thai people ‘use’ the bags efficiently and get more usage out of them. You’ll see drinks inside plastic bags so that the bottle can be recycled, people wearing them on their heads as rain hats and even using elastic bands with plastic bags to store food efficiently.
Hospitals that Make Sense
The pharmacies are actually inside the hospitals in Thailand, and your local GP will be at the hospital too. Whereas if you have an ailment in England for example, first you have to book a doctor’s appointment, wait a week without dying, then you’ll be given an overpriced prescription and told to visit a pharmacy, then after trekking in possibly damp rainy conditions to the pharmacy with your ailment, you may have to visit the hospital. The hospital may be miles away due to the NHS falling apart, so the whole experience is very stressful. There is no excuse for not being able to see a doctor, receive treatment and collect your medicine in one hospital visit.