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Thailand - Retirement Paradise For Western Men

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

Postby Rock » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:01 pm

MrPeabody wrote:
Repatriate wrote:
ladislav wrote:I remember going and living in Thailand after the Philippines and it seemed like a wacky place with a gratutious problem of the constant farang farang bullsh1t. Lots of people are prejudiced against you for being a non Oriental. And as a white guy you are subject to constant mockery. You get no respect!

Ladislav, no offense but you mentioned the last time you were in Thailand was in the early 90's. I'd say you are a generation or two behind the current Thai mindset. They are xenophobic but it is much less than what you have stated here.


That's what I was wondering. Because I am thinking of going to Thailand to get my CELTA. I talked to a friend of mine who lives in Bangkok and he says that people couldn't be nicer.


Personally, I love Bangkok and Thailand and would probably make it my Asian base if I didn't have a GF in Taiwan. Just a few things I like about it - high value-for-money lifestyle, great weather (if you hate cold like me), some fantastic beaches, nightlife galore, people of all ages from all parts of the world, low rates of violent crime relative to percentage of poor people, cheapest (on a per mile basis) and most frequent flights to other parts of the world, emerging first world infrastructure, and live and let live attitude.

However, it still has a dark side and some unpleasant issues that you need to be aware of:

- Police and legal system will often not be of much use if you get into trouble. If you get scammed or violently attacked, police generally will make no efforts to find and punish the perps unless drugs are involved. One example of this is the jet ski scam which has been going on for awhile in places like Phuket and Pattaya. It even got covered on British TV last year. Basically, you rent jet skis from from beach operators and when you return them a few 10s of minutes later, they claim you caused damage (scratches, etc). and try to extort amounts in the ballpark of 40,000 Baht (over US$1,000). This has been happening a lot and victims include service men from American and British military. Just a couple weeks ago, 3 young Irish guys were surrounded by these Thai thugs in broad daylight in front of a crowd on a Pattaya Beach. One had a knife put up to his throat and was told to immediately pay around 40,000 Baht in 'damages'. A couple minutes later, some uniformed guys came to 'help-out'. Well these guys only took the side of the thugs. A few more minutes and the tourist police finally arrived and the original uniformed guys suddenly disappeared. The best they were able to do was negotiate a much lower 'damage' amount. These guys seem to operate with impunity. The only one of these cases I know of where the tourists got away scot-free were some Chinese who phoned-up their embassy. Now western embassies generally don't help their citizens out much when they have such problems. But the Chinese Embassy, from what I read, sounds like a different animal.

- Life is still cheap. If you make serious enemies, its very easy for them to pay some guys to beat you up. In more serious cases, hit-men are not hard to come-by. Punishment for murder is generally much lighter than most drugs charges. And murder cases generally get included every time an amnesty or general sentence reduction roles around. So a first offense murderer may be back out within just a few years.

- If you have a short fuse, not a lot of tolerance and must act out your anger, you will probably find yourself a victim, at some stage, of a spontaneous violent attack by a group.

- Thailand's version of the 'war on drugs' is hardcore. If you need to do any, even just weed, probably best to stay out of the kingdom. There are much better countries for you.

- There are some high quality expats and visitors. There's also a large bottom-of-the-barrel component from all parts of the world. You need to spend enough time to understand your counter parties and social acquaintances before you open up and share too much about yourself.

- If you work with Thais in a business environment, especially at a white collar role in some local or MNC firm, it behooves you to invest a large amount of time in the beginning to learn about how to interact effectively with Thai subordinates, colleagues, and superiors and the many dos and don'ts. Its complicated for most westerners to say the least.

- In spite of many miraculous infrastructure upgrades, the streets and sidewalks in cities like Bangkok are still crowded and often filthy. If you walk around tourist areas when bars are closing and garbage bags are being tossed-out, you will see giant rats all over the place having their main meal. Just treat em like the Thais do, don't bother them and they won't bother you.
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Postby ladislav » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:59 am

I left Thailand in May 1996 which is 15 years ago. I was very upset about the whole thing. The person who says that the people could not be nicer probably
1) cannot speak Thai
2) is not working for them
If you speak mostly English and do not try to integrate then you are ahead of the game because that is how the locals want you to be.
I also thought people were nice as long as I was in tourist or international areas and the money was flowing from me to them. The people smiled and said something like
ching-chang-chung-ping-pang-pung-bing-bang-bung. I did not know the language at that time but when I learned it, boy oh boy what horrible things were they saying!
So, you think in 15 years the boiling beneath the smile haters, the finger stickers, the mockers have now reformed and are now welcoming the smelly hair Whitey with open arms? That now they no longer say things behind your back that make a stoker blush and are no longer filled with so much bile that it would burn through metal? That an unsuspecting farang cannot understand because they are said in the local language?
How about the visa laws? Are they now more liberal?
Nah, my advice as an expat - unless you are an Oriental, do not move to Thailand; just go there for some good times in tourist areas and then leave when time comes.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
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Postby Rock » Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:15 am

ladislav wrote:I left Thailand in May 1996 which is 15 years ago. I was very upset about the whole thing. The person who says that the people could not be nicer probably
1) cannot speak Thai
2) is not working for them
If you speak mostly English and do not try to integrate then you are ahead of the game because that is how the locals want you to be.
I also thought people were nice as long as I was in tourist or international areas and the money was flowing from me to them. The people smiled and said something like
ching-chang-chung-ping-pang-pung-bing-bang-bung. I did not know the language at that time but when I learned it, boy oh boy what horrible things were they saying!
So, you think in 15 years the boiling beneath the smile haters, the finger stickers, the mockers have now reformed and are now welcoming the smelly hair Whitey with open arms? That now they no longer say things behind your back that make a stoker blush and are no longer filled with so much bile that it would burn through metal? That an unsuspecting farang cannot understand because they are said in the local language?
How about the visa laws? Are they now more liberal?
Nah, my advice as an expat - unless you are an Oriental, do not move to Thailand; just go there for some good times in tourist areas and then leave when time comes.



1. Lad, a country can change dramatically in 15 years and that includes the attitudes of the people, the way they think, etc. I saw it happen in China. People born in the 80s are very different from earlier generations. People born in 90s even more so. And many of the older people have changed and mellowed with the times too. Back in the mid 90s and before, China was still full of people who seemed impossible to relate too, even for Mandarin speakers from the outside. And back then, many people in China could not even speak fluent Mandarin. Today, it's a very different place. Hasn't Russia changed a lot too?

Since your departure, Thailand has been through a lot - an extreme economic crisis, a long period of high growth, a period under a progressive and strong PM, a tripling or quadrupling of tourist arrivals, an influx of visitors and expats from Russia, China, and many other countries, dramatic infrastructure upgrades, and a general improvement in the standard of living, even in the backwaters of Issan. The toddlers and your period there are now late teens, early 20s. They grew-up with the Internet and a lot more exposure to the outside world than earlier generations. You must realize that the Internet and globalization of the masses has changed people in most places and especially in high growth emerging economies.

2. I know long term western expats who speak fluent Thai and work or study there. Some of them love it and many like it. There are plenty of localized foreigners in Thailand, even some who've grown-up there and speak Thai just as well as local Bangkokians. They know what's going on and are nothing like short term visitors to Asia you refer to. I even know of western couples who have settled there. Today, you can find plenty schools all over Thailand which teach Thai and even Mandarin to foreigners. These classes are popular too. There are plenty of farangs around who speak at least some Thai and understand it fairly well.

3. In Patts, I've met some old-timers who've been in Thailand since the early 80s or even late 70s. If its so bad, I wonder why they stayed so long. If the expat bubble is convincing and credible enough to keep them fooled so long, then maybe its easy to avoid the ugly side you experienced no matter how long you stay.

4. Just to give you some perspective, I spent some time in Phils in the 90s - Makati, Ermita, and Quezon City. It was filthy and the air pollution was terrible. Many people carried guns. After big rains, the streets flooded and water filled-up my taxi almost up to the seat cushion. And every fricken taxi I rode in tried to rip-me off, some quite aggressively. Power black-outs and brown-outs were a frequent occurrence which often meant no A/C in hot mid-afternoon. My 4 star hotel extorted me for over 1,000 Pesos on the mini-bar I never touched (pretty sure it was in collusion with one of the maids). My Indian friend who grew up in a gated community there absolutely hated the local people, he thought they were all low class crooks and thugs, especially the guys. He could speak fluent Tagalog but insisted in always using English given his contempt for the locals. When locals were friendly to me, they usually ended-up wanting something or tried to involve me in some sort of scam. Now even though the local economy has remained stagnant and tourism hasn't grown much since then, even Phils sounds like its changed a fair bit based on accounts from several posters on this forum.

5. As for visa regulations, there is still a permanent residency program for those 50 and over. And generally, I think Thailand is still an easier country to visit and maybe stay in, at least for Americans, than many other attractive choices, especially if you don't work. Those include China, Brazil, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Russia. My American friends who stay there on tourist visas only leave once every 3 months.

6. Nobody I know if is claiming that every Thai likes westerners or that there is absolutely no hate. But the same holds true in many countries. Even in Phils, some westerners get a lot of hate and even worse. Some of it depends on the person. Perhaps, for whatever reason, Thais just don't like you or those around you. I've seen this dynamic play-out in many countries. Some expats are loved, others are hated. Some only see good things and have positive experiences. Others the opposite. The truth encompasses both sides.

One of my Jewish expat friends hated Taiwan and was generally not very well liked in return. From my point of view, 95% of the problem was him. Locals were very patient and tolerant towards him but he just acted like some ugly American. He moved to Thailand a few years ago and felt it was a dream come true. He told me he gets a much kinder and more relaxed vibe from the Thais. And he speaks several languages fluently and is very sensitive to body language and facial expressions; not at all like a typical pensioner who lives in an expat bubble.
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Postby Rock » Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:59 am

ladislav wrote:...the money was flowing from me to them. The people smiled...


Is Phils any different??? Weren't you the one who said those sugar babies disappeared as soon as you stopped sending money? Winston often complains about Filipinos/as being totally shameless - expecting constant handouts from westerners. How much would they welcome you without your GI Joe cash?

BTW, one of my broke Norwegian friends married a local Bangkok girl several years ago. He gets treated fine by her family and their extended circle of friends even though he has no money and does not work (similar attitude as Winston). And she treats him very well and is sincere and faithful.
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Postby Repatriate » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:44 am

Rock wrote:One of my Jewish expat friends hated Taiwan and was generally not very well liked in return. From my point of view, 95% of the problem was him. Locals were very patient and tolerant towards him but he just acted like some ugly American. He moved to Thailand a few years ago and felt it was a dream come true. He told me he gets a much kinder and more relaxed vibe from the Thais. And he speaks several languages fluently and is very sensitive to body language and facial expressions; not at all like a typical pensioner who lives in an expat bubble.

You are right on the money. The individual factor can't be underestimated. Some cultures just jive well with some personalities. One of my black friends in Thailand absolutely loved the country and was treated well and found himself a rather cute and normal local girlfriend. He was an unpretentious personable guy who people gravitated towards naturally even though plenty of people warned him about the "black skin" prejudice. I believe even the more hardcore ignorant racist Thais could see what he was really like and they treated him differently. On the other hand if some guy just comes across as condescending..whether intentionally or not they tend not to get much respect in return.

I have a feeling a lot of expats have this sort of colonial mentality or chip on their shoulder because they have not interacted very much with different races or cultures. In their home country the racial dynamic is so entirely different that they look at people in skewed terms. This is a big mistake and misunderstandings are easy to make.

I don't believe Ladislav is like this but he might have been in an environment that happened to be the "perfect storm" in shitty experiences. It happens but I really do think the period of time he was there makes a big difference.
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Postby Seeker » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:37 pm

Comparing Thailand with England I can say with confidence which people are friendlier towards me. To give an example some young Thai guys near my apartment who I didn't know and had never spoken to before just saw me walking alone and said hello and asked me to join them. They work nearby so they had seen me a few times before. We easily became friends, and whenever I ate or drank with them they didn't let me pay even when I tried to insist. From then on they always called me over. A bunch of complete strangers NEVER asked me to join them like that in England. Having said that I'm brown not white, which is possibly a factor regarding why whites weren't that friendly to me in England. My personality is that of a shy introvert and I feel that Thais are rather more accepting of that than English people are.
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Postby globetrotter » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:15 pm

Rock wrote:
ladislav wrote:...the money was flowing from me to them. The people smiled...


Is Phils any different??? Weren't you the one who said those sugar babies disappeared as soon as you stopped sending money? Winston often complains about Filipinos/as being totally shameless - expecting constant handouts from westerners. How much would they welcome you without your GI Joe cash?

BTW, one of my broke Norwegian friends married a local Bangkok girl several years ago. He gets treated fine by her family and their extended circle of friends even though he has no money and does not work (similar attitude as Winston). And she treats him very well and is sincere and faithful.


I have found this possible as well.

If you sincerely want to stay and make a life and you are a normal middle class guy, you can do this in Asia no problem.

Of course 'normal' in the USA is 20k and that's 130k CNY. Enough to buy a car and a hefty apartment down payment.

If they like you they like you. No amount of money will change that - IF you can tell the difference.
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Postby ladislav » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:51 am

The title of this article is Thailand, a Retirement Paradise for White Men.

My point- it is not. It is a retirement paradise for yellow or yellow- brown men. People there like Singaporeans, Taiwanese, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. Malaysians. White people are not particularly liked, but are tolerated. Seen it, heard it, observed it. On me and other people. This is my point.

But I would like to divert because I can sense an undercurrent here that is leading the whole discussion along predictably politically correct lines. It is probably something that you gentlemen are doing unconcsiously. In other words- it is impossible for Thais to be racist against white guys because only white people are organically racist but others are just so sweet and at best innocently misunderstood. Poor darlings! And if a white guy is hated racially, well it must be his fault! He must be exuding something that he does not realize.

Racists come in all colors! A person of any race can be a victim of racial discrimination in any shape or form. This is a holy truth. And if the place is not welcoming to your kind or only falsely welcoming, do not go there! This is my point!

So, let us envision the following pictures:

1)A place is populated by white people. A Black man walks in. He witnesses kids who taunt him and mock him. He sees adults who stick fingers at him and shout Ni—er, ni—er!. Haughty looks and unhealthy laughter follows. Jeers, sneers, snide remarks. People do not want to get into an elevator with him. They cross onto the other side of the street.
How would you describe the situation? How would you describe the environment? What would say about the people who taunt him?
And finally, would you place the blame on the black man? Maybe the black man is acting like an ugly African? Maybe he is haughty? Maybe he is exuding an air of superiority? An unconscious kind of superciliousness and if he did not, people would accept him?
How about the people around him just being nasty racist assholes which is most probably the case?
2) A place is populated by black people. A white person walks in. Not even an American. Maybe just someone from Slovakia. The blacks react with hostility, they tell him he cannot walk in. They call him a honkey, a cracker, an oppressor and all kinds of evil things. Kids taunt him- Yo cracker, you motherf*cker!
Is this OK? The white person did not do anything at all. His only fault is the color of his skin. He did not appear superior. How would you describe the situation? Would you place the blame on the white person? Is he oozing some slaver’s complex? Or maybe the people around him are black racist bigots?
3) An East European country. A Korean guy walks through a neighborhood at night.A group of teenagers attack him and slash him with razors. Beyond recognition. His only guilt is that he was a yellow man in the wrong place. Or will you also say that it was his fault because he exuded an air of superiority? Hmm, I believe that the blame can be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the killers. It would be monstrous mockery to say that it was the victim’s fault.
4) Another white country. A yellow man walks through. Kids start taunting him- Gook ! Gook! Oriental Oriental! They pull at their eyes to imitate his eye slant. The parents stick fingers at the person and point him out to their kids- “look kid, there is a gook!â€￾
Now, a question! Does the Asian person exude Confucian superiority? Or is the problem his race? Is this the Asian person’s fault?
5) Thailand ( outside of tourist areas that serve Americans). Granted, there is rarely or ever physical violence. But every day you have jeers, bad looks, lower lips curled up, people ignoring you and not even serving you in restaurants and shops. I have friends who have reported that people would not want to sit next to them at a bank. They just stand up and walk off. Some people cross onto the other side of the streets. Just like white racists do when they see a black man. They are not allowed into certain bars, they are not welcome at certain clubs, which have a “no farang policyâ€￾ and every day you have someone sneer, roll his eyes and croak/bark- farang, farang, farang, farang! Several times a day!!! The kids taunt you as well. The look in the eyes is mocking and defiant. The women shrink away because being seen with you is a shame. Parents of a girl explain to you that for a Thai woman to be seen with you is a disgrace!
At work half the staff would not even talk to you! What kind of nonsense is that? And then you stop and ask people for directions in Thai and they run away! It is not pleasant at all.
But here you place the blame on the victim. There is no way the Thais can be racist, it is all my fault. And it may be some subconscious mystic superiority complex that I exude? Hmm. Why suddenly?
Maybe it is cognitive dissonance? After years of PC brainwashing? There is no way that people of other races can be bigoted? Only white people are inherently so. If a white man is sneering and sticking fingers and yapping- Gook, Gook, at a yellow man, he is a racist pig. If it is a yellow man sticking fingers and yapping- white devil, red haired monkey, farang, white ape! , then, ohhh, this is not racism. It is happening because the white guy ( who was just walking down the street and not bothering anyone) provoked it with his unconscious air of superiority!
I say bullstuff!
Well, how come I do not have to go through this BS in Malaysia or Singapore? How come in the Philippines they do not react to me like that? I am the same person.

What if the white person didn’t exude anything? But Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and even Singaporeans exude such air but they do not get taunted like this. Or maybe you have just been under the influence of political correctness and the belief that only white people can be racist and no one else?

Racists come in all colors!

I lived there a long time and I left because it became unbearable. And trust me I do not act like an ugly American, I learn languages; I try to fit in. The last straw was - I was visiting an office of a Malayisa friend of mine and this kid jumps in front of me- he stands in front of me and starts scratching the air in front of my face threatening- like and barks-" farang! farang! farang! farang!"

That was it! I'd had enough!

My family went through ethnic cleansing and now in my middle age the last thing I need is living in a country where I am taunted and have fingers stuck at me.

So, you are saying that Thailand has changed but are you sure that the crises, economic growth’s and all these changes have had the bearing on how a white male is treated in the Thai society? No longer as an unwanted necessity? Did it change their educational system that teaches them that they are a never colonized master race of Asia and their pan-Asian mentality? Their love and acceptance of Oriental people and other brown looking ones and the deep mistrust they have for the white man? I should say I am not so sure.
I am definitely not going back and I do not recommend anyone go there unless they are Oriental in race. White guys should not.

What you described about Manila is true. But people should not live in Manila. I like it because I am just a lover of sh!tholes period. Other expats should go and live in Baguio or Cebu or Butuan. You rarely get ripped off there, the people are mostly super honest and nice. And they do not cross onto the other side of the street when they see you.

There have been some changes, too: there is now a gun ban and people found with guns are locked up for years. They even locked up an actor for two years! The immigration is super friendly and cooperative. And the main attraction is this: the deep and warm friendship between Filipinos and Americans which is still intact. Thailand has no such friendship. They have just mistrust or neutrality at best.

The educational system in RP does not teach that their country is some kind of Empire in Asia. Yes, there are rip offs like in any poor country but they rip off other Filipinos too. The country is Christian, English speaking and everyone has someone in his family married to a white guy. There is virtually no race discrimination against a white guy. That is the retirement paradise, not Thailand.

Thailand only has 20,000 + Americans living there. The Philippines- over 100,000. More Americans live in the Philippines than in any other Asian country.

Your anecdotes and stories of this and that guy are appreciated. Let those people promote their ideas and experiences and I will promote what I saw.

But one thing is: I do not exude an air of arrogance. If anything, I look like Woody Allen- skittish and introverted.

As far as sugar babies- that is a completely different topic. There is no racism involved here. In Thailand, I feel, white people are only tolerated because of money. In the Philippines even if you run out of money, you can still make friends with local people. They do not become racist towards you.

Anyway, Thailand not recommended by me as a retirement paradise for White men. For yellow and brown men, yes.

You are white? Do not move there!
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
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Postby Rock » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:26 pm

Ladislav

I do not doubt your personal experience or direct blame regarding your sufferings in Thailand. Please don’t take it that way. I offered up the perspective of a broader experience base just to give others a more balanced view on the topic of Thailand as a potential white man’s paradise.

Fact is, many white guys who have lived there for years, even decades and who speak Thai fluently are very happy. It has become one of the highest profile retirement destinations on the planet and is worthy of more consideration than just a complete write-off due to one man’s bitter experiences from 15-20 years ago.

Below, I will address some of your specific points in this and subsequent posts.


ladislav wrote:The title of this article is Thailand, a Retirement Paradise for White Men.

My point- it is not. It is a retirement paradise for yellow or yellow- brown men. People there like Singaporeans, Taiwanese, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. Malaysians. White people are not particularly liked, but are tolerated. Seen it, heard it, observed it. On me and other people. This is my point.


1. Understood. But when you say white people are not liked, you mean by Thais, right? Well nearly a third of Thais are from Issan – people you felt generally treated you and other whites well based on your past writings. If you lived in a place like Pattaya, most Thais you encounter are from Issan.

2. Some experienced expat Thai hands would disagree with your premise - non-Issan Thais don’t like whites but like yellows and browns. Consider friendship and intimacy in 2011 Bangkok, both personal and close to the heart. Nobody here disputes that the most common first choice spec for mainstream female taste is some sort of preppy Asian guy. But many non-Issan Thai girls these days are also open to relationships with non-Asian men, some may even prefer them. Lots of white and black guys get seriously involved - dating and marriage, close friendships, and relationships as colleagues and feel very happy and accepted. I know of many farang-Thai marriages, even some involving hi-so or Thai Chinese. In the RCA entertainment area, I’ve seen many mixed groups of very young people – group of Thais hanging-out with farangs. Ditto for Khaosan Rd./Banglamphu area. Sometimes I see farang singers or dance performers being watched, enjoyed, and even admired by large groups of local fans. One white European guy in my condo building was dating a former miss Thailand while she was mid-20s (tall, hot, and non-Issan). I could go on and on. Clean-cut, well dressed and presented, trendy type white or black guys feel on top of the world. Less attractive foreigners may love it too.

3. As for the ugly side of Thailand, NE Asians and other foreign yellows and browns are not exempt. Thais are equal opportunity abusers. Asians get scammed, overcharged, beaten-up, and ignored or harassed by police too. Pattaya media provides some great real life drama and sensational stories with a cast of all colors. I’ve joined Taiwanese tour groups, gone with Taiwan girlfriends, and met-up with Thai based Taiwanese. Shit happens to them too. But it seems to be getting better for everyone with rising prosperity.

4. Even if your premise about Thais not liking whites was 100% correct, it’s easy to avoid them in many circles, venues, and neighborhoods. The expat communities are so large, you can pick and choose according to your interests and tastes. For example, if I wanted to find a white or African girlfriend in Asia, Thailand would be one of my best bets. Learn Hebrew, same answer. Pick-up practical fighting skills and get in great shape with like minded foreigners, ditto. For countries with very diverse populations, the dominant host culture is just one of many considerations in judging its merits as a retirement paradise – for white men or anyone else.


ladislav wrote:But I would like to divert because I can sense an undercurrent here that is leading the whole discussion along predictably politically correct lines. It is probably something that you gentlemen are doing unconcsiously. In other words- it is impossible for Thais to be racist against white guys because only white people are organically racist but others are just so sweet and at best innocently misunderstood. Poor darlings! And if a white guy is hated racially, well it must be his fault! He must be exuding something that he does not realize.

Racists come in all colors! A person of any race can be a victim of racial discrimination in any shape or form. This is a holy truth. And if the place is not welcoming to your kind or only falsely welcoming, do not go there! This is my point!


Don’t care at all about being PC. Consider what I’ve said about Phils/Filipinas. Just wanna keep the discussion balanced. I call it the way I perceive it, based on my own experience and the opinions of many others I know or know of.

Don’t have illusions about racism either. Groups of people from any color/ethnic group may despise any other group for a myriad of reasons or excuses. Whites are not exempt from such hate. We get it - how a white (Jew or gentile) would feel in Little Haiti/Liberty City area of Miami, a Polynesian neighborhood Hawaii, or maybe a country like Iran. My first uni was surrounded on 3 sides by a hostile housing project neighborhood. Hate motivated taunts and attacks were fairly common and campus police were ineffective. I’ve observed discrimination towards whites in Africa, Asia, and even LatAm. It comes in many forms and flavors. Some types are much easier to ignore than others.

The issue of contention here is how unwelcoming Thailand in 2011 really is for white people. Individual opinions and experiences vary a lot. I’m sure there are white expats who will agree with you to some degree if not entirely. But there are also others, some of whom speak fluent Thai, have been in-country much longer than you, and who live there to this day, who have much more positive views. I know of several cases which fit the latter category. So I spoke-up.


ladislav wrote:So, let us envision the following pictures:

1)A place is populated by white people. A Black man walks in. He witnesses kids who taunt him and mock him. He sees adults who stick fingers at him and shout Ni—er, ni—er!. Haughty looks and unhealthy laughter follows. Jeers, sneers, snide remarks. People do not want to get into an elevator with him. They cross onto the other side of the street.
How would you describe the situation? How would you describe the environment? What would say about the people who taunt him?
And finally, would you place the blame on the black man? Maybe the black man is acting like an ugly African? Maybe he is haughty? Maybe he is exuding an air of superiority? An unconscious kind of superciliousness and if he did not, people would accept him?
How about the people around him just being nasty racist assholes which is most probably the case?


Your single scenario sounds like a clear example of racist behavior and evidence of racist sentiment – whites racist towards blacks.

What clouds the issue is when individual experiences of people from the same race in a given environment vary so much. If your example is extended to 100 blacks in the same white environment - 15 who feel discriminated against, 70 who feel they get equal treatment, and 15 who feel they get better than equal treatment (all 100 being able to quote convincing concrete examples to back-up their feelings), then a firm conclusion about the white environment becomes much harder to draw.

The same argument applies to your examples 2-4 below.
ladislav wrote:2) A place is populated by black people. A white person walks in. Not even an American. Maybe just someone from Slovakia. The blacks react with hostility, they tell him he cannot walk in. They call him a honkey, a cracker, an oppressor and all kinds of evil things. Kids taunt him- Yo cracker, you motherf*cker!
Is this OK? The white person did not do anything at all. His only fault is the color of his skin. He did not appear superior. How would you describe the situation? Would you place the blame on the white person? Is he oozing some slaver’s complex? Or maybe the people around him are black racist bigots?
3) An East European country. A Korean guy walks through a neighborhood at night.A group of teenagers attack him and slash him with razors. Beyond recognition. His only guilt is that he was a yellow man in the wrong place. Or will you also say that it was his fault because he exuded an air of superiority? Hmm, I believe that the blame can be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the killers. It would be monstrous mockery to say that it was the victim’s fault.
4) Another white country. A yellow man walks through. Kids start taunting him- Gook ! Gook! Oriental Oriental! They pull at their eyes to imitate his eye slant. The parents stick fingers at the person and point him out to their kids- “look kid, there is a gook!â€￾
Now, a question! Does the Asian person exude Confucian superiority? Or is the problem his race? Is this the Asian person’s fault?
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Postby Rock » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:02 pm

ladislav wrote:5) Thailand ( outside of tourist areas that serve Americans). Granted, there is rarely or ever physical violence. But every day you have jeers, bad looks, lower lips curled up, people ignoring you and not even serving you in restaurants and shops. I have friends who have reported that people would not want to sit next to them at a bank. They just stand up and walk off. Some people cross onto the other side of the streets. Just like white racists do when they see a black man. They are not allowed into certain bars, they are not welcome at certain clubs, which have a “no farang policyâ€￾ and every day you have someone sneer, roll his eyes and croak/bark- farang, farang, farang, farang! Several times a day!!! The kids taunt you as well. The look in the eyes is mocking and defiant. The women shrink away because being seen with you is a shame. Parents of a girl explain to you that for a Thai woman to be seen with you is a disgrace!


First issue about Thailand today - Americans made up a tiny percentage (~4%) of tourists. Australia, with just a sliver of America’s population supplied more as did Russia. English are everywhere. When you walk into a western pub, you will most likely see football (soccer) on the big screens, not American football or baseball. Many Thais follow it as well. Former PM even owned an English team for awhile. The only area in central Bangkok which comes to my mind as an American area is a few venues in Washington Square. And it seems to be dying along with the old timers who make-up much of the clientele.

You make it sound like most Thais are boiling with hatred towards whites and suppress it only for commercial reasons. That’s an extreme position, as if it were a modified version of the Jim Crow south. If that is really the case, a lot of what I have experienced first hand and observed through others just does not make much sense.

Five years ago, I spent about 3 months fitting-out the empty shell of a condo acting as a general contractor. I went all over greater Bangkok area to find tiles, cement, glass, paint, electrical wiring and lighting, furniture, appliances, sanitary ware, and people to do the work. In the process, I spent a lot of time hanging-out in out of the way suburban areas. My personal experiences with the ‘non-tourist exposed Thais’ seemed much more benign than yours. Vendors and workers were surprisingly straightforward and low priced too, not what I was anticipating as a farang.

I’ve dated a few gals in Thailand. Met the parents in some cases. Again, no experiences like yours.

To me, kids in Thailand seem very passive and fairly well behaved. Never been harassed or teased by them before.

When it comes to sitting or standing close, Thai’s seem to have tiny space bubbles IMO. If anything, they get too near, even more so than in Taiwan. If they had given me extra space, I might have appreciated it in a way. But to my knowledge, it hasn’t happened.

As for no farang allowed venues. I’m sure they probably exist. But I have yet to find one. Please tell me where to go. I would like to confirm the policy personally. Just name areas and/or MPs, bars, or clubs. BTW, venues in Thaniya area of Patpong used to be Japanese only. Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Thermae is dominated by Japanese and rumor is the girls will turn down white guys. Again, doesn’t seem to be the case in reality.
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Postby Rock » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:34 pm

ladislav wrote:At work half the staff would not even talk to you! What kind of nonsense is that? And then you stop and ask people for directions in Thai and they run away! It is not pleasant at all.
But here you place the blame on the victim. There is no way the Thais can be racist, it is all my fault. And it may be some subconscious mystic superiority complex that I exude? Hmm. Why suddenly?
Maybe it is cognitive dissonance? After years of PC brainwashing? There is no way that people of other races can be bigoted? Only white people are inherently so. If a white man is sneering and sticking fingers and yapping- Gook, Gook, at a yellow man, he is a racist pig. If it is a yellow man sticking fingers and yapping- white devil, red haired monkey, farang, white ape! , then, ohhh, this is not racism. It is happening because the white guy ( who was just walking down the street and not bothering anyone) provoked it with his unconscious air of superiority!
I say bullstuff!
Well, how come I do not have to go through this BS in Malaysia or Singapore? How come in the Philippines they do not react to me like that? I am the same person.

What if the white person didn’t exude anything? But Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and even Singaporeans exude such air but they do not get taunted like this. Or maybe you have just been under the influence of political correctness and the belief that only white people can be racist and no one else?

Racists come in all colors!


Never worked in a Thai company. But I’ve seen that same dynamic play-out with certain foreigners in Taiwan corporates (collective cold shoulder or outright ostracisation). When I get the Taiwanese side of the story, it usually involves some complex issues which are invisible to the less sensitive westerner – perhaps behaviors on his part which were interpreted by ‘the group’ as selfishness, rudeness, or causing others loss of face – something he had no idea about because he lacked adequate cultural preparation. Working in any less westernized Asian country is a huge challenge for the typical westerner. I alluded to this in an earlier post in this thread. BTW, in Taiwan at least, it is possible for a westerner to be in 'the group'.

Nevertheless, I do know 2 American legal consultants in a Thai law firm. They both seem very happy (one has been there well over 10 years). But I haven’t asked specifically about the ugly side.

Generally speaking, Singapore is much more westernized, business minded, and efficient than Thailand. In some ways, Malaysia probably is too depending on the type of company.

Have you ever worked at a Philippine company? From what I’ve read, the locals tend to resent highly paid expats and would prefer to see the positions by a Filipino. Any on this forum can verify if that’s true or not?

If Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporeans tend to do better at navigating and thriving in Thai corporate culture, it could have to do with their superior understanding of Thais given the closer proximity of their culture. But I’m not even sure that’s the case. Why do you make this assumption? Did you see it play-out first hand in a Thai company?

I’ll paraphrase what I wrote before – I don’t give a rat’s ass about being PC here and I’m not under any illusions that only white people can be racist. More often than not, I myself have been the minority race or nationality in my country of residence. I am sensitive to what it means and how it feels to be different – both in friendly and hostile environments.



ladislav wrote:I lived there a long time and I left because it became unbearable. And trust me I do not act like an ugly American, I learn languages; I try to fit in. The last straw was - I was visiting an office of a Malayisa friend of mine and this kid jumps in front of me- he stands in front of me and starts scratching the air in front of my face threatening- like and barks-" farang! farang! farang! farang!"

That was it! I'd had enough!

My family went through ethnic cleansing and now in my middle age the last thing I need is living in a country where I am taunted and have fingers stuck at me.


Makes complete sense. I would have probably left too if I had been in your shoes. It’s just that, for whatever reasons, not every white guy there gets treated so badly as you did. Some actually like it or at least feel very comfortable.


ladislav wrote:So, you are saying that Thailand has changed but are you sure that the crises, economic growth’s and all these changes have had the bearing on how a white male is treated in the Thai society? No longer as an unwanted necessity? Did it change their educational system that teaches them that they are a never colonized master race of Asia and their pan-Asian mentality? Their love and acceptance of Oriental people and other brown looking ones and the deep mistrust they have for the white man? I should say I am not so sure.
I am definitely not going back and I do not recommend anyone go there unless they are Oriental in race. White guys should not.


I’m not sure, just speculating as to possible reasons why whites today might have an at least somewhat different experience in and perception about Thailand than what you did in the first half of the 90s. I haven’t researched the education system either. But aren’t at least some Thais clever enough to use present day technology to get a bit of an outside view? And didn’t the Thai version of that book, “Letters to Thailandâ€￾ which casts a rather condescending view of the Thais from the point of view of an immigrant, become required reading in school for the sake of introspection and balance? How does intermarriage between Thais and Farang or Thais and other Asians influence the present day Thai worldview and their position within it? Do other cultures get completely absorbed into the traditional Thai mentality or do they perhaps leave their mark. How does the current conflict between red-shirts and yellow shirts or between Muslim separatists in the south vs. rest of the country influence national identity? Complicated questions for a complex and rapidly changing country. I can’t prove that Thai feelings towards whites is any different than from your day there. But given the abundance of contradictory data points and the tremendous amount of technological and social change which has taken place since then, don’t you think it just might be possible to some degree? Your absolute denial suggests to me you have, as an emotional reflex, completely closed you mind to Thailand as a potential happier abroad destination for other whites. What makes you so sure some won’t be happy there?


ladislav wrote: What you described about Manila is true. But people should not live in Manila. I like it because I am just a lover of sh!tholes period. Other expats should go and live in Baguio or Cebu or Butuan. You rarely get ripped off there, the people are mostly super honest and nice. And they do not cross onto the other side of the street when they see you.

There have been some changes, too: there is now a gun ban and people found with guns are locked up for years. They even locked up an actor for two years! The immigration is super friendly and cooperative. And the main attraction is this: the deep and warm friendship between Filipinos and Americans which is still intact. Thailand has no such friendship. They have just mistrust or neutrality at best.

The educational system in RP does not teach that their country is some kind of Empire in Asia. Yes, there are rip offs like in any poor country but they rip off other Filipinos too. The country is Christian, English speaking and everyone has someone in his family married to a white guy. There is virtually no race discrimination against a white guy. That is the retirement paradise, not Thailand.

Thailand only has 20,000 + Americans living there. The Philippines- over 100,000. More Americans live in the Philippines than in any other Asian country.


If anything, the vibe I often get from Filipinos is one of submission. They have so little pride that they also have no shame. That is not always a good thing as Winston will attest. Asian shame can work in your favor sometimes. I appreciate it in Taiwan and to some extent, it extends to Thailand.

I am more concerned about my total experience (how much it benefits or hurts me) and less focused (obsessed) with the isolated issue race discrimination. In Phils, you may not be discriminated against or for strictly because of your race. But guess what. You are discriminated for or against for other reasons – for being from America, being rich, etc. Like many types of discrimination, it can work for or against you.

OK, I definitely have to visit Cebu and maybe the other two. Perhaps I will fall in love with the place and stay forever. If that ever happens, I will thank you and others who opened my eyes to this destination.

If Philippines has a lot more American expats than Thailand, this may be due to historic reasons (former US air force base, large number of Filipino Americans). Just consider, why doesn't popularity extend to other white nationalities (ie why are there more Anglo/European white expats in Thailand than Phils)?

ladislav wrote:Your personal anecdotes and stories are appreciated. Let those people promote their ideas and experiences and I will promote what I saw.

But one thing is: I do not exude an air of arrogance. If anything, I look like Woody Allen- skittish and introverted.

As far as sugar babies- that is a completely different topic. There is no racism involved here. In Thailand, I feel, white people are only tolerated because of money. In the Philippines even if you run out of money, you can still make friends with local people. They do not become racist towards you.


Well, most accounts I have heard about Phils up to now from the on-the-ground hands involve money flowing from their pockets into those of the locals. It would be interesting to see what would happen to the truly poor foreigner living there long term. As a point of comparison, I’ll know a broke European white guy (mentioned in an earlier post) who married a Thai girl, lives in Thailand, and is generally treated well by those around him.

ladislav wrote:Anyway, Thailand not recommended by me as a retirement paradise for White men. For yellow and brown men, yes.

You are white? Do not move there!


Yes I am white. But if I can be happy there, why not move there? Same question applies to other whites.

And final point. When you talk about brown Asians, don’t forget Indians fit that description and according to the old cliche, they are hated even more by Thais than any other – bad smell, dirty looking, and very cheap! And where did you get the idea Thais love other brown Asians? You must be aware after having lived there for a few years that locals have internalized a sophisticated class system which often reduces a person's perceived status for having darker skin. If brown Asians are liked as you say, why do locals go to so much effort to avoid the sun and/or lighten their skin?
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Postby ladislav » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:29 pm

I see your point Rock, and I do not know all the answers, truthfully. But I again go back to the title of the article- Thailand as paradise for white men. I do not think so. If other guys are happy and you know other people who are then by all means share it ( and you have) and maybe you can invite them to post here. All people's experiences are different and the world view is different. We had one black American guy here who has claimed that he has never experienced racism in America. Now, how should I react to that? I can only say congratulations and good for him! Other people may have had a different experience in the US.

There is also xenophobia in the Philippines ( about 5% of what you get in Thailand) and people talk bad about Americans, but not about whites or Westerners. You never hear a Filipino talk about whites are this and whites are that. And anti Americanism generally will not affect your interpersonal interactions and social mingling. In the Philippines, you can just tell them you are Canadian and problem solved. How can you deal with a Thai barking "farang- farang" though, when he sees you? Tell him you are not a farang?

Thailand had a time period when white people were not allowed into the country. It was way back, but I think it had an effect on the whole attitude thing.

I was just browsing dateinasia.com and predictably two Thai girls posted- "Asians only". That attitude is quite common in Thailand. In the Philippines, it is virtually unheard of. The Thai girls would much rather mingle with a Korean or a Japanese or a Singaporean/Malaysian than be seen with a white guy. And it is now in the information age. Maybe the society has opened up more, but I do not think that their traditional suspicion for a white man, going back centuries, is gone.

One thing I have found is that in the Philippines if you speak the local language, they treat you very much like a local. Not so in Thailand. You can learn it all you want. And you may find a group of very good people that will accept you. But you will have to deal with barking strangers all the time, though. Or people ignoring you in stores, people avoiding you and all. Is this paradise? And more tourists may mean more stereotyping and more scorn. And an average shopkeeper may not be affected by the Internet that much.

Thailand also once had a big US presence and bases before, by the way.

The reason there are so many other white guys there is because Thailand aggressively promotes tourism. The Philippines does not. And most guys just stay in tourist areas. And associate with other expats. Most also do not speak the language.

I learned both Thai and Tagalog and quite a bit of Visaya- I can now converse fairly well. As a general impression, Thais are much more xenophobic of whites from what I have heard them say ( in Thai). They are nice in tourist areas that cater to the farangs, though. Those areas are well, paradise.
I have also worked for a Thai company and a Thai university and so many people hate you and talk shit about you. But it is all in Thai so you would not understand.
Anyway, as the saying goes- whatever jerks one's dodo. If you do not mind all that, again, more power to you.

Filipinos and pride- yes it is annoying, and the country has a lack of pride issue. But they appreciate it when you teach them to be proud as they appreciate your advice and help in most cases and how much you love their country language and music. I did not feel that in Thailand. Only from some.

In Mindanao, btw, the people are very proud without being arrogant and humble without being obsequious. And you can deal with most such things.
But scornful taunting and curled up lips and fingers stuck at you and croaking of farang-farang and not being allowed into certain clubs and stuff does not a paradise for a white man make.

Just my opinion and observation. My friends also complained that the Thais were mean. Two guys I know left - they were young and blond and got taunted maliciously to the point where they could not stand it. One was a teacher at a university. Just walking down the street. Suddenly a bark- farang kee nok- kind of like white trash, what trash!.

Anyway, only you can make the judgment call. I make my recommendations and people can dispose of them the way the see fit. If they think what Thailand has to offer is their cup of tea and that it is paradise for white men, then good for them and more power to them. I would say- go to both countries and see where you fit in better as a sum total of everything. I feel that a white guy will be in paradise in the RP whereas an Asian American will be in paradise in Thailand.

As far as brown Asians, I did not mean Indians. I meant people of Malay race. People who look like an average Thai. Even one Mexican lady had a great time there.
As far as Taiwan and the experience with vibes, well, I may agree with you that the vibes have something to do with it. But again, in Thailand the taunting comes a distance and mockery does as well. Do you think they feel the vibes? And why would you deny that they can in fact be prejudiced because of race? Why does it seem an impossibility?

Have you ever worked at a Philippine company? From what I’ve read, the locals tend to resent highly paid expats and would prefer to see the positions by a Filipino. Any on this forum can verify if that’s true or not?


No, I have not. So, I cannot comment. In Makati, a huge number of companies are foreign owned with a foreign manager. I saw the white guys there lounging and smiling happily. But the Filipino resentment is jealousy, mainly. It is not ' racial' hatred. They may resent an expat who has big money, be he yellow, brown, white or black. The government has laws that promote Filipinos. Understandably so. So, maybe one should become a Filipino citizen. In that country, if you are a citizen, you are a Filipino.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
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Postby Rock » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:41 pm

Glad you revived this topic. I find the debate very interesting and would seriously consider making Thailand my Asian base if I were single.

But I’ve written many things in my last post which you didn’t address at all. Since you are firm in your views and have such an outstanding top-down perspective (global view), I wish you would comment comprehensively. The questions I posed and issues and examples I raised are all relevant to the the OP.

I will address your specific points below.

ladislav wrote:I see your point Rock, and I do not know all the answers, truthfully. But I again go back to the title of the article- Thailand as paradise for white men. I do not think so. If other guys are happy and you know other people who are then by all means share it ( and you have) and maybe you can invite them to post here. All people's experiences are different and the world view is different. We had one black American guy here who has claimed that he has never experienced racism in America. Now, how should I react to that? I can only say congratulations and good for him! Other people may have had a different experience in the US.


I wish other white guys with Thai experience, especially long term expats with local language skills would post here. But Thailand has several dedicated forums (some with 10s of thousands of members) where I think the brunt of posters who fit that criteria hang. Anyway, I have introduced a few expats in Thailand to this forum. But so far, no traction. They probably figure it’s more relevant to Asian dudes or guys still stuck in western countries. Winston’s forum still has a relatively small poster base.

As for a young black American not experiencing serious racism up to young adulthood in the US, I don’t find that impossible. I could give you a plausible scenario and I already have one in mind.

ladislav wrote:There is also xenophobia in the Philippines ( about 5% of what you get in Thailand) and people talk bad about Americans, but not about whites or Westerners. You never hear a Filipino talk about whites are this and whites are that. And anti Americanism generally will not affect your interpersonal interactions and social mingling. In the Philippines, you can just tell them you are Canadian and problem solved. How can you deal with a Thai barking "farang- farang" though, when he sees you? Tell him you are not a farang?


1. Consider some quotes from a recent column of the outspoken Thai editor, Voranai Vanijaka:

“For the overly sensitive, if someone calls you ''farang'', it's just the term that we use, our language. Don't get offended. There's no negative connotation to it, unless an expletive precedes it - so chill.â€￾

“Thailand is changing rapidly, and it can be overwhelming, especially to the everyday people walking the streets. Twenty years ago, the only Western faces we saw in Thailand were old and wrinkly, generally speaking. Today, Bangkok is a melting pot filled with people from all corners of the world, young and old.â€￾

“If I went to a club 15 years ago, there were only dark-haired Thais. The only pale faces were those of the Thai-Chinese and those who used very good skin-whitening creams. Now if I go to a club - well, as I did just last night - it's like the United Nations. Whites, blacks, browns, yellows, we have got it all. When I was a kid, there were four channels on TV and that was it. Now my TV has a French channel. Oui.â€￾

“Thailand, well, let's say Bangkok (and to a much lesser extent Chiang Mai, Korat, etc) has become a melting pot, and it has come to a boil very fast, in just about 20 years. The Thai culture and psyche colliding with multiculturalism _ it can be daunting, overwhelming _ will take time to adjust too. Below the-high rises, behind the screenings at state-of-the-art movie theatres and in the basements of fancy shopping malls, this is still a very conservative and traditional society that has just met all the rapid changes head on. It can cause seizures at times.â€￾

2. No Thai has ever repeatedly barked ‘farang’ at me. I’ve never had this problem. In fact, even the dogs in Bangkok rarely seem to bark, lol.

3. Consider Thailand’s race issue from a local perspective. Powers that be in Thailand long ago facilitated conditions to attract huge numbers of visitors and expats. These policies have in large part expanded the local economy and enriched the population. But in other ways, you could argue that they have severely damaged the nation and its culture. Many prime areas in the country now look like they’ve been taken-over by foreign colonies. Some of these new residents also harbor very racist attitudes and condescending behavior towards local sensibilities. And I think about any on-the-ground expat will acknowledge the large and very visible contingent of foreign scum in Thailand – tattooed thugs, mental cases, geezers groping barely legal locals in public, drug dealers, pedophiles, and penniless vagabonds. It’s a part of human nature to be suspicious and untrusting of those who are different until proven otherwise.

ladislav wrote:Thailand had a time period when white people were not allowed into the country. It was way back, but I think it had an effect on the whole attitude thing.


Please expand on this. You must be talking about some period after the fall of the Khmers in the 1200s. If you think it is a significant factor to current Thai thinking regarding foreigners, tell more.

ladislav wrote:I was just browsing dateinasia.com and predictably two Thai girls posted- "Asians only". That attitude is quite common in Thailand. In the Philippines, it is virtually unheard of. The Thai girls would much rather mingle with a Korean or a Japanese or a Singaporean/Malaysian than be seen with a white guy. And it is now in the information age. Maybe the society has opened up more, but I do not think that their traditional suspicion for a white man, going back centuries, is gone.


1. Isn’t that the same website where Dano / Wuxi (a white guy) found a good looking Thai girl from a well-off family who offered to buy him a luxury car if he would just marry her? And he found other Thai girls who were very interested in him as well.

2. Two girls requesting “Asian onlyâ€￾ hardly proves that such an attitude is common. From what I hear, the Thai component of that website is full of working girls too, very available to anyone with the cash.

3. Please expand on this historically based Thai suspicion of the white man you keep alluding too. You clearly have studied the historical context so please enlighten others.

4. Personally, I think Thailand has become much more fragmented than it used to be. There are local girls who will only date Asians but others who will only date whites, blacks, or something even more specific such as northern Italians. A couple years ago, I met a Thai girl who was obsessed with Spanish culture and insisted on constantly practicing the language with me. Her dream was to find a romantic Latin guy to take her there permanently.

5. In today’s Thailand, I think one of the biggest stigmas from the post Vietnam War days is the white dinosaur w/ young Issan farm girl pairing. It’s still common. But many regular girls, especially those from urban backgrounds, will shun it. On the other hand, a large percentage of this subset will be thrilled to date a younger good looking white or black foreigner who fits certain profiles. During my last visit to Bangkok, one of my Thai friends who recently graduated from college was telling me about how many of the classmates in her circle of closer friends had thought it was kinda gross to date a guy who was several years older (I’m talking just 25-27). Personally she didn’t agree with that thinking. But anyway, when I asked her about their attitudes towards dating foreigners, she said it was a non-issue. What really mattered was how good looking, tall, and fashionable the guy was. As these girls reach their mid-to-late 20s, I suspect the guy’s financial status will play an increasingly important role as well. Materialism and superficial values have taken over much of the youth culture in Thailand.

ladislav wrote:One thing I have found is that in the Philippines if you speak the local language, they treat you very much like a local. Not so in Thailand. You can learn it all you want. And you may find a group of very good people that will accept you. But you will have to deal with barking strangers all the time, though. Or people ignoring you in stores, people avoiding you and all. Is this paradise? And more tourists may mean more stereotyping and more scorn. And an average shopkeeper may not be affected by the Internet that much.


1. Lad, is it really your goal to go native? You must realize that you are still very separate from the people around you there due to your economic class. You are a rich man to them. If you really wanna be just the same and blend right in, you need to be poor and uneducated. Why don’t you try hanging around upper-middle class Filipinos(as) in Manila who are of similar economic means as you and see how warm they are. Try dating the cute 20 something girls from that subset and see how far you get. From what I’ve been told, even a young white guy would have a harder time attracting a Filipina from a richer family than her Thai counterpart. Just read some of what Winston’s Filipino friend wrote to him in an email. Phils is a very dangerous environment for richer folks making them very paranoid and closed to outsiders.

2. In all honesty, I don’t perceive much difference in the way I am treated in Thai stores and businesses compared to anywhere else. In fact, Thais strike me as being more tolerant in some ways. For example, you can pretty much sit around in any establishment or place of business, not order anything, and never be asked to leave. Contrast that with some of the shops in Hong Kong where sales people are rude and pushy. Or consider some of the clubs in Tokyo’s Ropongi where waiters force you to keep drinking or leave (no empty glasses allowed). And again, nobody in Thailand has ever barked at me, tourist areas or otherwise. As for being ignored in certain Thai shops, it happens once in awhile, but no more than in other countries including the US. And guess what? It happens even more to my girlfriend who shops and bargains more aggressively than I do. And locals constantly mistake her for being Thai or Thai Chinese.

ladislav wrote:Thailand also once had a big US presence and bases before, by the way.

The reason there are so many other white guys there is because Thailand aggressively promotes tourism. The Philippines does not. And most guys just stay in tourist areas. And associate with other expats. Most also do not speak the language.


1. OK, but why do you think the bulk of American white guys have chosen Phils over Thailand whereas other Anglos and whites have done the opposite?

2. How is Phils any different? Isn’t it true that most expats in Phils also do not learn the local languages, stay in tourist areas, and associate with other expats? And isn’t it true that in much of Phils, locals do not speak English very well?

3. In today’s Thailand, you can find plenty of expats off the beaten track. Even in the bowels of Issan, the outskirts of northern Thailand, the non-Muslim south, and many of the areas in-between, you can find a fair number of westerners who have tried to escape the tourist areas and enjoy a quieter, cheaper, and more traditional style of life. Some even live in temples. If you really want to escape from it all, Thailand is no longer the place.


ladislav wrote:I learned both Thai and Tagalog and quite a bit of Visaya- I can now converse fairly well. As a general impression, Thais are much more xenophobic of whites from what I have heard them say ( in Thai). They are nice in tourist areas that cater to the farangs, though. Those areas are well, paradise.
I have also worked for a Thai company and a Thai university and so many people hate you and talk shit about you. But it is all in Thai so you would not understand.
Anyway, as the saying goes- whatever jerks one's dodo. If you do not mind all that, again, more power to you.


1. Congratulations on your language skills. Impressive. Thai is not an easy language. I find the tones to be a lot more challenging than those used in Mandarin. And the writing system is a lot more complicated than you would expect give that is based on an alphabet.

2. I can’t claim to always know what people have said around me. But by now, I do understand a fair bit. More importantly, I been around with friends (western and Chinese) who are completely fluent in Thai who I can trust to honestly share with me what was said in the background. Again, I generally have not suffered issues like you (insults, barking, etc.). The only times I know of where people have said rude things is when my girlfriend made them loose face by complaining aggressively to their boss about slow or lazy service.

3. I’m not sure I agree with you on tourist areas being the friendliest. Probably the overall rudest and nastiest Thais I have met were in Pattaya and Banglamphoo. The Thais I met in the Bangkok suburbs during my condo project were generally super nice and helpful. In rural Chiangmai near a university, I once remember asking directions at a local convenience store to get back to my living area. A female student overheard and offered to take me back on her scooter. People in the Issan villages I visited were generally friendly as well. Tourist areas are less hospitable IMO.

4. On the flip side, if tourist areas are ‘well, paradise’ as you say, its very easy to never leave them. Thailand’s tourist areas are huge. Bangkok and Pattaya have been swallowed-up. Same thing may be happening now in Chiang-mai and eventually, even a few areas of Issan. Even places like Pai, where a handful of hippy types used to go to get away, is being affected. If tourist Thailand is paradise for the white guy, its pretty easy to avoid the rest. These days, you’ve really got to make a special effort to get completely away from the tourist in Thailand.

5. Its not that I wouldn’t mind the things you talk about – being barked at, scorned, hated, ignored, insulted, etc. Its just that it generally doesn’t happen to me and those around me the way you describe. You seem to perceive the xenophobia driven discrimination towards westerners in Thailand at a volume of 8-9 out of 10. To me, it’s more like a 2-3, maybe 4 at most.

ladislav wrote:Filipinos and pride- yes it is annoying, and the country has a lack of pride issue. But they appreciate it when you teach them to be proud as they appreciate your advice and help in most cases and how much you love their country language and music. I did not feel that in Thailand. Only from some.


1. But do you really think you can successfully ‘teach them’ to be proud enough not to ask for or expect handouts from you? For me, that’s a critical determinant of how genuine your relationship with them is.

2. I find that people in many if not most countries appreciate foreigners who take a sincere interest in their culture.

ladislav wrote:In Mindanao, btw, the people are very proud without being arrogant and humble without being obsequious. And you can deal with most such things.
But scornful taunting and curled up lips and fingers stuck at you and croaking of farang-farang and not being allowed into certain clubs and stuff does not a paradise for a white man make.

Just my opinion and observation. My friends also complained that the Thais were mean. Two guys I know left - they were young and blond and got taunted maliciously to the point where they could not stand it. One was a teacher at a university. Just walking down the street. Suddenly a bark- farang kee nok- kind of like white trash, what trash!.


1. Its amazing how experiences can differ so much for different members of the same racial category. So much 'barking' and 'croaking' against you and your western friends, lol. When did all this shit you talk about go down?

2. The reality is, some foreigners in Thailand strike Thais (and maybe certain other Asians) as ‘farang kee nok’. They may smell bad, be dirty, have excessive body hair, wear flip flops, look disheveled, wear the same clothes for days, or just look poor. Even my girlfriend, who has learned a bit of Thai, has internalized that term and sometimes uses it to describe certain westerners she sees both in Thailand and in Taiwan.

2. Please, name me a club in Thailand that will refuse me entry but allow all NE Asians and Thais.


ladislav wrote:Anyway, only you can make the judgment call. I make my recommendations and people can dispose of them the way the see fit. If they think what Thailand has to offer is their cup of tea and that it is paradise for white men, then good for them and more power to them. I would say- go to both countries and see where you fit in better as a sum total of everything. I feel that a white guy will be in paradise in the RP whereas an Asian American will be in paradise in Thailand.


1. I agree with your advice but not so sure about your conclusion. I wish Expatriate would share more on the positives and negatives of his experiences as an Asian American in Thailand during the last few years.

2. From my side, I need to spend a lot of time on-the-ground in Phils getting to know the country much better before I can make valid comparisons from the POV of a white tourist/expat.

3. I highly doubt its as simple as that – white guy will find RP a paradise, Asian guy will find Thai a paradise. I’ve met white expats in Thailand who’ve done lots of time in both countries and who strongly prefer Thailand. And you’ve probably met similar white guys in Phils who feel the opposite. Just consider Winston. He seems to like living in Phils. Since he’s an Asian American, do you automatically believe he would be happier in Thailand?

ladislav wrote:As far as brown Asians, I did not mean Indians. I meant people of Malay race. People who look like an average Thai. Even one Mexican lady had a great time there.
As far as Taiwan and the experience with vibes, well, I may agree with you that the vibes have something to do with it. But again, in Thailand the taunting comes a distance and mockery does as well. Do you think they feel the vibes? And why would you deny that they can in fact be prejudiced because of race? Why does it seem an impossibility?


1. Since you’re so familiar with Thailand, you must be aware of the class structure. Dark skinned people from Issan are generally looked down upon by Central Thais. Sure there are lots shades and distinctions to this system based on many factors. But why, for example, would a white expat manager at a large local company be strongly discouraged from bringing a similar aged dark skinned Issan girl from a poor family as his date to a company function? The answer is that it causes him and his company to lose face. Such a stunt could even be a fireable offense in some firms. What does that imply about his perceived status in the eyes of Thai colleagues relative to hers? What makes you so sure that dark skinned Asians of Malay race are automatically afforded higher status than an Issan farmer? Do you think an average poor Filipino visiting Thailand will be treated much better than white expats?

2. I don’t know why you bring up vibes. What part of my previous posts are you referring to?

3. I do not deny that Thais can be prejudiced because of race. Where did I say or imply that this was an impossibility??? The whole point here is about degrees and shades, how much it detracts from the overall experience in a country. I don’t obsess about race because it’s just one of many variables which impacts how I am treated in a certain place. In Thailand, the way you dress, smell, and look as westerner is also very important. So is your perceived economic and family status. As a white guy, you will be perceived very differently if you are a 35 year old professional type who comes with a blond wife and cute kids than if you are a crusty old man who hangs around Nana Hotel or some sandal wearing gap-year backpacker on Khaosan Rd.

4. Lad, I think most people, myself included, have internalized a degree of natural discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, or even apparent nationality or economic class which would apply to certain scenarios. For example, if a black guy who looks African approaches me in Bangkok, I’m going give him a wide birth, increase my pace, and ignore him if he speaks. In Chengdu, I am very leery of Tibetans and generally avoid their neighborhoods. In Taiwan, I feel nervous in groups of drinking aborigines and prefer not to engage in serious business with Hakkas from certain areas.

5. I will never forget one experience I had here with Filipinos. I interviewed a couple of them for job openings my company had. After the interview, I offered to drive them back to the train station. They took me up on it. But when we got to my car, they both got in the back seat and sang loudly the whole trip ignoring me completely, just as if I was their driver. I thought that was bizarre and quite rude to boot. Needless to say, I did not hire either one of them. When I related the story to some of my Taiwanese colleagues, they just laughed in a condescending way and warned me to be very careful about dark skinned Asians (people from SE Asia).

ladislav wrote:
Have you ever worked at a Philippine company? From what I’ve read, the locals tend to resent highly paid expats and would prefer to see the positions by a Filipino. Any on this forum can verify if that’s true or not?


No, I have not. So, I cannot comment. In Makati, a huge number of companies are foreign owned with a foreign manager. I saw the white guys there lounging and smiling happily. But the Filipino resentment is jealousy, mainly. It is not ' racial' hatred. They may resent an expat who has big money, be he yellow, brown, white or black. The government has laws that promote Filipinos. Understandably so. So, maybe one should become a Filipino citizen. In that country, if you are a citizen, you are a Filipino.



Resentment is resentment. Why does the ultimate source matter so much? I’m more concerned with how the overall environment helps or hinders my expat life. Being threatened and beaten-up by a sub-set of locals for being black or yellow in Russia is very different thing than being just ‘tolerated’ for being white by a sub-set of locals in Thailand. And getting discriminatory treatment in Phils due to economic status may not be so different than getting discriminatory treatment in Thailand due to race. Bottom line is, you are perceived as different. Do you really think getting a Filipino citizenship will change that? If I wanted, I could get a Republic of China citizenship too. Would that really change much how locals perceive me? Perhaps, but just marginally.
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My take

Postby Mr S » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:09 pm

Well I can drop my 2-cents on the matter since I have lived in both countries myself and I am white. I don't feel like writing a huge dissertation bout my opinion and experiences so I'll condense it and focus on the main points.

I currently live in Philippines, have worked for multiple companies here that are run by foreigners, but hired mainly Filipinos. Yeah, I think some resent foreigners generally getting more money but they accept it as the way it is and don't cause much of a stink. The culture is basically non-confrontational, thats how the government and rich people can get away with the things they do in the country. The worst characteristics of Filipinos when working with them are that they are very gossipy and also passive-aggressive. Many are simpletons and someone that likes to kiss ass and all that can move up the ranks or make friends relatively easy by being a fake-friend with everyone personality. If you are just someone that keeps to themselves and doesn't mingle with co-workers much you will be singled out and be systematically pushed to either change or you will be labeled and they will find a way to force you out of the company or make you want to leave. I've experienced this myself. That's why I personally don't really like working with Filipinos whether they are educated or not cause they will be fake to you at work so they can find any means to move up the ladder in the office. A lot of American style office politics but dumbed down. If your smart you can figure out what's going on before things get really bad whereas in America you may not see it happening until it's too late to save yourself. Currently I work for an Australian company that needs a certain type of qualified individual, specifically native speaking Westerners so I am somewhat safe and insulated from office BS, but I don't play the game and make as much money as some other foreigners I work with who kiss ass and bring free food and other nicknacks regularly to employees so they can get "favors" and more work.

In regards to living here. The only thing that is better is that the English language is used more frequently so it makes it "generally" easier to communicate with people. But for the most part the cities aren't as exciting and the nightlife is pretty lame in comparison to Thailand. Even small Thai cities have more going on in regards to things to do than in Philippines. I think in Thailand people make their own incentives to make happiness for themselves and it shows in their everyday commerce. Filipinos seem to wait for things to happen like they are waiting for "Jesus" to return and save them from their poverty and shitty lifestyles (that the church perpetuates to begin with) I've been to all the major cities in the Philippines and in comparison to Thailand they suck. For instance Manila is as large or bigger than Bangkok but it is one of the lamest capital cities in the world in my opinion. It's extremely dirty and commuting is a nightmare. There are few nightlife spots and those are very tame in comparison to Thailand. I think the problem is that in Manila you have mayors that are technically elected but really they just pass it around to different members of the family to stay in power. So if one election you have a Jesus freak who wants to dismantle all the nightlife then he can just order it to happen whether it was deemed legal or not in the past (see mayor Lim of Malate) then if he leaves office and someone else reverses it then later either he or his family get back in and start the process all over again. There are very few places in Manila that have been able to maintain themselves as a nightlife hub over many years. So after a few months in Manila you will be quite bored if you are single and like to have a variety of nightlife. In regards to other cities the only other one that has some decent nightlife is Cebu. All the other cities with the exception of Angeles City (which doesn't really count) the nightlife is locally based which= totally lame in most instances. Filipinos think having a good night out is sitting in a closed off area with plastic tables drinking Red Horse beer. Most local nightlife places are like this. The bars that try to look westernized are few and far between. There is a lot more I could say to give you a better idea but the quality of entertainment establishments in Philippines is nothing compared to Thailand. One guy I work with was saying that the Philippines is the Asshole of SE Asia. The only reason guys stay here is because of the women. If the women were different then they are, then no one would be coming here to hang out.

So why do I live here? Well 6 years ago I was planning on going to work and live in Vietnam but I got offered a position with a foreign owned company to work for them for a couple years. So since Philippines is just as easy to get laid in as Thailand, if not easier, and I was mad horny after being stuck in lame-ass Korea I was willing to enjoy myself for a year or two. Well in my over-sexed indulgence I knocked up one of the girls I was with and she is totally incompetent to raise a child on her own so I ended up sticking around to be in the picture and here I am today, still here.

I would much prefer to live in Thailand than Philippines. Even though the language barrier was a factor I didn't have problems with the locals there. I think ones appearance and looks is a large factor in Thailand. If you are white and take care of yourself and are healthy, slim and considered attractive then I think you get treated well over there. If you are older, overweight and aren't attractive you will be looked at like you are a walking pig. I think this is what some foreigners may experience and why Thais may not like them. I went all over the place to the boonies in Thailand and the locals in the villages seemed to be okay with me. I can't stress enough that looks and how one carries themselves are a big deal in Thailand. The locals there seemed to like me for some reason. But I generally seem to find that Asians like my particular looks whereas Western women don't. I have more of an Asian style body (smaller boned and framed) but with body hair, which they seem to find manly but western women think is gross. I'm over 35 now and haven't been back to Thailand in 7 years so I don't know how girls would react to me nowadays. I'm still in decent shape, just a little older and with less hair on the top of my head than in the past. (not bald yet but thinning considerably)

The problem with living in Thailand is that it's difficult to find decent paying work and they make it difficult for foreigners to live there long term. The Philippines is crazy easy to live here without being a citizen as long as you pay around a hundred dollars every 2 months to renew your visa. So if I had to choose and could make decent money in Thailand, I'd rather live there. The Philippines is still a decent place to live and hangout but its not anywhere as decent as Thailand if you compare the two. But I'd rather be stuck in the Philippines than stuck living in America or one of the other Anglo countries at this juncture in my life.

But remember also some people gravitate towards certain cultures and peoples than others. Ladislav seems to have a good vibe in the Philippines but not in Thailand. I tend to think of myself as neutral, I do okay in either country. But looking back though I probably was more successful in Thailand in many respects if you take into consideration the language barrier in comparison to Philippines. Last year I visited India and I hated it. I just couldn't jive with the culture or locals there. But other people I have talked to that have been there loved it. So it's all personal experience in the end and what vibrates with your being.

I would like to visit Thailand again for a few weeks if given the chance again. But not sure when that might happen because of home life and responsibilities getting in the way.
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
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Postby globetrotter » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:35 am

ladislav wrote:But here you place the blame on the victim. There is no way the Thais can be racist, it is all my fault. And it may be some subconscious mystic superiority complex that I exude?


No, it is more likely that Everywhere You Go, There You Are.

You have often posted that you did not fit in, in Thailand but you know so many expats who do.

You have posted about friends who were good looking, well-dressed and who struck out with the ladies in the RP but who were ladies guys in other nations.

It is possible that you act in a way that pisses off Thais and that many other expats act in a way that does not piss off Thais.

Not everyone is going to like you and not every culture is going to be a good fit for you...

...but that same culture may be a good fit for someone else who is not treated in a racist fashion or has a thicker skin.

When I am in China and I am walking down the street with a date it's obvious the people who notice us.
I can ignore this. Some people cannot. The only way to find out is to go somewhere and see how you respond to the situation as it happens to you in real time. This is an aspect of a culture that is undesirable just like the poor customer service or strange business climate. No place is perfect and all need to balance out their own needs, wants and tolerances to the local situation.
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