What Thais think of other Asians

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

Moderators: fschmidt, jamesbond

User avatar
Falcon
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1884
Joined: November 6th, 2011, 3:59 pm

What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Falcon »

It's not quite as simple as "Thais love all Asians and hate all non-Asians." Thailand is a complex society full of paradoxes and grey areas that won't fit into black-and-white categories.

The Thai government actively discourages regionalism and factionalism, and instead promotes a "one Thai blood only" policy that does not formally recognize different ethnic groups. This has been Thai government policy since the 1930's, when the Thai government came up with the Thai cultural mandates for everyone to follow. In fact, "Thainess" was spun out of whole cloth during the 1930's. Before, Thailand was Siam and Thai people were Siamese. Rather than being the cultural mosaic it once was before, Thailand actively promoted a type of American-like melting pot society.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_cultural_mandates

Thais like Asians who can fit in with them and assimilate into their ways, but aren't particularly fond of people who resist their ways. A striking parallel is that of European immigration and assimilation into the US. Irish and Italians who wanted to keep their ways were discriminated against, but eventually their children blended in and became fully accepted as typical white Americans.

Thais can generally tell Asians apart through various cues, such as looks and accents. They have a lot of exposure to different Asian nationalities and can have pretty specific stereotypes about each of them.


Chinese
Now, the Chinese are known as the "Jews of Southeast Asia" for good reason. In many ways, they are just like Jews in the US in terms of their financial success. In rural Thailand, you will find that every single amphoe-level (subdistrict-level) town will have a lot of Chinese-owned shops, usually by Teochew immigrants who had came to Thailand during the early 1900's. In rural NE Thailand, the Chinese and Vietnamese would run shops in the city, but the indigenous Thais would be tied to their land and prefer to live in their families' native villages.

Around 15% of the Thai population has at least some Chinese descent, but they don't really identify themselves with the country of China. This is comparable to German or Irish ancestry in the US.

But just being Chinese doesn't mean you'd necessarily make a good impression on the Thais. You'd want to be a Chinese who makes as much of an effort to walk like, talk like, and be Thai. Similarly, in the US, Jews are quite well accepted and integrated, but Orthodox Jews who cling strongly to their ways, lead insular lives, wear skullcaps all the time, and speak with heavy Yiddish accents don't exactly make too good of an impression with the majority of Americans. Similarly, speaking Chinese only, using chopsticks all the time, and trying to preserve your Chineseness while shunning Thai culture is not well liked in Thailand. The Thai-Chinese who are at the core of upper-class Thai society are like Mark Zuckerberg and the various other Jewish-American CEO's in America who blend well into the American melting pot.

So is there Sinophobia in Thailand? Yes. But not to a very large degree, and certainly not as much as in the Philippines or Myanmar, let alone Indonesia. Older-generation rural Thai peasants have a somewhat derogatory term for Chinese - "jek." The stereotype of a "jek" is pretty similar to stereotypes of Jews in the US. Funny-looking and financially astute, but very stingy. Get the book "Letters from Thailand" and you'll read all about it. Nonetheless, these attitudes are fading fast in rural Thailand. You'll have to search long and hard if you want to run into people who will tell you about this.

Nevertheless, many native-born Thais who only speak Thai will proudly tell you that they have Chinese blood, just like many Americans would proudly point out that their Jewish ancestors.

The new Chinese immigrants are completely different from the old Chinese immigrants. The old ones immigrated before 1949 and are from a few select places in southern China, while the new ones are from all over China and came after the 1980's. Mainland Chinese generally don't make that good of an impression on many Thais, just as how Mainland Chinese certainly don't make good impressions on many people in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Nevertheless, despite all the bad press, some Chinese living in Thailand long-term, such as businessmen and teachers, actually make quite a bit of effort to speak Thai and engage with the locals. Locals have very good relationships with them and respect them a lot.

Thais of Chinese descent will generally not be able to speak much Chinese, just as how relatively few Jewish Americans can speak Yiddish or Hebrew. In the 1930's, Chinese-language education and media were actively discouraged, and Chinese were all required to adopt Thai surnames, many of which turned out to be long and elegant Sanskrit-derived names. Chinese who don't assimilate aren't viewed favorably, but those who assimilate are fully accepted as Thais (similar to Jewish assimilation in the US). If you see a very long surname, there's a pretty big chance that the family is of Chinese descent. Indigenous Thais often have shorter and simpler surnames.

Thais also distinguish between mainland Chinese and ethnic Chinese from Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Most people in the Thai upper class have at least some Chinese ancestry. They are mestizos who are at the heart of Thai society, just like Jewish-American CEO's families in the US.


Burma / Myanmar
Most Thais lump all the ethnic groups from Myanmar as Burmese. They are the "Mexicans of Thailand." There are now over 1 million Myanmar nationals in Thailand. Most construction sites and factories will have mainly workers from Myanmar. However, many middle-class Burmese are also doing business in Thailand, and send their kids to reputable schools in Thailand. However, they will not tell you their Burmese origins right away, as Thais have a pretty poor opinion of Myanmar.

In the north, most Myanmar nationals are Shan people, who are locally referred to as "Thai Yai." Their language and culture is quite similar to that of the ethnic Thais in Thailand, but they are still discriminated against. In Chiang Mai, many street vendors are actually Shan.

The Karen migrate mostly to Mae Hong Son, Tak, and the Bangkok area.
The Mon migrate mostly to peninsular southern Thailand and factory zones around the Bangkok area.
The Bamar, who make up 50% of the population of Myanmar, don't tend to emigrate as much.
Indian-Burmese will often live in Bangkok. You can see a lot of them selling stuff at MBK in Bangkok.


Cambodia
Cambodians are perceived pretty much like Burmese. Poor, dark, short, illegal, unskilled, alcohol and drugs, coming here to steal jobs. And the Preah Vihear border dispute doesn't help.

There are many ethnic Khmers in Thailand, mainly in Surin, Srisaket, and Buriram provinces. However, they do not identify with Cambodia at all and see themselves as 100% Thai. Khmers are simply another Thai ethnic group, just like the Chinese and Mon. They are very well integrated into Thai society and do not see themselves as separate from the Thais. The Khmer of Thailand will even discriminate against Cambodians and call them "Ka-men tam", meaning "short Khmer" due to their small stature from malnutrition. It's like how an American might discriminate against Eastern Europeans even if he or she as Eastern European ancestry.


Laos
Laos is seen as Thailand's little brother in that it's culturally similar. Nevertheless, it's still viewed as a backward country that sends out a lot of poor illegal migrants. In fact, NE Thailand was once part of Laos, and Isan language and culture have the same origins. Isan people will call themselves ethnic "Lao", but they are still Thais first and foremost. Isan people see themselves as another Thai ethnic group, and may not have very favorable views of the Laotians.


Vietnam
Laos and Cambodia serve as buffer zones, so Thailand and Vietnam do not have many conflicts. They both carved up Cambodia with each other, as the Russians and Germans did with Poland. Thais won't know that much about Vietnam, as there is more limited contact. There are seen as somewhat more similar to Thais. But Vietnam is a more distant place with which they just have some cordial relations.


Malaysia
Thais view Malaysia as a well-run country on par with Thailand. Relations with ethnic Malays aren't that good though, and ethnic Malays in northern Thailand will not tell you right away that they are ethnic Malays or from the Pattani area. Beyond the southern area, most Thais don't know that much about Malaysia.


Singapore
The richest country in Southeast Asia. Many Thais migrate there for work. It's seen as a respected country on par with Japan.


Indonesia
Most Thais don't know much about Indonesia. Seen as a poorer version of Malaysia.


Philippines
Most Thais don't know that much about the Philippines, although in recent years there has been much more exposure to Filipinos who come to Thailand to work as English teachers. In the past, there have been many Filipinos working on US military bases.


Japan
If there's one Asian country that Thailand seems to almost worship, then it's definitely Japan. They're respected as being on top of the Asian totem pole, with a lot of habits quite similar to Thais. Unlike many other Asian countries, Thais place Japanese in very high regard, and there is no resentment against the WW2 past. The extreme emphasis on outward appearances, the public politeness, the cleanliness and orderliness, and so on. Still, there have been sporadic protests against Japanese economic policies, and sometimes Japanese tourists will find themselves getting ripped off by unscrupulous people in the Thai tourism industry who see them as walking ATM's. Still, Japanese-Thai relationships are overall very good. Japanese companies and investments are everywhere in Thailand.

Some Japanese actually look very Southeast Asian. Overall, their facial features are often more similar to those of Thais than Koreans.


South Korea
Similar to Japan. Seen as the land of affluent people, K-pop, and plastic surgery. Koreans have a distinctive North Asian / Siberia-like look that Thais can easily tell apart.


Indians
Known as "khaek" (guests) in Thailand, which the assimilated Indian-Thais find to be derogatory. They are primarily in the Bangkok area, and many are very wealthy business families. Many luxury hotels are actually owned by spectacularly wealthy Indian families. They are well integrated into Thai society.

Recent arrivals from India are seen differently, just as with the Chinese. Indian tourists are viewed in a similar light as mainland Chinese tourists. The average Thai will think, why is his skin so dark?


Europeans and whites
Viewed with an eclectic mix of admiration, curiosity, and disdain - very similar to how Chinese view whites. It really depends on the context, and there's no black-and-white perception of whites (colloquially known in Thailand as "Farang"). Discussed further here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35426 Lumped into the "Farang" category.

Missionaries and university teachers are highly respected as "riap-roy" (neat) people who are in the company of well-educated middle-class Thais.

The average European tourist is given a superficially polite welcome, but Thais will feel some kind of a distance from them. People in the tourist industry will often, but not always, have negative opinions of them and think of them as walking ATM's. Others are in very happy symbiosis with whites and have positive views and relationships with them.


Other Thais
Bangkok Thais: Wealthy, with Chinese descent, and at the center of Thailand.
Northern Thais: Light-skinned, attractive, with a unique culture that is the pride of Thailand.
Northeastern Thais (Isan): Seen as dark-skinned farmers and laborers. Some important families are from there, and are treated with great respect though.
Southern Thais: Seen as dark-skinned fishermen. Some have Chinese ancestry and are businessmen. Some are Muslim Malays.


Meet Loads of Foreign Women in Person! Join Our Happier Abroad ROMANCE TOURS to Many Overseas Countries!

Meet Foreign Women Now! Post your FREE profile on Happier Abroad Personals and start receiving messages from gorgeous Foreign Women today!

User avatar
starchild5
Veteran Poster
Posts: 2172
Joined: December 20th, 2013, 2:32 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by starchild5 »

Wow...Great Info...Thanks
pete98146
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1130
Joined: June 22nd, 2009, 8:31 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by pete98146 »

My wife and I just got back from Thailand. My wife is Filipino but doesn't have the typical "Luzon" look. Pretty much all of the Thais assumed my wife was Thai and tried to speak to her accordingly. Once they found out she wasn't Thai the normal response was "oh Filipino and Thai same same." They didn't appear to put her on a pedestal nor did they look down upon her.

Now Thais and the Chinese are an entirely different story!! You can cut the friction with a knife. My wife and I took a cab ride in Phuket and we were almost sideswiped by a car driven by a Chinese driver. I've been to Thailand 8 times before and never have I seen a Thai person get so pissed off. First time I've ever seen a Thai launch a series of F Bombs. Was kinda funny to see. After the tirade was over he turned to us and said "don't ever think that Thai's like the Chinese. We don't....we all wish they would disappear."

Then later in the trip, the receptionist at the hotel we were staying in in Chiang Mai said "too many Chinese..no like."

But to come to the defense of the Chinese, they are new to the travel scene. Given time I'm sure they'll learn proper etiquette etc...
User avatar
Falcon
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1884
Joined: November 6th, 2011, 3:59 pm

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Falcon »

They don't like mainland Chinese tourists of course. They have the worst reputations in Hong Kong and Taiwan. But some are still polite and soft-spoken, especially the younger generation.
Ethnic Chinese who are not from mainland China - totally different story.

Usually, I also get spoken to in Thai, not English.
Kradmelder
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1715
Joined: September 6th, 2016, 5:59 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Kradmelder »

Interesting to read your view of whites. But you miss a lot. Not all expats are university teachers. How do they view normal business travellers?

And of the tourists, there is a huge variation. There is the great unwashed, the back backer type trying to spend no money and living in hovels probably toone dirty for many thais

There are the package tour types in couples or groups going to resort places like phuket and never mixing. That is popular here but not my kind of holiday.

Then there are the sex tourists, largely from Europe looking for boom boom.

Then there are the slip slop and t shirt clad hard drinking aussies....enough said.
User avatar
Falcon
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1884
Joined: November 6th, 2011, 3:59 pm

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Falcon »

Kradmelder wrote:Interesting to read your view of whites. But you miss a lot. Not all expats are university teachers. How do they view normal business travellers?

And of the tourists, there is a huge variation. There is the great unwashed, the back backer type trying to spend no money and living in hovels probably toone dirty for many thais

There are the package tour types in couples or groups going to resort places like phuket and never mixing. That is popular here but not my kind of holiday.

Then there are the sex tourists, largely from Europe looking for boom boom.

Then there are the slip slop and t shirt clad hard drinking aussies....enough said.
Normal business travelers: Well-respected. Office workers and serious-minded people who fit in right with Thai businessmen. Just like university people.

Backpackers and Package tour types: Funny-looking but they're here for a short time and will move on. If they're clueless and lost, the average Thai would be more than happy to lend a helping hand. If they behave well, they will be respected.

Sex tourists and Hard-drinking types: Seen by lower-class Thais as walking ATM's. Seen by middle-class Thais as human scum. Perfect targets for the question "Why are Farangs always like that?" when Thais are talking amongst themselves. These are the types who tend to stay long-term.
Kradmelder
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1715
Joined: September 6th, 2016, 5:59 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Kradmelder »

The farang are always like that because those are the types that will go to thailand :lol: for me the only attraction would be the local food. Not the women nor resorts.

The types thais will respect and call decent are busy working to support their family so can't come long term. Nor alone unless they come on business. They also can get sex amongst their own so have no need for sex tourism. Or they have moral principles about it.

Interesting that there is no differentiation by nation. Or do thais see whites as all the same?

And Blacks? Or are thais like everyone else and wish they would not exist at all? :lol:

Jews?
User avatar
Falcon
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1884
Joined: November 6th, 2011, 3:59 pm

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Falcon »

If they have lots of exposure to different types of whites in places like Pattaya, then they will make distinctions especially between Western Europeans and Eastern Europeans. Otherwise, they assume that most whites are Germanic (NW Europe and Angosphere) with quite similar cultures and looks. Most whites visiting or living in Thailand are Germanic.

Jews: The average Thai Buddhist isn't quite aware of Jews and doesn't know much about them. Jews are just average Farangs. But if you talk to a Muslim Malay from the south, they will know who Jews are and will clearly be anti-Semitic.

Blacks: Dark-skinned people are looked down upon as uglier and poorer. There are some African or African-American teachers and students in Thailand though, and are respected as usual. Of course, on the other hand, West African narcotics gangs in Bangkok are seen as human scum. As with whites, it all depends on what environment you're in and what you are doing in Thailand. Blacks are treated even worse in Cambodia than in Thailand.

There are some mixed Thai-black kids in Thailand, usually from African-American military personnel.
pete98146
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1130
Joined: June 22nd, 2009, 8:31 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by pete98146 »

Falcon wrote:They don't like mainland Chinese tourists of course. They have the worst reputations in Hong Kong and Taiwan. But some are still polite and soft-spoken, especially the younger generation.
Ethnic Chinese who are not from mainland China - totally different story.

Usually, I also get spoken to in Thai, not English.
I'd agree with your comments. I kind of get a kick out of watching the mainland Chinese misbehaving. I'll give you an example. My wife and I stayed at Kata Beach Resort in Phuket. Every morning breakfast was served out on the large patio that had 40 tables full of guests enjoying their morning meals. One day a Chinese lady of 60 years old who just so happened to be sitting dead smack in the middle of the patio stood up and started shouting at the top of her lungs to her friend who was standing at the far edge of the patio. The shouting went on for a good 5 minutes. So instead of walking over to talk to her friend, she disturbed all 100 people eating breakfast because my oh my did her voice carry!!! Even worse, she continued to reach down, shovel food into her trap and yell/talk at the same time with a full mouth of food. It was so rude people were cringing...

It's just most mainland Chinese tourists have never been taught the principal of "when in Rome".....
chanta76
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1908
Joined: February 11th, 2008, 7:56 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by chanta76 »

falcon,

how about the digital nomads in Chiang mai? I think there are a growing expat of young western supposedly entrepreneurs there.
Jonny Law
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1099
Joined: May 13th, 2014, 1:14 pm

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Jonny Law »

"What Thais think of other Asians"

I DISAGREE!

THAIS DO NOT THINK!
1. Thais cannot think!
2. Thais cannot plan for the future!
3. Thais are very stupid!
User avatar
Falcon
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1884
Joined: November 6th, 2011, 3:59 pm

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Falcon »

Jonny Law wrote:"What Thais think of other Asians"

I DISAGREE!
THAIS DO NOT THINK!
1. Thais cannot think!
2. Thais cannot plan for the future!
3. Thais are very stupid!
Take a chill pill. Let it go.

Now let's hear you talk about American and other Western people.
chanta76 wrote:falcon,

how about the digital nomads in Chiang mai? I think there are a growing expat of young western supposedly entrepreneurs there.
As long as you can pay your bills, and maintain a good degree of decency and respect, then you're just another regular middle-class guy. Thais are not like super high-achieving Chinese or Korean immigrants who will bicker on and on about the specific kind of job that you're doing as unstable or lacking prestige, and keep criticizing you no matter what you do.

Digital nomads still tend to be far and few in between, and even if you meet one, you may not recognize one right away. Most Thais don't seem to be aware of them. You either get the short-term tourists just having fun in town for a week, or the long-term retirees married to local Thai women.
Kradmelder
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1715
Joined: September 6th, 2016, 5:59 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Kradmelder »

Falcon wrote:
Jonny Law wrote:"What Thais think of other Asians"

I DISAGREE!
THAIS DO NOT THINK!
1. Thais cannot think!
2. Thais cannot plan for the future!
3. Thais are very stupid!
Take a chill pill. Let it go.

Now let's hear you talk about American and other Western people.
chanta76 wrote:falcon,

how about the digital nomads in Chiang mai? I think there are a growing expat of young western supposedly entrepreneurs there.
As long as you can pay your bills, and maintain a good degree of decency and respect, then you're just another regular middle-class guy. Thais are not like super high-achieving Chinese or Korean immigrants who will bicker on and on about the specific kind of job that you're doing as unstable or lacking prestige, and keep criticizing you no matter what you do.

Digital nomads still tend to be far and few in between, and even if you meet one, you may not recognize one right away. Most Thais don't seem to be aware of them. You either get the short-term tourists just having fun in town for a week, or the long-term retirees married to local Thai women.
On this forum if you find a woman and are happy you become the target of vile bile and vitriol. I think you are supposed to remain alone, unhappy, miserable, and only paying for women, all the while wondering why no woman wants anything to do with you.
Jonny Law
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1099
Joined: May 13th, 2014, 1:14 pm

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Jonny Law »

"if you find a woman and are happy you become the target of vile bile and vitriol."

YES!
That asshole Falcon is happy.
Asshole (what I call my friends)- a stupid, annoying, or detestable person.

What an advertisement for Thai women!
Go to Thailand.
1. Meet a Thai hag bitch Twice your f***ing age.
2. Pay for and take care of her bastard kids.
3. Pay for her shit also.
Where do I sign up for that shitty deal???

Falcon STAY HAPPY! Do what you like you bastard. And if makes you happy tell the rest of the world to f**k OFF!

I have always been proud of the way I promote Thai women. Fair and accurate.
Kradmelder
Experienced Poster
Posts: 1715
Joined: September 6th, 2016, 5:59 am

Re: What Thais think of other Asians

Post by Kradmelder »

Jonny Law wrote:"if you find a woman and are happy you become the target of vile bile and vitriol."

YES!
That asshole Falcon is happy.
Asshole (what I call my friends)- a stupid, annoying, or detestable person.

What an advertisement for Thai women!
Go to Thailand.
1. Meet a Thai hag bitch Twice your f***ing age.
2. Pay for and take care of her bastard kids.
3. Pay for her shit also.
Where do I sign up for that shitty deal???

Falcon STAY HAPPY! Do what you like you bastard. And if makes you happy tell the rest of the world to f**k OFF!

I have always been proud of the way I promote Thai women. Fair and accurate.
A woman 16 years older than me, with a kid I must pay for, is not my cup of tea either. I prefer 10 years younger than me. But hey, if he is happy....and is aware that it means he will
not be having his own kids one day.

Perhaps doing the mia noi thing or kik would have worked and maintained flexibility.

Oh well, it worked better for him than the adama approach of talk to her about God and submission and examine her soul, then propose before you can examine the body :lol: if she hasnt already run away with the creeps :lol:
Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Asia, China, Philippines, Thailand”