Thai Life


Making Their Mark

Taking Their Rightful Place

Living in Thailand and the other Asian countries gives you a good insight into things. You get to glimpse into the ins and outs of certain things. One thing that's always struck me and continues to strike me is the way a person can go out from his or her village or town and make their mark on the world. It's the whole free-wheeling, anything-goes-vibe tempered with the drive of someone trying to make their mark on the world. You see the characterisation of this in quite a few Thai movies, kareoke videos, TV shows (well, some of them anyway) and in the flesh if you pay attention to what's going on.

The typical stereotype is the young kid who ends up in the big bad city where there is money to be made while trying to steer clear of the shady-underworld types.

This may or may not be accurate but there is plenty of work out in Thailand for young healthy lad or girl willing to travel and put in the work. Using the western world as a comparison I can certainly say that this sort of thing is becoming less common by the year as the curse of the service industry and our manufacturing decline continues. But in Thailand at least the old ways still hold true and the olde worlde mindset of hard-work equals wealth. The beaucratic tonnage of red tape and regulations which strangles and chokes free-enterprise and dynamic attitudes in the west is, at best, minimalist, 'hands off' and quite right it should as well. If anything the Thai way of travel for work really is evident. Forget trying to re-invent some notion of 'working from home' or social engineering, for the grafters and free-minded types who want to make their mark and know how to do it then this attitude is key to success. Anywhere in the world I might add, not just Thailand.

I've noticed dozens of examples over the years of Thai people who have 'made it', 'not made it' or just cruise along 'making it' in the cities and towns. We often observe the tourist-connected Thais working in the travel agents and sales-industry doing the best financially. English is usually the key here. The more stable yet hard-graft / work-minded Thais will choose the constructions industry.

Oh, how the lazy, good-for-nothings back home in the west if they had to adjust to this. With no soft and sycophantic benefit system to cheat or live off the Thais are more than hard working grafters compared to, say, a welfare state which encourages a minimum wage along with mediocre work.

The gulf of difference when they are 'making it' is awesome to behold but visually the most obvious sign is what footwear they are wearing. Strange as it may seem, a Thai lad on the make will often trade in his sandles for trainers and I can't say I blame them either! Forget what else they have upgraded on their clothing wardrobe but look to the footwear for the sign of how well a Thai is doing. With Thai girls and women it is not so obvious as they tend to send the money back home or share with the boyfriend / husband, gold is one sign, attitude another.

I often return to an area after some time and ask after someone I know from there
'Where is Som or Tai' I might casually enquire.
'Oh, not here, they leave to go work xxx' Is the typical response.
Thais making their mark gentlement, so 'mark' it well 'cause they often know things and have a good mindset many folk in the lazy western world we've left behind.

Bamboo Scaffold

Now I'm not saying the Thai mindset is perfect, far from it, but there are things we can learn from them and, in turn, them from us.

Johnny B in ThailandThis section is hosted by our resident columnist Johnny B. who has been living in Thailand for seven years now and currently is based out of Bangkok.

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Chang Mai Province Phitsanulok Bangkok Koh Tao Koh Pang Yan Koh Samui