You’re a foreigner in this land and so called a ‘Farang’. It’s not derogatory, it’s just a general name given to all Western people. Actually they cannot pronounce foreigner . Some of our letters are extremely difficult for them so over many years it come out as Farang.
We have been conditioned in our way of life so when we look at a Thai person we expect them to be the same, to know our ways, how we think, our rules, about Western society and our habits. This is not so and can lead to frustrations of the Farang causing friction and emotion. Tempers are lost, voices raised, emotions fire up, hands waved and all this is considered bad manners, a sign of immaturity and rude. The reaction from the Thai will be to smile. Smiles have very different meanings and if you’ve made an enemy you won’t know as no Thai will ever confront you. They would rather walk away and keep good Karma. This is probably why nothing gets done here.
Boasting, a regular Western trait, is not viewed positively especially if it’s used to negatively to compare Thailand to your own country. Criticism should be avoided. a Thai person will never openly make a negative comment or let you know they are unhappy with you. They will avoid any discussions of contentious subjects as it may lead to conflict, so it’s best to agree with everything or say nothing. Affection is public is frowned upon.
Thai people of extremely respectful and this appears in all sorts of guises. Feet are the lowest point of the body and therefore the dirtiest. When entering a temple or a Thai home and also some shops, shoes should be removed and not raised to unnecessary heights. Never point with your feet. Heads are the seat of the soul, so shouldn’t be touched. Children are the exception. Lowering of your body as you walk in front of someone indicates respect towards the other person. Often students will do this as they walk across the path of their teacher.
Monks represent Buddhism and are treated with an enormous amount of respect. Touching a monk by a woman is strictly off limits. Legs should never be crossed in front of a monks.
There is a hierarchy of Phu Yai (superior/important person) and Phu Noi (little person). Nearly all Thai social interaction will take account of this relationship. So if you’re eating out a Thai and no clear invitation is obvious then the Phu Yai pays. If a Western man is looking for a Thai relationship he would be considered a Phu Yai a superior person and would be expected to be generous, a quality expected of important people. So there’s no point in thinking that the Thai’s are just after money and see you as an ATM this is just their culture.
Thais love to have fun and be flattered, who doesn’t? Discretion is admired as maturity. Astrology influences many decisions made by Thais and many will consult an astrologer before making an important one. Ceremonies are open to everyone and there are many. How you dress indicates your status. Thais like to be smart as it shows respect. They believe in ghosts, superstition, black magic and protect themselves with amulets. You’ll often see a neck adorned and weighed down with numerous amulets.
We have things to learn from their attitude towards ‘sabai’ an adjective used to describe the state of being relaxed. This is very positive and they are very calm about things which in the West can be the cause for contention resulting in people getting judgemental and opinionated. Here it’s live and let live as long as you have a smile, dress smartly and are respectful, you’ll get along just fine. Only make no comments and take no responsibility.