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Why you may think Thais are stupid


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Misunderstandings between Thai and Farang often lead both parties to assume the other is stupid. After living here for a while I just ignore the small miss-communications that seem to part of every day life. The problem is it can be hard to explain why these little problems occur however I recently came across a crystal clear example which is easily tested by anybody.

 

It started with a friend of mind lamenting that his Thai girl was stupid. Why? Well he was paying her 5,000 baht a week and she suggested to him she would prefer to get 20,000 baht lump sum a month. When he told her that he actually pays her more than 20,000 baht a month she did not believe him. Four weeks in a month, 5,000 a week = 20,000 a month and she could not be persuaded otherwise. He asked her how many weeks in a year and she had no idea. Hence he deduced that she was stupid and began immediately to pay her 20,000 a month thus saving himself 20.000 baht a year.

 

The story got me thinking and so I asked a whole bunch of Thais how many weeks are there in a year. I asked waitresses, dancers, bar girls and managers and even a few university graduates. No one knew. Not one person. Most people just looked at me with that "stupid farang" look and professed to have no idea what the answer was. Some of the smarter ones did the math . . . 4 weeks in a month, 12 months in a year duh, that would be 48 weeks.

 

So then I got to thinking, well how do I know there are 52 weeks in a year. I asked quite a few farangs and not surprisingly everyone knew the answer is 52. Clever farangs and stupid farangs alike, all knew the answer. When I asked them how they know, no one could remember. They just knew.

 

What I have deduced from this is that for some reason farang culture has decided that the number of weeks in a year is an important bit of information to impart to our children where as Thai culture places no importance on this information. Therefore a farang not knowing could perhaps be thought to be not so bright where as a Thai not knowing is normal. Why farangs consider this information important, I have no idea.

 

This is a very minor thing but there are hundreds of examples of things we know and Thais know and we each assume the other knows. Many of these things we only know or the Thais only know because for some unfathomable reason our respective cultures have decided it is important to know that. Different cultures emphasis different facts and we are all a bit stupid when dealing with a different culture.

 

That's my theory anyway.

 

Postscript.

I was quite surprised to find on further investigation that 52 is actually the wrong answer. The correct answer is 52.14 or 52 weeks and one day in a normal year and 52.28 or 52 weeks and 2 days in a leap year.

I guess I am not as smart as I thought I was :clueless

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Well, to one of the points of the OP's post, different strokes for different folks, the Yanks tend to go Month-Day-Year. So for a Yank, the numeric date of 11/1/2011 is November 01, 2011 whereas for h

If there was exactly 52 weeks in a year Christmas would be on the same day of the week every year.

 

"Some of the smarter ones did the math . . . 4 weeks in a month, 12 months in a year duh, that would be 48 weeks."

They were not smart enough to think that there are more than 28 days in a month.

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I just had to give this a try. I asked the girl friend how many weeks in a year. She gave me that weird look, like what the hell are you talking about? Then said 4 X 12, 48 weeks in a month. I told her that there were 52 and she didn't believe me. I took out the calculator and asked how many days in a year? Punched in 365, then asked how many days in a week? Then divided by 7, She was amazed at the answer, 52.14

 

Here is one for you Pete, see if your staff know that farang from different countries eat different food. Countless times in Thai restaurants I've tried to explain that we don't all eat the same food. Or that some farang like spicy food. On more than one occasion I've been told that I'm stupid for thinking so. I've even asked how many different countries have you been to? Answer: none. Then I say that I have been to more than 20 countries, maybe I know more. Stupid farang is the usual answer to that statement.

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Since I work for the US governement and get paid every 2 weeks I know exactly how many weeks there are in a year and that 52 is not it. Every so often we get paid 27 times:-)

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So when it comes to paying your wages are you going to move all your staff to Monthly salary

 

I would guestimate the majority of people "employed" in Thailand are already paid on a monthly basis.

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My lady (of 9 wonderful years) once told me she felt she was stupid. She definitely is not. I told her that the reason there are things she doesn't know is because no one taught her those things. I explained that I can't fly an airplane (not entirely true) but that didn't mean I was stupid. Just that no one taught me.

 

And before I brought her to the States the first time I explained that when she got hungry for Lao food she couldn't go to the street and buy from a vendor. She looked at me as if I were nuts. But now she understands that most places in the world are "not same Thailand." She has been to the States twice now and loves it. There are other things, but I won't bore you. She is soaking up knowledge like a sponge. Stupid? Nah. Not this gal.

 

Little Roy :clueless

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Misunderstandings between Thai and Farang often lead both parties to assume the other is stupid. After living here for a while I just ignore the small miss-communications that seem to part of every day life. The problem is it can be hard to explain why these little problems occur however I recently came across a crystal clear example which is easily tested by anybody.

 

It started with a friend of mind lamenting that his Thai girl was stupid. Why? Well he was paying her 5,000 baht a week and she suggested to him she would prefer to get 20,000 baht lump sum a month. When he told her that he actually pays her more than 20,000 baht a month she did not believe him. Four weeks in a month, 5,000 a week = 20,000 a month and she could not be persuaded otherwise. He asked her how many weeks in a year and she had no idea. Hence he deduced that she was stupid and began immediately to pay her 20,000 a month thus saving himself 20.000 baht a year.

 

Your friend's assuming that she's using the term month (deuan) as referring to the solar calendar - which is not necessarily the case. A bit like assuming they'll understand a.m./p.m. :clueless

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I surely dont think thais are stupid, some of the village girls never had the best start in life, but bring them to Pattaya and soon they speak another language or languages, they charm may so call well educated western men into sending money and gifts, many even support their family back home with this charm.

 

Back in the village they cover up and can grow their own food and breed a collection of animals, then come to pattaya scrub up and look like a supermodel.

 

I see alot of the youngsters in the UK, who have the benefit of a great education, these just dont want to learn, they have little respect for their parents or families, all they aspire to is have a child, free house and live of the state.

 

Give me Thai girls any day rather than a British CHAV ( Council House And Vicious )

 

:allright :chogdee :chogdee :chogdee :chogdee :chogdee

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When I first met my TG 10 years ago, I didnt think she was very clever, I was wrong, she has just got a 2-1 in psychology, and is now doing a masters degree.not bad as English is her second language.

 

Maybe if she had stayed in Thailand she wouldnt know how many weks in a year, now she knows a lot more than me and will soon be earning double my wage.

 

Pond

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Damn just asked the wife and she at first said I don't know then told me 48 weeks after a few seconds....

But I do know that if I took the majority of the board memebers here and threw them in my village and said

alright go support yourself i.e...shelter, clothing, food etc...Most wouldn't have a clue how to do that.

Now are they just as stupid as the Thais who don't know how many weeks in a year....Both are clueless

about one aspect of each others culture, life, etc......

 

If you think about it most Thais still live in a rural setting and most of the people we have contact with

come from rural/agricultural settings. In those settings the idea of how many weeks in a year is pointless.

It is more important to know when the growing season starts/end, when the raining season starts/ends, harvesting

season etc.......in fact most don't even keep track of what the actual date is (as in the number of the day)

 

Of course my wife is very disappointed she didn't know the answer but she still knows how to survive

out in the boonies........and still manages to learn lots on her own that most farangs would give up on...

 

Wife speaking------I never think or was taught how many weeks of the years and it never factored into

my life when growing up. Most Thais will know the days and months and most of us get paid by the month.

Not by the week or every 2 weeks...that why the date and month are more import for thai people but from now on we might need to change

the new life style but when I think again you can look it's easy that Thai people we have a different year number

and we write the number of the date--DAY/MONTH/YEAR .

Once again now I know how many weeks in one year.

 

 

Back to me-----Ask Thai people what year it is in Thailand. I would say all will know the answer. Now ask the Farang what year it is and most

will get the answer wrong. Guess they are just stupid......................... :allright

Edited by packhike
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What!! An example when a Farrang has a win..... surely I must have read this wrong :D

 

So when it comes to paying your wages are you going to move all your staff to Monthly salary :whistling: :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

Sponsor's have never had it so Good! :allright

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Thanks for the reminder Pete. By this I mean that when we get off the plane we leave behind our pre conceptions about how things should or would be done at home. We are guests in their land and with their unique rules and laws and we kick against them at our peril.

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Well to be honest PP your example just made me think yep, they are dumb!

But I did have a similar instance when I was a young smartass (not young anymore) with my girlfriend's mother who thought she was quite the business person...

I asked would she prefer a wage increase of £10/month, or one of £150/ year. She got it wrong with the latter.

 

Perhaps it is just women who are thick.

Edited by jacko
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You'd have to be pretty thick not to notice that months have more than 28 days.

 

Heh. I wonder how many readers, JUST before they began reading this thread, thought there were 52 weeks in a year. Was that thick? Almost everyone I know including the guy in the mirror rounds off "how many weeks in a month" to four. Is that thick?

 

There's a favourite "gotcha" list of questions that does the go-round. One of the questions is "How many months have 28 days?" An awful lot of people answer "one". Is that thick?

 

It's not the question, it's how its phrased.

 

.

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Damn just asked the wife and she at first said I don't know then told me 48 weeks after a few seconds....

But I do know that if I took the majority of the board memebers here and threw them in my village and said

alright go support yourself i.e...shelter, clothing, food etc...Most wouldn't have a clue how to do that.

Now are they just as stupid as the Thais who don't know how many weeks in a year....Both are clueless

about one aspect of each others culture, life, etc......

 

If you think about it most Thais still live in a rural setting and most of the people we have contact with

come from rural/agricultural settings. In those settings the idea of how many weeks in a year is pointless.

It is more important to know when the growing season starts/end, when the raining season starts/ends, harvesting

season etc.......in fact most don't even keep track of what the actual date is (as in the number of the day)

 

Of course my wife is very disappointed she didn't know the answer but she still knows how to survive

out in the boonies........and still manages to learn lots on her own that most farangs would give up on...

 

Wife speaking------I never think or was taught how many weeks of the years and it never factored into

my life when growing up. Most Thais will know the days and months and most of us get paid by the month.

Not by the week or every 2 weeks...that why the date and month are more import for thai people but from now on we might need to change

the new life style but when I think again you can look it's easy that Thai people we have a different year number

and we write the number of the date--DAY/MONTH/YEAR .

Once again now I know how many weeks in one year.

 

 

Back to me-----Ask Thai people what year it is in Thailand. I would say all will know the answer. Now ask the Farang what year it is and most

will get the answer wrong. Guess they are just stupid......................... :whistling:

 

 

Well, to one of the points of the OP's post, different strokes for different folks, the Yanks tend to go Month-Day-Year. So for a Yank, the numeric date of 11/1/2011 is November 01, 2011 whereas for her majesty's subjects it tends to be January 11, 2011.

 

Doesn't mean either side is right or wrong. They just observe different conventions.

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spoke with my thai girl today and asked her the question how many weeks in a year and yes of course she came back with the same answer as most of you have said, thai,s think 48 weeks so i explained to her no it is 52 weeks, as some months have extra days and when you add all those days up come to another 4 weeks but she still did not understand so i then said how many days in a year and she says 365 and i say yes, so i told her to add up each seven days and find out how many weeks, then she says to me ok i ask you something so i said yes were we go when you come i say ratchaburi and she say no it is latchaburi cause in thai they sometimes use the letter L instead of R, so when you here them say i go your loom it means i go your room as the are both the same meaning in thai and fa-laang saying, so she got me there :thumbup

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it's amazing to us what thais don't know.................it's amazing to thais what we don't know.

 

if i asked most non-americans, or even i suspect, some americans what 'Pennsylvania' actually means or Philadelphia for that matter they wouldn't necessarily know. i agree with joe on this one. knowledge doesn't come close to equalling intelligence. and having access to all knowledge doesn't mean we have all the answers

 

it's possible that thais relative lack of 'world knowlege' is the reason why they seem so happy.

 

that and the 20,000 baht they get a month from half a dozen clever falangs.

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