at what stage do you think you are ?

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parrot
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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby parrot » January 8, 2017, 5:37 pm

Andrew Biggs has been in Thailand for decades. Fluent in Thai and most all things Thai......he's still going through various stages of living in Thailand.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/so ... ith-buddha



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semperfiguy
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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby semperfiguy » January 8, 2017, 7:18 pm

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I retired to Thailand in 2010 and for me it has been a real roller coaster ride of emotions. I realize that everyone’s experiences are going to be different, and the reasons why we find it easy or difficult to adjust and adapt depend on so many variables in each person’s circumstances. In my particular case I was rebounding from divorce involving betrayal at the hands of a Thai wife with whom I had been married for 18 years and lived most of that time in the US. I was active in a church of 5000 members, so not only did I leave all of my biological family behind, but I left my church family behind which together equaled the entire social foundation in my life. I sold all of my possessions with the exception of my home which is now rented, and I retired from a management position in a Fortune 500 company that provided a very comfortable lifestyle. Add to that moving 10,000 miles from home to establish a new life in a new country with a different culture and language and taking on a new partner who I married after a few months, and the sum total of all those major life changes in one fell swoop results in an almost unsurmountable challenge to recover and start afresh. Most people would crater from the weight of trying to adjust to just one of those life changes at a time, let alone throwing all into the basket at the same time. It’s a wonder I still have my sanity. One is dealing with bitterness, betrayal, loss, getting to know a new partner…the list of emotions covers the entire spectrum.

I’m sure that most of you have heard the expression ”there are only two types of people in this world”. Well, one of those to which I identify has the answer of “leaders and followers”. I spent the majority of my 62 years before retirement learning how to perfect my leadership skills, and it served me well. I was so used to being in control of all facets of my life, but the minute I got off that airplane in Udon I had to surrender the most important aspect of my phyche. The hardest thing for a leader to do is to become a follower, and in the blink of an eye there I was like a little puppy dog wagging his tail behind his back, and I quickly realized that I was no longer in control of anything except my bank account, and to this day I hold onto that with an iron fist because it is my last vestige of control.

It has not been easy to function at the mercy of a society that I believe has so much contempt for a “farang”. I traveled all over the world in my working career and I was treated like a king everywhere that I went, but when I came to Thailand I finally understood the plight of those who have been subjected to racism. Thailand has an unbelievable “dark side”, and I have tried to be a light in a dark place for 6.5 years. On most days I feel like I am losing the battle, but I will persevere because that’s what I do best. Winners never quit and quitters never win! It’s the espirit de corps of the US Marine…The Few. The Proud.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf". - George Orwell

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby glalt » January 8, 2017, 8:17 pm

I'm a crotchety old fart and I am lucky that my Thai wife has put up with me for twelve years. If guys think their Thai wife is going to be submissive and obey every order, you are very likely to be very surprised and disappointed. I am fine with having an independent wife. I didn't want a clinging vine for a wife. I like my privacy and my wife respects that. I don't go to weddings, funerals or family get togethers. My wife is quite active with the watt and she cooks for weddings and funerals. I'm content to stay home in my computer room or tinker around in my workshop. Her family rarely comes to our house and when they do, they sit outside on the large covered porch. I make very little effort to learn the language or to try to blend in with the locals. The locals are polite and I have no problems with them. After all these years in a small village, the locals know that I cause no problems and want no problems. I still have a condo in Jomtien and when I want a change of scenery I always have a place to go. My wife stays very busy farming and working part time for the electric company. She rarely goes down with me. I have a good peaceful life and I am content.

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby Hoopoe » January 9, 2017, 12:27 am

Once you realise , it's all about survival , ( not a battle ) survival you can attempt alone or with friends , A battle is against the opposition , you are alone , if you think in this country someone is going to stand along side you in the battle ( there will be a lot of noises saying yes yes yes , ) you will be alone , ,

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby marjamlew » January 9, 2017, 7:52 am

Possibly the most informative thread ever on UM =D> Thanks for the invaluable lessons and words of wisdom from the old hands. Students of cross cultural studies or anyone contemplating the expat life in Thailand would be lucky to stumble upon the learning available.
Watch Me!!

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semperfiguy
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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby semperfiguy » January 9, 2017, 8:46 am

Hoopoe wrote:Once you realise , it's all about survival , ( not a battle ) survival you can attempt alone or with friends , A battle is against the opposition , you are alone , if you think in this country someone is going to stand along side you in the battle ( there will be a lot of noises saying yes yes yes , ) you will be alone , ,


I think this is what you are trying to say Hoopoe!

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When we think the grass is always greener on the other side, sometimes we end up in trouble!
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"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf". - George Orwell

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby pf-flyer » January 9, 2017, 9:36 am

For me these stages are a process that never ends. For me it is an issue of the heart and it is an internal issue. You cannot escape it by jumping onto an airplane running away because it will go with you no matter where you go. I have failed plenty of times. I have had plenty of failed expectations. Failure and disappointments are a part of life. It is not a way of life. Failures and disappointments are an event. It is not a person. Failure is something that you have done. Failure is not what you have become. We can choose to learn from our failures. We can learn to respond to what has happened to us in a way that helps us to rise above the negative influences of the past. What matters is what we do today. When life experiences fail to respond to our expectations, those unmet expectations can cause us to be frustrated, hurt or angry. Dwelling on those disappoints will only make us more down trodden, angry and irritable. That is where dealing with the issues of the heart come into play. I need to remember that my wife has issues of the heart also. The first year (1973) in the U.S. was the worse for my wife. We lived in a remote farmhouse out in the country. She told me several years later that there were times when she was alone she would secretly cry her heart out because she desperately wanted to go back to Thailand and She knew she could not ask to go back to Thailand because we did not have the finances to send her back to Thailand. She deeply missed her home, her culture and her family. She lived thru those stages also. She is precious to me and I love her more than anything in this world.
Still Married to the same beautiful lady from Essan since 1973

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby d p meijer » January 9, 2017, 4:32 pm

thinking and feeling exactly the same about everything said .

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old timer
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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby old timer » January 11, 2017, 11:23 pm

semperfiguy wrote:I was so used to being in control of all facets of my life, but the minute I got off that airplane in Udon I had to surrender the most important aspect of my phyche. The hardest thing for a leader to do is to become a follower, and in the blink of an eye there I was like a little puppy dog wagging his tail behind his back


Yes semperfiguy this is what happens, and I for one will not give up X amount of years earning respect and controlling everything to let a Isaan villager wether that be a WFB, wife, girlfriend or whatever take that away.
OT can't speak a lot of Thai really, but enough to get by and I will never take advice from anyone in Udon about anything, most of it is related to hearsay, Buddhism and unsustainable business ideas which fail if attempted.
I really don't understand and probably never will what makes a man become "a little puppy dog", but there are plenty of them in Udon and I don't mean that to offend anyone.

OT....... \:D/

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pf-flyer
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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby pf-flyer » January 12, 2017, 6:06 am

I know exactly what you are talking about. When I was working at the University. One of my responsibilities was the electronic and electrical maintenance on a 2 MEV Particle Beam Accelerator in the Physics Department. When we made our first trip to the electric company when we were building our house; 3 of the family members who thought they knew everything insisted on going with us. When we entered the electric company office and approached the desk I was told by the electric company employee at the desk to go over and set down by myself so the family members who thought that knew everything would have a discussion with him. I was really pissed off and I said to myself "'I just don't give a shxt.". When they were done having their discussion and we were back in the car getting ready to go back to the house my wife told me that they did not accomplish anything. It was only when my wife and I returned to the electric company several days later WITHOUT the expert family members that we had an intelligent discussion and we were able to make the arrangements to have the electric installed. Now that we have been here for several years those expert family members have begun to realize that I am not that ignorant and stupid just because I am not fluent in the local language. I realize that I will always be dealing the mindset of some of the locals who assume that all of the farangs are ignorant and stupid and most of them are alcoholics. My wife family members has really come around to realize that I am not that stupid. I cannot say that for allot of the other locals living in the village.
Still Married to the same beautiful lady from Essan since 1973

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semperfiguy
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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby semperfiguy » January 12, 2017, 9:22 am

old timer wrote:
semperfiguy wrote:I was so used to being in control of all facets of my life, but the minute I got off that airplane in Udon I had to surrender the most important aspect of my phyche. The hardest thing for a leader to do is to become a follower, and in the blink of an eye there I was like a little puppy dog wagging his tail behind his back


Yes semperfiguy this is what happens, and I for one will not give up X amount of years earning respect and controlling everything to let a Isaan villager wether that be a WFB, wife, girlfriend or whatever take that away.
OT can't speak a lot of Thai really, but enough to get by and I will never take advice from anyone in Udon about anything, most of it is related to hearsay, Buddhism and unsustainable business ideas which fail if attempted.
I really don't understand and probably never will what makes a man become "a little puppy dog", but there are plenty of them in Udon and I don't mean that to offend anyone.

OT....... \:D/


I appreciate your reply OT. I really didn't mean to imply that I had given up anything to my wife, who is now retired at my request, after having taught English in the government school system for 18 years. I am in control of my household, and would never have decided to stay here if that weren't the case. Actually, pf-flyer in his reply below was more in tune to my point. When we expats come here we are at the mercy of this culture and its system of doing things, and it is so vastly different that the Western way of doing things. It's almost like going backwards from being an adult to taking baby steps once again. We take everything that we have learned and throw it out the window and start all over again. When we finally discover that we are not going to make any headway doing things "our way", then we slowly give up control in the sense that our wives become the chief negotiator, and that is a very hard thing to swallow. Granted, learning the Thai language would be a major asset in helping one to assimilate, but for some of us that is not an easy chore at our ages. Some people are able to learn new languages easier than others. I lived full time in the Philippines for 11 years and 3 years in Taiwan, and I was lucky to be able to give a taxi driver instructions to turn right or left in the local language. I have zero gifted ability to pick up the Thai language, and I'm honest enough with myself to admit it, so for now I will continue to let my long-haired translator intercede for me. As far as I'm concerned, the major obstacle for us expats is not our inability to communicate in the local language, but rather it is the absolute ignorance and inability of the majority of the locals to reason logically which keeps us out of our posture to be able to deal from a position of strength and be in total control of our circumstances.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf". - George Orwell

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby trubrit » January 12, 2017, 10:54 am

On the subject of learning the Thai language my old mentor once told me, over time you will understand some Thai, enough to get by but never let your audience know you can , that way you will learn what that infamouse smile really means not what you think it does .Wise words that have stood me well over time.
Things ain't what they used to be.

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby parrot » January 12, 2017, 5:43 pm

Back to my long post on page one of this thread:
There's an interesting piece in today's NYT about Central Park concerning the collection of trash there. In the article is a photo from the 1980's with a fair amount of strewn trash littering the park.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/11/nyre ... -park.html

As for sfg's comment "As far as I'm concerned, the major obstacle for us expats is not our inability to communicate in the local language, but rather it is the absolute ignorance and inability of the majority of the locals to reason logically which keeps us out of our posture to be able to deal from a position of strength and be in total control of our circumstances."........you're at a major disadvantage of trying to be in total control of your circumstances by living in a developing foreign country.......can't own land, immigration rules, can't speak the language, brain is wired for 120v while the local population is wired for subservience, Buddha and animistic thinking from birth.
Most expats I know here live a pretty contented life........subservient to the things they don't like because they know (and accept) they don't have the power to change them.

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby pf-flyer » January 13, 2017, 7:25 am

I have my boundaries. Boundaries define what is me and what is not me. Boundaries shows me and others where I end and where someone else begins. There are allot of controllers out there who cannot hear NO. They tend to project responsibility for their lives onto others. I let the controllers experience the consequences of their irresponsibility. They only live in the moment and have no thoughts about the consequences that may come to fruition. There are a lot of those individuals that always play the victim role in order to escape taking responsibility for their actions and words. Those boundaries are always being challenged.
Still Married to the same beautiful lady from Essan since 1973

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Re: at what stage do you think you are ?

Postby Barney » January 14, 2017, 2:19 pm

This morning while taking the young one to school on the bike I came upon something that made me think seriously at what stage I am at?
A man was in front of me traveling along at 30 or 40 km/HR on his bike and he had, I kid you not, a 2 or 3 yr old child in a low side laundry basket strapped to the back seat behind him.
I must be at the last stage as it did not surprise me one bit and I didn't really care.
But, at what ever stage you are at, the "shaking of the head" phase never goes away.


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