The views expressed in my ‘Thailand Diaries’ are entirely my own, other than quoted sources, gained from personal observation, experiences, talking to others, living life in different parts of Thailand and spending time elsewhere. I recount true incidents, with a little poetic license, use interesting information both factual and opinionated from reliable sources to help the reader. I have attempted to show that Thailand, just like anywhere else in the world has many good and many bad features. However no amount of reading can fully prepare you for life in a different country, be it Thailand or anywhere else, but it can provide an insight.
If only I had known
‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing’. It’s always 20/20 and the view through the rear–view mirror is always clearer than the windscreen. We’ve all heard that a few times haven’t we! If you want to lead a happy life as an expat in Thailand (or elsewhere) hindsight is essential. What a crazy statement I hear you say. My Thailand experience started in 2005 and whilst I acquired some prior knowledge by reading, what I believed to be, informative books and articles, I now realize that nothing could have prepared me for the culture shock I was about to receive over the next few years. Unless you are extremely lucky or so ‘laid back’ that you are almost comatose you will have to pay your school fees with interest. If you survive, as many do, I suspect you will look back and reflect on my words and wish you could have spent some of your hard earned cash to buy some ‘hindsight’. Of course we all know it isn’t possible and, yes, it is a crazy statement but if I had known, in 2005, just a fraction of what I know now I would have done some things very differently and avoided a lot of heartache. It hasn’t been a bed of roses but I’ve had a lot of fun.
No amount of reading will prepare you
Although I read everything with an open mind I could not, at the time, offer an opposing view to challenge the writers. So when I first read the ‘health warnings’ I didn’t pay too much attention; I was too focused on the positive, because generally there were mostly positives expressed to entice the reader. Reading some of the publications again six years on I could see clearly that many of the writers’ seemed to paint an unrealistic picture as if they were a part of the Government tourism conspiracy department. I also suspect, now, that many of the writers had had little experience of or exposure to the ‘grass roots’ communities in the Country and were therefore not writing from first-hand experience.
If you are looking for inspiration to motivate a new life in South East Asia I hope you may find, in Thailand Diaries, some ways to help you beat the odds. If, on the other hand, you just want to be entertained with some light but stimulating reading then I hope you will enjoy the books as much as I enjoyed writing them. I hope my experiences and views may help those already living in, wishing to emigrate to, work or just holiday in Thailand to better understand the people, their culture and customs. Opinions will always be challenged and challengers should always be welcomed. Even if an opinion has a basis in fact it is still an opinion in the end. If you have experienced Thailand to any degree your views may well differ from mine. I would be delighted to hear them and you are most welcome to express them by commenting on my website http://www.jamoroki.com
A sneak preview
A very good friend of mine; English actor and entertainer Martin Palmer, who has lived in Thailand for 25 years, once told me “Stop trying to understand Thai people.” When I asked why? He said “Because you never will. I gave up 20 years ago, realized I had to change my thinking radically and have been happy ever since”. I didn’t realize the wisdom of his words until several years later.
Thailand is unfathomable, baffling, inexplicable, magical, perplexing, puzzling, veiled, enigmatic and secretive; in a word ‘mysterious’. If you stay for any length of time in Thailand there will be many times when temptation hooks you up to the internet in search of the cheapest air ticket to anywhere. You will feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall and then fall into the trap of making incomparable comparisons with your country of origin as you become bewildered by the aesthetic discord, pretense and hypocrisy. Everything seems to be broken or is about to break and whenever a workman fixes something it ends up worse than before. You will wonder why more people are electrocuted in showers than you could ever imagine possible. Then you find out that most electrical installations are not earthed and the ‘electrician’ (I use that word loosely) is perfectly content to connect several old bits of wire with tape to make up the required length. You wonder why and then you find out that he has saved the customer twenty baht in materials and charged him an extra fifty baht in labor! You are desperately trying to understand a new culture, new customs and a new ‘sign’ language. You know nobody thinks like you so you are trying to think like everybody else and you are slowly going doolally and are about to have a kynyption. If you think you are the only one in step then don’t worry you’ve just joined the tribe.
Breaking down Cultural Barriers
Welcome to this captivating and enthralling land. Contradiction, controversy, confusion, frustration, weird language, cultural barriers and mystery will haunt you. When you eventually get over the early shocks, which may incidentally take years, and you realize that you cannot fix a ‘dysfunctional’ nation without a modicum of help from above you can begin your bumpy but unforgettable journey at www.jamoroki.com.