From Thai-Farang Miscommunications To Being Told “You Think Too Much”

Welcome to Sunday, Bangkok.

It’s been another funny old week in the Land of Smiles, although most of the international headlines have been focusing on our the ASEAN Summit in Laos — and most particularly, on Obama’s apparent beverage preference for fresh, young coconuts.

Can’t say we blame him.

Back in Thailand, we’ve seen uproar regarding an AirAsia employee made to prostrate mid-flight to a unhappy customer, and a brave American tourist waive her anonymity to discuss her alleged sexual assault in Krabi. There’s also been the emergence of this excellent video of a street vendor making a khanom Tokyo for a soi dog as he pauses at a traffic light:


Let’s see what else has been entertaining, infuriating and informing Bangkok this week…


Tallest building in Bangkok protected by spirits

MahaNakhon — the recently opened, tallest building in Bangkok — was built next door to a Hokkien Chinese Christian cemetery. But have no fear, Pace Development have ensured that there won’t be any poltergeists stalking the luxury apartments by consulting with spiritual advisors, who confirmed the surrounding ghosts would actually be supportive and protective of the building’s inhabitants. Good to know.

British ex-soldier and Australian DJ face decades in prison on drug charges

This week saw the failure of the legal appeals of Brit Lance Whitmore and Aussie Jake Mastroianni who were jailed in 2014 for possession of a total 260 ecstasy tablets in Pattaya. Whitmore was jailed for 50 years and Mastroianni given 2 life sentences in notorious Klong Prem. Whitmore’s sentence was lower, despite being found in possession of over triple the amount of pills as Mastroianni, as he pleaded guilty immediately.

Thailand sees more suicides than murders

It was revealed this week that more people commit suicide in Thailand than are murdered, at a figure of around 5,000 people annually. This is overwhelmingly due to depression, according to one of the country’s leading psychiatrists, and the condition is now the second most common cause of death after cardiovascular disease.


Miscommunications between Thais and foreigners

This Coconuts article looks at the five most common miscommunications between Thai people and foreigners in the workplace and how cultural norms of east and west can explain these difficulties. While what’s said is mostly on the nose — the Thai preference of hierarchy over the Western view of equality, for instance — we’re not sure we agree that the Thai and foreign traits are the black and white absolutes presented here.

We would venture that foreigners are much better able to deal with non-verbal communication than they’re given credit for in this article. Additionally, many foreign bosses workers feel like that they have to be explicit with their Thai colleagues in order to ensure that nothing is lost in translation or in the non-verbal context of Thai communications, which is perhaps what gives the perception of a brash workplace persona.

Workplaces in the west, where most workers are from the same culture or at least speak the same language, are equally as nuanced as their Thai equivalents with plenty of hierarchical context and non-verbal communication to be navigated. We’re not sure the ignorant foreigners presented in this article would be welcomed in any workplace, regardless of where they are in the world!

Exploring Bangkok on the buses

This is a fantastic blog featuring truly beautiful photos on the side of Bangkok few foreigners voluntarily see — the bus routes. Bangkok enthusiasts as well as photography nerds will be impressed.

Where I find inspiration in Bangkok

Writers, artists and other such creators may enjoy this Bangkok Books blog that reveals where the writer goes in this city to find inspiration — places that fit their criteria of being 1) good for people-watching; 2) unfamiliar; and 3) quietly alive. A few interesting spots here, although the final place may surprise you…

Forum Discussions

Why do Thais say “You think too much”?

This Thaivisa thread explores what it means when foreigners are told “you think too much” by their Thai friends and family. Responses offered range from Thais being more accepting of the future thanks to their belief in karma, to burying their head in the sand and being afraid of confrontation.

Our favourite response:

thaivisa forum

Has your health improved or declined since moving to Thailand?

An interesting Reddit thread discussing the impact of Thailand on Redditors’ health. There’s two extremes here: those putting on weight and suffering from sugar-laden street food and cheap beer, and those thriving with fresh air and a diet of fresh fruit and veg. We think our health has certainly improved since moving to Bangkok — what about you?




A photo posted by acoala (@acoala) on

And that’s been the Week On Sukhumvit — see you next time!


Featured image is by Mark Fischer and used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 licence



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