Asiatique The Riverfront is a large open-air mall in Bangkok, with lots of expats roaming around in the large open-air mall.
It goes without saying that moving anywhere is an adventure.Rome is as unique to Mexico as Bali is to Maldives. People in China perceive things differently from the folks in America. What works in Asia probably won’t work in Middle-east.(For sure, it won’t) Going across the street in Paris can involve major changes in lifestyle. New York City is a foreign country to everyone.
But moving to Thailand—Bangkok specifically— involves taking a giant step into a whole new world of social attitudes, cultural beliefs and teaching practices both literally and metaphorically particularly when you take care kids that aren’t yours that throw random lessons either inside or outside the classroom is really a life-changing experience .That having said, posting your Life event status to let your friends know that you moved to Bangkok to taking your selfie photo with a caption “Touchdown Thailand” would get a responsive chord of hundred likes on Facebook that only millennials can understand and a dimension where time and space take on a meaning conceived of only by science fiction writers and people who are now currently boarding on the plane.One becomes the dice in a snake and ladder board which, when the game board is tilted, careens randomly through maze from someplace to someplace else. And in all senses of the word, the Filipino-born like me becomes an alien in this country.
But just before you pack up those bags and hop on the next flight over, there’s a few things worth knowing and preparing yourself with before putting your life among the temples displaying figures of Buddha, spicy foods and bumped into people glued on their smartphone on so many apps like Facebook and Line apps.(Yeah, Thais are also Social Media Junkie)So, if you’ve decided to move to Bangkok.Here are some bits and bobs for any future expat should know before stepping on the place.Good luck!
1.English is not the official language
My first reaction when I see a billboard far a distance from the airport where I landed was, gosh, that’s a lot of characters for my brain to process. What’s going on with all these symbols and tone marks in this place? What’s with all the mellow and sexy accent they have?
So, yeah. I understand that moving a country with a foreign will be difficult.What we’re less aware of is communication is hard even if we speak the language not to mention that I used to live in Vietnam for more than a year, so even if I tried to speak the localized lingo still I find myself smiling and nodding in utter confusion sometimes.
However, the majority of people in Thailand can speak English but there are some particular places that it might be limited like in public buses, sidewalk restaurants and even inside the school .But if you opt to choose to live in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya or any tourist spots would be a great deal because they need to learn English to survive and prosper since travels and tourism industry is the major source of income for some Thailanders.
Each country has its own greeting of saying “hi” or “hello” and it simply means that you’re living in a friendly place if someone says hello to strangers on the street, isn’t it? As it happens, I just love my “Sawadee ka” greeting with a palm pressed and a slight bow every time I hit my boss, my student’s parents, my neighbor, the old lady who cleans in the adjacent Soi road and the cashier who always heat up my favorite chicken rice at 7 eleven.I feel like one of the members of their blended community.
As an expat in Thailand, I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself saying constantly “Sawadee ka” when spoken by a lady and “Sawadeee krap” for a man, which is a casual greeting of saying hello.So, you better off practicing the gesture before hopping on the train from the airport.
3.It’s okay to be LGBT
The major cities in Thailand is pretty much LGBT friendly.This is especially true in Bangkok, wherein they welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders visitors, which I find it surprising because it is not always quite open to any other countries, especially in small cities.
Although, the society seems to have space for transgenders particularly in entertainment and tourism industry but there are still people think that heterosexual is a norm rather than diverse and I absolutely respect that. But somehow I know these people wanted to be treated equally rather than unfavorable judgments based on gender, race, education, religion, thinking styles and even minimal interaction.Does it seem unfair when some people walk all over you?
But whatever you do at the end of the day, we still all have the same color of blood even though people use the term First, Second and Third World country. We are all equal and we all deserve to be respected because people are people, there is bad in both.And I know there are really good people everywhere not to mention that sometimes the nicest people you meet are the ones who are covered with tattoos or rags.
4.Show some respect
I was taught in the classroom for over twenty years that it is important to respect our parents because they deserve to. But earning respect from your children is a tough job that you need to do 24/7 to become a better parent and your kids will be better for it as well.
But once you hit the road in Thailand. You might be surprised to see all their King’s pictures every corner and even on their Facebook page.And part of yourself will think “Why do Thai people love their King so much?”. Well, based on my random conversations with some of the Thais, they are proud to say that their beloved King had worked long day and long night to help his people by his acts of kindness and respecting his children by expecting them to contribute as essential members of the family rather than living down to expectations.
In short, the King showed respect for others in society in general.Perhaps, we often heard this line “I’ll show you respect if you respect me” what if I don’t respect you, doesn’t it mean I don’t deserve it. Why not? Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it because how you treat others is the reflection of you, not a reflection of their character because everyone deserves a genuine respect.That having said, children deserve the same amount of respect as do adults and they will never learn how to give this to others if they are never shown that by those role models in their own lives.
And always remember this, even how bad is your childhood days because of your abusive parents, it’s never too late to give them a chance to change themselves and allow them to extend what they failed to do when you needed them most because it brings peace to you once you see their chair is empty.
5.Too spicy for you
For anyone new to spicy food world or who just wants to raise their tolerance to spicy foods, then this is the perfect spot for you. If you’re the person who freaks out when you see a hefty hefty hefty amount of chilies on your plate then prepare yourself to bring some milk on your side to cool down your tongue.This drink is way better than milk not just on a hot day but also on hot and spicy foods like legit Thai cuisine.
And that’s one thing that I like Thai food because it has a lot of coconut milk, which is cooling and help to ease the powerful effect of spicy food.
How about you have increased your willingness to accept these spicy foods to culture beliefs to social attitude after reading this? If Yes, then you’re good to go!