Friday, March 6, 2009

Thailand Culture

Every group of people has rules and it is no different under Thailand culture. One rule that comes from the Thailand culture is that you should not touch someone's head. This should be an easy rule to follow since Westerners do not go down the street touching people's heads. It should be noted that you should not throw something over a Thai's head. The only exception to these rules is that an older person is allowed to touch the head of a younger person. Foreigners should not do this since it could be misinterpreted.

It is stated in one of the guide books that one of the rules in Thailand culture that you should never wear shorts. This is not true. Thais do wear shorts. It is a very hot climate and it would be crazy if you could not wear shorts. What is true is that you should not wear shorts in a Thai Buddhist temple. As a foreigner, you would probably be allowed into the temple with shorts, but as a sign of respect, you should wear pants in Thai temple.

Another Thailand culture rule is that no matter where you are in public, you should stop when you hear the Thai national anthem. They play the national anthem every day at 8 am and 6 pm. When you hear the national anthem, you stop and then when the anthem ends, you are allowed to move again. It is a sign of respect that you stop for the anthem and some Thais will thank you for doing so. It is only about 2 minutes and it is not much of a sacrifice of your time.

One of the most important rules in Thailand culture is that you do not say bad things about the King or the Royal Family. You may feel like saying that the Crown Prince looks like Herman Munster's grandson or Jabba the Hutt's cousin. You will just have to keep those thoughts to yourself. You may think that the King looks like a nerd; you will just have to keep that thought to yourself. You should not talk to Thais about the King since they could misinterpret what you say.

This is not just a Thailand culture rule; it is the law. It is against the law to say bad things about the King. It is called the lese majeste law. It should be noted that no foreigner has ever been arrested for saying bad things about the king. Thai politicians usually use this law against their opponents to smear them.