Friday, October 08, 2010

The Word 'Why' Seems Frowned On In Thailand ?

I have been in Bangkok some years now and it never ceases to amaze me that a large number of Thai's seem unable to ask 'why' something is as it is.

They seem to accept without question anything they are told, no matter if it is an official, supervisor, security guard  or  just a normal Thai.

Maybe they see questioning as a form of confrontation which apparently they do not like ( or so they say )   or maybe it's due to the style of teaching they received as a youngster. Or is it to do with 'face' ?

I think its to do with their education, or lack of it.

But whatever the reason its just another way of slowing down the overall development of a nation.

I will cite one example. My girlfriend was arranging for my condo to receive an adsl internet connection. She was told it would take 4 weeks !  I asked her why  was that and she replied, ' I didn't ask '. I asked her to go back and ask and she refused as it would not be polite ???

So, I went to them and asked the necessary questions. The internet was working  3 days later.

I could go on and on with examples but there is no need as all the readers of this blog will no doubt know of many of their own !

Something else I have noticed is that probing questions are frowned on. Perhaps it is because the slightest probing unearths the truth about a person or something.  Their 'front' is just that, a front. An 'open' question gets a response but a 'closed' question gets a blank look !

I appreciate the same can be said about any nation in the world, and it is certainly not true of Thai's educated to a high university standard, but it just seems so prevalent in Thailand something is not right.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with your post and I would even say that amongst University (and above) educated Thais the problem is still there. I work with around 500 Thais in an engineering company, 90% of whom have degrees and many have masters. If I ask them for their opinion on something or why something has happened I will rarely get an answer!

    I think what happens in the education system is that from a young age, Thais are just told to copy or learn by rote - they are never taught to analyze or question (indeed that is frowned upon because of the inherent hierarchy in the system). If kids cannot question or think through a solution to a problem they can't develop opinions. If they don't have any opinions they can't develop likes and dislikes and it follows they won't have the motivation and passion for what they "like".

    This is why so many Thai adults in the workplace seem completely aimless. They have no reason why they are working in a particular job because they didn't choose it, it was just available. Many Thais struggle when working for foreign companies because they are expected to give their opinions and to "contribute", not just sit back and listen (and in some cases, sleep!).

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