Thailand in Perspective – Excerpt (6)


Thailand in Perspective is the Third Volume of my Thailand Diaries and is now almost complete. But before I publish it as an e-book I have decided to post a selection of excerpts which I hope will encourage you to download and enjoy the whole book.

Excerpt 6 -Seven essentials for ex-pat life in Thailand

 “All the burning bridges that have fallen after me.

All the lonely feelings and the burning memories.

Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door.

Burning bridges lost for evermore.”

(Written by Dave Mustaine. Copyright: Mustaine Music)

The words and the music of the theme song ‘Burning Bridges’, for the 1970 movie ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ starring Clint Eastwood inspired me to write this chapter. It evokes so many memories and feelings associated with my self-imposed and permanent expatriation from England to South Africa in 1995 at the age of 53. I assumed that my further migration north east from Cape Town to Thailand, in 2008, would be a much easier transition; but strangely, it wasn’t. In fact it proved to be far more difficult for a variety of reasons.

So many strange things confront you which are, of course, perfectly normal to a Thai person. You hurt your arm and you learn that your village has a ‘Spirit Doctor’ called the ‘Mau Pii’ and he will fix it with black magic. ‘Whoa!’ you say ‘Black Magic?’ But go along anyway hoping he uses chocolates! Then you find two older ladies at the bottom of your garden making sand-castles and sticking candles in them. When you dare to ask what they are doing you find that the old lady next door has a problem with her shoulder and this will fix it. You enquire a day later to find that she is fully recovered and wonder why you have spent so much money on doctors over the years. Then you find some monks are involved in sex with minors and take drugs and the ‘Five Precepts’ of Buddhism are ignored by a large percentage of Buddhists . Now you are just as confused as many Thais would be if they gave it any thought.

Between Jun and Sep 2008 I stayed on the tropical island of Phuket which stay is the subject of the e-book 15 WEEKS’ – Thailand Diaries – Volume 1. It was while based there that I formed my first impressions of Thailand. During this period I began to learn a little of what it would be like to live in Thailand permanently, with the emphasis on little. I had no real intention of settling there at that time but I did glean some valuable information which I have developed significantly since.

The mist catches fire in the morning sunrise. Northern Thailand.
The mist catches fire in the morning sunrise. Northern Thailand.

I believe there are 7 essential ingredients needed in order to lead a peaceful and harmonious expat life in Thailand which I explain in ‘Thailand in perspective’. Here they are.

  1. Have clear objectives – (Be sure why you’re going)
  2. Become culturally aware – (Prepare to change)
  3. Leave your preconceptions behind – (Go with the flow) –
  4. Integrate with Thais – (This is home now)
  5. Beware the ‘one eyed’ farang
  6. Learn from the young (more than the old)
  7. Discover yourself.

 Read Thailand in Perspective (Excerpt 1) (Excerpt 4) (Excerpt 5)

Thailand in Perspective (excerpt 7) – To be posted next week.



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2 thoughts on “Thailand in Perspective – Excerpt (6)”

    1. That is the first one on the list Jackie. “HAVE CLEAR OBJECTIVES”.I agree, and most of them end up falling off the bar. I asked one guy the other day – “What do you do now you are retired?” He said “Nothing”.
      I said “I wish I had that much time.” James


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