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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why Thailand is called the Land of Smiles

It's a good thing, really - being named The Land of Smiles.

I have the utmost respect for the Thais. Maybe Rick doesn't, but he has his reasons. And that's absolutely fine with me.

Have you ever wondered why the Thais are so friendly, patient, and just plain nice to everyone from locals to farangs?

I reckon that the reason stems from the infamous Bangkok traffic jams. Thai congestion cultivates patience and mutual tolerance. Experiencing the extremely congested non-standard-width Bangkok streets on a daily basis is a test of inner strength and self-control. It's the modern day equivalent of a blended form of taiji, qigong, pilates, yoga and controlled bowel movement. It is no damn joke being stuck in Bangkok traffic. I figured that the Thais have got no choice but to tahan the daily grind. What else can they do but smile?

Just smile and get on with it!

I bet the Bee Gees were in Bangkok when one of the Gibbs wrote Words - 'Smile an everlasting smile. A smile can bring you near to me....'. Okay, I'm digressing.

I think Singapore should have traffic jams to train Singaporeans the meaning of true patience and tolerance. We'd definitely see a marked decrease in road rage incidences. Or at least send Singaporeans to Bangkok for a Traffic Jam Appreciation Programme for those who complain too much about "congestion" in Singapore.

Kop Khun Krap!


Free Agent said...

Hi dude,

First up, I sure hope none of your Thai friends are reading this :)

But seriously.
I very much agree that Singaporeans should learn to be more patient and tolerant, and not just about traffic matters. I've heard more than one S'porean friend who has told me that they've learnt to be more patient as a whole after being in Thailand for a while. However, I won't exactly recommend that the 'Land of Smiles' is the place to do it.

My own patience was cultivated in a certain Australasian city that I'd lived in for a few years...and it was a much more pleasant place to do so (read: better quality of life with much less traffic and much less pollution).

As for my 'respect' for the Thais...well, let's just say that I don't dis-respect them as individuals, but I certainly do not have the kind of affection and affinity for their culture and society as some people may think I would, or should.

Read my post on this...


Chelonia Munnster said...

Well there are certain places in the Americas that do not have to resort to low-class measures in cultivating virtues such as patience and graciousness in their citizens.
Singapore - for what it is, and for what it has ALWAYS been - is full of campaigns to 'teach', or rather 'impose' values and virtues onto their citizens. As if we cannot think or behave on our own. Alas, it is - loosely put - a control freak. We are all controlled/conditioned to think in a particular 'right' way and everything else is a no-no.
Let's just say that Singapore is a very textbook society. No... sorry... I mean, Singapore is a very ten-year-series society. Indeed, we are a tenyearseriesist society - a special blend of socialist democracy.
Having said that, it seems to me that there is no better way than for the government to instil some sort of draconian measures to cultivate patience. Having been a civil servant once, I would look at a few root causes. Immediately I think of road rage and angry employers of domestic helpers. Do I have time to think of other problems? No, I'm not allowed. Remember I am (was) but a lowly civil servant. Ah, but I need to carry balls and help the incumbants remain in power. Hence absurd ERP additions, etc... oh what the heck.. i'm digressing.
Nice Singaporeans are a rare find nowadays.

Free Agent said...

Well said Munn! Well, more or less..

And Singapore is actually closer to what I call a 'socialist semi-democracy', among other things. Yeah, it's a special blend, alright...'Uniquely Singapore'!
(Heh. Bearing in mind the fiasco with the Marina Bay re-naming thing...sheeesh!)