Expats feel the vampire Kiss of Death, if a business gets into Lonely Planet‘s Thailand, any uniqueness, quality or good deal they might have discovered will become tainted or tarnished. A friend of mine wanted to take me to this really great traditional Thai restaurant but her only stipulation? Don’t mention it in your blog, Lani. I don’t want it overrun with farangs.
I was flattered she thought I had that many readers.
After being out of town for a few days, I noticed some changes in my neighborhood. There were a lot more white people in the markets, down the streets, where I go shopping. Now I do live close to the famous Lanna Muay Thai Gym so I expect some whiteness (even though it’s far from touristic areas) but I have to admit I like my Asian looks during times like this. I like blending in.
I think many Caucasian expats resent other white people moving in, or assume they are annoying tourists. Often I hear in the expat community how they saw a tourist do this or that, and isn’t it atrocious? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above being shocked by the way some vacationers dress and almost getting in a wreck staring at a woman’s boobs peeking not so subtlety above her tank top.
It’s just funny how we take interest in what is different. I used to count how many Asian Americans were at school, in a room or a restaurant or coffee shop back in the United States. Now I notice white people. It’s like, Oh Christ, the Whites are moving in to the neighborhood! Prices will be going up!
Am I any different? Nah. I just look different, that’s all. Now isn’t that interesting?
In college, I used to get annoyed when I saw white hippies running around barefoot in their ethnic clothes from Nepal or Thailand. I thought they were trying to borrow a culture because they lacked their own. I suppose if I wanted to I could feel some sort of ownership or validity being here because I’m half Thai, but who the hell am I kidding? Thailand’s great, and that’s why I’m here.
When I first got here, I noticed I was being judgmental towards “working girls”, hey, it’s easy to look down on them. But then I realized, how lucky I am, and got over it. It would be equally easy to look down on fresh expats rolling in what I feel is my turf. (555, I said fresh expats) But the idea that this is my chair because I sat in it first seems an exercise in insecurity and ridiculousness.
So if you find yourself going through the, “Wow, I’m in Thailand! Everyone is my friend and I can’t wait to meet everyone” – to – “Hey, I live in Thailand and who the hell are you?” I’d like to direct your attention to the high school years: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. Is it important for you Jrs and Srs to terrorize the Freshmen? Do you still feel the need to be cool? Are you laughing at the newbies mistakes?
Yeahhh. We’ve come so far. Welcome to the neighborhood.