Farang – is a generic Thai word for someone of European ancestry, no matter where they may come from. The Royal Institute Dictionary 1999, the official dictionary of Thai words, defines the word as “a person of white race” (Source: Wikipedia).
I have travelled through Asia a little. I have been to Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand (of course) and everywhere I go I see the same thing: 20-something backpackers dressed in their tank tops, shorter than short shorts, or dirty baggy trousers, bare feet, drinking, making noise and behaving like they have never seen alcohol in their life before.
In Cambodia I saw not only tourists, but expats too, spread out on couches in bars inhaling the laughing gas, drinking shots with marijuana, being high on meth and whatever else they could put their hands (and noses on). I saw the locals in Phnom Penh willing to get you anything you wanted for a cheap price and not hiding it from anyone, and getting high with the foreigners. In Thailand I saw naked gay guys making out with each other in front of 15 year old locals, who by now think it is normal for us, farangs, to run around with our tits and dicks out.
I am not even going to describe what goes on during the full moon parties…you can only imagine.
Examples of foreigners behaving badly are thousands. I am of course not an innocent one in this as I have done my share of bad things before. However, living in one place for a while changed a few things in me.
I am a party girl. I admit it. I love going out and I do that very often, also because there’s not that much you can do in Chiang Mai if you want to hang out with your friends. At the beginning of my life here I lived and went out only in the tourist area and I never saw any bad sites to it. But since I have started living in a more local place, I also hang out in the local bars and go to the local clubs and I absolutely love it. There’s no where else I feel so safe.
Thai people are very gentle by nature. They are shy and polite. When you stand in a crowded bar and someone steps on your toes or pushes you slightly they will always apologize a couple of times before they move on. They will do it bowing slightly and smiling.
There are no guys who try to grab your ass. Forget catcalling – Thai boys don’t even know what it means. If they chat you up they will ask you polite questions. If their English is a bit better, they will offer you a drink and maybe take your telephone number.
The classy girls (I am not talking about the bar girls, but about decent, modest Thai girls) will never try to pick up a fight with you. They will never get upset.
Also, what I noticed, when Thai people get drunk they are much quieter than us, so the bars and clubs are not that noisy.
On Saturday I happened to go to the farang club, called Spicy, where quite a lot of young foreigners and expat go. I hadn’t been to that place for a long time. I was waiting for the French guy to come back from the bar and tried to stand somewhere at a side. During 5 minutes I was pushed and shoved a million times. We then tried to dance but the people next to us kept making out and falling down on the French guy.
I was looking around at those drunken farangs and felt an absolute disgust. They were shouting to each other, trying to hear themselves over the blasting music. Their sweaty faces twisted in a drunken haze. On top of that I felt like there was something bad in the air, aggression maybe…something negative.
Finally, after a girl next to us dropped and broke a bottle, almost hurting my foot, we decided to leave. I felt disgusted and ashamed that I was also a foreigner.
We moved to a gay bar around the corner, where only a few locals were having fun. And you know when sometimes you move from a place you don’t like to something nicer, and you suddenly feel a shift in the energy and feel safer and happier? That’s how I felt.
All those boys in the bar were smiling at us and welcomed us with open arms (literally). We sat at a bar, enjoying a drink and observing them and I felt such a love towards them.
I am beginning to dislike farangs, even though I am one of them. I have a feeling like we can’t behave ourselves, like we are the one from a developing country, like we are destroying everything that is good around us. It makes me feel sad…
Please, if you visit Asia do not behave like animals.