Expatitis in Thailand, Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full…
Many of the Westerners who come to Thailand to live and work come here with unrealistic expectations. Many have been here on holiday and expect that life in Thailand will be totally free of frowns.
Most often they are in for a rude awakening and that awakening often turns them into cynical, bitter, angry whiners who see themselves as victims. They are miserable and they frequently make others miserable. The reason for this is that they acquired a disease I will call Expatitis and any depression or problems they tried to escape are exacerbated.
The primary symptom of this problem is unhappiness, which usually manifests itself in extreme and irrational anger and often depression. In addition to the very frequent use of swear words in association with Thailand or Thai people, the person uses the following kinds of words very frequently: cheat, lie, steal, irresponsible, stupid, backward, lazy and corrupt. Sarcasm is an often-used tool as is mocking Thais as well as expats who like Thailand.
Finally, these bitter, sad expats rejoice in problems or difficulties that Thailand or Thai people experience. They actually want Thailand to be corrupt or in an economic downturn or experience other problems. Then the expat can laugh a bitter angry laugh and say, “See, just what I told you.”
If you haven’t moved to Thailand yet, understand quite clearly that Thailand is a place and like any place it has its share of problems. Those problems and the solutions to them are usually different to the problems and solutions in their home country.
If you are already here, try to hang out with positive people; those who are happy and enjoy living in Thailand. Good supportive, non-negative, non-Thai bashing friends can make a big difference.
The mind-body connection can help you too. Smile and walk in a happy way and you can lift yourself up. Think positively and your face and body will reflect that happiness. Fake it until you make it.
Avoid negative people. Negativity is a contagious disease. Also avoid druggies, drunks and people who are always broke. Most often those kinds of people are fellow expats. Be extremely careful with them – whether they are the professional type or the barfly. Most of the problems people have experienced in Thailand came from expats – not Thais.
Find people you can talk with about assorted problems without whining. Joking about problems is not the same thing as bitterly accusing an entire country of something bad. I’ve got friends at work – both Thai and expat – who I joke with about students being late, Thai road etiquette, corruption or whatever else is on my mind. That’s a far cry from saying “They’re all a bunch of liars and cheaters.”
If you already suffer from the idea that Thailand and Thai people have victimized you and you are a whining machine, there is only one possible cure. Go back where you came from. Maybe then you will realize what a great place Thailand is and be able to come back and be happy. On the other hand, maybe you were an unhappy person burdened by one problem after another in your own country before you came to Thailand. In that case, seek counseling.
[H/T Chiang Rai Times]
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