Thai Funeral Part 3, Knee Jerk Liberals, The Thailand Girl Scene, and Wrapping Your Head Around Real Poverty – Part 3
Anyone reading the site, got an eye opening education about what it means to be a woman in a country and culture where not only do most women start off life poor but where most of the normal paths to upward economic and social mobility are blocked by age old laws, values, and government interference in the free market.
Although not intended to be an educational site, regular BigBabyKenny.com readers got the most accurate and comprehensive real life look at the nitty gritty details of women’s lives in Thailand available available anywhere on the internet, in books, and in magazines.
-Response to the Asian American and Women’s Studies Departments
Actually wandering around Thailand meeting actual Thai people, you can learn more in 30 minutes about what it means to be born a member of the underclass in a third world dictatorship than you will ever learn reading NGO produced propoganda whose purpose is to bend the truth and shill a cartoon version of reality to extort money out of rich western governments.
Actually visiting and experiencing a different culture, a non-western religion, and seeing people living an alternative way of life, you can learn more in 30 minutes about what it means to be a woman starting off poor where most of the normal paths to upward economic and social mobility are blocked by age old laws, values, and government interference in the free market, than by enrolling in a semester long political indoctrination session masquerading as a legitimate university course.
While I was taking some pictures at the Thai funeral in the middle of nowhere, my friend was invited to sit with some of the Thais. Eventually, I joined them.
We were invited to sit on this mat by one of the older women and after exchanging pleasantries the woman broached the subject of marriage.
You can see the woman in the second picture.
The women wanted to know if we were interested in marrying any of the local girls.
At first, we thought they were joking but, ever curious, we used our limited Thai to find out the real skinny.
The women were 100% serious that we could take a girl from the village, load her into the car, and take her back to Bangkok with us.
They were 100% serious that the girl would be coming back with us as “wife” not as a maid or domestic servant. She would also come alone.
For those not familiar with Thailand, there are two types of marriage. Marriages which are registered with the government and those that are not. Most Thai marriages, especially in rural areas, are unregistered.
For unregistered marriages there is a simple ceremony and then the couple are “married”. The government is not involved and the women’s has fewer legal rights in a divorce if the marriage is unregistered.
There is no room here for a long discourse on the differences between registered and unregistered marriage (plus I am no expert on the subject) but their offer to take home a wife was a legit offer. We were tooling along a country road in rural nowhere. Stopped because there was a roadblock and a band playing in an open field and could leave with a legitimate wife.
The woman initially pushed the girl sitting in front of the mat in the white shirt and black shorts with her hand on her hips (click on the picture for a full sized version where you can see better).
The girl actually spoke pretty good English and was nonplussed being introduced as a potential wife.
We inquired about what other girls would be interested and several other girls were pointed out (third picture).
The offer was legit, the girls were not being coerced in any way, and, in fact, were quite happy to be introduced to us in this context.
Truth Stranger Than Fiction —–a better description of Thailand than The Land of Smiles.
Few westerners really grasp the reality of real poverty. Sure they read about it in newspapers and maybe read a cartoon version pushed by people with an agenda but few westerners every really wrap their head around the true nature and texture of it. Maybe it’s because people just don’t want to really know about unpleasant realities. You can have a better and happier life burying your head in sand.
Real poverty is not being on the verge of starvation where you have no money for food that day. Real poverty means living a life of hard work and drudgery where there is little hope of improving oneself or improving the lives of those you care about.
Real poverty means being stuck as a member of the under class in a class based society where even if you got some education and marketable skills noone would hire you or promote you based on just individual merit.
Real poverty means being born into an ethnic group where the physical characteristics you were born with , e.g. height, skin color, facial features etc. by definition are considered unattractive by the wider population.
Real poverty means anyone from the upper classes whom you forged an emotional bond with would be branded mentally challenged by their family and social equals if they tried to marry you or even introduce you into their social circles as a wife or legitimate girlfriend.
Real poverty means living in a country with a corrupt government and police that will take the profits from any successful business you start in the form of mandatory bribes and capricious laws and regulations that favor more well connected competitors.
Real poverty means a lifetime of hard work and being stuck in a rural area where there are no prospects of anything but physically tough, unskilled, menial work at wages that leave money for nothing but basic food and shelter and nothing to do for entertainment except getting bombed on cheap whiskey.
Of course, most westerners have experienced short periods when they had no money. But even when you have no money, in Western countries, you have a family and friends and, inevitably, someone who cares about you has money and resources you can fall back on. And even when the family can’t help, the public social service net is always there–welfare, unemployment benefits, free public health care etc. For Westerners, having no money never becomes a matter of life and death.
Thailand is different.
Not only is Thailand poor but there is a no comprehensive western style social safety net.If a person doesn’t work there is no welfare system, like in Australia, where the government will give him a nice fat check every month for doing nothing.
If a person gets sick and needs an expensive operation or a costly course of treatment they have to rely on the Universal Health Care Coverage (UCS) provided by the government. In 2007, government funding for this system was less than 2000 THB per person covered. With that level of funding it is an open question whether procedures like open heart surgery, dialysis, insulin, etc., things that are taken for granted in the West, are available for those with no money in Thailand.
When you are in the lower third of the income distribution, like the people in these pictures, there is not only no money for expensive items but, frequently, there is no cash reserve even for normal everyday mishaps. A small bump in the road can mean disaster.
The next time you get involved with a Reservation Girl, ask about her family and do the math.
Find out how many people are in her immediate family–father, mother, sisters, brothers, etc., and then ask how many people work. Typical ratios are 3-1 or 4- 1. Sometimes it is 6-1 and even 10-1. Father, mother, grandfather, 2 brothers, 1 sister, and a couple of babies with 2 people working is pretty typical. With those numbers, each working person must bring enough money into the family to support 3 or 4 people.
Unskilled labor pays 200-300 THB per day. That means each person must live on about 100 THB and sometimes less per day. At that level of income not only is there no money for expensive things like medical care but it is also well nigh impossible for the family to get ahead of the game—- to accumulate a cash reserve that will provide a safety margin if something goes wrong.
If something happens to one of the families wage earners, the whole family must go on subsistence rations. Kids have to stop attending school, noone can buy clothing, food consumption must be reduced, and if it continues for a month or more, the family will be unable to pay rent and have to move out of their house or apartment. If it continues for more than a month the whole family will disintegrate and it will be really really really ugly when they do.
On the flip side, imagine the effect of adding to the family someone with western middle class money and resources —-someone who will add a couple of hundred dollars or 6,000 THB to the family pot every month. Transformational is the right word here.
When you see some western knee jerk liberals getting on their moral high horse and judging the behavior and culture of people living in non-western poor countries, if you have ever actually been to, experienced, and know about the countries they are judging and denigrating, it is their morals, behavior, and judgment that should really be questioned.