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Being "right" and still being wrong.
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  1. #1
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    Being "right" and still being wrong.

    I remember before my wife came to be with me in America she made a decision that was "very questionable".

    In typical Farang fashion I popped-a-cork and voiced all of the ways I found her decision flawed: with enthusiasm. Not only did I tell her but I told a couple of her relatives and even a few Thais that were already in the city where I lived. After all was said and done it was not her decision that was remembered; it was my public reaction and my great loss of "face".

    The Thais have two expressions: jai yen and jai raan. Loosely translated it means a Cool Heart and a Hot Heart respectively.

    The biggest thing that I have had to adjust to when dealing with Thai Natives is conflict. The American style to confront and the Thai style to avoid are absolutely at different ends of the spectrum.

    In many cases Farangs can be technically right on an issue and because of their approach on how to resolve it they are perceived by the Thais as the one in the wrong. If you get a Thai person that is really "going off" on you, then they are seriously mad (or they are just rude in Thai standards).

    With a little training/re-education it becomes much easier to deal with conflict in a Thai manner; I have found I have a knack for it when inclined to use it. The house is much quieter and the nights are much safer if you approach conflict with Jai Yen (a cool heart).

    Post edit: The reason I have placed this post in the Isaan Forum is this idea was the root of the largest problem I have created while in Thailand/Isaan. There has been a lot of Westernization in Thailand; by far more in the cities and considerably less in the rural parts of Isaan. Being aware that this norm exists belongs in the Thailand Guidebook and understanding it's need to be observed habitually while in Isaan belongs here. It will only truly makes sense after a problem has been generated; trust me, I know.
    Last edited by pclev; 24-02-08 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Feedback from concerned Members
    The Heart determines what is Possible by the Mind

  2. #2
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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    A lesson we all, as farangs, must learn sooner or later, one way or another.
    I usually, when in conflict with anyone in the family, usually keep quiet, let them go away and think about it, and later, sometimes weeks later, they come back with a brilliant idea that is all theirs, and only you know where they got it from, but you do not tell them!
    To be happy with where you are, first be happy with who you are.

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    pclev, I'm interested in as to why this is posted in the Isaan guidebook? You've had a lot of very insightful posts recently, but might they be better served in a general Thai section? Is there a particular part of jai yen that is more or less Isaani?

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    Very well observed PCLEV. In many years of marriage to a thai, I still don't grasp or understand the why's of things with her. I've come to accept and let it go at that.

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    Something I have observed related to this is when a tourist gets angry with a waiter in a restaurant or with a taxi driver -- the Thais sometimes don't know how to react to the foreigner being jai rawn.
    So being Thai they get all confused and embarrassed, and they might nervously turn to a friend and smile .... then the foreigner mistakenly believes that the Thais are laughing at them and the foreigner just gets angrier.
    I think this kind of misunderstanding is very unfortunate but it happens a lot.

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pailin View Post
    pclev, I'm interested in as to why this is posted in the Isaan guidebook? You've had a lot of very insightful posts recently, but might they be better served in a general Thai section? Is there a particular part of jai yen that is more or less Isaani?
    i feel that many people in more urban area are losing the habit of being jai yen. last year i visited issan, northern thailand and of course bangkok. i can really feel the difference between the three area. it might be the level of stress that urbanised civilians are being put into such that they become more jai rawn.. agrees?

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by y2long View Post
    i feel that many people in more urban area are losing the habit of being jai yen. last year i visited issan, northern thailand and of course bangkok. i can really feel the difference between the three area. it might be the level of stress that urbanised civilians are being put into such that they become more jai rawn.. agrees?
    I agree. The city folk are more "upwardly mobile" and uptight, and they have more of a "big face" to maintain. Country folk are more relaxed and have less to lose.

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    i feel that many people in more urban area are losing the habit of being jai yen. last year i visited issan, northern thailand and of course bangkok. i can really feel the difference between the three area. it might be the level of stress that urbanised civilians are being put into such that they become more jai rawn.. agrees?
    My point was not in reference to Bangkok or "city folk"... there are villages and country folk all over Thailand, not just in Isaan. Jai Yen is a Thailand concept, not just an Isaan concept.. agrees?

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pailin
    pclev, I'm interested in as to why this is posted in the Isaan guidebook? You've had a lot of very insightful posts recently, but might they be better served in a general Thai section? Is there a particular part of jai yen that is more or less Isaani?
    It is a fair enough question: I am employed as a Clinical Diagnostic Engineer for a Global Company; which means I have to manage almost every second of my day. The amount of time that I can commit to the effort of the Forums is finite.
    As much as I would like to focus my efforts on the Isaan Forum and post in many of the other Forums it is just not possible to give my efforts to both and gain the satisfaction I get in what I am doing now.

    Thank you for the kind words. I am enjoying the time I spend writing about some of my observations. It is also pleasing to hear members are enjoying reading them.
    The Heart determines what is Possible by the Mind

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    Re: Being "right" and still being wrong.

    I don't think it's a matter of time, just organization.

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