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Are Thais Liars, Cheats and Thieves?


Are Thais liars, cheats and thieves?

Before I moved to Thailand a decade ago, I used to spend time on a couple of forums for foreigners living in Thailand as I wanted to learn more about the country. As I read through these forums day after day, one theme seemed to run through many of the posts on them. Thais are liars, cheats and thieves.

Now, if I was a more gullible person and hadn’t already met some of the foreign men (and a couple of women) living in Thailand, I may have believed this. As it is, I had already spent some time in Thailand and had close Thai friends. So, to hear many of these foreign men talking about Thais as “liars, cheats and thieves” only made me laugh. Why? Because Thais are not liars, cheats and thieves. However, some of the foreign men accusing them of being definitely are.

Like any country, Thailand has its share of people who are not particularly moral or honest. They lie, they steal and they cheat. But does Thailand have more liars, cheats and thieves than other countries? Of course not. In fact, I’d say it has a lot less than some.

Don’t believe what some foreigners tell you about Thais

What Thailand does have, unfortunately, is a large number of western men who are only in Thailand because of Thai women. Throw in the cheap booze, and you can only guess the caliber of western men the country sometimes attracts.

Some are running away from the law in their own country. Others live hand-to-mouth as they don’t have two baht to rub together, and yet others are alcoholics, drug addicts or just plain ‘losers’. That they then come to Thailand, accept the hospitality of the country and of the Thais, and then spend their time slamming Thais on forums all over the internet (and in person too) only tells you what kind of people some of them really are.

As for Thais, I wonder sometimes what kind of opinions they hold of ‘farangs’ (white westerners) as so many they come across in Thailand really are awful.

Western men aren’t always the paragons of virtue they say they are

In one building I lived in, I witnessed drunk and abusive foreigners yelling at the nice owner and the lovely Thai staff. I’ve seen western men hurling objects at Thais because they didn’t get what they wanted. One man was throwing bottles out of his apartment window in the building I live in recently as he was angry about something. To his deranged mind this was ‘acceptable behavior’ when you’re angry.

Another man spent half a day in the lobby of my apartment building drunk and cursing Thailand, screaming abuse at the nice Thai woman who runs the reception area and harassing the building’s customers.

The hotel management, who are far too polite in many situations involving idiot farangs in Thailand, finally called me down to the reception area because I was a ‘farang’, but one that is always polite, and asked me what they should do. My response? “Call the police and have him arrested. That’s what any hotel in America or Europe would do.”

Why do some westerners hate Thais so much?

As I’ve lived in Thailand for more than 10 years, the complaining, whining and abuse of Thais from foreigners (mainly men, but a couple of western women I’ve met too) really does get old. And, yes, sure, some of them have had terrible experiences with Thais.

They’ve been lied to by girlfriends, stolen from and, in a couple of cases I know of, even had their lives threatened by the girlfriend’s ‘husband’. But, in almost all the cases I know of, the men in question were involved with Thai prostitutes or ‘bar girls’ and with the seamy world that type of interaction involves.

Now tell me, why do these men think ‘dating’ a Thai prostitute is any different than ‘dating’ a prostitute in their own country? And why are they surprised when bad things happen? And why on earth are they basing their opinions of Thais on these types of people?

Why do some westerners love Thais and Thailand?

The western men and women I do know who love their lives in Thailand, and don’t spend their time on internet forums calling Thais rude names, tend to live their lives just like they would back in the west.

They have good jobs, they love to travel, they treat people well and, if they date or are married to Thais, they are average Thai men and women who would no more think of being liars, cheats or thieves than they would of throwing their elderly parents out onto the street.

In short, they live normal lives among normal Thais and, guess what, their lives are wonderful and so are the Thais they interact with.

So….are Thais honest? The vast majority….yes

The moral of this story? If you are low-class to begin with and bring your less-than-stellar morals to Thailand, then mix with Thais and foreigners with the same dubious morals, your life in Thailand is likely to be just as you depict it on internet forums. Difficult, depressing and populated by people most of the rest of us wouldn’t give the time of day to. Just like it would be in any country.

If, however, you come to Thailand, get a good job, make Thai friends, treat people politely and kindly or, in short, act like an upstanding citizen in any other country, your experience in Thailand will be amazing.

Thais…..liars, cheats and thieves? Only if you choose to mix with the tiny percentage that are. The rest of the country? Some of the most honest, kindest and nicest Thai people you could possibly meet. Just like anywhere.