Thursday, August 9, 2012

Expats


I’m not the first expat to write about Thailand and my writing about the northeastern part of this Southeast Asian country is not as good as many. I’ve listed some of the guys writing about the Thai countryside (as well as other useful links) in the sidebar of this blog and I keep the list updated. Included are also forums where most of the expats in Thailand share information and viewpoints, ask each other questions and get help via a communication exchange.



Some of my favorite blogs are:


The forums I like include:


A particularly interesting and diverse forum thread about expat experiences and feelings about living in Thai villages is located here:


“Expat” is short for “expatriat,” a Latin derivative meaning a person who temporarily or permanently resides in another country other than his or her own. Before I became one myself, I had a one-size-fits-all perception of what an expat was – especially a Southeast Asian one. He was grizzled, a Vietnam War vet, single, knew all the best bars, frequented the most earthy of them, knew all the bar girls and frequented only the most fun.

Well, that image might work for one type of expat in the cities, but there are many, many other kinds -- and what about the countryside? It’s very difficult to insert yourself into small communities unless you somehow have an “in” – a job, friends, family, or, more likely for expats in Thailand: a woman. If I’m sounding a bit too sexist, well, I am because whereas you see male expats all over Southeast Asia, I have yet to see a single female expatriate. That’s not to say there aren’t any, it’s just to indicate their numbers are extremely low.

There are a great many different types of expats, both in the cities and in the countryside. The one thing we share in common besides coming from other countries is the loneliness that sometimes comes upon us and that we rarely admit to. It is the loneliness that, in our own separate ways, comes upon us when we miss people or aspects of our former country.

It happens. No matter how grizzled or disaffected an expat may be about his first country; no matter how excited he may be about his second (or third, or…), or how well he knows the language or solid he is with his wife or GF, there comes a time…

… when all us expats face the realization that, like a Rainbow In The Dark, we are unlikely and absolutely... alone.

P.S. For the very best version of "Rainbow In The Dark" go here:  http://youtu.be/LmSt1oEIshE

2 comments:

Kevin said...

I like the company I keep when I am alone, Malcolm ... most of the time anyway. Good one. Here is a quote from a famous Hollywood writer, Stirling Silliphant "I came to Thailand to die. I needed to be surprised. I wanted to be shocked. Bangkok is unpredictable and it delivers if you give it a chance. Even the small adventures are memorable." Cheers

Malcolm Gault-Williams said...

Looking forward to meeting you face-to-face sometime when Thip and I are in Bangkok, Kevin!