Jealousy and Gossiping in Thailand

The three signs of Jealousy

Latdaa does not like gossiping. In some ways she is not typically Thai. She is more independent than most. Her parents divorced when she was very young and she was brought up by her aunt, herself a divorced lady with her own daughter to look after.

Her strong character may be a result of having to fend for herself much of the time. Her aunt supported her as much as she could but Latdaa did not have as much help as others when studying in school and university. She found her first job by her own efforts and is doing well there. After just three years, she has been promoted to supervisor.

She asked the Japanese director of her company if she could visit the head office in Tokyo. That in itself was a pretty unusual request from a Thai. They will drop hints but won’t ask directly. He readily agreed and she spent four days on a tour of the Tokyo offices and factory.

It was a very full programme by all accounts. There was a great deal for her to learn and understand about the way the company operated. The Japanese, it seemed, did not mind her plain-speaking approach.

On the final day, Latdaa was allowed to spend her time sightseeing and engaging in the usual tourist activities. She choose to spend her free time with a colleague she had been introduced to in the office. They spent the day together and saw a lot of the city. The two ladies did some window shopping as the prices were too high for Latdaa to contemplate any purchasing. They both enjoyed their day. Back in Thailand, her day of seeing the sights was the subject of much gossip and jealousy. Probably much was fabricated to make a good story. It annoyed Latdaa a little but, as she said to me, it’s typically Thai to engage in tittle-tattle. 

It is certainly not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on. (Marilyn Monroe, an icon of the American pop culture of the 1950s and 1960s. Famously sang for President Jack Kennedy

Another example of Jealousy can be seen at the end of this rather interesting post on prostitution in Thailand.

Thailand has been tagged the land of sun, sand, sea, and sex for scores of years. Because the economy benefits from its image as a world centre for sex tourists, the sex industry is tolerated quite openly. Lip service may be paid to changing these perceptions but the cash flow generated is good for the country’s GDP and boosts the profits of other sectors of the economy.

The number of prostitutes is probably around two million. Not all of them are Thais and the greater number are not forced into the trade. Supporting one’s parents and older relatives is an overriding factor in Thailand and girls regularly send a big slice of their earnings home. Soliciting is not illegal unless it occurs “openly and shamelessly or causes a nuisance to the public”. That is a rather vague definition in a country where the interpretation and enforcement of laws can change depending on the political emphasis at the time.

As we noted in Thailand Take Two, provision of escort or massage services is not illegal. Pole dancing is considered a cultural art form by the authorities. Recruiting bargirls to drink with clients in a bar is not against the law. Scantily clad girls sitting in a row outside a karaoke club and smiling at potential punters are committing no offence. Calling out “Hey, you handsome man” is not soliciting but a mere expression of a man’s physical attraction. Young women wearing numbered tags and sitting in a “goldfish bowl” waiting to be chosen by men sitting in rows gazing at their sexy bodies is nothing to do with paid prostitution.

The girls sit behind the glass screen watching TV and gossiping amongst themselves. There can be a lot of bitchiness and jealousy with the girls and mood swings can result in aggression. Their obvious boredom is only relieved when their number is called and they rush to get towel and soap.

Away from the “goldfish bowl” venues and the flashier nightclubs in the big cities, you find many smaller bars in every Thai town where the girls will congregate. Some girls are looking for long term relationships with farangs to give them and their families a better standard of living. Marrying a much older man may be a small price to pay for that enhanced security.

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