ERIC Number: ED231183
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Thai Ways and My Ways.
Williams, Dick L.
Differences in Thai and American world views that point to cultural differences where misunderstandings can occur are considered. These differences reflect an alternative view of reality, not just language or verbal differences. Thailand has never been under foreign rule; most of the people are Buddhists; and 80 percent of Thai people are involved in agriculture. Thai culture, beliefs, and life styles are analyzed and compared to those of Americans with respect to the following topics: man and nature, the philosophy of Buddhism, fate, time, animism, ghosts, animals, the ideal self, social relations, status, sex roles, friendship, nonverbal behavior, behavior in public, dress, and dining. Buddhist thoughts that influence the Thai world view include: man must live in harmony with nature and natural law, and doing acts of goodness influences fate. In contrast, Americans tend to view the world as material rather than spiritual and seek to dominate and exploit nature. Buddhism teaches that all life is sacred and involved in the cycle of birth and rebirth. Though Thais may not seem serious to Western eyes, Buddhism teaches a certain detachment from life, acceptance of fate, and enjoyment of life. Americans value activity and doing; Thais value interpersonal relationships and enjoyment of life. American concerns are self-expression, self-interest, self-development, and independence, while Thai values are more directed toward family interest, people around them, and interdependence. (SW)
Descriptors: Beliefs, Comparative Analysis, Cultural Differences, Cultural Traits, Family Life, Interpersonal Relationship, Life Satisfaction, Non Western Civilization, Nonverbal Communication, North American Culture, Philosophy, Religious Cultural Groups, Sex Role, Social Status, Sociocultural Patterns, Values
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Buddhism; Thai People; Thailand