Things That Really Annoy Farangs in Thailand

I was waiting to meet my friend in a coffee shop on Sukhumvit road, and a waitress kindly gave me the Big Chilli magazine to read. I thought that was really nice of her, and I was even more pleased to find the Entertainment column. It got me laugh so much and I have to share it with you.

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Thai Language explanation

ไม่รู้เรื่อง /mâi rúu rûeang/ could mean different things;

[1] don’t understand the meaning when you hear a foreign language

[2] don’t understand what is going on

[3] don’t know what one is doing

 

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This also annoys me as well! I guess some security guards do think blowing the whistle as loud as possible might get them a promotion 😛

 

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Have any of these ever happen to you?

 

CREDIT: The BigChili Magazine August 2013

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32 Responses to Things That Really Annoy Farangs in Thailand

  1. mrt 23/03/2014 at 03:05 #

    if you do not know what to eat then order panang not know if i spell it right but that everybody can eat i think and taste is good ……

  2. Chris 13/11/2013 at 22:35 #

    The thing that annoys me is when you go to a restaurant and the waitress turns up straight away to take your order. I always feel pressured to order quickly because they stand there watching you while you decide what you want (which can take a while if the menu is large, as is often the case).

    Going out for dinner with my girlfriends family and other Thai people, I notice that often the Thais already know what they want to order before they sit, so it’s no issue for them, but if you are unfamiliar with the dishes or just want to browse the menu having the waitress stand there watching you for 5 minutes can get a bit akward… or perhaps it’s just me..!?? =)

    • MM 27/10/2015 at 15:15 #

      It’s not just you Chris. Although it doesn’t annoy me but it definitely makes me feel highly uncomfortable and pressured when I go eat something alone instead of with my gf.
      Sometimes she also doesnt know what she wants to eat yet but even then she has already decided within a minute and starts help me speed up choosing. So my approach usually is to let her choose for both of us, can’t go wrong as I like everything 🙂

  3. C.R. 31/10/2013 at 22:51 #

    The term ‘farang’, i even clinch while typing it, is definitely a racist term. If you grew up in America, and don’t say anything negative about that please, then you would understand the fight that people have gone through to undue years of racism.

    Whereas foreign nationals are not under the stress of slavery, there is a definite division of locals and non-locals in the country. There are separate rates for ‘farangs’ and for Thais, and although the money doesn’t bother me, the sentiment that goes along with it does.
    People should be considered equal, no matter their skin tone.

    The example above that reverses the conversation, and instead of saying ‘there’s a white person here’, saying ‘there’s a brown person here’, would most likely have the same negative reaction that many people have to this term.

    Discrimination, in any shape or form should be stopped. One less person using a word that drives a stereotype negative or not, is a move in the right direction.

    Why do white people in Thailand need to be referred to as ‘others’? Is it really necessary?

  4. Didier 21/09/2013 at 03:45 #

    For me it’s natural to hear people call me farang because I am french and it’s close from the french name français (mean french) Hill tribes people in center Vietnam use the same name but only for french, american and english are call mich (from american).So at this time, I told them no mich, farang. It’s not bad,Gringo is the same in Latino america; and in France we have many general nickname for foreigner.for example french people call all far east people “chinese” so when they say chinese to a vietnamese , the poor guy feel a lot more miserable then any westerner call farang in thailand.

  5. Ralf 21/09/2013 at 01:49 #

    Thais frequently refer to me as farang in my presence, and I always sort of recoil when I hear it, but since it is clearly not meant as an insult, I always remind myself that my reaction is irrational. People are generally way too easily offended, and almost invariably I think it makes more sense for people who feel offended to realize that they are the ones who have a problem, not the person offending them. What do we stand to gain by being offended anyway?

  6. Arthur 21/09/2013 at 01:01 #

    How could you think farang be racists? Only if it is used that way. I have lived in Thailand for five years. The only time it bothered me is when I first moved yo my wife’s village in Kalasin Province in 1972: all the children would follow me around (Pied Piper like) and say farang-farang like a broken record. Hey I was only 26 y.o.– it drove me crazy 555. Now it is very funny 555.

  7. Venancio 14/09/2013 at 06:25 #

    I’ve heard yesterday a Thai girl singing a music also known as 5552. I laughed because it was funny, it happens all over in the world. We all are one race, the human, but we have different backgrounds. Our life experience is unique and being humorous about it is a proof of intelligence. Khop kun khrap, kruyai Mod.

  8. Stephen 13/09/2013 at 03:45 #

    I have to say none of them would bother me at all, then again I would never take anything to heart. I really love the Thai sense of humour I really love the ‘Slagging’ its very similar to what goes on back in my home country. I really laughed when two bar girls from Isaan were slagging each other in Thai and she called the other girl ‘Dom’ (not sure I spelt it correct) which is like a small barrell to collect water 55555555.

  9. chester 12/09/2013 at 00:59 #

    whether these things happen in thailand or not is not what makes the cartoons funny, what makes them funny is recognising how a farang would find these things annoying. i don’t doubt they would annoy some thais too but somehow they annoy us farang more. LOL.

  10. Craig 11/09/2013 at 05:41 #

    My local Thai language teacher taught us that farang is not a racist term, just one that describes a group of people. Pom bpen farang! Never had a problem with it and sometimes useful to know when the locals are talking about you 🙂

    The India they have teams of guys with whistles in the car parks which are really annoying. Not so bad in Thailand

    • Mod 11/09/2013 at 17:05 #

      I agree:)

      • Ray 21/09/2013 at 17:19 #

        Never bothered me to be called “Farang”. Living in Hawaii a long time locals call caucasian’s “Haole”. I also lived in Hong Kong and the call us “Gweilo” Which in Cantonese refers to skin colour white. All of these are usually used in non-derogatory ways But Gweilo can also be translated as White or Foreign Devil. Thank you Mod for all you do. I learn but you make it so entertaining as well.

  11. Thailandee 11/09/2013 at 01:34 #

    I experienced the last one. So now I never go for a foot massage when it is “lakorn time” 😉

  12. Gary 11/09/2013 at 01:31 #

    > In my humble opinion <

  13. stan 11/09/2013 at 01:10 #

    Well after all it is not the country that the “farang” grew up in, so why change it to what they want back home. If thai people are happy with the way things work, why should the “farang” change it? just relax and everything will get there in the end! 🙂

  14. Keith 11/09/2013 at 00:20 #

    None of these situations have happened to me, except being called a farang upon occasion. I don’t mind being called ฝรั่ง because I’ve never been called one in a derogatory way. Thai people are among the most tolerant and hospitable people in the world, IMHO.

    • Mod 11/09/2013 at 00:36 #

      IMHO แปลว่าอะไรคะคุณคีธ

      • Evan Meades 11/09/2013 at 06:06 #

        In response for Keith, IMHO means;

        ‘in my honest opinion’,

        is that what you were asking Krue Mod?

        ps. Yes, very funny cartoons and like most satirical cartoons, they generally have a basis in some form of truth.

        • Pee Moo 21/09/2013 at 20:00 #

          To me, IMHO has always been “in my HUMBLE opinion” but either way works.

      • Ron 21/09/2013 at 09:28 #

        จริงๆ ครูMod

      • Mal 21/09/2013 at 11:30 #

        a later posting but thought this was a reasonably well known
        IMHO = In my humble opinion.

    • Rudolf 12/09/2013 at 00:01 #

      Keith; I completely agree with you. – I think: “the way you treat others is how others will treat you”, or: “Like you come gone – you will also conceive.” – I have been several times in Thailand and my experiences were 99% positiv. In some other countries I was treated worse, or more unfriendly than in Thailand.

      • mrt 23/03/2014 at 03:10 #

        i agree with you me and my wife (she is thai) whas in bangkok for a week and there i whas feeling myself more secure then in my own country ofcause there is bad people too but i not see them .
        but i want too say that there is thai who not like farang i feel it in thailand but it is not my problem it is this people who is having a problem

    • Jaime 22/12/2013 at 15:38 #

      That is a tired cliché, Keith. I have lived in several countries and in my experience people are hospitable to foreigners everywhere in the world. That is human nature. In Thailand, where I’ve been living for two years, I’ve have encountered a lot of rude people too, just like everywhere else. The smile doesn’t mean they actually like you, it’s a beautiful cultural treat, just that.

      • Jaime 22/12/2013 at 15:39 #

        And by “treat” I mean “trait”

  15. Lat 10/09/2013 at 22:36 #

    We have the word “farang” in my country Uzbekistan too. It has exactly the same meaning. Initially it probably meant Frenchmen, but later all westerners became farangs. The word is more of acronym now, but funny that we still have a girls name “Farangis”.

  16. keith 10/09/2013 at 22:32 #

    Concerning the other cartoons. Yes they are annoying, but they can be experienced in many other countries, so it is unfair of the artist to complain about them suggesting that they are a Thai phenomenon . Can relate to the one about repair personnel not turning up and that’s here in UK

  17. keith 10/09/2013 at 22:28 #

    I’ve not had the first one happen, but I understand and agree with the sentiment. The word farang can be considered racist. Firstly she has no need to refer to his race at all, she could just say there is a person out here, or there is a gentleman out here… Unless she considers that a white european does not fit into those categories. I remember hearing from a South African person in the days of apartheid “There are 2 million people and 20 million blacks in South Africa” Same concept.

    Then, if she is at all interested in his national origins she could call hima French person or an American person. But she is not considering him in that way and seems to think that all those nations are the same. If the situations were to be reversed would it be right to have said – there’s an asian out here to see you. I would certainly consider that offensive. But the term farang refers to white skinned people only, so she is saying there’s a white out here… again reverse the roles, There’s a brown person here to see you…. Yes I would be annoyed. If I were a customer, I would wait to see the manager and then explain that she or he has just lost all present and future custom from me due to the rudeness of the staff.

    • Steve 21/09/2013 at 06:05 #

      My understanding of the term farang is anybody who is not Thai or from surrouding regions i.e a black, brown or yellow person is also called farang so I never take offence. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • mrt 23/03/2014 at 02:56 #

        no you are not wrong and i also not take it so serius it is only the thai way to say that there is a foreign person staying out here……and to be white in thailand is ok many thai like white skind , if you have white skind as a thai it means that you have better work then many other people who have work outside and is brown that is somethin i see on the internet ,but i think it is like that because thai want white skind and not dark

    • Geoff 06/02/2014 at 13:58 #

      It’s taken one step further from saying “Asian”. That’s far more polite than “farang.”

      “Farang” means guava, “Asian” means PERSON from Asia. Thais have a word for “Westerner” (kon dta-wan dtok), as well as generic foreigner (kon dtaang chaat), too, but I’ll bet you’ve never heard it.

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