The German Thai at the Village Wedding

The German Thai at the village wedding really was there, which explained a lot about cultural versus racial differences between Thailand and the West

Here I am right after the wedding in the village near Si Saket


It all started at the wedding where a good friend got married upcountry in a Thai village to an ex Thai go go dancer. Okay….so far no good. A go go dancer with a good friend of mine? Now that cannot possibly work. Even worse, the bride just happened to be among the very first Pattaya girls my friend ever went with. But there was a wrinkle to the relationship that many would have missed. And that wrinkle was that the bride had spent ten years of her life in Germany before moving to Thailand. I always suspected that the woman had been the daughter of an American serviceman who had been serving his country during the Vietnam War and that after putting in his time he had gone back to the United States completely unaware that he had impregnated a Thai woman. But I never asked the bride or the groom whether that’s how my friend’s future wife turned out to be so white skinned or why she had a long straight nose and other Western facial features. She could have been Italian from her looks or a South American woman of Spanish decent. I’m sure that she didn’t consider herself to be really Thai or at least not nearly to the same extent that most other Thai women felt themselves to be. And since she had spent 10 years living in Germany, I had the feeling that she had developed a profound respect for German culture as well as the common sense, straight forward way most Germans conduct themselves.

But when I actually went up there to help my friend get through all the wedding festivities more and more of the ex go go dancer’s story became clear to me. Over 20 years before meeting my friend, the girl’s mother had fallen in love with a German man, who married her and moved her to his home in Germany. The ex go go dancer spent much of her childhood in Germany and so did her older brother who like her had been born in Thailand. The difference was that the brother had not only spent his childhood formative years in Germany—he remained there and still is in Germany so far as I know.

At the village wedding I met the girl’s mother and I met her cousin who was working back then as a disk jockey in a Pattaya night club. I also met the bride’s older brother who spoke excellent German, good Thai and no English whatsoever. He wasn’t a large man. Most Thais aren’t, and he certainly looked every inch of being a Thai man. But although I wished I could, I couldn’t really converse with the man because neither my Thai or German is good enough for the kind of intellectual conversations I would have love having with him.

We survived the wedding and then we went back to Pattaya where we continued to celebrate, only this time, we’d do it in a night club instead of the farm yard where the chickens and dogs roamed. My friend chose the Excite disco. The place is no longer there, but back then the night club had private karaoke rooms as well as a large main room with lots of tables and chairs in it, at least two bars, and a large stage where troupes of musicians and dancers of all three sexes (I’m including lady boys who are often referred to as Thailand’s third sex) could entertain the crowd. There were around ten of us sitting together at a large table close to this main stage. There was the groom and his bride, my ex girlfriend and I, the bride’s cousin along with her older brother and several others whose faces and names I can’t remember. My friend proceeded to buy several rounds of drinks for everyone at the table. And then the older brother bought everyone a round of drinks. And there sitting at the table was the Thai cousin enjoying all that free alcohol just as he had done back at the wedding back in the village for the past several days.

The brother had undoubtedly paid for his own airfare all the way from Germany to Bangkok, and here he was owning up to being a man and buying at least his fair share of the drinks.

The difference between the two Asian men couldn’t have been more obvious. I can say this. Upcountry I have never ever had a Thai male buy me as much as one beer or drink and I’ve been to some village or another five or six times now. It had always been expected of me to pay for every drink and during my last trip to the village I brought with me 120 bottles of beer and even that wasn’t enough. But the Thai who had spent most of his childhood and all of his adult life in Germany had become a German. He had ceased being a Thai. He had grown up in a society of Germans who believed that every man must come up to scratch and be a man. In such a culture there’s no room for wimps or for men who spend all their lives leaching off of others.

Well, the Germans might have at one time believed themselves to be part of a Master Race, but I’m sure that most Germans don’t believe that today. Most Germans I’ve met, and I know a lot of them very well, have a huge amount of respect for our President Obama, who is ethnically 50 percent black and 50 percent white. So this whole master race thing for them has been a thing of the past. As for the ex go go dancer’s older Thai brother, he had become every inch a German in thought and in the way he conducted himself. So although there is absolutely nothing to this racial superiority non sense there might actually be something to the overall superiority of one culture over another. Germans are overall a very industrious creative people who are very logical and exhibit on the whole a relatively high level of fairness towards their fellow man. I would say that in many ways the Japanese are very similar. But the way I see it in too many Asian countries culturally it’s all about money being number one and to hell with everything else.

So why am I writing this post? It’s now been just a little over 24 hours since an American friend of mine had a motorbike accident on 2nd Road in Pattaya just across from the Lisa Bar. A Russian had assaulted and battered him by throwing a bucket of water into his face at 2 a.m. causing him to lose control over his motorbike at 30 kilometers per hour. The bike had gone down and he had gone down with it. The bike cost my friend 4000 baht in damages while he had to go to the hospital for his injuries. The Songkran water holiday was not even supposed to start until the next day. It is also illegal to throw water on people, cars or motorbikes after 6 p.m. But it’s okay to cause severe bodily harm on one’s unwilling victims after April 13th so long as you do it before six in the evening. But hold on, even though my friend had his accident a day before the Songkran festivities were to begin and even though it happened at 2 a.m. this is okay too. After all it’s Songkran and as long as we are having fun who cares? No one admitted to seeing the Russian throw water at my friend. And he should not complain and be a bad sport because it’s Songkran and Mai Pen Rai rules.  But the real reason I wrote this post is when I wrote that I can only recommend the book, Thailand Fever, with Fear and Trepidation on my page recommending books by other authors.

Jack Corbett

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