Thailand: Same Same, But Different…

Published | Updated February 8, 2019


Asiatique the Riverfront, popular open-air mall in Bangkok
IMAGE BY HELISSA GRUNDEMANN

In Thailand, the expression “same same, but different…” is a widely used and well known slogan.

Its origins are quite interesting because it’s a hybrid of Thai and Western outlooks. The Thai would say “same same” but as time passed by and tourism grew, Westerners (Farangs) added “but different” to it.

But how come? Well… when you want to buy a product or service from a Thai, but he or she doesn’t have it, they would propose you another product or service telling you it’s “same same.” But then of course—it’s never ever “same same” at all!

So finally this became such a thing, that we, Westerners, added “but different” to the Thai selling-strategy. Nowadays, it has become a kind of a joke, and in Thailand one can even buy T-shirts with on the front side written “same same” and on the back—“but different.”

Intriguing enough, it’s also an accurate description of what is happening world-wide around the globe. Traveling the continents one discovers that things have become increasingly “same same.” People seem to run after money everywhere, after bigger, better, and more, and severely pollute and destroy their living-environments locally and globally.

You run into the same (chains) of food, utility, and fashion shops, the same kind of shopping malls, conglomerates and enterprises, whether you are in Bogota, Paris, or in Bangkok. Stress, anxiety, competition, and ruthlessness have become all-present in a unified East-West melting-pot.

The only “but different” seems to remain in the variety of climate-zones, the languages, ingrained cultural attitudes, and “touristified” traditions, but even those are under strong pressure of so-called globalization.

Of course, people and nations feel threatened in their identity, and we have seen strong uprisings from (right) nationalism worldwide, in many forms, and with different intensity.

Nevertheless, when we look closely, we can only realize that “the battle” has been lost in favor of a so-called “new world order.” A world order ruled by rich and super-rich people and enterprises who are not bound by borders, traditions, or culture, and who operate and penetrate internationally in order to get—richer.

The wars of the near future will not be about religion, ideology, tradition, culture, or nations, but about protecting or multiplying private assets, property, and money for state-less, tradition-less, care-less, and super-rich groups and individuals.

Through cultivation of (mass) fear and anxiety they mobilize the masses and impose their values, goals, and morals on the rest of the world. It’s this “rest of the world,” consisting of middle-class, lower-class, and no-class, that generally “eat-it” and follow obediently in pursuing and cooperating in reaching the goals set before them.

Of course, we can keep our eyes shut or say “we can’t do anything about it.” We can ignore, and we can go on obeying a system based on fear, ignorance, and oppressiveness. But it shows only that we have no respect for life—not for life on earth in general, not for each other, or even for our own lives in particular.

In fact, looking at the current situation, we can but only come to the simple conclusion that the world—nature so to speak, might be much better off without human beings. And that… is a sad, deplorable, and horrible reality.

Factually, there’s not so much to be proud of nowadays. Human “civilization” has too long been same same now, and I wonder it’s ever going to be any different!


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