Thailand is a country, nation, a people with a beautiful, enigmatic, strong, and proud history. A place where losing face is as important as eating, sleeping, and shopping, but where “losing face” increasingly means “losing tradition.”
Just a few years ago I thought — maybe only hoped — that the Thai people would be able to integrate old and new, East and West, classic and modern, but today I’m not so sure about that any longer.
The Thai are in essence “active non-doers,” they have a let-happen and see-what-happens attitude, and unfortunately that makes them the perfect consumers. I don’t recall ever seeing a people buy so much, so often, and with so much non-sense.
Maybe the word shopaholic is not invented here, but the concept is practiced intensely, almost as a religion, and to the absolute, terrifying max.
Over the years, I’ve become ever more stupefied by the mindlessness, nonchalance, and increasing focus of the Thai when it comes to acquirement, possession, and usage of absurd amounts of — in my opinion — unnecessary material goods. There seems to be no end to it, and everything is pushed out of the way to shop, shop a bit more, and to have-have.
Materialistically based leisure activities and group-fun have reached the highest podium for a people that not so very long ago seemed to be utterly tranquil, satisfied, and Zen — as we like to state it. A nation not only seemingly satisfied with basic material means, but most certainly mentally and spiritually content.
Thailand is noticeably on the brink of huge and profound changes. The country is thrown, no — drawn into “the new world order,” the global world of more, and even more, and “better.” A relentless, rapid movement to so-called modernity, in a frightening form of Asian neo-capitalistic pre-post-modernity in all the dreadfulness of uncritical mega-consumerism.
Both unfortunate and undeniable, Thailand in particular, and Asia in general, have become meat for the lions. And moreover — they are rapidly becoming the beasts themselves.