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Author Topic: "The Land of Smiles" ? Yeah, righ!  (Read 1433 times)

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April 06, 2014, 08:26:58 AM
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"The Land of Smiles" ? Yeah, righ!
« on: April 06, 2014, 08:26:58 AM »
Sun 6 Apr 2014, 8:07 am

Good Morning ForumMates!

Speaking of smiles in Thailand, on another board someone made the excellent point:

I'm learning that if you visit enough, that there is a certain irony to the "land of smiles."

Smiles don't mean the same thing in Thailand (and some other Asian countries) that they do in the West.  Thailand certainly is
"The Land of Smiles," there is no disputing that, but it is a big mistake to assume that smiles in Thailand mean the same thing that they do in the West.  Maybe smiles in the West are more nuanced than we realize at first glance, but Thai smiles are incredibly nuanced and do not (necessarily) express warmth, friendliness and humor as they do most of the time in the West. They can mean almost anything and express almost any attitude or emotion. Take them as they come; it is more pleasant to have people smiling at you rather than scowling or giving you the "evil eye," but don't assume that they mean or express something positive, and don't worry too much about what they mean.  Thais were raised learning how to express and "decode" smiles, and do it naturally.  You or I would have to study if for a v. long time, and then probably never be very good at it.

What do you think?  Share your experience.  Have you ever misinterpreted a smile in Thailand?  What happened?  Tells us about it . . .


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