Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why I Love Thailand So Much

As soon as I booked my ticket to Bangkok, I find myself not giving a shit about anything else.

My entire being is living in the future, which is not good. Past and future only exists as the present moment.

However, I guess I'll tell you why I love Thailand so, so much that I now feel invincible. It's not because they have cheap, beautiful hookers. They do have an abundance of pretty young girls who will sit with you for a drink, amongst other things, but they are not cheap, literally and figuratively.

You see, Thailand for me is not about sex. It transcends that. I love that country for the energy. They project this kind of soothing vibe that makes me calm down.

You see, I first went to Phuket for a vacation after the Boxing Day tsunami. I expected a town in mourning, but it was business as usual and the people chirpy as always.

The energy that I feel from them was not victim energy or pain energy, but the general, staple projection is one of acceptance.

I don't hate KL, and I do not believe any place makes us depressed or happy. In fact, I believe it is our own choice whether we are sad or joyful. However, it is much easier to relax in Phuket than in KL.

To a younger version of me, KL exuded pain, spite and screamed of insecurities. Phuket was like a smile as the world passes by.

I thought it was because Phuket is an island. So I went to Bangkok - a metropolis busier and more chaotic than KL. The effect, though, was the same. I still felt this alien calm which baffled me.

At that time, I was regularly visiting Thailand to relax. Partly because my doctors began telling me I would not live past 40, but mostly because it was the one place in the world where I could really relax.

In KL, the stakes were high. Talking to people, revealing too much of yourself - being honest - was a risk, especially for a young swamp person like myself. My family has nothing and I don't have anything to fall back to. I didn't feel safe in KL at all, and there were times I woke up with a cold sweat from a nightmare, to consider that the reality is not far from the dream.

And yet in chaotic, jammed Bangkok, I found solace. Not in the sex, or 'in' the people, but in a culture that promotes peace, regardless of the bombings on its southern borders.

Before that feeling goes away, I began to try and learn what is the secret of Thailand to make it the perfect vacation country.

Thais actually face more daunting challenges than Malaysians. I know of Thai schools where they only have two or three teachers. Some, merely a handful. In Malaysia, even the most rural of places have at least a dozen or more teachers.

Some Thais I know who work in the sex industry are degree-holders. In fact, I even found a go go girl who was a computer programmer and loves anime.

They have so many things they could complain about, but the amount of whining is kept to a minimum. And they always smile. Authentically. Well, most of the time.

I'm not saying they're angels, but I believe Thais in general - and this is stereotyping on the verge of racism - are happier than Malaysians because they are grateful. They are mostly - the happy ones at least - in an attitude of gratitude. Not to me or any 'customer', but the universe.

Malaysians love to complain without realising or acknowledging the fact that we are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Whining NEVER makes a problem go away. Action does. Decisions do.

And if we only focus on problems in a whiny way, then we become a whiny, problematic people. If we take a moment to realise and be grateful for the things we DO have - running water, electricity, food, rain, then maybe we would not be so bothered what other people have. Perhaps we can project some wonderful vibes other than the constant moping and wannabe attitude that so permeates some clusters or some of our time.

Whatever. I love Thailand and I am thankful it is there.