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Trust and deceit in Thailand - Craig Dickson on the death of Jordan Coe

- - - - - racism Death Money Jordan Coe

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#1
bbf3

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Came across this blog written by Craig Dickson, a Scottish muay thai fighter at Sumalee Boxing Gym in Phuket and also friend of Jordan Coe. In his latest post, he reflects on the death of his friend and, along with it, the death of any trust he had left for Thais.

Any trust which may have remained for Thais died with Jordan Coe. Until Jordan’s death, in my mind, the constant deceit, the malice, was a reaction to my own character. My fault, no doubt. Culture gap, lack of understanding. However, no matter the lengths we go to to integrate into this pretty sordid society, we are met with disappointment and failure.

https://muaythaiadventurer.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/fallout



#2
K. von Duuglas-Ittu

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I found this article to be a little out of control. I guess he's had some run-in with less than awesome Thais, and I've never lived the Phuket Muay Thai lifestyle, but the generalizations about "Thais" really border on out-right racism.

...however my experiences with them have shown them as inherently deceptive.

 

How would that sound? Blacks as inherently deceptive, Mexicans as inherently deceptive, Jews as inherently deceptive? Come on dude.


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All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare. - Spinoza


#3
bbf3

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While I can understand that the nak muay life in Thailand is not as glamorous as it may initially seem, I agree that he goes too far in his generalisations. I guess he has a lot of built up frustration and is using his experiences to make sense of what happened to Jordan.
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#4
K. von Duuglas-Ittu

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While I can understand that the nak muay life in Thailand is not as glamorous as it may initially seem, I agree that he goes too far in his generalisations. I guess he has a lot of built up frustration and is using his experiences to make sense of what happened to Jordan.

 

Also in his next post he compares himself, or rather declares himself a "migrant"/"immigrant" worker as a fighter:

I myself am an immigrant, a migrant worker who plies the trade of controlled violence.

 

 

https://muaythaiadve.../16/untitled-1/

To do this in the country of Thailand which has a serious immigrant worker issue, in particular how immigrant Burmese are treated and thought of is more or less insane in my book, and shows how detached from reality he is. No, fighting as a sponsored fighter in a resort/gym in Phuket, in the sunshine is not IN ANY meaningful WAY like the immigrant workers of Thailand. It's not that he "goes too far", it's that he lives, or at least writes, in a very disconnected way.


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#5
Sylvie

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I absolutely hate this article and, without having known Jordan at all, everything I've heard about him since his passing makes it very clear that he loved Thailand and Thai culture. To write this racist bullshit in his name feels, to me, like something he wouldn't have appreciated. His death is a tragedy and one that his gym is suffering from as well. From what I've heard his gym family loved him a great deal and they are not spared the pain of his death. 

Having lived here for 5 years, I have met enough expats and read enough online expat threads to know that this is a common theme, mostly among men, to rail against "Thais" as a whole. There is a very strong resentment over being "outsiders" to a rather insular culture. I don't have a sympathetic ear for it. I've met very nasty Thai men, but they're just shitty men and there are shitty men in every culture around the world. Writing about these frustrations, difficulties, being fucked over, the super shady aspects of the fight world - all of that can be informative, cathartic, whatever. But that's not what he's doing.


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#6
Emma Thomas

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I absolutely hate this article and, without having known Jordan at all, everything I've heard about him since his passing makes it very clear that he loved Thailand and Thai culture. To write this racist bullshit in his name feels, to me, like something he wouldn't have appreciated. His death is a tragedy and one that his gym is suffering from as well. From what I've heard his gym family loved him a great deal and they are not spared the pain of his death. 

Having lived here for 5 years, I have met enough expats and read enough online expat threads to know that this is a common theme, mostly among men, to rail against "Thais" as a whole. There is a very strong resentment over being "outsiders" to a rather insular culture. I don't have a sympathetic ear for it. I've met very nasty Thai men, but they're just shitty men and there are shitty men in every culture around the world. Writing about these frustrations, difficulties, being fucked over, the super shady aspects of the fight world - all of that can be informative, cathartic, whatever. But that's not what he's doing.

Yes, yes and yes. The Thai Visa Forum is full of men like this, bitterly posting about 'the Thais'. I can't stand it. 


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#7
Kaitlinrose

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Yes, yes and yes. The Thai Visa Forum is full of men like this, bitterly posting about 'the Thais'. I can't stand it. 

Maybe some have become a little too used to being the favored group in their own culture and can't handle *gasp* no longer being the majority. 

I have not spent nearly as much time in Thailand as others on this forum, but I did find Phuket had a much seedier feel than the other areas I have visited in Thailand. That certainly wasn't the case with everyone, and I'd apply that to Thais and foreigners alike. One would hope people would have enough common sense not to base their judgement of an entire culture off of what they find in an area with a high tourist population. 


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#8
K. von Duuglas-Ittu

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Maybe some have become a little too used to being the favored group in their own culture and can't handle *gasp* no longer being the majority.

 

Not to go too far into this, but there is another layer from my own experience and perceptions, if the thoughts are worthy to put out there. It seems that many of the western men who come to Thailand long term come because they already feel like outcasts, or unacknowledged to the degree that they hoped to be, in their OWN cultures. There is a wide spectrum on this, all kinds of reasons they did not sit well where they were in their own culture, but when they come to Thailand the seduction is the incredible sense of freedom they can feel here, at least in the beginning. They can more or less reinvent themselves (nobody knows them), their $$ go further, they are much richer than they were, and they can at times more easily access women of a beauty standard that they may not have at home (this can also apply to western women who can have their own syndrome of this, but that's another story), and the seeming non-judgmental nature of Thais (Thais do form very strong judgements but they just won't let you know about it) all speaks to a kind of wonderland of self-esteem and self-creating. This applies to older sex-pats, but also to fighters who find themselves doing hyper masculine things, like beating people up for a living...or being beat up. The thing of it is, if you come from your own culture where you already feel you aren't respected like you should be, and then find yourself in a kind of playland, it can be pretty jarring when you run up against the "you are farang" wall, and realize that you aren't embraced the way you thought or hoped. A lot of these more vocal older ex-pats already feel embittered along the line of acceptance. They can often come here to feel special in some way and resent it when it doesn't work out that way.

For us we never imagine that we could or would be taken as a "Thai". Why would we? We aren't Thai. Thais, to be very broad about it, seem to be very clannish (family-like extended groups) and sensitive to shifting alliances, and there are so many difficulties to be found within Thai social hierarchies, and within clans and friendships, things we don't see. This isn't "deceptive" in the sinful western sense, but it is...maybe cloistered is the best word. There are circles of trust, within circles of trust, to use a line from Meet the Parents. But a lot of the "Thais are so blah, blah, blah..." talk really seems to come from a combination of putting yourself in poor situations, and unrealistic ideas about how you should be appreciated or embraced.


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#9
K. von Duuglas-Ittu

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More on the "inherently deceptive" Thais:

 

Sumaree Sriuam, 29, who sells chicken noodles, was riding her motorbike near Bali Hai Pier, when she found a wallet on the ground.

The wallet contained three THB400,000 checks, THB29,822 cash, and credit cards belonging to a man named Wutthikorn Hanwutthisut.

Sumaree decided to bring the lost property to Muang Pattaya Police to help look for the owner.

“I just feel sorry for the owner,” Sumaree told Siamchon News. “I don’t want other people’s property, and I know they’d want it back.”

source


All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare. - Spinoza


#10
Kaitlinrose

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Not to go too far into this, but there is another layer from my own experience and perceptions, if the thoughts are worthy to put out there. It seems that many of the western men who come to Thailand long term come because they already feel like outcasts, or unacknowledged to the degree that they hoped to be, in their OWN cultures. There is a wide spectrum on this, all kinds of reasons they did not sit well where they were in their own culture, but when they come to Thailand the seduction is the incredible sense of freedom they can feel here, at least in the beginning. They can more or less reinvent themselves (nobody knows them), their $$ go further, they are much richer than they were, and they can at times more easily access women of a beauty standard that they may not have at home (this can also apply to western women who can have their own syndrome of this, but that's another story), and the seeming non-judgmental nature of Thais (Thais do form very strong judgements but they just won't let you know about it) all speaks to a kind of wonderland of self-esteem and self-creating. This applies to older sex-pats, but also to fighters who find themselves doing hyper masculine things, like beating people up for a living...or being beat up. The thing of it is, if you come from your own culture where you already feel you aren't respected like you should be, and then find yourself in a kind of playland, it can be pretty jarring when you run up against the "you are farang" wall, and realize that you aren't embraced the way you thought or hoped. A lot of these more vocal older ex-pats already feel embittered along the line of acceptance. They can often come here to feel special in some way and resent it when it doesn't work out that way.

For us we never imagine that we could or would be taken as a "Thai". Why would we? We aren't Thai. Thais, to be very broad about it, seem to be very clannish (family-like extended groups) and sensitive to shifting alliances, and there are so many difficulties to be found within Thai social hierarchies, and within clans and friendships, things we don't see. This isn't "deceptive" in the sinful western sense, but it is...maybe cloistered is the best word. There are circles of trust, within circles of trust, to use a line from Meet the Parents. But a lot of the "Thais are so blah, blah, blah..." talk really seems to come from a combination of putting yourself in poor situations, and unrealistic ideas about how you should be appreciated or embraced.

 

This seems spot on from my experience - both the observations about male ex-pats and some of the difficulties many people have interacting with Thai culture.

I think a lot of what Westerners may perceive as deceitful is more the indirect nature of communication in Thailand. Americans are VERY direct by comparison, and it creates a lot of opportunity for offense and misunderstanding on both sides. Personally, this has been something I've had to work on a LOT while forming closer friendships with people who use that style of communication. I am quite baffled that so many people are able to make cross-cultural marriages work for this reason.


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