Love or Trade?

Reading the blog from thibodi called Thailand Rocked My Life, and his remarks about Thai women, I feel I should contribute to the subject.

I’m a Thai woman married to a white American. Despite the fact that I am well educated and come from a respectable family, or however I carry myself around my husband, while in Thailand, there is always someone thinking I’m a prostitute hired by a farang.

Ironically, I think I caught myself thinking the same discriminating thoughts a few times while I was in Thailand with my husband last November. It was his first visit there. We have been married 3 years.

Is it so engrained in my head that Thai woman + Farang = commercial relationship? Now that I am one, is it just me thinking that someone else is thinking that about me?

I caught myself being overly critical of how I dressed when we went out about town together, caught my mother being even more critical of my behavior and the way I dressed. Actually, she went with us almost everywhere partly because she knew the city better than either of us, but may be partly to be our chaperone, fending off any possible accusing stares.

My girl friends said that there was nothing to be worried about. There are plenty of respectable Thai women with farangs all over time. They said that my mom was thinking too much, and I was feeding such paranoia off of her.

I wish I could believe my friends. But I doubt our society has changed that much when it comes to seeing Thai woman with a Farang. The stigma of interracial relationship has lifted, they said.

I believe them in a sense. But I also have doubts in a country where women are still expected to behave a certain way, and to adhere to certain codes. Perhaps the younger generations may not be pointing the same finger as the older generations, but some of the prejudice lingers on.

The country and the culture may be moving forward, but I feel that Thai women still have a lot more to fight for, more than just our rights to marry whoever we choose, and in the same token, to take up a profession we choose, and not be judged by our choices.

Being women, first battle we have to do is with ourselves. We have to make peace with ourselves, getting over our own critical eyes on our body and social image. And then, perhaps one by one we’d rise above prejudice and learn to love ourselves and our sisters.

Then again, I’m a dreamer.

P.S. Readers in Los Angeles Area – Come down and check out “Asian Voices” this Thursday, April 21, 8 p.m. at the Village Gate Theater by USC (University of Southern California). 6 USC students and yours truly, the lone alumni, will perform our monologue pieces written about our lives as Asians/Asian-Americans. My performance piece touched briefly about the above topic.

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