The cover story in The Bangkok Post’s “Brunch” Magazine has to be the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever read in print. The author is a Asian woman who was adopted by Danes and grew up in Denmark before coming to Thailand. She writes a sexist and poorly researched article that is basically all one needs to prove why so many men have given up on farang women.
Forget the swine flu _ we need a curerepellent for farang with ‘Rice Fever’
Writer: Rikke Bjerge Johansen
Published: 30/08/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Brunch
I can only imagine how Thai women must feel in Thailand, but I do have some insight, and it doesn’t seem pretty. Since I arrived in the Land of Smiles 20 months ago, I have had my share of men coming up to me.
I am approached by strangers on an almost daily basis, mainly farang, but some Thais as well. Yes, we are talking about Rice Fever, aka Yellow Fever in less politically correct times. This strange virus seems to strike everywhere in Bangkok _ in shopping malls, cafes and on buses and trains.
Symptoms of Yellow Fever: The patient lapses into delirium.
I can only agree with that. What else would make a 60-something-year-old man come up to me and even think he has a chance of getting some action.
For starters, it might be because a 60-something year old man can get action in Thailand. I think some guys can take it a little too far but what’s wrong if some older guy tries to spark up a conversation? As long as he’s polite and respectful then just treat it as a normal human interaction.
And though being Asian the author has no clue what Asian/Yellow/Rice fever is. It’s a distinct inter-racial sexual preference for Asian women. Saying that Rice Fever affects Thais too is the first piece of evidence that the author put little or no effort into even trying to make this article make sense.
And to say that many western men in Thailand all have Rice Fever might actually be true however whether or not it was true is somewhat of little consequence when these westerners are living in an Asian country. While there are some farang women in Thailand they are nowhere near the number of guys so unless the author is suggesting that all single farangs become celibate then, yeah, you’re going to get a lot of farang men hitting on Asian women. The author’s logic though is comparable to saying that if I go out for dinner at a Thai restaurant with a group of friends and order Thai food then I must love only Thai food. It’s the only thing on the menu!! I might have really wanted Mexican but it’s not on offer.
Although the disease still occurs, it is usually confined to sporadic outbreaks.
True again, since I have only discovered this peculiar behaviour in Thailand.
I’m an Asian farang. I was born in South Korea 29 years ago and was adopted by a Danish family at the age of three months. This means I grew up in Denmark (yes, I know I look ”same, same” as Thai lady) and my first language is Danish (”No speak Korean, cannot.”). When I moved to Thailand, I assumed that no one would pay attention to me since I would blend in with all the other Asian faces. I mean, being Asian in Asia is not very exotic. So I was quite surprised when I found that wasn’t the case at all. In the beginning, I was flattered. I must also admit to have milked it a few times, accepting a few drinks here and there, and getting loads of free rides from motorcyle taxis.
This is just so classic. Here she admits she uses men for her own gain but now it’s become too much so she’s complaining. I mean, she out and out admitting she takes advantage of other people. Then she’s going to on throughout this article and paint other people as being sleazy or having questionable morals.
But after a while I began to get annoyed. The fact that I can’t sit on my own in a cafe without being approached by strange men is not okay. Random guys talk to me when I’m sitting in the TCDC in the Emporium with my notebook out, concentrating on work. They come up to me when I’m eating noodles on the street.
No, don’t stop taking advantage of people because it’s dishonest and immoral. Quit because you started to get annoyed by the amount of attention that you’re getting. Gotta love that.
Look honey, if you’re out in public then it’s perfectly okay to speak to you. Street hawkers, beggars, touts, taxi drivers, etc all speak to us farangs to make their unsolicited offers and other than some joking complaints we might share with each other over a beer nobody comes out and says that it’s not okay that these people invade our privacy. Why does the author think she’s so damn special that she can define who can and cannot approach and speak with her? Oh, because she’s a farang woman.
My boyfriend has his own take: ”It’s hard to have an Asian-looking girlfriend in Thailand because most of the guys living in Asia seem to have ‘Yellow Fever’, so my girlfriend gets hit on a lot. However, sometimes it is very good. When shopping, for example, we pay local rates, and we get better tables at restaurants. But I don’t like it when people think of me as just another loser farang with a cute Asian girlfriend.”
Well, at least the boyfriend understands what Yellow Fever means.
Dude, I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of other reasons to think that you’re a loser farang. First off would be your assumption that every guy with a Thai girlfriend is a loser farang. Second reason would be that you have an Asian girlfriend who acts like a stuck-up bitch and you obviously put up with it.
It is mainly farang who think that my Asian looks give them a green card (or should I say a yellow card) to go ahead and talk to me. Recently, I was sitting in McDonald’s eating my lunch when an older Italian guy came over. I told him to leave me alone several times before he got the message. Another example happened at Suan-Lum Night Bazaar. While waiting for a friend at a restaurant, a guy in his fifties (Australian, judging from the accent) made the most stupid comment: ”Oh, I can see you like Western food.” I replied in a very sharp voice: ”Yes, of course I like Western food since I’m from Denmark.”
First off, as to the Italian guy, not taking “no” for an answer is rude everywhere in the world. But do you really think walking around the streets of Rome as an attractive woman would result in different behavior. Italian men have a reputation for being aggressive. If you were a beautiful blond you’re going to get hit on too. The whole attempt to make this into a Yellow Fever thing is a sad attempt to wrap your article around a eye-catching phrase.
The Aussie guy is basically where you demonstrate what a bitch you are. The guy made an innocent yet perfectly understandable mistake. You’re an Asian in Thailand. Unless you look distinctly Japanese or Chinese most guys are going to assume that you’re Thai. And his comment coming from that perspective is simply friendly in nature. That fact that you can’t empathize with someone and see why they would make a simple mistake and then bash him for trying to be friendly and strike up a conversation shows what a self-absorbed person you are.
Robbert Jan Nuis (pictured, left), who works at Expatriate Counselling in Bangkok, is a neuro-linguistic programming practitioner and has dealt with expat issues his whole life: [ is a counsellor working with farang in Bangkok: ”For farang men, Thai women are considered more exotic, softer-skinned, small and gentle, and they become little boys in a sweet shop when they arrive. Unfortunately, Thailand has a reputation as a paradise for sex tourists, so many farang men think that it is okay to approach Thai-looking women here. They would never do it in another country, even in Asia, but because it’s Thailand, it’s apparently okay. Also, the chances of hooking up with a beautiful girl in Thailand are quite high compared to their home countries. Thai women are very polite, so even if they are not interested in a man they would never show anger or say ‘no’ the same way a Western woman would. If a stranger stopped them on the street, a Western woman might even call the police, whereas Thai women would politely excuse themselves or even make conversation and give him their number just so the man would not lose face.”
While this provides some context it really has very little to do with her main point. Also, why exactly is the author quoting some supposed NLP consultant? She doesn’t even hint at why he might have some special expertise on the topic. Now, if he were a sociologist or there was some reason to think that his opinion was more academic or insightful than your average guy walking down the street that would be a different story.
So let’s look at what he’s really saying:
1. Many guys are attracted to the exotic look of Asian women. And since Thailand has lots of Asian women it’s like paradise for farang men. Wow. I would have never guessed that one.
2. I think he has his second point reversed. Men coming to Thailand who are aware of Thailand’s reputation for sex tourism don’t automatically get off the plane thinking it’s okay to approach women. It’s the constant attention men get from Thai women. It’s the fact that any disco that caters to farangs is filled with women who would either like to sell themselves to you for the evening or would like to make you their boyfriend. It’s the fact that everybody from the lady who does my laundry to the girls who work at the McDonald’s near my apartment flirt with me constantly. It’s the fact that nearly every single Thai woman I’m friends with is always bugging me to help them meet a nice farang guy. It’s that 60% of Isaan women said they wanted to marry a farang. I mean, when you’re the one being pursued so often it’s quite natural to think that it’s perfectly okay to go up to a girl and find out if she’s interested.
3. I really don’t understand his next point because he contradicts it immediately after. He says men would never do this anywhere else but feel it’s okay because it’s Thailand but then says that the success rate of a guy hooking up with a very attractive girl is very high. First off, the part about not doing it in other parts of the world is wrong. Many men might be too shy to approach a woman back home but many is not all. And since Thailand is sort of a self-selecting sample then one might expect attitudes of the people here to be a little different than the general population back at home.
4. His final point pretty much explains his previous one but he doesn’t make the full connection. Guys are less shy about hitting on women in Thailand mostly because they know that even if they get shot down most Thai women will have enough class to do so in a way that saves face for both parties. So wouldn’t that imply that farang women lack certain manners or certain feminine qualities? I mean, if some farang woman came up to me and started hitting on me back home how big of an asshole would I look like if I turned her down with the same classless way that many a farang woman might spurn an unwanted advancement? The guy even says that some women might call the police if approached by a guy they’re not interested in. Yet, Thais seems be able to diffuse the situation without any confrontation or bad feelings. I think that says a lot about farang women.
But where he fails to tie it all together is that:
a) Many Thai women really, really want to meet farang men.
b) Guys are more successful meeting very attractive Thai women.
c) Even if they she’s not interested she doesn’t feel the need to be rude or make the guy feel bad about it.
So if you’re looking for your answer as to why we do it; that’s pretty much it.
Thai men are not backwards about coming forward either. Not long ago, I was sitting on a bus when a man came up and started talking to me, but I could barely understand what he was saying. He wanted to practise his English on me, ”because I was very beautiful”. Finally, I had to swap seats to get away from him. Only a few days ago, I was walking by myself after lunch when a guy came running after me. He was a Thai man in his early thirties, nicely dressed in a suit. ”You’re beautiful, I want your mobile number so I can get to know you.”
So now Thais have Yellow Fever too? This article is just such bullshit.
Maybe the author needs to consider the fact that in Thailand it’s more common for guys to approach women. The other point is that there are more women in Thailand than men (52%/48%) so women actually appreciate a chance to meet a guy. As long as you approach someone in a polite and respectful manner there is simply no reason to be rude or to call it wrong.
But it’s not only farang women of Asian appearance who are approached. Oh, 32, who works in a Bangkok office, said: ”Actually, I was approached twice in one week, and it was very uncomfortable. Both times it happened on the Skytrain. The first time an Arabic couple came up to me on the platform. They were around 40 years old. The guy came and asked me if I would like to go with them and have a threesome. I was in shock. What kind of girl did they think I am? Can’t I feel safe in my own city? I walked away from them but the man came over to me again. I was upset and explained in a very polite way that he should leave me alone.”
Now, if the article was about guys being inappropriate that certainly happens here as well as everywhere else in the world. Both of these guys seem pretty creepy and their behavior isn’t acceptable anywhere in the world.
Of course, there’s another side of the coin _ a blonde woman friend of mine said: ”I wouldn’t say that I’ve forgotten I have a vagina, as I’ve heard other farang women express it, but it’s not like I have to beat men off with a stick either. My own guess is that I’m simply not exotic enough for farang men, and probably a bit too exotic for Thai men.” She has been living in Bangkok for a year and confesses to still not quite understanding the men in this part of the world.
Hmmmm . . . or maybe because of their experience with farang women back home they know it’s easier to go after Thai women. I mean it’s not that hard to understand men here. The part that’s confusing for many women is that the men now have a choice in terms of how they prefer to be treated.
I could go up and approach that attractive farang lady sitting at the end of the bar or I can go chat with the attractive Thai lady sitting a few seats down from her. Well, a lifetime of living in the west tells me there’s a good chance that if she’s not interested she’ll be rude, insulting, or perhaps even abusive in letting me know her feelings. On the other hand, with the Thai girl there’s about a 0% chance of any of those things happening and if she’s not interested we’ll both walk away with a smile. Wow, that’s a tough call.
Of course, not all farang women are rude and obnoxious like that but enough are. And if guys have a choice they’re most likely to pick the easiest or least painful. That’s human nature.
”The dynamics are more difficult to figure out here. Back home, if a guy who wasn’t a friend or a business contact asked me out for dinner, drinks, or even just coffee, it’s pretty certain that he is interested in more than just my fabulous sense of humour and divine intellect. Here, a guy can ask me out, or so you think, and then when we meet up he starts moaning about his exasperating relationship with a Thai lady. This being a farang man of course,” she said.
So, farang men thousands of miles from home like to have farang friends that they can relate to? Wow. Strange.
My conclusion has to be that it is a big mistake if men get the idea that we Asians are all interested in getting together in contact with them. And men here who do believe thatin Thailand must really have high self-esteem, since they shamelessly think it’s fine to disturb random women. Please, forget swine flu. We need a cure for Yellow Fever.
No, what we need a cure for is Self Absorbed Farang Woman Syndrome.
This is why the entire premise of the article is a lie. She says it is a big mistake to think that Asians are interested in getting together with them. Well, in Thailand, the majority are. She’s the exception to the rule being a farang Asian. And when she tries to defer to Thais for their opinion in a sidebar titled “FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES” she more or less disproves her own argument.
FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES
Marissa, 24, from the Northeast of Thailand, lives in Bangkok, studies business and English
”Many times farang, including Indian men, come up and talk to me or stare at me. I would say it happens once a week. Recently, there was this guy in Times Square who was following me up and down the escalators. Another time I was visiting my friend who works in a hotel in Soi Nana and of course foreigners assumed they could just approach me. I think foreigners look at us Thai girls in a ‘no good’ way and I never talk to them.”
Again, this has nothing to do with simply going up and trying to start a polite conversation and getting to know someone. Creepy is creepy. It doesn’t matter if you’re Asian or come from Mars.
Oh, 32, business worker from Bangkok
”Actually, it happened twice in a week that I got approached, and it was very uncomfortable. Both times it happened on the Skytrain. The first time an Arabic couple came up to me on the BTS platform. They were around 40 years old. The guy came and asked me if I would like to go with them and have a threesome. I was in shock. What kind of girl did they think I was? Can’t I feel safe in my own city? I walked away from them but he came over to me again. I was upset and explained in a very polite way that he should leave me alone.The same week I was sitting on the Skytrain and two French men around 60 years old and one Thai girl were sitting on the opposite site. One of the men kept staring at me and when I got off the Skytrain he followed me and said I was beautiful and lovely and that he wanted my phone number so we could go out for lunch. I told him in a polite way that I had a boyfriend.”
Again, nobody condones the creepy or sleazy. That disclaimer out of the way, I have to question the way this is worded. A 32 year old Thai woman in Bangkok has only ever been approached twice? She says “it happened twice in a week that I got approached.” Or is she saying that she had two bad experiences in a single week being approached by farangs? I doubt that she’s only been approached twice in her life (and having both happen in the same week and both be creepy would be super bad karma) so we have to assume the later which means that these girls were actively solicited for bad experiences.
So what we’re not hearing is how they generally view being approached by a farang guy. And since that was the point of her article just posting the horror stories is a very weak way to bolster her main point.
Sofie Lisby, 24, born in Korea, grew up in Denmark, lives in Bangkok
”It does seem quite as easy to get male attention out here. When I first moved to Bangkok, people told me, ‘You are gonna get it so easy out here because you are like a banana, yellow in the outside and white on the inside and the men love it’.
”One of the hardest things about being a ‘banana’ in Bangkok is that people somehow find it hard to look past the Asian appearance. It is difficult to explain this without sounding prejudiced because while there is nothing wrong with being Thai, it is annoying to always be mistaken for one when you are not. Men will ask me in bars where I am from and upon hearing the answer they refuse to believe it and insist that I must have married a Danish man or that I simply just lived in Denmark for a few years. The result is that I have become overly sensitive about my identity and peoples’ reaction to it.”
Hmmm . . . A Korean who grew up in Denmark. I guess there’s no way this Korean who grew up in Denmark and the Korean who grew up in Denmark who wrote this article are in any way friends or anything is there?
And this has nothing to do with being annoyed about being approached by men but by being mistaken for being Thai.
Apple, 26, works as a translator in Bangkok
”Once, a male farang came up to me on the MRT and asked for my name and phone number. He was very polite and gave me his name card, so I gave my phone number to him. He called me later but it didn’t lead to anything. I don’t mind when they are polite. But then there was this single and drunk foreign guy at a party who came up to me and said that he liked me very much and I was outstanding. I didn’t want to talk to him so just moved on to talking with another Thai girl. He tried with everyone.”
So one girl who actually has had a good experience being chatted up by a nice farang and an obnoxious drunk that are on long supply anywhere in the world.
So, the final score on her four Babes?
3 Who have been hit on by creepy guys
1 Who shared a positive experience
1 Who’s biggest beef is being mistaken for being Thai
0 Who said they minded being approached in a polite and respectful manner
So I guess the only thing we can deduce is that Asian women don’t liked to be asked if they’re into threesomes, followed by stalkers, or talking to obnoxious drunks. Big surprise there. Is there someplace or some race where women do like those things? There is absolutely nothing that supports the author’s contention that Asian women don’t like being approached by farangs. Only her narrow minded opinion.
After I finished reading this article I couldn’t help but think that women like the author are exactly why I decided to move to Thailand. Only when you are living here do you really begin to appreciate how impolite the west has become. Things that used to be common courtesies are like sightings of big foot. It’s not just the women but the men too. The major difference is that other than your occasional expat football hooligan the men here tend to embrace the polite culture. You quickly learn that many western ways of doing things will get you nowhere in Thailand.
And maybe that’s because those of us who date or marry Thai women are forced to accept and respect even the frustrating parts of Thai culture. A farang woman who doesn’t date Thai men isn’t compelled by a relationship to fully appreciate various aspects of Thai culture. They can sort of live in a more secluded existence keeping their farang culture alive and well inside of them. They pick and choose what they want to accept. Unfortunately, that often leads them to believe that they can deny certain realities.
The fact that women outnumber men in Thailand isn’t a fact you can escape. Neither is the fact that 60% of Isaan girls really want to marry a farang. Let’s face it, a decent looking farang male with a good income is like a rock star in Thailand. So while the author is aghast that some sixty year old guy would even try to put some game on her there are plenty of 29 year old Thai girls who would line up for that shot.
Just because back at home the author might be able to better call the shots about who she deems worthy of approaching her doesn’t mean the same thing flies over here. And trying to project her western attitudes and prejudices onto all Asians is beyond absurd.
Listen honey, if you don’t like it there are daily flights back to Denmark. Sawadee khrap and don’t let the plane door hit you in the ass on your way out.