Greg talks to Hassan Ghiassi, the creator and organizer of Aristotle’s Cafe, a Bangkok group that focuses on meetups that involve discussions and debates on questions voted on by the participants themselves.
Firstly, Aristotle’s Cafe is a format, and the location is not fixed. At the beginning of each meetup, the attendees submit questions and then vote on what to discuss. But does the same format work equally well in different cities and cultures? Greg raises issues from his own experience about difficult people dominating discussions, as well as cultural issues involving Thai people supposedly being ‘shy.’ Have now worry, Hassan says, his long experience running the ‘cafe’ in several different countries have shown him that most participants – including Thais – often shed their reluctance to express opinions in the right environment.
But AC isn’t just for youngins! Hassan says that the group gets all types – older farangs yearning for English language contacts, Thais wanting to improve their English, and people trying to network and make friends. The one thing they all seem to have in common is the desire to make real connections. Hassan also stresses that since topics are not announced ahead of time, you never know what will be discussed other than that the most popular topics are typically current and relevant to whatever is going on in the world at that time.
No doubt Aristotle’s Cafe is one of the many Bangkok subcultures that make this city the best in the world for expats!
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