“The Land of Smiles” has been one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history. So much so, that many people come to Thailand thinking that every single person in the country is a smiling angel, and are shocked when someone is mean or tries to scam them.
This is Greg’s theory anyway, and it’s one of many that he and Ed discuss as they ponder if Thailand really is deserving of its title as one of the friendliest countries in the world. Spoiler – both Greg and Ed think it probably is, but there are a few caveats. How does social structure dictate outward friendliness? Is there a difference between being friendly and being nice? And how much of this reputation comes from dumbass foreigners like us misinterpreting subtle social cues that are embedded deep in Thai culture?
Much like one’s opinion of Thailand will be colored by their individual experience, so are Thais colored by their individual personalities, and a sweeping generalization – even a positive one – doesn’t do any country justice. As Greg subtly explains: “Some of the biggest dickheads I know are Canadians, and we’re all supposed to be nice!”
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