Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Etiquette is very important in Thai culture. If you will be visiting Phuket, it is essential that you are aware of the correct etiquette.
Observing Phuket etiquette will help you to avoid any cultural misunderstandings. It will also ensure you do not cause any embarrassment or bad feeling with the local people.
The Thai Monarchy
The Thai people hold their beloved monarch in the very highest esteem. King Rama IX His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, is the world’s longest reigning monarch. The King is adored by the Thai people and highly respected.
Criticising or disrespecting the The King or The Thai Royal Family, will cause huge offence. So much so that you could be jailed on “Lese Majeste” charges.
The “Lese Majeste” laws prohibit any act be it verbal, written or physical that shows or implies disrespect to the King or The Royal Family.
All bank notes and coins have the King’s Portrait on them. It is highly disrespectful for you to step on any currency with your foot.
If you go to a movie theatre in Phuket, please remember to stand up before the performance - when the Thai national Anthem is played. This is done as a sign of respect for The King and it is essential that you stand up and remain silent throughout the National Anthem.
Saving Face & Your Behaviour In Phuket
Thai people are naturally very polite. Their behaviour is dictated by Thai etiquette and customs. Most importantly, the Thai people are non-confrontational. This means that public disputes, cross words or criticism are to be avoided.
The Thai society sees displays of anger, impatience or raised voices as signs of weakness. It is assumed that you have no control over your emotions and you are badly behaved.
When in Phuket, if you find yourself in a situation where you are displeased it is very important that you do not shout or show your anger. This would cause embarrassment and loss of face for the person whom you are angry with. By taking this route it is very unlikely that the situation would be resolved.
You are advised to stay calm, smile and to not lose your temper. You will find that the, “Mai Pen Rai” (“Never Mind”) approach will help you to resolve any disputes quickly and easily with no embarrassment caused for either person.