I know some of this bluntness comes from the language barrier. When you are not fluent in a language you often sound more blunt than you intend because you don’t know the nuances of the language. This was likely the case this time and Mr. Restaurant did mean it as a compliment. And he’s right, I have shed a few pounds since my last trip here, but I didn’t think he’d notice?
But his comment got me thinking about how Thai’s really do often ‘say it as it is’. I’ve seen a girl looking for someone and ask me “Have you seen my friend, she’s fat and has short hair”. It’s not an insult, it’s just a description.
I think this may come from one of the Thai cultural aspects I truly admire. They seem to be able to laugh at themselves. They don’t take life too seriously. Thailand is known as The Land of Smiles. And I think it’s well earned. The people naturally smile a lot. And genuinely so.
They also laugh a lot. In a group they will often laugh at someone, but it has feeling of ‘laughing with them’ not ‘at them’.
This is a picture I took last year at a political protest in Bangkok.