CMHomeboy78

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About CMHomeboy78

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  1. The recent passing of Dr. Andrew Forbes - historian, author, and ThaiVisa member - was as unexpected as it was lamentable. He distinguished himself in his profession and his instinctive civility made relations with him very pleasant. Dr. Forbes is one of the latest in a long line of Chiang Mai farangs who have chronicled the history and traditional culture of Lanna T'ai. From the first recorded visit by the Englishman Ralph Fitch in 1587 the city and the region have been written about extensively. While the early visitors left some very interesting accounts, it wasn't until the mid-19th century that American Protestant Missionaries, followed shortly after by British teak wallahs, took up residence in Chiang Mai and began to document the life and times in detail. The 20th century saw many first-person accounts as well as works of well-researched history. This period also produced translations into English and French of Lanna T'ai manuscripts. Notably. the Chiang Mai Chronicle, the Nan Chronicle, and Buddhist texts from wats that had become famous as centres of scholarship such as Wat Jet Yod which hosted the 8th Buddhist Council [Sangayana] in 1477 for one year to eliminate discrepancies in the different versions of the Tripitaka. The early visitors, the 19th century residents, and the 20th century scholars and historians have all contributed to what we know about a kingdom which during its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries extended its conquests and influence from the Shan States in Upper Burma to Keng Tung and the mountainous borderlands of China, to Luang Prabang in the east, and Sukhothai in the south. Dr. Forbes and people like him show the truth of what Faulkner is often quoted as having said: "The past isn't dead, it's not even past." RIP Dru.
  2. What specific points have I made that you disagree with? I never implied that the American military presence in Thailand introduced commercial sex to the country. Certainly the GIs were the ones who fueled the boom in the 1960s and '70s, but prostitution on a large scale was well established here long before that. The accounts of American missionaries and western residents of Bangkok in the 19th century often mention brothels run by Chinese. In Chiang Mai, the Rev Daniel McGilvary in the 1880s refers to "soiled doves" living in the Chinese quarter of Charoen Rat. That was almost 300 years after the visit of the Englishman Ralph Fitch. His description of "property, riches, and women, has a somewhat contemporary ring to it" according to Ian Bushell in a recent talk on local history. Maybe Chiang Mai hasn't changed that much after all.
  3. Your reply is totally clueless. Excuse the blunt contradiction, but your assumptions aren't based on reality. What Thailand is today can be understood - to a large extent - by reading its history and listening to the older generations in Thai families. The Chinese have had an immense influence on the country, especially urban areas, since the mass migrations of the 19th and early 20th centuries. From the end of WWII until the American defeat in Vietnam their diplomatic, military, and economic presence in Thailand was the dominant factor. Nobody who was here for even part of that time would dispute that obvious fact. The currency collapse of 1997 ended the boom times that had started in the early 1980s. The bubble burst, but it was only a speed-bump for the economy. As soon as easy credit became available again the consumer culture took off in high gear. Look at Bangkok and other cities, big and small, as well as many places in the countryside. Money is being spent - even if it's not their own. Being Thais, they're enjoying the rollercoaster ride to the max... and it's great to live among people who can get so much fun out of life regardless of whether they're going up or down. Swarming Chinese tourists, close economic relations with their country, and big government-to-government deals will bring changes for sure, but to what extent, and how good or bad they will be is impossible to say.
  4. Spot on, Daddy. Those were the days when the Warbucks were really flowing into Thailand. It wasn't only the GIs coming in on R&R, hundreds of thousands were also stationed here over the years at bases like U-tapao; Takhli; Udorn Thani; Ubon Ratchathani and Sattahip to name just the bigger ones. They changed this country in fundamental - and often deplorable - ways long before the anonymous hordes of Chinese tourists ever arrived.
  5. You're right, of course. The post you are replying to is a good example of the tunnel vision so prevalent among many. In spite of the fact that they have the intellect and resources to learn more about the country and the people they live among. Indeed there was mass tourism before 2000. It began after the Indochina wars started to wind down and the GIs left in the mid-1970s. Many of my first friends were ex-USAF guys who had married Thais and stayed on because they liked it here. So did I, but the scene didn't stay unspoiled for long. The early and mid-80s saw mass tourism really take off. That was combined with a domestic population explosion and building boom that changed many places out of recognition. Before all that there were tourists - or maybe they'd be better described as travelers. Although their numbers were relatively small, some of them wrote about the country, the people, and the culture with insight and perception. W.Somerset Maugham's The Gentleman in the Parlour is a fascinating read and a look at the country in the 1920s. Most of the early travelers just passed through; but some settled down and made a life for themselves here. Jim Thompson is a case in point insofar as it relates to the arts and traditional culture of Thailand. Long may those traditions survive, both among Thais and the farangs who have made Thailand their home.
  6. There have been several articulate posts on this thread that have convincingly refuted the claim that the word farang is a racial insult. Thais use it to describe Europeans and people of European descent. When they want to be insulting they will combine it with other words to express their contempt. I challenge you to find a credible historical reference that uses it as an insult.
  7. Patong tuk-tuk drivers may have issues with farangs that makes the name ring foul. That may be so, but it doesn't alter the fact that the term has been in continuous use for over five hundred years. If you think it was ever used in a derogatory sense then show me an historical source that uses it that way.
  8. Excellent post that should put an end to this nonsense once and for all. Anyone who has lived among Thais for any length of time would agree with you.
  9. It was her Rotary friends in Bangkok back in the 1970s that gave her the mistaken notion that the word farang was a racial insult. I came here in the late '70s myself, but my first friends were mostly ex-USAF guys who were savvy about Thailand and Thais. I eventually married and settled down in Chiang Mai when it was still something like the wild west. Loved it then, and love it now in spite of all the changes. The Khon Muang haven't changed all that much. The term farang isn't an insult when used alone, and anybody who thinks so is living in a world of their own.
  10. What you are responding to is a good example of the kind of cultural misunderstanding that prevents so many foreigners from ever being truly at home in Chiang Mai. The term farang is not, and never has been, a racial insult. It has been part of the Thai lexicon since the early 16th century when it was taken from the Farsi word farangi, meaning Frank, and by extension, Europeans. No historical sources in Thai have been found that use the word in a derogatory sense. Anyone who lives among Thais will know that when used alone it is totally inoffensive. There is a small but vocal faction of Chiang Mai expats who try to convince newcomers that the word is an insult. Encouraging people to take offense where none is intended looks like the work of troublemakers.
  11. The Farsi word and its inclusion into the Thai language predated the Hindi word that was coined during British colonial rule in India. The word farang as used by Thais is not an insult... and it never was.
  12. Even Mother Teresa had her critics. Keep up the good work Nancy. However, there is one thing I would like to take issue with. That is your stubborn contention that the term farang is somehow derogatory. It most certainly is not when used alone. Nor is it slang. The word has been part of the Thai lexicon since the early 16th century; taken from the Farsi, farangi. It wasn't used as a racial insult then and it isn't now. Anyone who has lived among Thais for any length of time knows that they use it in a non-derogatory sense. Promoting the mistaken notion that it is a racist term will cause newcomers to take offense where none is intended. All the best in 2017.
  13. History isn't taught very well in Thai schools. Sources do exist for those who are interested. A good start might be D.G.E.Hall's A History of South-East Asia, which puts Siam/Thailand in a regional context. First published in 1955, it has been revised in many editions and has never been surpassed as an overview of Southeast Asian history from paleolithic times until the modern era. Historical chronicles began to be studied and translated into pah-sah glahng and some European languages during the reign of King Chulalongkorn [Rama V] and continued throughout the 20th century by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, Camille Notton, Hans Penth, and David K.Wyatt among others. The Journal of the Siam Society is a wealth of information about Thai history, art, and culture that can be accessed online beginning with the first volume published in 1904. There is no shortage of primary sources from the early 19th century when Americans and Europeans settled in the kingdom in large numbers and began to write about their experiences. Disabuse yourself of the mistaken notion that there is hardly any "Thai" history. There most certainly is and it makes a fascinating study.
  14. Ditto... agreed but its part of the unwritten law that you must stop at the Pie Place south of CR For sure, that's good advice - don't miss the Pie Place. If you're as old as you look, you might remember another trail back in the '70s. It started at the Pudding Shop in Sultanamet, Istanbul, and ended at the Pie Shop on Freak Street in Katmandu. Chiang Mai was only a byway on the Hippie Trail but there are still things around here that bring back memories. The Pie Place is one of them. As Paul Bowles said about Tangier: "A gong rang twenty-five years ago and I can still hear the timbre and resonance."
  15. Chiang Mai has never been a good place to buy games. Cheap Thai versions of Bingo are available and Makrok sets can be had if you're into that. Otherwise, as Konini said, ask friends to bring them. Farangland is where they are easy to get and much cheaper. One exception might be chessboards. For some time now I've been thinking about having a wood inlay chessboard made here. My idea is for 1"X4" teak enclosing inlaid squares of ebony and white maple. Ban Tawai and Ban Yuwa are where I'll start looking for a craftsman to do this. I can source the materials myself. If you're interested, I'll send a PM letting you know how I've made out and how much it cost. Good luck finding what you want. Game on...