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rishi

What Does "'greng Jai" Mean To You?

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Somewhere - I think post number in the 40-ties - in a lengthy thread about Farlang/Thai- marriage I stumbled over this frase:

"Ask a farang what greng jai means to him and he will pretty much answer to whole Thai/Farang difference debate in one sentence. I know, it is not that simple but understanding greng jai is one of the most important building blocks in a cross cultural relationship in Thailand."

Well, if someone ask this farang about 'greng jai', his most intelligent answer would be 'arai, na?'. However, this farang is also deeply - and happily - involved in a 'cross cultural relationship in Thailand' and very curious about the Thai partee's background. Could someone, capable of a more intelligent answer, please shed some light?

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The simple answer is it means to be considerate, unobtrusive, not causing another person problems, etc... But the Thais do carry it to new heights and even now I get confused about it (sometimes annoyed). For example, last night my wife asked to borrow my car she needs to go to a friends house where she will park it and they will car pool to work in her friends car.

Her friends house is just a couple of kms away and I asked her why not have her friend pick her up here? She shyly said "greng jai". My question is why is she greng jai for her friend and not greng jai for me (she knows I don't like her driving my car at night, her driving history is not that great.)? Seems so contradictory at times.

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To be greng jai is to be considerate or deferential - to act in such a manner as not to cause offence, loss of face, discomfort or embarassment to another person.

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The simple answer is it means to be considerate, unobtrusive, not causing another person problems, etc...  But the Thais do carry it to new heights and even now I get confused about it (sometimes annoyed).  For example, last night my wife asked to borrow my car she needs to go to a friends house where she will park it and they will car pool to work in her friends car.

Her friends house is just a couple of kms away and I asked her why not have her friend pick her up here?  She shyly said "greng jai".  My question is why is she greng jai for her friend and not greng jai for me (she knows I don't like her driving my car at night, her driving history is not that great.)?  Seems so contradictory at times.

To be greng jai is to be considerate or deferential - to act in such a manner as not to cause offence, loss of face, discomfort or embarassment to another person.

Do not forget that 'greng jai' also translates as 'to feel obligated to' or 'have an obligation' ie..

'greng jai' mummy for bring me up, thats why i gotta send her money everyone month and find a filthy rich Farang to build her a house.

This definition of 'kreng jai' is perhaps one of the hardest for the western mind to comprehend.

"Mum-in-law' wants a dowry? She can get lost, why do i have to feel any obligation towards her!"

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... last night my wife asked to borrow my car she needs to go to a friends house where she will park it and they will car pool to work in her friends car. Her friends house is just a couple of kms away and I asked her why not have her friend pick her up here?  She shyly said "greng jai"...

... I'd wish I'd had a soundrecording of that one, so I could compare. Sometimes, when my wife is a bit dissatisfied with my "ruling", she utters a sound that possibley could be transcribed as "greng jai" --- but I'm not sure and she always refuses to clarify matters.

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ok.. a friend asked me to go to his house the next day following a night drinking at my place (me being the good host kao jai?), and he would kill a pig for us to eat.. now I didn't want him to do that just for me, he kept insisting.. in the end I said Greng Jai..

After that no problem, We went to his house and ate chicken from the market instead..

totster :o

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After insisting on my wife explaining herself, I think her dissatisfied utteringss weren't to be transcribed as "greng jay", but rather as "nien yay". I'm not quite sure on that one neither, but it appears to be a bit more straight forward.

After reading the stickman page, I realise that no dictionary can possibly help a farang to understand 'greng jai'. I guess that I'm prone for the third lesson of how to be happy in a 'cross cultural relationship in Thailand'. Step one was to learn patience. Step two was to learn tolerance. Step three is to learn the meaning of greng jai.... Or am I sort of putting too much importance on the meaning of greng jai?

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Greng what? I've never even heard of this phrase until now and I'm in a "cross cultural relation" for over ten years.

Guess I must be a real inconsiderate sob :o

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I don't want to trample on Stickman's copyright, so I won't copy it all here - but I think you'll like what you read in a short article about greng jai here:

http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/Reader/reader1184.htm

Excellent article. That might explain why I've had a great deal of success in Thailand (at least IMHO). I left the piss and vinegar back in farangland (thankfully and gratefully). Haven't had a single fight, argument or bad word with my wife in over 4 years. That's not an exaggeration. Haven't got stepped on, either, not by her or the family or our Thai friends. Not wanting to brag at all, but I do thank my lucky stars, or more so my easy going nature. I hope it continues, and expect that it will. It's been strictly paradise for me.

Overall, I prefer Thai culture over the west in many respects, especially the absence of confrontation at the drop of a hat and lack of respect or even friendliness. Anger is a well and often employed tool in the west. :o And I find it's very true that if you avoid confrontation, maintain calm in your dealings and remain respectful no matter what the situation is you'll avoid a lot of potential problems here. And it doesn't mean that you have to take anything that you don't like. Is it easy to do? Not always, but more often than not it seems natural to me.

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Greng what? I've never even heard of this phrase until now and I'm in a "cross cultural relation" for over ten years.

Guess I must be a real inconsiderate sob :o

You might be, but how would others be able to judge? In case you really do want an answer on whether you're an inconsiderate sob - please spread a few more crumbs from your corner of the world.

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Greng what? I've never even heard of this phrase until now and I'm in a "cross cultural relation" for over ten years.

Guess I must be a real inconsiderate sob :D

You might be, but how would others be able to judge? In case you really do want an answer on whether you're an inconsiderate sob - please spread a few more crumbs from your corner of the world.

I just got of the phone with the other half and asked her about this greng jai thing.

Apparently I'm greng jai all right so then I asked her why are you not greng jai when I roll out of the pub early morning. Cause I'm a sob was her reply, so there you have it :o

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... last night my wife asked to borrow my car she needs to go to a friends house where she will park it and they will car pool to work in her friends car. Her friends house is just a couple of kms away and I asked her why not have her friend pick her up here?  She shyly said "greng jai"...

... I'd wish I'd had a soundrecording of that one, so I could compare. Sometimes, when my wife is a bit dissatisfied with my "ruling", she utters a sound that possibley could be transcribed as "greng jai" --- but I'm not sure and she always refuses to clarify matters.

possibly, ' falang kwai' :o

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Indeed an excellent article on the Stickman page. Once again, I think I understood the concept of Grieng Jai. However, I thought that several times before and then comes an excample where I think...what the he11 has this to do with Grieng Jai again...

Do I apply Grieng Jai in my own actions? Not really, I prefer trong pai, trong ma. Equally a Thai concept that somewhat contradicts Grieng Jai and is much more compatible with Western thinking.

btw...From what a Thai told me recently it is not just important that you Grieng Jai, but to WHOM you do it. So if - in your judgement - a person doesn't deserve it, they won't get it.

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BANGKOK 23 July 2017 21:49
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