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Thread: Thai wai

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน RakThai's Avatar
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    Thai wai

    Been reading some stuff.. Which sort of explained some things about the Thai wai..

    Low wai to acknowledge greeting of someone of lower status
    Nose high wai to show respect
    High wai (to the hair-line) for the Buddha...

    But combined with the length of the wai, bowing of the head, bending of the knees while bowing, the meaning seems to change...

    It made me think about wai's given to me.. And it does not always add up...

    Makes me question if for Thai Wai-ing a falang is ouytside the rule book, or is it just a matter of not granting falang the respect they would give a Thai?
    Or maybe the things I read are out-dated and the Wai-ing culture has changed?

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    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    Now that I think about it... apart from on the odd occasion... maybe a hotel receptionist.. hardly anyone has wai'd me in Thailand... not even in the villages when meeting family of the girl I was with.... they just look at me and grin... I remember a wedding I went to... met teachers, doctors all sorts... and no one wai'd me. I must not be worthy.. 55.
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน RakThai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distantpeak View Post
    Now that I think about it... apart from on the odd occasion... maybe a hotel receptionist.. hardly anyone has wai'd me in Thailand... not even in the villages when meeting family of the girl I was with.... they just look at me and grin... I remember a wedding I went to... met teachers, doctors all sorts... and no one wai'd me. I must not be worthy.. 55.
    You should have wai-ed them first, if their age and status was higher..
    Gaed never bothered me about anyone coming into the baan, but was very quick to point out the puya baan, or bor tor and older relatives..

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    PGC
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    I stopped Wai...ing after about 6 months. Given many Thais don't look their age, there was too much room for insults, now I just nod in acknowledgement.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Bacon's Avatar
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    I get waied frequently when leaving a joint in Thailand. I used to wai people first all the time and was told to tone it down. No need to go around like a fool, acknowledging everything that moves. And yeah, an older person will never wai you first. Or if they think they're above you.
    Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.


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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse ........or local
    Last edited by Moo Uaon; 1st July 2016 at 11:43.
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Changone's Avatar
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    Always Wai in laws, aunties uncles etc, when first entering their Baan. Usually don't see that often.
    Matter of respect.
    Anywhere else, avoid wai ing trying to work out who is older, younger higher, lower etc too hard.
    Find it annoying the Isaan habit of wai ing all and sundry, like when crossing the road, thank you for not running me down...


    And where the hell was Biggles.....?....when you needed him last Saturday....?

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    hard to get my little bloke to wai anyone,always has to be prompted.

    took him to wat phu tok and he surprised all and sundry by wai ing an elephant there 555
    Last edited by Moo Uaon; 1st July 2016 at 12:51.
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    Lamai Beach Bum Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน bacwaan's Avatar
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    waiing....a practice fraught with danger for a farang (unless you were bought up in Thailand and learned the "art" from a young child) it is not really expected from you...so best to be avoided (especially to kids and service staff)...you will offend way more people with a wai than you will impress

    I avoid the high wai at all costs....but will wai a monk (under nose with a slight bow of the head) if I visit a temple, even though it should be a high wai...same if I am entering someone's home or being introduced to an "official"....or if someone does me a real favour, outside of service staff but I always thank them as I am doing so, they need to understand why the farang is waiing

    a funny example...I dated a TG once whose father was the driver for the scuba diving company I was managing at the time (for a friend)...each morning he would high wai me when he turned up for work..my TGF (his daughter who also worked there) told me I shouldn't wai him in return as this was a boss/employee relationship...however when I turned up at his house to take his daughter out in the evening a nose high wai was expected from me...555

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน jontymate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacwaan View Post
    waiing....a practice fraught with danger for a farang (unless you were bought up in Thailand and learned the "art" from a young child) it is not really expected from you...so best to be avoided (especially to kids and service staff)...you will offend way more people with a wai than you will impress

    I avoid the high wai at all costs....but will wai a monk (under nose with a slight bow of the head) if I visit a temple, even though it should be a high wai...same if I am entering someone's home or being introduced to an "official"....or if someone does me a real favour, outside of service staff but I always thank them as I am doing so, they need to understand why the farang is waiing

    a funny example...I dated a TG once whose father was the driver for the scuba diving company I was managing at the time (for a friend)...each morning he would high wai me when he turned up for work..my TGF (his daughter who also worked there) told me I shouldn't wai him in return as this was a boss/employee relationship...however when I turned up at his house to take his daughter out in the evening a nose high wai was expected from me...555
    Sort of agree. This picture from songkran with children. There is many different. But all family. Confusing to me.




    This one children come to visit a teacher at her house.

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  11. #11
    Seven_
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    Quote Originally Posted by RakThai View Post
    It made me think about wai's given to me.. And it does not always add up...
    It adds up, if you know the unwritten rules about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RakThai View Post
    Makes me question if for Thai Wai-ing a falang is ouytside the rule book, or is it just a matter of not granting falang the respect they would give a Thai?
    Farangs are normally outside the rule book in that they (Thais) don't expect them to know about Wai's

    A bit like you wouldn't be offended if a Thai in your country didn't shake your hand correctly.

  12. #12
    Seven_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distantpeak View Post
    Now that I think about it... apart from on the odd occasion... maybe a hotel receptionist.. hardly anyone has wai'd me in Thailand... not even in the villages when meeting family of the girl I was with.... they just look at me and grin... I remember a wedding I went to... met teachers, doctors all sorts... and no one wai'd me. I must not be worthy.. 55.
    Maybe or are you really really old 555
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  13. #13
    Seven_
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    [QUOTE=Moo Uaon;291260]hard to get my little bloke to wai anyone,always has to be prompted.

    took him to wat phu tok and he surprised all and sundry by wai ing an elephant there 555
    Last edited by Seven_; 14th August 2016 at 01:48.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seven_ View Post
    How old is he?
    he was 4 then.
    he don't get involved in sissy school singing,dancing and fancy dress stuff either.
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน jontymate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seven_ View Post
    It adds up, if you know the unwritten rules about it.

    Farangs are normally outside the rule book in that they (Thais) don't expect them to know about Wai's

    A bit like you wouldn't be offended if a Thai in your country didn't shake your hand correctly.
    The unwritten rules is what is hard unless you grow up with them or spend a great deal of time and even then. It has to be a life close study. The formative years of your socialization kicks in. The nuances for outside the norm is what is difficult to the general rule. The general rules easy to learn. The complex. I have asked many questions in this subject It is not only subjective but regional and sub regional.

    For me that too hard to get correct. I'm very observational so let me give some examples.

    Let me premises this by the nuances not the general rule.

    Good friend female teacher kru not ajarn . Family general family will wai her higher than others but not her parents......This will then go higher on special occasions of achievement like a job promotion.

    She said she gets a level from the the students as she would for a monk.. I ask then what I should do as a farang with you and your parents and family? Higher for me than parents but lower for children. Okay what if I was married to you what would happen. She would lower to me as I was older.

    Next question we are colleges what happens there. You are doctor so I must be lower. But not the same faculty goes on age. What if I look old but are young . Mistakes can happen.


    I whiteness Dao in a southern Thailand Wat. You just know by watching posture and eyes she is working out who is who and the level of wai was copied. I questioned......she said not sure in this part of the country.


    Not having a dig because I have not lived there for extended periods..but if you have worked out all the complexities great .

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    i decided a long time ago to stick with what i knew and grew up with and let the locals do the same!
    i saw some eye rolls from thais early on when farangs where wai ing at them thinking they were being hip or cool...or something.
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Mr. Smiley's Avatar
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    I usually never wai, but since I started working at a government school, I tend to wai other teachers (especially the older ones) with the low wai... and a higher one with the head of my department or high level administrators and the director. Usually return a wai from a student with a nod or a low wai if it's from the whole class.

    Outside of school... a nod if it's a wai from a service person or someone from the hospitality industry.

    If I'm visiting a friend's family then I'll follow my friends lead of who they wai and copy what they do.

    Basically it's just considered good manners if a farang can do it properly.
    Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

  18. #18
    Seven_
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontymate View Post
    The unwritten rules is what is hard unless you grow up with them or spend a great deal of time and even then. It has to be a life close study. The formative years of your socialization kicks in. The nuances for outside the norm is what is difficult to the general rule. The general rules easy to learn. The complex. I have asked many questions in this subject It is not only subjective but regional and sub regional.
    I agree its very regional, I have never seen a high wai given to anyone except a monk for a special reason or because a child (young adult) has done something very bad.
    Last edited by Seven_; 15th August 2016 at 21:21.

  19. #19
    Seven_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Smiley View Post
    Basically it's just considered good manners if a farang can do it properly.
    I think many of the farang that come to Thaland wouldn't know good manners to start with, maybe why something pretty simple is often confused or misunderstood by so many of these farangs.

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน jontymate's Avatar
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    To go on tangent and the Wai in Aussie. Even after more than I decade Dao will wia my parents or parent now mum has gone. My uncles and aunts....... It usually ends in a hug. But initially the confusion what to do back was HUGE. Still now we will meet up with a long lost second cousin and she will. Formative years social conditioning???

    An observation that I found funny. A funereal and as each walked out thanked the Minster for the words spoken, That social convention. Comes time for Dao to say something as we walk out. Her hands came together for a wai........Minister put hand on her shoulder and said let us prey together for your loss........My mum's final departure.

    Much later we spoke ..........why that church man (AKA priest) touch me.

    Just as hard to understand in reverse. Even with a decade of living with in the culture.
    Last edited by jontymate; 2nd July 2016 at 11:27.
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