August 17, 2019

Losing Your Temper in Thailand Will Make You a Loser

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What happens when a Westerner loses his or her temper in Thailand?
While Westerners might view people who cry, shout, yell, or argue aggressively in public as being merely “hot-headed” and “frustrated”, Thais are likely to view such displays as being indicators of mental health issues and poor breeding. Losing your temper and shouting in Thailand is a faux pas of the highest degree. Such behavior violates not only traditional Thai values that emphasize social harmony and saving face, it also violates cherished Buddhist beliefs dictating moderate behavior and a calm demeanor.

Occasionally, misinformed Westerner may tout the benefits of being forceful and aggressive in Thailand, insisting that arguing with bank employees, store clerks, taxi drivers and metro attendants is the best way to accomplish a task in a country known for its relaxed attitude.

Maintaining your cool under tough circumstances is called “Jai yen” or “Cool heart”. Thais place a high value on individuals who are able to respond to upsetting and frustrating events with moderate and reserved behavior, and those that are unable to control their emotions are conversely regarded as being childish, ill-mannered, or possibly mentally unhinged.

Sometimes, westerners losing their tempers in Thailand result in assault cases, and you may need a Thai lawyer to solve a big problem when a little “Jai yen” would have save you from trouble.

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  1. […] Losing Your Cool is NOT Cool in Thailand – This video shows that on occasion,  Thailand is really about “jai yen” meaning “cool heart”. […]

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