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The brief to be discussed with my Thai focus group

10/01/2015

The Thai worldview is heavily influenced by a number of ingrained values, the two most important of which are:

  1. Mai bhen rai – nothing is serious, never mind. It doesn’t matter

And

  1. An acceptance of a strong class structure that insists that people are not created equal and do not have self-evident inalienable rights.

Buddhism teaches that, while there can be happiness in our lives, we experience dissatisfaction and suffering from our birth to our death because we constantly crave and believe we need more pleasure, more wealth, and even greater happiness in our lives. We are never satisfied with what we have at the present moment. Trying to let go of these desires is of the essence of Buddhist thought. This is mai bhen rai in another guise.

(75 words cannot do justice to explaining Buddhism. The hyperlink to the following twenty minute video is a good introduction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zerG3watL0k

Thais have a strong sense of freedom — they want to be happy in their lives and not have restrictions on what they can and cannot do – they outwardly respect elders and “betters”. We can see this when we observe the smiles of happiness and the instinctive use of the wai. We see it when a motorcyclist does not want to wear a safety helmet but, after being fined for not using one, rides round a corner and puts it back in the front basket. He is both respecting authority, having been made to follow the dictates of that authority, while passionately expressing his idea of being free to do as he wants.

These two ingrained values begin to explain why this coup was bloodless and generally welcomed.

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