The definitive book on Thai-farang relationships.
When I first starting dating my wife, Su, I was obviously very interested in learning more about her culture. I purchased a few books on Thailand, Thai culture, and, of course, the Thai language. I came across Thailand Fever on Amazon.com, and quite frankly my first thought was that this book was a how-to guide for Western guys to pick up prostitutes and bar girls. It wasn’t until two friends – both married to Thai women – strongly recommended this book to me that I decided to give it a shot. I’m very happy to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong about this book; Chris Pirazzi and Vitida Vasant have written the definitive book on Western-Thai relationships.
Thailand Fever is written from two perspectives – the Western male and the Thai female. Each section of the book is written from both of these perspectives, giving very unique and complete insight into how each culture views a variety of subjects on relationships, family, and sociological points. It is highly recommended by the authors (and I recommend it as well) that you read both sections regardless of which perspective you are coming from. The authors also acknowledge that there are cases where the relationship involves a Western female and Thai male, but since the opposite is usually the norm and they had to pick one, they chose Western male and Thai female.
The book is written in both Engilsh and Thai, following a left-page English/right-page Thai format. This makes it very easy for both parties to read, and, quite frankly, pretty much removes any excuses either one of you might have for why you don’t want to read it.
The content of the book goes way beyond just the personal interactions between partners, although that certainly is a large and important part of the book. The book delves heavily into the differences of Western (particularly American) and Thai culture, and does a very good job of accurately explaining how each culture thinks and why they do things that seem so completely unnatural and bizarre to the other person. I can tell you from the American/Western perspective, everything they said is absolutely, 100% true. After reading the book – which I should also add is very easy and fun to read – I told Su how much I loved the book and that I would really like for her to read it. She did, and afterwards said that everything written from the Thai perspective was also absolutely, 100% true. (Kudos to Chris and kun Vitida for doing such an excellent job in this area.)
Of particular interest to me were the sections on “face” and family. If I may get a bit personal here (it’s my blog, after all) I have been dealing with anger issues for most of my adult life. After reading that Thai culture views outward expressions of anger as a sign of weakness, I have started to make an effort to change that aspect of my personality. I certainly want to be a good husband to my wife, and I found it interesting that a book I originally bought to try and understand my wife’s culture better has helped me to understand myself better. Go figure…
This book is so good, in fact, that Su and I thought my mom should read it. She did, and also really enjoyed it and said it helped her to better understand a lot about Su’s culture. Su and I are considering getting a copy to give to her parents, as we think they could definitely benefit in learning more about their son-in-law’s wacky American ways.
I would like to address the prostitute/bar girl angle that originally turned me off to reading the book. I will say that yes, there is a fair amount of information about relationships between Western men and Thai girls that earn a living as prostitutes and/or as bar girls. Perhaps it’s most important to say that this book is NOT a how-to guide on what you need to do to “get laid” in Thailand. If you’re looking for that information, thankfully you will not find it here. What Thailand Fever does do is offer insight into what to do when you are already in those relationships. I’m talking about how to broach the subject with each other’s families, some of the possible reasons why the Thai female may have gotten into those professions, etc.
In closing, if you are serious about getting true insight into the differences between Western and Thai cultures, and you have a serious desire to make your relationship work, this should be the first book you read. Kudos to Chris and kun Vitida for writing a truly special book. You can purchase this book from Amazon.com and Paiboon Publishing’s website.