Lifestyles, Thailand

The Sad Ending of Elephants, Water Buffaloes, and Thai Men


I found this article in Koosang Koosom Thai Magazine and I think that this is something that many Laotians can relate to as well; this is based on an article written by Prap Traipuph (a man) in Thai language, translated by Ginger.

It is a bit sad and depressing to see that elephants, Thai water buffaloes that were once highly respected creatures, considered the strongest and were once an important part of Thai culture and the Thai way of life, and they have been around for the longest time are now starting to disappear, what is left, which aren’t many that you could practically count them. They have been faithful servants to humankind for centuries, as Lao and Thai people would call them, ‘working so hard that their heads got big (not big because of big brain)’ but how we repay their faithfulness is a sad story.

As for elephants, they have always been a symbol of both power and peace, during ancient time, elephants roamed freely, and they once helped people to fight battles in many wars, but now they are living in areas that most of us wouldn’t want to be in, such as working, pulling logs near the border, risking their lives with bombs and such, or might be roaming in big cities, having to look lovable at all times so that people would give them foods, living day-to-day on the street or zoo, if they act up, that would be the end of the story, their lives.

As for the water buffaloes, they have had it worse, they were referred to as the living tractor of the East, and they were relied upon for plowing and transportation in the past, but that has somewhat changed, as they are rapidly being replaced by steel buffaloes. They are faithful servants, but little did their owners see their faithfulness, ready to send them to the slaughterhouse at any moment. You would hear all the time that most people would ‘sell water buffaloes for dowry money to marry a wife, sell water buffaloes for college education, or sell water buffaloes to buy a new pick up truck, and the list goes on,’ and this we have heard over half a century now.

This is the faith of Thai elephants, water buffaloes, not to mention just this, even Thai men seems to follow the foot step of these animals, they were once considered macho man of the land, as some of us might have heard, when I was little, my mom would tell me all the time that ‘a man was considered the elephant front paws, and the female is considered as the hind paws,’ meaning that the man is the leader and female is the follower, sad to say that this is also changing very rapidly.

It seems that many important positions are being replaced rapidly by females, in almost every professions, as the Thai men are so proudly thinking that they are the leader, but once reality sink in, they were left in the dust…a little hint as to why it is this way.

Might be that some men don’t see the importance of education, but in reality they are given more chance to learn, to better themselves, such as back in the olden days, they have had more access to learn at Wat (Buddhist temple) as young novice monks. But if you look around now, universities are full of female students, no doubt that they are as smart as the male students, some seems to go into the profession of learning.

Therefore, the females are learning to better themselves, where be some of the men. Needless to say, they entered the workforce too early, once they have a job, see a bit of money, they are happy to save up for dowry money and to get marry at a young age, and settle down therefore shut the door for education. As for me, money is not everything and I see that education is the key to a better future, a security blanket for many years to come. I think most of us can be multi task oriented, something that many young people need to think about, we are capable of doing many great things at the same time, don’t shut your door to just one single opportunity when there are many out there.

This one is strictly from the magazine, so don’t mind me, there is an old saying that says ‘Naree me roup pen sup’ meaning that the females have beauty as asset. This might not be far from the truth, take for example, those that are in modeling or acting, they might work for several years and make more than most of us in a life time, let just say that the rate of return is way over 100%. In this line of work, the females are more forgiving if they did something wrong, so they are able to stay in the limelight a lot longer; where as the men have to act nice, and some even change their character or physical appearance to be more like you know what, they don’t dare to be a real macho man, might be afraid to be booted out the door, it is easier to be somewhere in between, as the Thais called it Toot, Twel, or EeAb.

As not having beauty as asset, it is very difficult for some men to get a job, as we find that most office positions are now taking over by females, not just as position of secretary or a coffee girl, but higher up positions with higher pay, rumor has it that females are good workers, are responsible, and very detail oriented, which leaves many jobs that are somewhat risky, having to travel to strange lands for the men.

Another misconception that most Lao and Thai parents would teach to their sons is that ‘a good man has to be afraid of his wife,’ for real…this kind of teaching or thinking needs to be put in rubbished, please lady be kind and I’ve seen many Thai and Lao females that are extremely mean to their husbands, or at least read about them, they would order their husbands around as if they were the servants, little hint ladies, if your husband does everything that is asked, not because he is afraid of you, but more like he loves you, so treat him with respect.

There are plenty more, but I don’t want to piss off my male (or female) readers yet, but if you are, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, look at yourself and see if there’s any room for improvement, if you’re a parent, then you should give equal importance of education to both daughter and son because most Asian parents seem to worry more about their daughters because they feel that their sons can take care of themselves and not place enough emphasis on education like the way they do with their daughters. Since I’m a female, it’s nice to see females prosper in what they do, it’s a lot of hard work, women have to work twice as hard as men to be where they are, and especially if you are an Asian females, then it is three times. But the world full of females in control is not something that I’m looking forward to see, but the trend in Thailand and Laos that most males don’t see the importance of education would leave those areas to be skewed, if you think that Thai men or Lao men are still like the hero in Lakorn (Thai soap), then think again. Let us just hope that the Thai and Lao men don’t get so discourage fighting the never-ending battles that they decide to leave the material world and enter the world of monkshood.