Thai Culture

Learn Thai | Thai Culture | Public Affection

By February 12, 2011March 16th, 2019No Comments

Learn Thai Culture | Public Affection

Learn more about Thai Culture with our online lesson.

Shows of Emotion in Thailand

These days, young Thai lovers can often be seen holding hands or hugging each other in public, much to the embarrassment and consternation of their elders! Traditionally, it is socially taboo for lovers or even married couples to show affection in public. This goes not only for kissing and snuggling but virtually any physical contact. For example, most Thai women don’t like to be seen holding hands with men in public, especially with foreign men. One reason for this is that they don’t want to lose face and have people think that they are prostitutes, even when they are. Be especially sensitive to these concerns when you are around her family and friends. The country girl may not mind holding hands in a Bangkok shopping mall but will want to be strictly proper while visiting her home village. Just because she wants to be a “polite” girl doesn’t mean she won’t be an affectionate lover when she is alone with you. While the above comments apply to both men and women, the double standard is alive and well in Thailand and some Thai men may like to show off their foreign girlfriend. Still, as a foreign women, you will make a better impression if you follow the traditional norms against displaying affection publicly.

Strange to many foreigners is the fact that, while public physical contact between Thai lovers, men and women is looked down upon, physical contact between adults of the same sex is perfectly acceptable. It’s not unusual to see two men walking along holding hands or women hugging each other. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gay, they are just being friendly.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary (Thai Script)

Phonetic

English Meaning

จูงมือ

juung-mʉʉ

holding hand

กอด

gͻ̀ͻt

hug

จูบ

jùup

kiss

ซบ

sóp

snuggling

คู่รัก

kûu-rák

lovers

ห้าง(สรรพสินค้า)

hâang-sàp-pa-sǐn-káa

shopping mall

อ่อนไหว

ͻ̀ͻn-wǎi

sensitive

โสเภณี

sǒo-pee-nii

prostitute

สุภาพ

sù-pâap

polite

ดูถูก

duu-tùuk

look down

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By Prae

Thai Language Teacher