In my time here I have had the pleasure of enjoying the Thai’s forthright, and sometimes awkward, honesty. The people will not hesitate to call a person fat, ugly, beautiful, old, etc. Conversations that I would find rude or mean in America are more commonplace here.
For example, in all of my classes I asked my students to describe themselves and family members. I was amazed at how many students described themselves as ugly and fat when they were anything but! At first I took it to be low self esteem, but there were so many instances of it that I have to wonder where it is coming from.
I have since learned that the ideal Thai beauty would be as European looking as possible! They love blue eyes and all strive to make their skin as light as humanly possible. Stores have medicines and creams to help lighten skin and girls will slather white makeup on their faces. My older students were shocked when I explained to them that people in America often try to get darker with creams and lotions and staying in the sun.
When the coordinator of our program took a picture with me, he insisted that the camera use flash so that his skin could be as light as mine! My most shocking discovery was the nose clip. Please, just take a moment to check out this product:
I could not believe it! A modern day torture device to make Thai women look more beautiful by making them look less Thai.