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Kara Loveday
Thammasat University, Thailand

This week I have learned many things about the Thai culture, one of which I feel is very important for those who truly want to emerse themselves in it. This is the wai. The wai is a traditional Thai greeting that is displayed in a few different forms. Because Thai culture is based traditionally on hirachy, each wai is developed from ones status in society. For example, if I was to wai at a monk, it would look very reverent because he is of a high status in Thai society. My hands would be at the top of my forehead, pressed firmly together, with my sholders bowed toward the monk. If I was greating a child, my hands would be at my chest, pressed firmly together, with a slight bow in my sholders.
As a person in a foreign land, showing reverence for those who claim this culture is important. It signifies an understanding of their culture, even if you do not agree with the the ideas behind it. Respect the hiarchy and follow it traditonally. Do not do it to fit in or look like you belong. Wai because you understand and embrace the culture. Wai because you respect the Thai people. Remember, you are on someone else’s turf so do as they do, wai.

This week I have learned many things about the Thai culture, one of which I feel is very important for those who truly want to emerse themselves in it. This is the wai. The wai is a traditional Thai greeting that is displayed in a few different forms. Because Thai culture is based traditionally on hirachy, each wai is developed from ones status in society. For example, if I was to wai at a monk, it would look very reverent because he is of a high status in Thai society. My hands would be at the top of my forehead, pressed firmly together, with my sholders bowed toward the monk. If I was greating a child, my hands would be at my chest, pressed firmly together, with a slight bow in my sholders.
As a person in a foreign land, showing reverence for those who claim this culture is important. It signifies an understanding of their culture, even if you do not agree with the the ideas behind it. Respect the hiarchy and follow it traditonally. Do not do it to fit in or look like you belong. Wai because you understand and embrace the culture. Wai because you respect the Thai people. Remember, you are on someone else’s turf so do as they do, wai.

To follow more of Kara's adventures in Thailand check out her blog Mai Pen Rai at http://karaloveday.wordpress.com/


 





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