The Culture Punishes for Asking Questions

The Culture Punishes for Asking Questions
Many cultures punish people who ask too many questions; unfortunately my Thai Girlfriend is from one of these cultures. I have been trying for the last couple of years to explain this to her, instead of talking about the Thailand culture the conversation ends in her pouting.

In Africa, I knew I could ask two or three questions before they overheated.

In India, asking a question is often the prompt to get a lecture for the next half hour.

Asking a British person a question is their prompt to make fun of you for the next lifetime, this is called “Taking the Piss,” they especially like to wind up the Americans. I call them,
“My mean older brother.”

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Friday, July 31, 2009


There is a face made by both the Thailand and Philippines girls that is classic. It is a scowl, the Philippines girls have a little more lip action, and the Thailand one is more mean spirited. It is about control, as everyone often feels powerless; they enjoy tweaking out any small sense of power they can pull out of people.

I learn maybe 25 years ago to be aware when I get angry, or when another person gets angry, there is something we want to change. I can change my clothes; I cannot change people, places or things.

The difference between a developed nations and underdeveloped nations is their ability to solve problem. Thailand the Philippines will tolerate a problem for their whole life. They can be abused emotionally by their family and feel this debt for being born, I cannot imagine wanting payback for having a baby, but this is a common way of treating children on the planet.

A functional person or culture will try to find solutions to problems, while a dysfunctional person will endlessly talk about the problems, never once offering solutions, they think the solution is talking about it, which is a start, I personally watch for movement, I want to see the person move, not talk.

As for me, when I feel myself overheating, starting to cook, I start to think of solutions, I do not stew, I guess I do stew until I find a solution… hehehe

Noise in Hotels is the reasons for Air Conditioning, landscaping, large curtains and changing rooms or hotels. Street traffic, these incredibly smoke belching, loud jeepneys, the transportation throwback to World War II are a noise hazard. She was angry this morning because of noise, but she was not going to tell me.

I have been looking for Apartments and Hotels, it is hilarious, and generally, they have the Hotels on the noisiest streets. They do not have much choice, build in a ghetto, or build on a noisy main street. Well, truly the solution in the Philippines is to go up, they have tons of high-rise buildings, up is the only quiet place.

Well, I asked the Thailand person,
“Why are you angry?”

She does not want to answer, I cannot change Thailand people, I cannot change a culture, and I must accept and guess what the problem is. When I see the scowl on her face, I am supposed to be sensitive to her, and allow here to control me.

Fun crap, and ridiculous to me, I am uncontrollable, but I am sensitive, I know I have a personal problem with the Thailand culture. Just think, I can be thrown in jail in Thailand for talking or commenting about certain people. Here in the Philippine some 60 plus journalist have been killed in this administration as I understand.

Burn the books, do not ask question, truly an interesting culture this punish us for asking questions.

I was one of them annoying kids; I asked so many questions of my Mom she would finally say,
“Just because.”

I learned at an early age to not ask too many questions, I was surrounded by overheating parents, teachers, and friends, truly everyone around me, all of them. I now distribute my questions, I will only ask about three of any one human, it is not fun to be punished for being smart, I learned to be an oversensitive kid to stop the punishment, I can feel overheating people around me.

As Chuck says,
“The first rule of Thai Club is to not talk about Thai Club.”

Note, I am not supposed to explain cultures because I do not have a degree in cultural studies.

The Culture Punishes for Asking Questions


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What is bugging your girlfriend is pretty universal I think, Ive lost at least one friend to a bitch wife, I very seldom have an argument with people but she managed to get on my bad side within a day of meeting her, and she started it with insults and shouts. Males seem to me to be more prone to becoming victims of mental violence as is the case of my friend that is totally in her power, perhaps because it is not readily acnowledged that females are capable of any type of violence. Well, they are experts at mental manipulation (same as violence), probably learn from their mothers. Hey! I call em as I see em, men use physical violence and females mental, of the two I prefer the former, the scars of that fade sooner.

Note, I am not supposed to explain cultures because I do not have a degree in cultural studies.

The lack of degree makes you more likely to be honest. The unbelievable amount of real world experience makes you the ideal person to explain cultures. No BS, no PC.

Bob L.

I wanted to comment on Garys comment, but it is too big of a subject, and I only wanted to add details to it, so begged out and did not. But I want to add one something that I would bet Andy has already figured out for this situation, as he seems to have figured it out for so many others, being so much more self aware than the average person. A person can decide what they allow to bug them, at least once they figure out what is bugging them.

An example, that may fit Andys Thai GFs situation, in a way. My GF would get tweaked every time she went to her mothers house. I would see it and was helpless. Then, of course, I would have to suffer the *mood* and get yelled at for nothing. Remember that a good woman will attack the ones closest to them, because they feel safe attacking them (men do all the same stuff, just differently, and that is not the subject of the moment 8^) So dont think I am picking on women.)

A woman has a bad day, and will come home and yell at her husband. If he yells back, he lost. If he ignores it completely , he lost. If he is understanding, and she is worth a s**t everything gets better once the steam is released.

Oh yeah, my example. Anyway, after living through this for a while, I pointed out to my GF what was happening and suggested that she no longer let her mother push her buttons. When her mother pushed, my GF shrugged it off, changed the subject etc. Basically realized what was happening within her, and stopped it. This put a stop to her mothers actions, as it was not getting the reactions she wanted. Now they are friends again.

Andys Thai GF needs to realize what it happening within her, and deal with it. That is difficult enough if it is an individual thing, but is *extremely* difficult, I would think, if it is a cultural thing. But then, who here doesnt have some ghosts to deal with?

Bob L

Interesting as insightful comment as usual Andy. With regard to the functional people vs. dysfunctional people, Im curious about your take on immigrants. Many seemingly dysfunctional people from third world countries end up in the USA (or UK, Australia, etc.) and end up doing very well, working very hard (Filipinos, Vietnamese, Chinese, ..). So do you think it is the individual or the whole society?

Exchange the words developed and under developed with functiinal and dysfunctonal.

All people functional nd are dysfuntional.

The USA is dysfunctional often towards attainment of happiness.

Money, the economy is proving the dysfunctionality. People borrowed money stupidly and it is failing to function.

Men are not women, women are not men.

When both sides realize that we are totally different, different chemical makeup, different physical makeup, just down right different, then the world would be a better place.

This conversation is delving into more than just male and female. There is the physiological side, the chemical, physical and mental side of both male and female (even our brains are different!).

I have many more male friends than I do female friends, this is by choice. I find women very hard to understand, speaking as a woman, Im not difficult or hard to understand. Ive been called stoic, difficult, too in-depth, cold and even confrontational. Im none of these things (okay, maybe in-depth and stoic), its when someone tries to manipulate me that they use these negative words to describe me or twist the situation to their advantage. I dont let anyone validate my worth, whether it be male or female, and people will only treat you the way you allow them to treat you.

YOU give them permission to treat you this way, not vice versa.

So in essence, if you are stating that a woman is difficult, she is that way because you give her permission to be so. If you state a woman is a bitch, you choose to allow that behavior around you....period.

When youre on equal ground (which is difficult, because most men cannot fathom the idea of woman being on equal ground), what I mean about equal ground is a mutual understanding and agreement that you will treat each other with mutual respect, and that you wont tolerate certain behavior, then you can move forward in life.

Also, we (me and mine/family and friend) live by this motto:

Anyone can tell the truth, not everyone can handle hearing it. - Katchus

Dont ask me to put dog crap on a table, coat it with chocolate fudge and rainbow sprinkles and tell you to sit down, dig in and enjoy your hot fudge sundae. I wont lie to you and you had damn well better be prepared to hear the truth. I expect no less in return, if you dont meet these standards, then youre not ever going to get past the go line in my life.

People fling the words, love, friend, honor, etc around everyday, as if they are throw away words. If you happen to come across someone who does, run, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!


He he he! I am a question-asker too. I was lucky, when I was young my mother spent a lot of time answering my questions. She tells a story of me asking detailed questions about how electricity works and how it is made and gets to the house when I was still in the push-chair (is this called a stroller?)... aparently she was explaining to me about turbines and pylons in the post-office queue and all the old ladies found it very amusing.

When I used to go to play-school at age 4, the teachers told my mother i was more interested in talking with them than other children.... I guess I found them boring.

But I find your comments here interesting. It almost amazed me that, in Nepal, the people seemed quite happy to discuss politics, criticize the king or the maoists openly, except in certain places where they felt under scrutiny... was a pleasant thing to find an enquisative people.

From your mean younger-older brother,

Dingbat was what my step father a good man always called my mother, kinda like Edith Bunker.Innocent. As I grow older I realize what governed and guided my Mothers life. She knew cultures might be different but she always seemed to be striving for goodness in people and tried to teach me. I believe that my Mother thought that not the pursuit of happiness but the pursuit of goodness was the aim of her life. Happiness she thought was not something to seek but a gift of God to be accepted as a by product of a good life. I expect she learned this from her Mother who was thrilled to live in a culture that finally allowed women to vote.


Good stuff. It seems some people forget you are human. The things that go on during the day have and affect on the way we see things and express them. It is your opinion.

If we are all as smart as we think we are, should we not understand that?


ps. 2+4=24

Thank you so much for your generous, honest sharing. Never having traveled out of country (USA) before, I am so glad to receive your cautions, and to know something of what to expect. I share a bright, inquisitive nature with you, and find this repressive response to questions positively mind-boggling. It makes me grateful I have a month before leaving, to allow this to fully sink in.

I offer the link for perhaps an unusual reason. It leads to four short workshops (just over an hour each) that go a long way to explain how to best understand and deal with such controlling behaviors. Watching the first two should be sufficient for this purpose, though I do recommend all four. Ivan Stein, the presenter, offers excellent information, particularly on handling "control dramas,' as he calls them. Perhaps his workshops should become required viewing for people first traveling abroad!

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