A German living in Bangkok says most foreign men seeking a relationship in Thailand overlook middle class Thai girls who come from good families.
'It surprises me that when other men come from Germany and other foreign countries they say that all Thai girls work in Nana or Soi Cowboy,' he says in an interview with the ThaiLoveLines news Centre. He says that many Thai girls he has met from good families are put off by the attitude of many foreigners using internet dating sites.
His comments come at a time when one of Thailand's leading banks predicts a rapid increase in the numbers of Thai people with middle and upper class incomes. By 2020, it is predicted that 41% of Thai people will find themselves in these category compare to only 18% in 2004. 'Thailand is experiencing a healthy increase in living standards although like many things about Thailand, the pattern is unique,' says Jerome Kelly, a freelance reporter in Bangkok.
Henrik Muller is a German university graduate and financial analyst who moved to Bangkok in 2008. 'I have met a very nice Thai girl from Samut Prakan just outside Bangkok,' he says. 'Now we live together already in the centre of Bangkok where I am posted.'
Henrik's long-term Thai girlfriend Supa works in a world renowned advertising company. She is a graduate of Thammasat University (one of Thailand's leading universities) and she is fluent in English. She can also speak German. 'I know a little Thai but we talk the greater part in English and German. More English than German I have to admit,' said Henrik.
Henrik is surprised that some many Thai girls from good families and backgrounds find it so difficult to meet eligible foreign men in Thailand. 'She tells me that it is the case that many of her Thai girlfriends are interested in dating foreign men. You know on her Facebook page this year, Supa produced a survey that shows that 86% of her friends would be more than interested in dating a foreign man or boyfriend, this surprised me.'
Henrik says that it is quite common for Supa's friends to ask him to introduce them to friends of his from abroad. 'There are not so many German I friends, you know, I would feel comfortable about introducing to good Thai girls like this,' he says. 'One time I did so but my German friend was so impatient and took up dating a girl you know like high class prostitute instead of the good Thai girls who was very interested in him. So for sure, it was a disaster.'
Internet dating sites should act to make Thai girls feel more secure
Henrik feels that many Thai girls on internet dating sites experience prejudice from foreign men who have been fed a false impression of Thailand. 'There are many western men who like to think that all Thai girls are like prostitutes and they don't get a chance to meet real or good Thai girls like Supa. I am not talking about the Hi So Thai girls but I'm sure such are online too, I am talking about the Thai girls of the middle class from respectable families like you would find at home in German.'
Henrik thinks that many younger farang or foreign men should be more interested in meeting girls like his Thai girlfriend. He suggests:
- That foreign guys place attractive photos on their dating profiles. Particularly stating their occupations and career prospects. Henrik: ' Thai girls of the right sort are definitely interested in your income or career prospects, if you don't have any then why should they take a chance on you? I do not understand these men who complain about this.'
- Foreign men should be respectful at all times online. Henrik: 'Many people think because it's online dating that they can be more forward, you know not polite or quite rude, I don't understand this.'
- Foreign men should be courteous and patient with all Thai girls online but also be on the lookout for the right profile. Henrik: 'It will be so well presented because these Thai Girls from good families and with an education will know how to present themselves.'
Henrik says that his Thai girlfriend and other Thai girls in Bangkok have told him horror stories of abuse online including a Thai girl who had been exposed to a man's penis on an online video chat session. 'I have heard such shocking stories; low people like this should be banned from internet dating sites or even the internet forever!'
Thai Chinese girls are interested in foreign men
'When I came to Bangkok first I was told by an older farang (foreign man) that Thai Girls who were Thai Chinese weren't interested in farang at all. This is not true and it shocked me to find out. I suggest that the young foreign man coming to Thailand or Bangkok with the good intentions must not respect such opinions,' says Henrik. 'This is the usual bar girl, Soi nana wisdom.'
Henrik does say that there is potential stigma for decent Thai girls dating foreign men but points out that many Thai girls in Bangkok or Thailand who are from respectable families are now interested in sound relationships with a foreign man provided he is also a respectable man with good prospects. 'I think there has been a change and that 30 or 40 years ago, it would be forbidden for nay respectable Thai girl to be dating a foreign man. My Thai girlfriend tells me that today families have become more open minded and it is also quite difficult for a Thai girl to find a Thai man of good character also with good prospects.'
Thai women making economic progress in Thailand
Recent research shows that there has been an explosive growth in prosperity in Thailand and the numbers of Thai girls taking g places in universities. In 2004 the leading universities in Thailand reported that 55% of students for key courses were female. While wealth is growing Thailand differs from other countries as many still choose to live in rural areas.
However there is strong evidence of a breakdown in the traditional Thai family with more Thai singles living together and less traditional relationships. One commentator in Bangkok thinks this may explain the new attitude among educated Thai girls towards foreign men. 'I think Thai women have become more open minded and are in the vanguard of social change in Thailand, their male counterparts less so.'
This might explain one key statistics showing that the fertility rate of Thai women from the 1960s to 2004 has declined dramatically from 6.3 children to 1.8. This is a cause of concern as this is not enough to sustain a growth in population and puts Thailand in the same camp as countries like Japan and Korea while other countries in Asia such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam are seen continued population growth.
Real Thai girls looking for modern relationships
Henrik emphasises that while a large majority of educated Thai girls are interested in meet foreign dating partners, they are looking for real relationships based on mutual respect, compatibility and the sound economic prospects. 'Supa tells me that their used to be shame associated with any Thai girls seen with a foreign love partner but there has been a change. Now Thai girls are more educated and independent but they are still old fashioned by current western standards. But of course they are not just interested in any western man; he must be the right man. But I think many men from western countries will like this kind of woman.'