If you know any ex-pats who live in Thailand, you might sometimes hear them referring to themselves strangely as ‘mushrooms’.
It means that they feel that they are being ‘kept in the dark’… not told what is going on on a daily basis. You see, very few ex-pats in Thailand actually speak enough Thai to say more than ‘Hello’. Thai is a very difficult language, even for a linguist like me, so the average Anglo- Saxon has little chance… especially the older ones. Anglo-Saxons are renowned for not learning foreign languages, but in the case of Thai, most ‘falang’, which basically means Caucasian, struggle with the language.
By the way, I am Welsh, a Celt, and we are taught two languages from a very early age, so that makes it a bit easier for us, but it is still hard. Thai bears no relevance whatsoever to any European language.
Anyway, mushrooms… I too have experienced the mushroom effect, but most of the time welcome it, because I need time alone to be able to write my posts like this and books. However, what I really, really don’t like is being left out of things without being asked.
For example, the day that I am writing this is St. Valentine’s Day, but my wife is sitting with her friends and I am sitting alone.
This is not acceptable, but routinely passes as normal, leaving ex-pats who live in remote villages feeling lonely and ignored.
If it hadn’t been for my book-writing, I would have left the village for the city years ago, because Thai women daren’t leave their men alone, or like mushrooms in the dark there, because there are so many bars full of so many girls looking for a way out, and that usually means pairing up with a falang.
The Thai girl has the whip hand in her village, but the mushroom has it in the city.