Holding a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an MBA from California State University, Northridge, Stephen M. Timms serves as vice president of strategic programs at International Golden Group, a company based in the UAE that focuses on defense and security solutions. With experience living and working in both Kuala Lumpur and Abu Dhabi, Stephen M. Timms enjoys learning about the cultures of other countries and spends leisure time studying Thai customs.
As with any country, visitors should learn a bit about the background and culture of Thailand so as to be a courteous and informed guest. The following three customs are merely a starting point for anyone who is interested in understanding this region and its culture.
1. Salutation – Pressing your palms together at nose or chest level while simultaneously bowing your head serves as a way of saying hello, goodbye, or thank you. This gesture is referred to as a “wai,” and it shows respect.
2. Respect the monarchy – The head of the monarchy since 1946, the king of Thailand is highly beloved and revered by his people. Avoid speaking negatively of him or the royal family, and always stand when his anthem is played before movies, concerts, or sporting events.
3. Relax – Much of Thailand’s philosophy can be captured by the phrase “Mai pen rai,” which means “never mind.” Locals do not tend to stress about trivial matters and often have a healthy sense of fun.