It really doesn’t matter where you live, and it almost doesn’t matter under what circumstances you’re living. Every day you have a choice to cultivate gratitude or to find fault in your surroundings. One way leads to happiness or at least contentment, and the other to misery for you and those unlucky enough to find themselves in your presence.
Unfortunately, many of us are convinced that our greatest talent lies in discernment. Nobody’s Fool, we are obliged to point out what’s wrong, who’s lying, and to remember these failings with pinpoint accuracy. We are the avenging angel’s right hand men, helping usher in the day of reckoning as it dawns.
As an expatriate, I am tempted every once in a while to offer my opinion on how the locals run this place. Certain that they’re simply too shy to ask my advice, I formulate advice in my head, ready to share it at the first opportunity. Because Thailand has been in political crisis ever since I first landed at the Bangkok airport in 2008, I have had many opportunities to offer such advice. Someone who’d been here awhile took me aside and said “whatever you do, don’t say anything about the monarchy. Nobody wants to hear your opinion regarding that.” I’ve heard it said “the most expensive advice you’ll ever get is free advice” but in this case, not so.
Thailand is the most foreign place I’v ever spent a lot of time. Central and South America are simply Latin-flavored America compared to this place. As long as I keep my discerning eye focused on what I enjoy about these differences, I’m doing fine. And as long as I keep my mouth shut, I’m doing even better.