When we returned to Thailand after our home-assignment, we went to see all our neighbors and acquaintances to bring them a small gift from the Netherlands. According to Thai culture, you should bring something for your neighbors when you return from a trip. So we did.
Back in the Netherlands, we had found the perfect gift, we thought. Nice and tasty, not too heavy, and typical Dutch: Wilhelmina peppermints. However, after giving some boxes to several neighbors, we noticed their hesitance and not too enthusiastic reaction. We wondered about it, but didn’t have a clue why this was the case.
Then suddenly we realized: It’s because it shows an image of our previous Queen Wilhelmina! In Thai culture it would be very inappropriate to eat a sweet with the image of the King on it! For example, Thai people would never lick their stamps nor step on a banknote to avoid it blow away. All this because of the King’s image on them.
Since we found out, we still gave the peppermints, but didn’t tell the story behind it… It seemed people appreciated this gift more since then!