Of late I have been going through a second (third?) wave of culture shock. After having lived in Thailand for 12 years, I got more and more exasperated with some aspects of Thai society and culture. I got all worked up about how Thai people handle or mishandle their money. Or how the education system has been organized. Or that families are breaking apart so very often. Or how corruption keeps Thailand in its grip. And on and on and on. Before I knew it, I was displaying a pretty negative attitude towards Thai society.
It is a fact that there is a lot amiss in Thai society. There are social injustices and social problems some of which are mentioned above. Just like all other countries, Thailand is suffering bad effects from the Fall. Just like people need redemption from their sinful natures, so societies need the healing and restoration that only the Gospel can bring. Thai society can bloom and blossom when families remain intact; when people start using their money in a responsible way; when quality of work is appreciated; when forgiveness takes place in relationships. So would Russian society. Or French.
There is no need to look at Thai society with critical, judging eyes. Instead of judging I should be acknowledging that people in Thai society, just like in other societies, need Jesus. This is why missionaries are in the country to help spread the Gospel. Instead of criticizing I should look at the beautiful aspects of Thai society, and there are many of them. Instead of judging, I should realize that I am a guest in this country and that I am graciously welcomed by the Thai. So from now on I plan to close my eyes in prayer when I see things that are not right, and open my eyes wide to things that bring colour and life to Thai society. In the coming weeks I will focus on several beautiful aspects of Thai culture/society. I hope it will help me to get me quickly through this round of culture shock.