The History Of Socio Culture Sociology Essay Example
The History Of Socio Culture Sociology Essay Example

The History Of Socio Culture Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 11 (2954 words)
  • Published: August 11, 2017
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Thailand, located in Southeast Asia, shares borders with Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Its shape is similar to an elephant's head with its trunk facing south. The country has a total area of 514,000 square kilometers (198,445 square miles) and is known for its abundant agricultural and mineral resources. This has contributed to its prosperity compared to other countries in the Far East. As of 2003, Thailand had a population of 64 million people. Approximately 75% of the population are Thai people who have light skin color as a Mongoloid subgroup. The largest minority group is Chinese at 14%, while there are also Malay, Khmer, and Vietnamese inhabitants. While Thai is the official language, languages such as Lao, Chinese, Malay, and Khmer are also spoken. English is widely used in commerce and government affairs in major cities like Bangkok.

Friendship holds great value


for Thais who seek long-lasting relationships. They differentiate between "eating friends," who only appear during good times and "friends to death," who stand by them through both good and bad times. Genuine friends are considered dependable and trustworthy by Thais. To maintain these friendships bonds strongly resemble kinship terms based on age such as older brother or younger sister when addressing each other.Thai friends are known for their politeness,
and deep respect for each other's privacy.
In Thailand, education is compulsory and free for children between the ages of 7 and 15, leading to a high literacy rate of 94% compared to other Southeast Asian countries. Children have the option to attend public primary schools or those operated by Buddhist monasteries. Nowadays, studying at American high schools, colleges, and universities has become more affordable for

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many individuals through independent means or exchange programs.

Thai names follow the same structure as Western names, with the given name preceding the family name and no middle name included. Examples of typical Thai names are Malee Amatayakul and Somchai Sookmahk. When referring to someone in Thailand, it is customary to use their given name or a title followed by their given name as a sign of respect. The title "khun" is used for addressing Mr., Mrs., or Miss (such as Khun Somchai or Khun Malee). In certain situations where there is a clear relationship established, kinship terms (like older brother or uncle) or professional titles (like Dr.) may be used before the given name.

Traditionally in Thai culture, wives take on their husband's family name along with their children's surname. Demographically speaking in 2006, approximately 22% of Thailand's population consisted of individuals under 15 years old while around 70% fell within the age range of 15-64 years old; only about 8% were aged 65 and older. In that same year, women had an estimated life expectancy of roughly 74.6 years while men had an average life expectancy of around 69.9 years resulting in an overall average life expectancy of approximately 72.2 years.
In that year, the estimated infant mortality rate was around 19.4 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate was 1.6 children per woman, with estimates showing a birth rate of 13.8 births per 1,000 population and a death rate of 7 deaths per 1,000.

Thai society highly values family and considers it the foundation of their culture. Thai households typically have multiple generations living together, with the oldest male serving as the head of the family.

This hierarchical structure is reflected in societal organization where advice from elders is expected to be followed without question; however, this practice has been declining due to modernization.

Since Thailand's transition to a constitutional monarchy in1932, education has been prioritized through National Education Development Schemes (NEDS). These schemes have guided major educational reforms and identified national targets and priority areas. The National Education Act (NEA) of1999 extended mandatory education from six to nine years while also emphasizing both human-centered and economic development through the2002-2016 National Education Plan.

To increase community engagement, educational direction has been decentralized through the implementation of Education Service Areas (ESAs). According to observations made by the Ministry of Education in October 2002, basic education became mandatory and free for twelve years starting January 2003.Thailand's education system consists of six years of primary education, three years of middle education, and three years of higher education. In 2006, completion rates for sixth grade, ninth grade, and twelfth grade were reported as 96%, 80%, and 79% respectively.

The country has a total of 20 state universities, with 12 located in Bangkok. There are also 26 private universities and colleges, along with approximately 120 other higher education institutions.

Despite these achievements, there is still progress to be made in terms of educational attainment. In 2002, only an estimated 88% transitioned to lower secondary education and merely 69% continued on to upper secondary education.

Understanding the factors that affect both the demand for and supply of educational attainment is crucial in addressing access and equality gaps within Thailand. Additionally, households face financial burdens such as foregone income due to opportunity costs. Poor families often struggle with expenses like library fees, exam

levies, meals, and transportation which can pose significant obstacles despite the government's commitment to providing free education for twelve years.

In Thailand, many impoverished households find it difficult to afford the costs associated with sending their children to secondary school. This is despite the high returns on investment in education. The Royal Thai Government (RTG) allocates more than one-fifth of its total budget towards education consistently throughout economic crises like the late 1990s.Over 66% of the budget is allocated for basic education levels, including pre-primary and primary schooling. In 2003, approximately 28% of Thailand's total education budget (equivalent to 1.13% of GDP) was dedicated to secondary education. Thailand embraces diversity in ethnicity, language, and religion; however, there is also a sense of cultural homogeneity that has significantly contributed to a unified Thai identity. Approximately 75% of the population identifies as Thai and can be further divided into sub-groups such as Central Thai, Thai-Lao, Northern Thai, and Southern Thai. The Chinese population comprises the largest minority group at nearly 14% of the total population. Other smaller cultural groups include Lao, Khmer, Malays, Indians,and Vietnamese.There is also a significant population consisting of hill folks.Despite this diversity,the official national language remainsThaiand is spoken by most people.The developmentoftheThai language alphabet took placeinthe14th centuryand was influencedbyIndianand Khmer booksEnglish is widely spoken and understood especially in major cities as it is a compulsory subject taught in public schools.Chineseis alsospoken bya specificculturalgroupinThailand.Inaddition,Karen,KhmerMalay,and Tai are spoken among certain ethnic groups.Buddhism became the official religion duringthe14thcentury,greatly influencing Thaisociety,culture,andpoliticsIn Thailand, despite their diverse religious backgrounds, all individuals live harmoniously thanks to their shared belief in Theravada Buddhism. The King of Thailand serves as a unifying figure

and is constitutionally recognized as a Buddhist leader. While promoting religious freedom, the government acknowledges Buddhism as the dominant religion, allowing minority groups such as Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians to freely practice their faiths. Section 73 of the fundamental law protects and promotes both Buddhism and other religions while fostering harmony among followers with spiritual principles.

Theravada Buddhism remains the predominant religion in Thailand, with approximately 94% adhering to it. Muslims make up around 4.6% of the population, while Christians account for 0.7%. Hindus represent 0.1%, whereas Sikhs along with Baha'i Faith and others constitute about 0.6%.

Food plays a central role in Thai culture during social gatherings where communal eating reflects the friendly nature of Thai people; Eating alone is considered unfortunate as meals are meant to be shared amongst everyone present. After a meal, it is crucial to prevent any food from being wasted since it is highly valued. It is seen as the responsibility of the female head of household to ensure that everyone has eaten well.

Thai cuisine encompasses four main flavors: salty, sweet, sour, and spicy.Thai cuisine, which dates back to the 13th century, is known for its delightful taste and presentation. A complete Thai dish typically includes all four flavors and consists of meats, fish, vegetables, and soup. Desserts often feature fruits or colorful rice bars. Popular dishes include spring rolls, chicken or beef satay, salads, and sweets. In hotels, Thai chefs frequently adorn their dishes with beautiful decorations.

In terms of eating style and cutlery use, Thai culture has been influenced by Western cultures like China where chopsticks are used. However, a hybrid form has emerged in Thailand where Thais traditionally

use a fork and spoon. The right hand holds the spoon while the left hand handles the fork. Food is consumed one dish at a time using bowls for rice and soup.

Thai cuisine maintains its unique taste by incorporating native spices such as Thai basil, lemongrass,and galangal along with Indian spices. It has also been influenced by neighboring countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos Burma,and Malaysia.

Regarding healthcare in Thailand - information may be outdated as it states that in 1995 there were only 0.3 doctors and 1.9 hospital beds per 1k population.In addition,in 2002 annual healthcare expenditure was US$321 per person (PPP).Total expenditures accounted for approximately 4.4% of GDP, with public sources contributing to 57.1% and private sources contributing to 42.9%. According to UNAIDS in November 2004, the Thai government has implemented a well-funded response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, but HIV/AIDS remains a serious problem with an estimated national adult prevalence rate of 1.5% among individuals aged 15-49 years or about 1.8% of the total population. Since the first case was reported in 1984, around 58,000 adults and children have died from AIDS. The government has increased its support for individuals with HIV/AIDS and allocated funds to HIV/AIDS support groups. They have also provided funding for an antiretroviral drug program which resulted in over 80,000 HIV/AIDS patients receiving medication by September 2006.

Human Development

Recent estimates show that life expectancy at birth is approximately72.83 years (70.51 years for males and75.27 years for females)in Thailand.The infant mortality rate stands at18.23 deaths per1,000 births.HIV infection and AIDS are major health concerns with a prevalence rate of1.8 percent.Literacy rates are high, with96 percent of individuals aged15and above

being able to read and write.Access to modern medical care and trained doctors primarily exists in Bangkok and provincial towns; however,the government has established rural health centers as wellThe lack of clean drinking water in rural areas contributes to disease transmission, although primary education is universally free due to government initiatives, resulting in high attendance rates and a largely literate population. However, less than 30 percent of children continue their education beyond elementary level. In terms of higher education opportunities, there are over twelve universities and specialized postsecondary establishments available, serving around three percent of young people.

Moving on to the Human Development Index (HDI), it is a comprehensive measure used globally to assess the quality of life in different countries. This index measures a country's achievements in longevity, education, and standard of living. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been compiling this index since 1990 as a way to gauge progress in terms of life expectancy, knowledge and education, and economic well-being. According to the HDI rankings, Thailand currently holds the 92nd position out of 169 countries within the medium human development category.

Apart from the HDI, another index known as the Life Satisfaction Index was created by Adrian G. White at the University of Leicester. This particular index evaluates subjective life satisfaction across various states by taking into account factors such as health, wealth, and access to basic education.This text provides information about different indexes that measure happiness and gender inequality worldwide. The first index mentioned is an alternative to measures based on quantitative indicators like GNP and GDP, and it was compiled by gathering responses from 80,000 people globally. Thailand ranked 7th in

this index. There are also other indexes such as the Happy Planet Index (HPI) and Global Gender Gap Index. The HPI, compiled by the New Economics Foundation since 2006, measures human well-being along with environmental impact using various indicators including subjective life satisfaction, life expectancy at birth, and ecological footprint per capita. In this index's ranking, Thailand ranked 41st. The Global Gender Gap Index evaluates gender inequality worldwide and was created by the World Economic Forum. It assesses the distribution of resources and opportunities between males and females in four key areas: economic engagement, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival. Thailand is ranked 57th in this index.

Additionally, when interacting with Thais, it is important to be aware of cultural customs such as the traditional greeting called "Wai," which involves pressing hands together as if in supplication and bowing the head. While Thais may shake hands in a Western manner, they appreciate this traditional greeting form. It is also advised to use formal forms of address unless invited otherwise. Furthermore, it is considered inappropriate to touch a monk or walk in front of Thais praying at a temple or holy site.
In Thailand and other Asian civilizations, it is advised to remain restrained in disposition and avoid losing control of emotions or being too assertive. Confrontation is commonly avoided, so instead of responding negatively, Thais often respond positively or make excuses if they don't understand the spoken language. They may also claim the need to consult someone higher up even if that person doesn't exist. Smiles and laughter hold meanings beyond pleasure and happiness in these cultures. In Eastern cultures, smiles and laughter can conceal

various emotions such as embarrassment, shyness, resentment, conflict, or loss of face. Understanding the meaning behind these expressions is challenging but significant.

When dining in Eastern countries, it is customary to use Western-style forks and spoons. The fork should be held in the left hand while the spoon is held in the right hand. Instead of using the fork for cutting, one should use the side of the spoon and push food onto it. It is considered impolite to take the last portion from a serving dish without waiting for it to be offered first. Initially declining when offered more food is preferred; however, accepting it again can be seen as an honor.

While smoking after a meal is common in Thai culture, openly lighting up a cigarette or cigar is inappropriate. It's essential to ask for permission before smoking; once granted, cigarettes should be passed around to men at the table. Traditional Thai women do not smoke or drink publicly;In Eastern cultures, it is customary to bring gifts like flowers, cakes, or fruit when visiting someone's home for a meal. However, marigolds and carnations should be avoided as they are associated with funerals. It is considered polite for recipients not to open their gifts in front of the giver, but instead thank them briefly and set aside the still-wrapped gift until after they have left.

Public displays of affection between members of opposite sexes are discouraged in many Eastern cultures, but physical contact between individuals of the same sex is allowed. Additionally, using the left hand may be considered unclean in various cultures worldwide. Therefore, it is important to use your right hand while eating and avoid

using the left hand to touch anything or anyone. When receiving gifts or handling money, always use the right hand.

Furthermore, showing or exposing the sole of your foot to others is considered disrespectful in Thai culture because feet are seen as unclean. Instead of pointing at others with your index finger, it is better to wave with your palm facing downwards and fingers towards your body.

Suitable conversation topics include tourism, travel, future plans, organizational success, culture, and food. It is best to avoid criticizing Thai culture, religion bureaucracy politics or boasting about oneself.

In business settings both men and women should dress conservatively in suits.When outside of business settings, it is important to dress elegantly yet casually. Beachwear should only be worn at the beach and shorts are not appropriate in urban areas. When visiting temples and holy sites, it is crucial to dress modestly. Business relationships in Thailand are less formal than those in Japan, China, Korea, or the Middle East, but they are also not as relaxed and impersonal as in the West. Many business relationships are established through personal connections such as family, friends, classmates, and colleagues. It is recommended to approach potential business contacts with a prior introduction or personal reference for better reception from Thais. Having an introduction or letter from a known government official or business contact can be advantageous.

Thai interpersonal relationships heavily rely on cultural values like forbearance, regard for position, and non-losing face. Thais take great pride in their country and deeply respect tradition; however, sometimes the adherence to traditional formalities may seem inconsistent with the laid-back nature of life in Thailand. This might confuse or frustrate Westerners

who tend to be more informal and time-conscious.

Respect for elders, superiors, and patrons is deeply ingrained in Thai culture and society. Thais highly value avoiding actions that could hurt others' feelings or cause dissatisfaction because losing one's composure is seen as losing face and respect in Thailand.In Thai business and politics, corruption, favoritism, and nepotism are widespread, making it challenging for Westerners to receive accurate answers or open opinions. The disclosure of these practices has caused many Thais to openly criticize the privileged and powerful, especially since the financial crisis. However, there is now a promise of a fairer and more transparent era. In Thailand, "Khun" is used as a respectful title for Mr., Mrs., and Ms. Additionally, the traditional gesture of respect is the "wai," where palms are placed together like in prayer. It is advisable to bring your own business cards for networking purposes in Thailand. Moreover, Thai culture deeply values respect towards the Royal Family and expects visitors to exhibit the same level of respect.

- Thailand Business Basics (Standard Chartered Bank)
- United States Department of State Commercial Guides

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