A Changing Scene
For many years Bangkok was mainly a destination for the Western Expat male.
This is largely because of normative reasons in the cultural selection of staff to work abroad or the self-selection of the kind of people who chose to move to Bangkok to work there.
The first influxes of Westerners were mainly the US military from the Vietnam War days and the streak of machismo this left, lasted for many decades. Even up to 20 years ago Bangkok wasn’t a destination for anything but the most resilient or culturally curious of independent women.
These kinds of women were mainly in NGO or foundation positions much like US President Barack Obama’s mother who worked for the Ford Foundation and the Asian Development Bank. Many of the women found the attention that men get from sex workers very off putting in the past but now the expat scene is populated by a lot more men who are more-rounded than just looking for a sexual partner.
Women can go out together or even alone in Bangkok with very little fuss and have a pleasant evening with friends or partners like any other international destination.
British Women’s Group
This is one of the oldest women’s group in Thailand and as the name suggests it is populated by mainly British females.
The group was founded in May 1969 by a group of women who wanted to provide a platform for women to meet socially and engage in charitable events.
A girl’s night out each month is encouraged but for the more traditional sort the British Women’s Group is more attractive than other progressive women’s groups in the metropolis.
Coffee mornings and fundraisers are very much the order of the day and the British Women’s group do some sterling work with the British Embassy ensuring that people detained at immigration have a voice and contact to the outside world.
This may not be the glamour that some women seek but it is vital work and valuable to those who are recipient to the kindness they do.
American Women’s Club of Thailand
The American Women’s Club of Thailand is the kind of organization that will prepare its members for a dance with couples dancing lessons for their American Halloween event on November the first.
In some ways we are bound by tradition and yet in other ways we are restricted from participation by tradition.
The AWCT overcomes this kind of hurdle by anticipating the kind of obstacles that will prevent its members from participating. Humans are participation and social creatures and so the effort involved in knowing how to make a few dance moves on the freshly polished floor is amply rewarded if we make the effort to learn a few moves beforehand.
The American Women’s club makes a point of informing us that we don’t need to be American to join. Instead what is required is a wholesome heart, a desire to meet like minded people and a moral compass that wants to improve the world.
We think the AWCT is a force for good in Bangkok and a great way to meet progressive minds who just want to get together and improve the world.
Not a bad ideal for those who eschew cynicism.