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Area: 513,120 kilometers square
Religious Groups: Buddhism- 94.50% Christianity-1.17% Hinduism-0.03% Unaffiliated-0.01%
Life expectancy: Female- 77.8 Male-71.2
Monarch: Maha Vajiralongkorn
Ethnic Groups: Thai- 75%, Northeastern Thai-34.2%, Central Thai-33.7%, Malay-4%, Tamil-3%, Other-1% Southern Thai-13.3%, Chinese-14%, Khmer-4%,
Drives: On the left
Prime Minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha
Water Area: 2230 kilometers square
Population: 2010 census- 65,479, 453
Currency: Baht (?)
Urban-Rural Population: Urban- 36.1% Rural- 63.9%
Literacy percentage of population age 15 and over literate: Male- 95.9% Female- 92.6%
Thailand has changed a lot over the years, one of the biggest changes is the name of the country itself. Thailand used to be named Siam, when the monarch rule ended in 1939 the name changed too. Western influences have made a huge change to Thailand lately. Some of the most notable changes are in education, food, clothes, seniority, and superstitions.
Educational changes: Formerly, monasteries were the only venues of education. Buddhist monks took on a teacher’s role. The content of the study mainly dealt with reading, writing, astrology and herbal treatment. Most students were boys because at that time Thai parents did not see any benefits of letting their daughters learn to read and write. They thought that their daughters would soon have to get married and stay home, doing household chores and raising their children. It was not until the early 20th century that, due to the influence of the Western world, Thai women began to be treated equally as men, and were encouraged to receive education. The first school for general people was made in 1884 in Bangkok.
Marriage changes: The Thai-style wedding ceremony is still practised widely in Thailand. However, the wedding dresses are more westernized now. Though, during the merit making ritual which is held in the day time, the couples prefer traditional Thai costumes which are more suited towards the climate.
Superstitious beliefs: The Thais believed that everyone’s life was pre-destined, and no one could change it. So, to succeed or fail was in the control of one’s own fate. Such beliefs are gradually losing grounds due to Western influence. Westerners believe that it is one who directs one’s own destiny, not any outside factors. They admire people who work hard to prove their ability rather than those who obtained something without making any investment. The existence of this influential thinking in Thai society gives opportunities to those in the lower social level to improve their social status by exerting themselves instead of waiting for a stroke of luck.
Language changes: Thais use “wai” as a way to greet each other. It is done by placing two palms together in front of the chest. Nowadays a handshake is frequently used, especially in business circles. However, most Thais still “wai” each other and say “sawatdi”, (meaning hello) at the same time. When answering phone calls, “sawatdi” is supposed to be used, but most people say “hello” instead.
Eating habits: In the old days, Thai people ate with their bare hands. And there was no specific time to have meals. When P. Pibulsonggram became the third Prime Minister of Thailand (1938-1944), he launched a campaign to make people consume not more than four meals a day. At this time Thai people also started to use a spoon and fork as tools for eating food. The reasons behind this campaign were to show civilization and to increase health standards.
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