Inside Thai Societyby Niels Mulder
Thailand is often called the Land of Smiles, a sobriquet which sounds at once pleasant and mysterious. At the same time that a smile may suggest good humour, it is one of the most enigmatic of expressions as well. A smile may be a sign of kindness, of forgiveness, or friendly inclinations; a smile may also be merely polite, a way to smooth interaction or a sign that one is willing to listen. A smile may indicate agreement, or self-confidence, but may also be a means to gently express one’s opposition or doubt. A person on the defensive may smile, and one may smile when sad, or hurt, or even insulted. It has been said that the Thais have a smile for every emotion, and with so many nuances of smiling, the smile often hides more than it reveals.
This book aims to look behind smiles and appearances in order to discover those regularities and expections that pervade everyday life. To that purpose it identifies some of the basic ideas that give meaning and order to existence and that make life in Thai society eminently reasonable.
About the Author
DR NIELS MULDER is an independent anthropologist who has been actively engaged with Thai ways of life for more than thirty years. His books include Inside Indonesian Society: Cultural Change in Java; Inside Southeast Asia: Religion, Everyday Life, Cultural Change; Inside Philippine Society: Interpretations of Everyday Life, and Thai Images: The Culture of the Public World. Mulder's entertaining style makes his books easily accessible to anyone interested in the workings of Southeast Asian society.