When people ask me why I live in Thailand, I give different answers. If it’s someone I don’t know well, I say something innocuous like “Oh the culture” or “the laid back lifestyle”. But, if I’m talking to a person who really wants to know I always say I live here for “freedom”.
Last week I went on about the freedom to eat what you want when you want. My country of origin clings to a rigid set of cultural mandates about meals, food and diet. Here in Thailand we are free of Food-Nazis.
This week I’m on about a subject that is universally yet clandestinely familiar to male humans of any age. That’s right … I’m talking about peeing outside. Since the dawn of man we’ve yearned to answer nature’s call while completely engulfed in … well … nature. Admit it fellas … it’s great to pee outside.
Sorry to leave you out ladies, but you have plenty of “female-only” stuff we can’t fathom, so here is a contribution from our side.
The story this week’s picture tells is the story of universal freedom. Make a list of liberties that could be granted worldwide by some overlord deity and none would be more universally and unanimously applauded than peeing outside. A politician campaigning on his intention to grant men the right to pee outside would have a solid platform.
In my country of origin, we limit the practice of this hedonistic ritual to our own backyards. To do so in public would surely lead to the reading of rights and litigation. Here in Thailand, things are a little more relaxed.
Any visitor to Thailand here more than 90 days has witnessed the taxi driver who just couldn’t hold it standing spread-legged letting it fly on some unsuspecting palm tree on the side of the motorway. Unabashed and unashamed, Thai men certainly don’t have a problem with such a display so why should I?
In fact this behavior, literally illegal in my home country, is actually encouraged in Thai culture. This week’s picture is taken at a huge roadside rest stop between Chumpon and Hua Hin. Behold, sparkling clean urinals framed with immaculately trimmed hedges accompanied by the highway sounds in the background. An oasis of form-meeting-function if there ever was one.
A modicum of proper privacy is maintained. Desires to embrace nature are sated in a sanitary environment. And no one is offended.
I’ve lived in half a dozen “first world” countries and never witnessed civil liberties like this.
While citizens of my country wring their hands over what to do about transgender people in public restrooms, Thailand lets me pee outside.
See what I’m saying? Freedom right?