when you smile in Thailand, you may really be pissed off. Thailand is called the
Land of Smiles becuase there areo many types of smiles, not because everyone is in a
perpetually good mood.
The Land Of
Is Thailand really as go-lucky
as a 1950's American situation comedy?
"Long before you ever heard of
Thailand, you probably heard that it takes more muscles to
frown than it does to smile, suggesting that you're better off using
your physiognomy to smile. In reality, it takes 12 to smile and 11
to frown. Had the Tourism Authority of Thailand realized years ago
that frowning was easier, they may have promoted Thailand as the
Land of Frowns. "
Welcome to the Land of Smiles. When you come to Thailand,
when you visit forums about Thailand, you constantly see this term
bandied about. You'll often notice the nation abbreviated as LoS.
Some people attribute the moniker to Thai people always being in a good
mood. Others, to the endless supply of foreign senior
citizens in Pattaya with smiles of bliss glued to their faces after
being satisfied simultaneously by two slender Thai teenagers.
The real Land of Smiles should be Norway. They have a womb-to-tomb
welfare state, one of the highest GDP per capitas in the world, ample
natural resources and land spread among just 5m people, and freedom from
the governmental bureaucracy called the European Union. But
well, Norway never grabbed the name, and it may have not been fair
either. Tourists visiting Norway and experiencing its sky high
prices and eternal darkness during the winter are more often crying than
depends which smile they're displaying
Thailand is called the Land of Smiles because the Thais
really do smile a lot, but let it be known that not all
these "smiles," called yim in Thai, are what the foreigner would normally
define as a smile. The Thais have a wide range
of terms for different types of smiles, thirteen to be exact. They're like
the Eskimos with all their different terms for snow.
Most of these smiles do not signify that the Thai person is in
Types of Smiles
Foreigners to Thailand may carry a phrase book. They
point to a phrase in Thai and show that to the Thai to make
themselves understand. When a Thai smiles at you,
point to the following list of smiles and ask him or her
which smile they're conveying. You'll then know if
they're smiling back or if you should start running.
Once you become accustomed to what each smile means, you can
flash the same 'smiles' back at the Thais. No practice
is required to perform any of these smiles. Chances
are you already put your facial muscles in these positions
on a regular basis. We just have the sense not call
these facial gestures smiles and then market our countries
When To Use
The smile of
hopelessness. The situation is so bleak,
you've got nothing better to do but offer a pathetic
smile. Example: you've just been mugged,
had your passport and money stolen, and your Embassy
won't bother making a phone call on your behalf
except at super expensive direct dial rates.
The polite smile.
Example: you've just met four
strangers who are sure to bore you to tears with
stories about the size of corn ears, but you have to smile, shake their hands, and
say it was great to meet them.
The nervous apologetic smile.
Example: you accidentally put vodka instead of
Sprite in 9-yr old Junior's glass. Junior
drank it ... eagerly .. and is now vomiting, and
your wife is accusing you of trying to turn Junior
into an alcoholic.
The forced smile.
Example: the corrupt and evil
mayor of town wins the next major election.
Your parents are good friends of this crook, so you
have to attend his victory party to congratulate
The smile of diffusion,
to get past embarrassing and awkward situations.
Example: you've just been elected the new
corrupt mayor of your town, and your 20-yr old
daughter emerges drunken and nude at your
congratulatory dinner to call you a crook.
You want to smile but it's inappropriate to do so.
Example: Your cruel live-in mother-in-law just
died, and your wife is in tears. You feel like
you got a new lease on life but you can't act glad
about the news in front of her.
The victory smile.
Example: You're Harry Potter and you just beat
Draco Malfoy's team at Quidditch.
The admiration smile.
you're part of an evil terrorist cell and your
leader has just suggested what everyone feels is a
brilliant plan to blow up an entire country of
The happy smile.
smile you expect to see on someone's face in light
of good news. Example: you've just
approached two dream women at a bar, boldly
suggested a threesome, and they both agreed to it!
The evil smile.
how a used car salesman would look just before he's
about to overcharge you on the lemon you're going to
buy from him.
The attitude smile.
When you have the attitude you're right and everyone
else is wrong. Example: Tom
Cruise's rants on
The Today Show
about psychiatry bordering on pseudoscience
The mocking smile. Example: you're
in the audience of The Today Show or
The Oprah Winfrey Show as Tom Cruise goes on his embarrassing rants. You smile at him and shout in humor, "You tell 'em, Tom!"
The sad smile.
feeling tremendously sad but must cover it up.
Example: Tom Cruise is your favorite actor,
you've worshipped him for two decades, and now
you've just painfully watched your idol make a fool
of himself onThe
Today Show just
before a dozen guests show up at your house for a
dinner party you're hosting.