I have been in observation mode since I landed in Chiang Mai (CM), watching the Farangs (the foreigners/expats), and the local Thai people. I started wondering what exactly indicates someone is wealthy, or someone is poor, in today’s world. If you walk around the markets in CM, you will notice knock-offs for any and every brand you can think of.
I bought knock-off Converse sneakers for $6 – it says Loy Star on the back, but they look as real as any Converse shoe would. With all of these knock-offs available at ridiculous prices, most people in CM are walking around wearing brand-name items. With food being so cheap, most local people buy all of their meals from outside as do the Farangs.
All of this brings up the question, what does true wealth mean in this new world system?
Are you wealthy if you have a lot of time?
I don’t think so. There are many people who sit, and loaf around, drinking all day, but don’t have enough money to do the things they dream about doing. There are local shop vendors with whom I have spoken who tell me how bored they are waiting for customers, begging customers to come in for a massage, and so on. That doesn’t seem like wealth to me.
Either these individuals don’t realize that their time is limited, or they just have too much of it, sitting around waiting for things to happen to them. (more…)