Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe and the ‘culture gap’

When you get “involved” with somebody from another country and culture you always should expect some difficulties in the relationship, whether it be language or religion or social attitudes or whatever. There is always going to be a ‘gotcha’, a culture gap when you or your significant other either put your foot in it and make a social clanger, or you just wonder ‘WTF ?’

I’ve been visiting Thailand for many years now and I think that I have learnt most of the social intricacies such as who should wai who first, which involves knowing how the other person’s age/social status/salary compares to yours, all possibly delicate matters back in the West ! But I am sure I made a few blunders in the past.

My lady friend is used to farang tourists at work so she is pretty tolerant of our foibles although she is still bemused by the way some dress, such as guys walking down the main street shirtless, or the girls in skimpy outfits showing more flesh than a Patpong road bargirl.

The other day she was completely bemused by a purchase of mine …. one of the shops in Centralworld Mall had a sale on DVD movies, buy 9, get 2 free, and they had a lot of old classic movies, all under 100 baht so I got 11 for around 800 baht, all with English and Thai audio/subtitles. Actually 2 of them were double sets, so that was 13 movies for 800 baht or around US$2.00 each …a bargain ! The titles ranged from Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe’s Some like it hot up to Apocalypse Now and Bladerunner, the newest would have been the Harrison Ford version of The Fugitive but all were classic movies that I could watch over and over again. She just could not understand why anybody would buy “old movies”, nor why I would watch them again ! She had vaguely heard of Marilyn Monroe but thought she was still alive….no dear, she die long time ago.

While it’s no Hollywood or Bollywood,  Thailand does have it’s own movie industry but most Thai movies are instantly forgettable trash, consisting of pseudo-historical dramas, slapstick humour, car crashes and chases and social rich boy-poor girl dilemmas …or sometimes all of the above. From the ones I have seen, not many of them would bear more than one re-watching.

Anyhow, when my dearest was around over the weekend we had our usual movie session starting with Casablanca. I told her it was a very famous old movie, naturally she had never heard of it ….

Tirac, TV not work.

What do you mean, it’s working

Look, no colour.

It’s an old movie, it is only black and white.

Huh ?

where Casablanca ?

In Africa.

Why no black man ? Africa man black.

In north Africa, North Africans only brown,like Arab,  like you dear. (political correctness wasted on her !)

Ingrid Bergmann comes on screen ….she very beautiful, how old she now

She is dead now, die about 30 years ago.

Why she die young ?

She did n’t, this very old movie.

Eventually she ran out of questions and I think she actually enjoyed the movie, but I figured Some like it hot would be a better choice for the next movie …more humour that she could easily understand, especially with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dressing in drag to hide from the mobsters. This being Thailand, I think she could relate to guys acting as women !

About Mike

A recently retired "Baby Boomer" , looking forward to having more time for my photography and travel.
This entry was posted in Expat life, Latitudes and attitudes, Random musings, Thailand and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe and the ‘culture gap’

  1. seasiangirl says:

    Lol very amusing…. I like B&W movies- especially Bing Crosby and Bob Hopes’ “Road To…” movies…. 😉


  2. Mike says:

    Yes, they are good movies too. We did watch MM in “some like it hot” and she did enjoy that, but last night I wanted to watch Bladerunner ….no way in the world could she figure out who was doing what why, and went to bed after 20 minutes.


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