The Caste System

Having Pai here with us is still a little strange for me. I really enjoy her company and she does a wonderful job in everything that she does, it’s really me adjusting to the caste system here in Thailand.

Last night Pai was going to babysit Killian once he went to bed so that Chris and I could have a date night. She made dinner and I ask her to make herself a plate as well. She says “no. I go 7/11 and eat on the street.” I say “no way! You just made dinner and worked all day! You can eat with us!?” She continues to say no but I insisted and she finally made herself a plate. We sit down to eat and she is standing in the kitchen eating her plate. I ask her to please come sit at the table and she says “no, no it’s ok!” I give her a look and ask her again to come sit down with us and she smiles and sits. I clear a place for her to sit by me but instead she sits at the other end of the table. We include her in our dinner conversation and she finally looks at us and says “this is the first time in 20 years of work that a family has ever had me eat dinner with them.” Chris and I look at her in disbelief and we honestly can’t believe what we just heard. I say “you have never eaten with a family you worked for?” She nods in agreement. I look at her and say “this is called southern hospitality and that she better get used to it.” Chris corrects me and “says no if this were real southern hospitality we would have cooked the dinner too.” Pai just smiles and you can tell she is very happy.

She goes on to explain to us how her job as a nanny/maid is considered low in the caste system. For example, she explains that the lady at the front desk at the hotel gets paid less than Pai but they look at her as if she is not worth talking to, which I can’t understand because I think she has a harder job and she speaks English (that should give her some credit but no). Chris looks at Pai and says “back home we don’t have this type of system. We are all equal because we are all trying to make a living.” I agreed and explained to her that she is equal to us but just has a different job to do. She looks up and thanks us for that.

I thought about it some more last night lying in bed and it is true; we are all just trying to make a living and trying to survive the day to day. It’s extremely hard for me comprehend this caste system that is present in Thailand but I refuse to treat Pai any different than I would any other person. We are all equal because we are all Gods children.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

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2 comments

  1. Hello Becky, this story was so sweet to read. You are so right, we all are just here by the Grace of God and we are all equal in His eyes. So sweet of you two to explain to her and make her feel so loved. Good to always read your stories. Sounds like your doing good and adjusting well. Have a blessed day my friend. Sure do miss seeing and talking to you. Take care and if I can do anything for you~~please let me know.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this. So true it is hard for us to understand that way of living. Glad you are giving her a view of how people should be treated. Take care!


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