When we first began reaching out in red light areas, with our limited Thai, naturally we would ask basic questions such as, “How long have you worked here?” and “Why?” The length of time varied from days to years, but the reason was nearly always the same: “I want a Western husband.” Why a Western husband?
“Because Thai man no good.”
At first it seemed like a lame excuse. They must really be after money.
However after hearing enough stories, spending time in Bangkok and villages, and seeing the many hundreds of men’s entertainment venues throughout the city and suburbs, it became apparent that Thai women as a whole indeed have a problem.
Not that there aren’t some really good guys–there most certainly are, but far, far too many are blatantly unfaithful. And even though the culture has a long history of polygyny, we have yet to meet one woman who was ok with the idea of a two-timing husband.
The title of this song by a Thai pop group means “It’s time to listen,” and well depicts the cries of women that go unheard. Pray for them as you watch this, and for the guys to begin a full-time men’s leadership training program.
Reactive attachment disorder–how can we help girls who have been abandoned or abused be able to attach to loving caregivers? When they hit teen years they tend to put all their hope in romantic love, only to choose unhealthy guys and get burned. We’re seeing that happen to a 16 year-old we know right now.
Maternal attachment disorder–how can we help moms unable to bond with their kids? We’ve worked with some tough cases here, but have only seen success with one. All were themselves abandoned and/or abused by parents, so they’re really adults with reactive attachment disorder, and all dumped their own kids in order to be with a man. In the successful case, she found a good man who came to Jesus and has been very faithful, helping her towards the emotional safety needed for recovery.
How to develop a peer-based sobriety culture at The Well, that could help start an AA-like movement in Thailand. Not necessarily twelve steps, but possibly.
How best help bright, high-potential teens from broken backgrounds in a broken school system. Read more about Thai education here.
How do we strike a balance at The Well and The Well Products between the hurting people we most want to reach and better functioning people who maybe don’t need our help so much but who add stability into the mix.
How to teach abstract thinking skills to adults who are smart and literate but have never read a real book or written a theme paper.
Any ideas? Pick one and share your know-how or ideas.
A recent New York Times article highlights a trend that concerns us as well. We regularly meet teens and young adults who have come in from the Northeast, looking for work, but with inadequate education. They bounce around to different jobs, and of course many get involved in drugs and prostitution.
The nuts and bolts of Servantworks Narimon is a network of committed volunteers who sell products in homes, churches or at special events. You may also purchase some of our jewelry online at narimon.org. Narimon products are made by members of The Well in Bangkok.
The Well needs people with expertise in addictions, post-trauma and family counseling to spend time training staff and volunteers at The Well. Length of time is flexible–one week can be enough, although a longer period will obviously enable you to understand issues more deeply and be able to train more specifically.
Help develop an outreach and discipleship program for young Thai men with a similar purpose and vision as The Well, our women’s ministry: train leaders, reach families and change society. The men’s program would emphasize outreach to young men from poor, working-class backgrounds, particularly from northeast Thailand, and would include strong educational and job-training components. This job requires a long-term commitment.