Young, Successful and Highly Dependant on Networks


After a discussion today, I was mesmerised by the thoughts of Thais. Interesting lot, these bunch of young early-30s yuppies. Them in their long sleeve shirts, dark pants and annoying bright ties. And me in my shorts and t-shirt.

We spoke about personalities within the political and social circles, over cold coffee, cigarettes (kretek for me) and fried bananas. During the course of the conversation, the group reminded me so much of young Malaysian adults and their inspirations.

Despite society’s eagerness to get rid of political elements in a decent conversation, such things are impossible. One way or another the topics will be politically-related, spiced with juicy rumours. Oh yeah, Thai-style.

Regardless of their political affiliation, they are keen to embark on an early flirtation on power. Without networks, one cannot have power. And in accordance to the Thai-style of networks, they do depend on one another, mainly for future business contracts or to put a good word –» facilitate more opportunities.
But nearly all are dependant on such peer-favours. Highly bizarre to my non-capitalist ways but … Don’t really affect me, similar to what the Malaysians do, anyway… Almost.

Thais build their networks mainly in universities, or those fortunate enough, from schools. Such connections build trust, though unreliable if you ask me, and it makes people happy to have a colleague or coworker from the same educational institution.

Despite their philosophy of connections, networks, once-upon-a-time buddies, ex school mates etc, Thailand is not for the weak. Betrayals are common, and out goes the “trust” into the garbage bin.

Money, and greed for power, destroys friendship and that factor which Thais love so much to tell me: Bond. Such bond is usually in the pits.


An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at and @bedlamfury

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