The Thai Character : Interdependence Orientation
7. Interdependence Orientation
This value orientation reflects more of the community collaboration spirits, and in a sense the value of coexistence and interdependence. The collaborative behavior is a dominant behavioral pattern, particularly in the rural community. Coorporation in rice agriculture by members of the village is nothing new in Thailand. They cooperate in maintaining the small irrigation canals that water their fields, and have to agree on plans to share water. They help one another throughout the cycle of rice-growing, from planting to harvesting. In other spheres, they also cooperate in house-building, as well as in the psychologically and culturally important events, like life crises, serious illness, births, ordinations, and funerals.
This is succinctly reflected through the value priorities of the rural Thai, where the two highest discrepancy values that distinguished the rural Thai from the urban Thai are the religious value and the community-oriented value of Brotherhood spirit in helping one another and for being Interdependent and mutually helpful.
These values of interdependence and mutual help enhance the value of coexistence. Coupled with the higher order values of "ego", "smooth interpersonal relationship" and "flexibility", these values help to facilitate the coexistence of different ethnic groups in Thailand. Better still, they help to make Thailand the rare example of successful assimilation of ethnic groups like Muslims and Chinese, saving Thailand from the painful experiences of ethnic conflicts and scandals. Although interdependence orientation of helping each other is a dominant rural community value which might help stimulate neighbors to participate in different cultural and religious vents, basically it also requires the "flexibility" value orientation of the Thai not to shun off other cultural groups, that make cultural assimilation successful.
Primary Source : Fr. Peter S. Niphon SDB, Hat Yai
Full unedited text (includes footnotes and references)
Secondary Source : S. KOMIN, Psychology of the Thai People: Values and Behavioral Patterns. Bangkok, Research Center, National Institute of Development Administration.