Traditional Family Relationships

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Traditionally, the local community was the basis for people´s social interactions. Most people´s friends resided locally and face-to-face communication was the predominant mode of communication. Moreover, unmarried women´s mobility was restricted to the village and daily activities were centered around the household and local community (Esara 2009). In many rural communities, traditional courting patterns took place under the watchful eyes of parents and elders. They were part of everyday village interactions and provided opportunities for young men and women to assess potential spouses as well as for their families to encourage or discourage particular directions of romantic attachment. By the late 1980s and 1990s, with many people moving…show more content…
For the majority of women in my study, courtship was clearly about finding a husband. Thus, casual dating was condemned and viewed as a waste of time. In this phase, women tried finding out whether they had shared interests and opinions on topics they cared about. With persistently strong social and familial pressure and patriarchal structures, women also had to find out about attitudes of possible boyfriend´s families, which embodies the conflict between pragmatism and romantic feelings. Lin dated within the Thai-Chinese community and her last boyfriend was the oldest son of a family that Lin described as a rather traditional family. Whenever she visited, she was expected to overtake duties in the household like cleaning and serving food. Although she liked her boyfriend, she did not want a life tied to the household, but rather pursue a career outside the family. She had the feeling that this would be impossible if she stayed with him and, therefore, chose to break up the relationship. For her, getting to know the family of a possible boyfriend was as important as getting to know her prospective…show more content…
The market packed with flower stalls offering all sorts of special Valentine´s creations and masses of people walking between them. The day after, I spent some time in the Siam Paragon Mall, which was decorated with thousands of pink balloons and red roses. The whole atmosphere in the mall was cheerful and young women and men paraded happily with flowers and soft toys while taking selfies and photos of each other. Valentine´s Day is a rather small-scale event on which small gifts are given from the men to the women. This ritual has significant symbolic implications for both the giver and the receiver and the Valentine´s Day gift giving occasion sets itself apart from other gift-giving occasions as it represents exclusively an occasion when individuals in a romantic relationship express their love and affection through symbolic gift giving (Wooten 2000). Later that day, I met Pim, another of my informants in a cafe. Pim is a 24-year-old Politics student, who I met a few days earlier for an interview when she asked me to hang out with her and some of her friends for a countercelebration for "unloved" single women. Contrary to our not so serious "celebration", Valentine´s Day and what might happen between young people seemed to cause furrowed brows among the political elite. Ahead of February 14, the
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