What is Mai Pen Rai
Among the many traits that I admired Thai people most is their ability to cope with any problems that they are faced with. Although some may resort to the moist easy way out if weren’t able to any kind of problems. Most of them face it with a smile, which makes me wonder why they behave this way.
There are times that they may find themselves in a perilous situation but when asked if how they are doing, they would simply reply you with “Mai Pen Rai”. This word represents 2 meaning it is either “never mind” or “it’s okay”, depending on the situation he or she is in.
With almost 2 years of residing here in Thailand there were several times that I saw road mishaps, big or small or in any kind of vehicle accident. You will not hear someone screaming and yelling and see a cop pacifying either of the two involved. But instead you can see them talking in such a calm voice that you will not even hear what they are talking about. You can literally see the cop standing there and sometimes joining their conversations laughing with the concerned persons.
When I asked my wife why they are like that, I learned that it is one of their belief that instead of frowning or making a fuss of what happened they whole heartedly accept the mishap or whatever that has befall them. And although what happened may be heavy for them they can still face it’s other and say to one another this three simple words, “MAI PEN RAI”.
That’s why if you came to befriend a Thai, the most common and used word that you will hear from him or her is “MAI PEN RAI”. It is being accompanied with those sweet smiles that you definitely cannot resist but to smile back.
There have been many times that our rich neighbors offered us rides and would send some freebies or any kind of foods into our house. Or give biscuits and chocolate to our kids, such trait is indeed commendable.
This kind of trait can never be experienced in the country where I came, from where the gap between the rich and the poor is literally visible. I’ve never seen a man pulling his Mazda, or Honda civic or Mercedes Benz pull over and offer an ordinary person for a ride.
Or persons who wear a coat and tie eating in fast food chains or food stall on the street? Oh No! That will indeed ruin their status their being an employee, it degrades them to eat with common people. People who are just wearing plain ordinary clothes, it is indeed impossible and will never happen where I came from.
It is here that I truly have leaned and seen the true essence of free enterprise; it is here that I learned that if you are here in Thailand. You don’t have to worry of anything; all you have to do is live comfortably and forget all those worry behind. This will lead into another interesting expression that they love to say “saduwak sabay-sabay”.