Every culture has its odd dichotomies.
For example, Thai culture – being hierarchical – is sometimes very rigid. “Cannot do,” you’ll be told when making a request that seems to be a small deviation from the norm. The boss says it is to be done this way, so that’s the only way to do it. No amount of rationalizing or logic will make the deviation happen.
Other times, thanks to the laid-back nature of Thai culture, it seems there isn’t a rule made that wasn’t designed to be broken. This cuts both ways, of course, but is often to one’s own advantage. Such as this afternoon when we paid the contractors who work for Siemens (the manufacturer of our clothes washer and dryer) a little extra on the side to drill a hole through a wall in the space above the drop ceiling, so that the dryer can vent into a pipe chase. Previously, it was just venting into the space above the drop ceiling. Not only did that make the bathroom very humid when trying to dry clothes, but it could also result in a bit of a fire hazard as lint builds up over time around the bases of the ceiling light fixtures.
It is that “okay, can do” flexibility that is a particularly enjoyable part of Thai culture.
Of course, dichotomies are the very nature of a culture. The culture isn’t defined by one extreme or the other, but rather it is defined by the interesting space that lies between; the internal dialogue that the members of that culture engage in to guide their daily interactions and activities.
Update on the pumpkin pie and whipping cream situation. Based on all that feedback (thank you) I think the cream was not cold enough. Markus brought it from the store so by the time I whipped it, it would have spend a good twenty to thirty minutes in the tropical weather.