By J.P. Boyd
In previous articles, comparisons of Thailand, in general,
and Chiang Mai in particular were evaluated for retirement purposes in the
context of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with retirement in Sicily, Italy. The
physiological needs of shelter, food, water and air were discussed, as well
as the second level of needs, regarding safety and security (protection from
physical threat and psychological safety). In this article, the third level,
social needs and esteem are explored for Thailand and Sicily.
Many people work all their lives with an eye toward
retirement, but have not thought beyond the day they retire as to what they
will do once they retire. It’s like planning a big wedding without
considering how the marriage will be. Being retired is one of the best
chapters in your book of life and a last chance to maximize your personal
potential by making a lasting and significant contribution.
So whether you are in Thailand, “the land of smiles”, or
romantic, old world Sicily, social needs are a consideration. Particularly
if you left family and friends behind, your new support system needs to be
readily obtainable “on the other side”.
Social needs include friendship, a feeling of belonging
and acceptance of the group.
Contrary to Sicily, many people in Thailand speak
English. There is a very large group of ex-patriots in Chaingmai who belong
to the Ex-Pats Club that meets twice monthly. (Phone number: 053 343 7790
www.pfm-international.net). The Ex-Pat Club has subsidiary groups to cover
any interest including photography, textiles, a writers group, a travel
group, etc. The age group: 40 to 90, with many accomplished professionals in
journalism, art and culture. The Club is a good jumping off point for
In Sicily, a new group has been formed called The English
Conversation Club and has quickly garnered 1000 members. (See Belinda
MacLurg on facebook for more information). Especially for English speaking
women, being surrounded by gorgeous Italian men is a perk.
The Villa I moved into is divided into six family units.
My landlords assisted with emergencies and transportation, as well as
calling the utilities to set things up. The rest of the family lives on the
premises (adult children). Together, they do mani/pedi’s, clean my house,
and handle heavy yard work. There’s a sense of kinship and belonging. Other
ex-pats tell me my experience is the rule and not the exception.
In Thailand, I see ex-pats who have carved out a niche
and live among the people, but not really with the people, as
I do in Italy. In Sicily, I’m Dottoressa Boyd, the title of Doctor being
bestowed on everyone with a University Education. I have self respect,
recognition and self confidence.
Next week we discuss appreciation, competence and status,
the last three factors on the fourth level of Maslow’s Hierarchy.