Chicky Net is the only expat women’s online community in Thailand. With over 2,000 members, Chicky Net is a valuable resource for women living and staying in The Land of Smiles. The site offers classifieds, interest and location specific groups, interviews, a list of women bloggers in Thailand and Chicky Net scheduled events. Networking is made easy, with a general forum and destination specific forums (i.e. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Phuket). I thought I’d touch base with Berthe of Chicky Net to learn more about Chicky Net and perhaps the experiences of expat women in Thailand.
1. Hi Berthe. What country are you from and how long have you been living in Thailand?
I am from the Netherlands and have been living in Thailand with my boyfriend for 3 years.
2. Where have you lived in Thailand? Where are you currently living?
I have lived in Phuket for 3 years with a small stopover of 3 months in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai was great but due to the air quality, or better yet lack of air quality, we decided that it wasn’t the place for us. It was really too bad though because Chiang Mai is great and much, much easier on your wallet compared to Phuket.
3. How long has Chicky Net been online? What is your history with them?
Chicky Net actually started out as a Facebook group which I set up in April 2009 about 3 months after moving to Thailand. Apparently it was badly needed as the group grew so fast that I decided to launch my own social network and Chicky Net was born. Due to the success of the Phuket network the network was in time expanded by other locations in Thailand like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin. Still its worthwhile for women in other areas to join as there is plenty of useful information that applies to Thailand overall.
That there never really was a grand plan behind the start of this social network is revealed by those who take a more critical look at the Chicky Net logo which is more Japanese that it is Thai. In the beginning of Chicky Net I quickly created a little drawing of something Asian and I never really thought of it further. And well, down the line I kind of got attached to this girl. She reminds me of the early days of Chicky Net.
4. What has been the best aspect of being involved with Chicky Net?
The best aspect of Chicky Net is by far that the network gives women an easy access to a new social life in a strange country. Some women were really lonely before they joined and now have a brimming social life again. That is extremely gratifying.
5. As Chicky Net regularly posts interviews with a variety of Foreign women living throughout Thailand, have you noticed any consistencies in the interviews, hence the experiences of Foreign women in Thailand?
Well a consistency in the interviews is that almost everyone’s Thai is awful LOL But on a more serious note, I like the overall positive vibe and that it shows that Thailand is an amazing place to live. We’ve all read the grumpy old men stories online, and even though entertaining, they do get boring after a while. I feel its now our time, a time of a new generation of expats.
6. Do you think we face different challenges than Foreign men here? If so, how?
I do think that women face different challenges than men although luckily I have personally never been affected in a seriously negative way. The most serious annoyance that I experience is that many Thais often prefer to address my boyfriend than me. The roles in Thai society still seem to be more traditional, even in 2012. When our landlord came to our house he would ask if my boyfriend was home before doing anything. When we purchased a washing machine at Home Pro I was the center of attention (how cliche) but at the moment the credit card got pulled out, handed over to the cashier by me – mind you, my boyfriend was asked to sign. And more often than not the change in a restaurant is handed over to my boyfriend even though I pay for the bill. But as I mentioned before, its nothing too serious and I don’t really take it personal.
For single Western girls in Thailand it can be quite a challenge to find a Western partner. Although this also applies to Western men who are looking for a Western girlfriend. There’s this article I once found I shared on the Chicky Net blogs that really sums it up. What troubles me, is that article is written in 2004 and now 8 years later I am not sure as to how things have improved.
7. Chicky Net hosts various events. Can you give us more information on them and how someone could get involved?
The great thing about the Chicky Net events are that they are member driven. So if you have a nice idea you are welcome to set it up. The fact that different people contribute to the event organization means that the network offers a nice mix of things to do. Members of Chicky Net come from all walks of life and have ages ranging from 20 to 70, so the younger girls go clubbing and the older ladies play Mahjong. How great is that?
Events are sometimes also open to partners and friends, this is something the event organizer can choose for if she wants. So not only do women meet each other at events, also guys can expand their social circle.
8. Anything you’d like to add?
Well come and check us out at www.chickynet.com and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.