A Refuge for Others

Updated 20-Sep-2023

Cultural Differences

As an expatriate American there are many cultural differences I have come across where I now live in Chiang Mai, Thailand. One is the buddhist concept of being a refuge for others. The ability to provide for other people, to feed and shelter them and to take care of their needs is important in this part of the world.

The Provider

Of course in the US we have the notion of the provider, but this is seen as largely a family role, and the way that families work, this role is not available for children to inherit as the closer-knit Asian families have it. To become a provider in the US is to leave the family and begin your own. But as a single man without his own family, becoming a provider is not culturally available.


In 2009 I co-founded Lanna Innovation Co., Ltd., a registered Thai Limited publishing company with my Thai business partner. We have now worked with several different companies and individual service providers, including graphic artists, web developers, printing companies and accountants.


One aspect that is quite fulfilling is the ability to help feed other people. Certainly this is not charity, but business. Nonetheless it is quite fulfilling to be able to provide these small opportunities and participate in creating value. In my previous profession of teaching, this sort of thing is not available since you do not create value directly, but help others learn how to create value (though this is largely unrealized and therefore unfulfilled). In my past and current SEO consultant work, there are only occasional opportunities to outsource some of the work, but even then there is this sense of fulfillment, of providing a refuge. I look forward to performing this role in a stronger sense in this coming year.