Anna and the King – A movie that carried several interesting cultural aspects in Thailand (Siam). It also showed how an outsider who has way different beliefs and traditions came into their culture, and how this outsider dealt with the differences between his own culture and traditions, and the traditions of that country at that century.
The movie revolved around Anna – A British widow who went to Siam with her son to teach and educate King Mongkut’s 58 children.
This movie had shown some interesting culture differences, such as:
Siam at that time had a special way of greeting their king. When the king passes by the people, they would prostrate/kneeling down with their heads touching the floor. This greeting way shows that the people consider the king as their God! And so they kneel and look down. As for Anna, who was British, she respected their greeting way; however, she greeted him in her own British respectful way. In Britain, people do not kneel for their kings and queens.
In Siam, they used to wear long cloth that shows simplicity. The wives and kids of the king wore the same cloths and had almost the same hairstyle. As for Britain, they used to wear gowns and big cloths that showed their prestige.
In Siam, they used to not believe in monogamy. The king had many wives and 58 children. While in Britain, a person could have only one partner, and they usually have small families.
Also in Siam, if one of the king’s wives cheated on him with another man, she shall be executed with her lover. This is because it is disrespectful and dishonor to the king and the kingdom of Siam. While in Britain, it is a choice that could lead maximum to divorce!
In Siam, they believe that men are better and have the power over women. This was shown when Anna’s son apologized to her in front of the class and the king’s son told him that men never supposed to say sorry to women; it shows weakness. While in Britain, when a man apologizes to a woman, it shows respect to their emotions.
*Another part that showed different cultural believes is when they got in the fight over apologizing, the king’s son said that the head of royal family members may not be touched because it is sacred.
Siamese believe that asking personal questions to strangers is a polite way of welcoming them to their place. However, Anna was upset because she was not aware of their intentions; since asking personal questions to people you do not know is not acceptable in Britain.