This is Khun Amara, she's building cleaning staff for half of our floor. In Thailand it's not considered good form to show too much respect for the help, after all, they are low status people and especially in the university environment lots of us are very high status.
So I have learned, whenever there are people around I just say to Amara, "sawat'dee, c'ap" and smile; but if I'm alone when she comes in I give her a wai. I told her, I'm American and I respect you for the work that you do. We are both people with jobs and families, we both deserve respect.
Do people in America really feel like that or is it just me? Or was it just when I was younger? Now money seems to talk, and bullshit sure walks.