Category Archives: Culture

My Thai Adventure – A Story from a Fellow Married Lad

My Thai Adventure – A Story from a Fellow Married Lad

My adventure started around the year 2002/3. We were planning the trip of a lifetime (for my wife and myself), but it didn’t start out as a trip to Thailand although in the end that’s what it was. For many reasons the trip we wanted to take was not working out the way we wanted it to when we were deciding on the details for the trip and so the Asia trip was born. Firstly though, we had to get all details finalized with the travel agent due to my wife being disabled. That was not a problem on any count as we were told the Thai Airways flight team would make sure everything would be dealt with for my wife to have an easy trip. I have to say at this point they were fantastic and always on my subsequent trips back and forth from England or Thailand I try my best to use Thai Airways. However we did not consider if it would be easy to use a wheel chair on the coast of Phuket or anywhere else in Thailand, but when we eventually arrived in Thailand it was lucky my wife was able to get around without it as roads, curbs and pavements were not really suited for wheel chairs.

Having never been to Thailand or any Asian country this was going to be an adventure to tell the grandchildren (yes we have two) and probably never do again we thought, however we can never know what is around the corner…can we!! Unknown to us was the adventure fate had in store or how it would have an amazing affect on our lives which would change so much for us both. We arrived in Bangkok late afternoon around Xmas time (we decided it was time for us to use the Xmas break for our adventure as the children had grown up and Xmas time was always stressful).

The 2002/3 Xmas trip was an amazing assault on our senses in every aspect possible. The beauty that is Thailand was overwhelming to say the least, but no more so than the first steps after getting off the long flight from England. My first steps were greeted with what can only be described as the feeling of someone walking straight through my body and at that point it was as though I had returned home An epiphany would probably sum it up, but why now and why me!! The 3 weeks we had from that point was amazing, we met lovely people (almost everyone at the hotel, but none more so than Orropan and Siriwan) at our expensive hotel the Patong Merlin in Patong Phuket, we had awesome food, went on beautiful trips and of course did the tourist bars and pretty much most things associated with going to bars and clubs, as my then wife was very liberal minded due to the fact that our love life was slightly lacking due to her being disabled. This enabled us to have special friends whom we had great nights with, so as you can imagine I was given my cake and allowed to eat it, so to speak.

Anyway let me go back a little to Bangkok…. Our package deal gave us beautiful hotels and the one in Bangkok was no exception. We stayed just three days in Bangkok or as I know it now as Krungthep, this allowed us time to get around the summer palace, winter palace and all the sights one should see when you go the first time. Of course this meant Patpong market, bars and clubs and I have to say it just made the senses tingle with a feeling of electricity surging through your body!!! This from a man whose wife would pretty much let him have sex at anytime and with anyone as long as she knew about it and was there. Yes were cajoled into bars and clubs, but in the best possible fun. We saw ping pong shows that left us in disbelief of what people would do for money, we bought many things from the market, fake or not who knows, but whatever they were and for how long they lasted it all added to the great Asian/Thailand adventure, so after drinking at several bars this was the first time I had ever had sex (I was going to say “been to bed with”, but you cannot call 20 minutes going to bed) with an Asian girl/lady. Even then we all agreed condoms (2) had to be used. At that time (so many years ago) I am guessing my wife paid a few pounds, although I am not sure. Afterwards I talked with my wife and said I am not sure it should have happened, but as all of us were consenting adults she said it should not be a problem.

Three days later and we were heading down to the coast of Phuket/Patong and that fantastic hotel Patong Merlin on the Patong beach. Not an inexpensive hotel by any means, however the staff was the best we had met on any trip we had made in all the other countries we had been to in the past. Staying in one hotel for a long time and you will strike up friendships and probably more so with Thai people as they are the friendliest people we have encountered in our trips. Orropan and Siriwan tried to teach us little words in Thai as I am sure they did with many other guests and even today almost 10 years on I still have contact with them and other people you will encounter in this adventure. As a keen photographer I would go out every morning and walk the beaches and streets to capture something of everywhere we went and Thailand was no exception, but with even more beauty to excite the camera lens and myself. We would go out most nights by tuk tuk and see more of the island during the day and then go to the red light/bar area of Patong in the evenings. At this point I have to say I was in paradise, good food, great beaches, fantastic people, great scenery and a fun nightlife. So it was no surprise to us to sit in a bar watching a show and end up chatting to the girls/women about our children, their children and their lives working in bars. It was there that we met a lady called Mar who with her friends danced at this bar in between the shows they would put on. Entrancing I would say she was as she danced (if you could call dancing against a pole dancing) on the stage; we chatted with this lovely lady and showed each other photos of ours and her children. Now at this point you could not imagine the turmoil that was going to befall ours and our families lives from that very first trip to Thailand.

Well the trip of a lifetime was soon over, the 3 weeks passed and we were on our way home and planning the next trip for December 2004.

A Tale of a Thai Girl Living in the USA

A Tale of a Thai Girl Living in the USA

I moved to the U.S in Nov. 2006 and by now you would think that I am probably more used to the culture, people, food, and stuff like that already. But after all I think I’m not and won’t ever be fully adapted.

Here are the things in the US that Ive been dealing with and trying to adapt myself to. I know another country might have things different than here, but after all might be something in common, all these came up to me as I separated in categories.

Culture shock/homesickness
– I put those two subjects in the same category because they are related. After I graduated from university I had never been jobless or outside of Thailand for a long period of time. The only country that I had ever been to is Singapore and that was just about a week or so. Other than that was just inside Thailand my whole life. See the examples below what will affect my culture shock and homesickness.

All my family and friends are living in Thailand and that was really tough to be apart from them.
It is so cold I hate cold weather. Its not fair to me who grew up in the hot and humid country and has to deal with this kind of cold dry weather.
I couldn’t speak English that well, nobody could understand what I said. Except my husband, who has been trying and has been the most patient man ever to stay by my side and understand what Ive been through. Patience to the point that he went to work with me on my first job in the States, just to make sure I would be okay for the rest of the day.
Transportation isn’t convenient here (but their service and the drivers are good). When I lived in Bangkok I had never driven the car, but that was not a problem for me at all because I had so many choices to choose from either bus, taxi, BTS, MRT or ferry. Here around where I live I had to use either bus or taxi, and for taxi just forget about it because its way too expensive for someone who has no job. Until a year later, once I finally got a job, had some money to save, and the most important part was learn how to drive and get my driver’s license. And that’s when I was finally able to drive myself where I want to be.
Thank you for some stupid American, who is racist and doesn’t open their mind to the foreigners. They made me stronger as I am now.

People – My first impression about people in this country is that they are so revealing. I wasn’t ready for this at all, but sooner or later I had to. When it comes to the relationship either between friends, your co-workers, or even your husband/wife, it is a really important factor. I don’t remember when and how many times that I argue with my husband because I keep shutting down, close myself off and not talking. Part of it is because I was raised by my mom who is afraid to speak up for anything and is so shy when it comes to the discussion. And another part is from the Thai culture as you all know.

It took me over 2 years to learn how to be more open, I know its still an issue that I have to work on it, but my husband always said to me today I am much better than what I was before. I think when I have to work and hang out among American people it helped me to come out of my shell a little bit. Because they will talk or say something either they like or do not like, just like you know what is on their mind. And they are not afraid to express their feelings. Sometime I think its a good thing if you want to hear somebody else’s opinion and you will use that as the resource to make changes or something better for yourself (because maybe they have a better idea than your own). Sometimes though it can hurt you, if you hear something you dont want to hear.

After all I think it was very beneficial for me; like when it comes to work and somebody trying to take advantage of me and I will speak up and wont let it happen to me. And I have less problems with my husband.

Food – food has become my biggest issue after a couple of months of living in the States. I’m considered an addict to really spicy food!!! And of course I love Thai cuisine. I found the Mexican food is the closest food to suit my taste. Other than that I really have no other choice except to sprinkle the chili powder into my dishes. My mother in law always makes fun of me about maybe I should carry my own chili powder bottle in my purse.

The Thai restaurants near where I live, none of them are good and they aren’t authentic either. I would assume that when your customer is Thai and orders extra spicy you should automatically know what has to be done, but not these places, and nonetheless they are really pricy. So basically no Thai restaurant around here cooks better than my kitchen 🙂 .

The Thai stuff and ingredients are not that difficult to find abroad, some can be found online and some you can rely on the Vietnamese, Philippine, Chinese or any Asian grocery store near where you live. So I usually dont have the problem with the basic ingredients. The only thing that I normally cant find and something that makes me really desperate is Holy basil its just like we have Thai word that says “it is really difficult to find as to search for a needle in the ocean”. So this year, my husband and I had Khao Pad Ga-prao twice and that’s only because my friend in New York was kind enough to bring the holy basil from New York for us.

The other states like Chicago, Texas, California, or where they have a lot of Thai people live don’t seem to have this problem as much as here in Pennsylvania.

Discipline, Rule, and Laws – they’re really strict in this country compared to Thailand. And they have the rigid and powerful penalty for when somebody doesn’t want to follow the rule. This is good in my opinion because it will make people follow the rules and have more discipline for themselves.

When I was in Thailand I was never on time except when I had to be at work and even then not always. Even though I usually got so many notices and that’s it nothing else to use for my discipline. Here I would have been fired if I did that.

I think every place in Thailand should have the excessive penalty for the people and their employee. Not like when something happens then they will make a big deal about it, create the rules or laws so people can follow, and then a couple of months later nobody cares to follow that anymore so they allow the same mistakes to happen again. I know that will haunt me later when I move back to Thailand because I will be expecting people to be on time, follow the rule, etc. but it will be barely that something like that will happen in this country.

Miscellaneous – other things that some people did it and it annoys you, its just small things and they have no idea that for Thai people we think its a big deal. I don’t think its anybody fault, but sometimes it can annoy you or at least me.

Shoeless before entering the door – we think its rude when somebody will walk into your house and still have the shoes on. So please take off your shoes before you get into my house. I always tell my step sons when they come over to my house and now they learn to take them off before. For Americans I know they could be careless for that.

Feet are not polite – feet are considered the dirty part of your body because you use them to walk. Do not allow to touch anyone with your feet, or point at anything with your foot/feet. This is considered really rude in Thailand, and I still get really annoyed by that if I happen to see anyone does it.

Ages – respect whoever is older than you even if they have low education, low salary or anything less than you, you should respect them no matter what, it is considered Thai. I get really annoyed and mad sometimes when older people get disrespected from younger people just because of any reason at all.

Being an Adult in Thailand

Being an Adult in Thailand

Once upon a time in faraway Thailand, there was a big giant called Shooda Knownbetter; a strange name for such a clever person who boasted about having plenty of money. One lovely sunny day he gazed from the window in his budget hotel – well, after wiping away grime that he kept forgetting to mention to the management. Glancing down, he sighed contentedly, running an eye – only one, the other happened to be glass – over the merry scene unfolding in the busy city. Motorbike contraptions, handcarts and people squatting in the road vended all sorts of tasty morsels with strange names and even stranger aromas. What appealed to Shooda more than the food, were scores of lovely young Thai maidens, colorfully dressed in eye-catching outfits of every description; short skirts, low tops and high-heeled shoes. Feeling compelled to be part of the action, he quickly showered under the gurgling specially colored water, despaired when it ceased to splash, toweled himself dry, shaved, cleaned his few remaining teeth and carefully spread the thinning hair over the bald patch. Glancing in the mirror, he knew he looked his best. The king-size, brightly decorated shirt flowed tastefully over his beer gut. Slipping into baggy shorts and floppy sandals, he ventured forth.

A trifle hungry, he headed to a bar offering ‘buy one, drink two’. Half a dozen bottles later, he remembered he hadn’t eaten for ages. The succulent burger and French fries appeased his craving and he embarked on social chitchat with a group of youngsters swarming all over him.

“Hello handsome man. Where you from?” one cheeky – but honest – lass enquired politely.

Feeling pleased his magnetic appeal worked so quickly, he replied, “Over there, see?”

Scowling in the direction of the tumbledown dwelling place, she gasped, “There? Why you stay there?”

Swelling with pride, Shooda replied, “I can afford it, yer know.”

Now something he must have let slip lead to Mamasan ringing a very noisy bell. It made an awful din. With whoops of delight, a stampede broke out, with dozens of girls lining up assorted drinks on the bar. Shooda Knownbetter reckoned he’d cracked it; drinks on the house as well. He even had an invitation to try his hand at Connect 4 – an exciting little game involving dropping green and red buttons into a plastic frame in blocks of four vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines. Quite how he lost every game baffled him.

“What your name, handsome man?” one member of the staff asked, prodding his beer gut affectionately.

“Oh, they call me Shooda – Shooda Knownbetter.”

“Ooh! Velly nice name, I like too much.”

“Oh, you’re just saying that,” he murmured dismissively, collecting yet another bottle from the stack in front of him.

As time blissfully sped by, Shooda wallowed in his rapidly increasing popularity. More and more lovely girls showed their appreciation of his generosity, charm and wit. Mamasan very kindly kept shoving little bits of paper in a pot beside him – no doubt personal thank you notes about her appreciation of having such a delightful customer. After all, she’d wasted no time in providing free drinks all round, announcing her delight to do so by even ringing the bell again.

Good times sometimes seem to fade away. Shooda Knownbetter, feeling the happy bubble had burst, managed somehow – loyally gripped by two girls from the bar – to stagger to the nearest ATM machine. The wonderful piece of equipment threw some money at him, to the great amusement and lack of understanding of his gleeful companions. After agreeing to empty his wallet back at the bar, he decided not to outstay his welcome, so went off in search of more entertainment.

Just popping out to amuse the Thai men in my local village bar. They may not understand, though.

Retiring in Thailand

Retiring in Thailand

I’ve written before about my own plans to retire in Thailand and why it’s ideal for me and my family. In a nutshell the reasons are:

  • My wife is Thai
  • Low cost of living
  • Great weather year round (mostly)
  • Great cheap food
  • Easy access to some of the best beach/snorkeling/diving areas in the world
  • It’s an adventure

Those are the basic reason and there are many more I could list, but I don’t want to talk about me…let’s talk about the current cost of living and retiring in Thailand.

In the list above 5 of the 6 reasons I mention are as true today as they ever were. Of course that could change over time, but things change everywhere and we have no way to see into the future. The 6th reason, low cost of living, is perhaps the spoiler for those considering Thailand as a place to retire. While it has been quite cheap for us Westerners in Thailand over the past 2-3 decades that “truism” seems to be reversing itself and Thailand today is more expensive than it has ever been.

Lately there has been a severe weakening of Western currencies combined with a strengthening of the Thai baht that has seen the purchasing power of most expats in Thailand drop by 10-15% per year over the past 2-3 years. Notable exceptions are Australians and Canadians whose currencies are remaining stronger than their American and European counterparts. Lucky Aussies and Canucks!

Added to the strength of the currency is a definite upward trend in inflation in Thailand. Things are becoming more expensive, in part because of the strength of the baht and the effect that has on the price of imports and also because of the upward trend that we are seeing around the globe in the prices of many essential commodities.

If you are considering a move to Thailand you need to ask yourself if you can survive a further drop in the value of your Dollars or Pounds or Euros as it is quite possible we have yet to see the end of the erosion in the value of these currencies. We are also likely to see increasing inflation in Thailand as commodity prices continue to rise and as Thailand’s middle class population continues to expand. There is still a great gap between the rich and poor in Thailand, but that gap IS being filled by an increasingly larger number of middle class Thais. This is not unusual in a growing economy and considering the strengthening of the entire ASEAN region (propelled by growth in China) I would expect this trend to continue.

I would be surprised if you haven’t run across articles online that claim you can live in Thailand on $500 a month, but I caution you that while this may have been true in the past, I don’t think you would be wise to think that it is true now. At current exchange rates that is a mere 15,000 baht and with the most recent data I can find this is even lower than the median income for Thais. Do you really think you are going to be happy living on less than 50% of the Thai population in Thailand?

If I was a single guy I can’t imagine retiring to Thailand without an income of at least $1500 a month and that doesn’t take into account likely inflation and erosion of your purchasing power due to currency fluctuations. Sure the baht may weaken, but it may get stronger too (much more likely for the foreseeable future) and I think having some wiggle room to account for another 15-20% rise in the baht would be wise. If I’m wrong and the baht tanks then you can consider yourself a lucky and much wealthier guy or gal.

I hate to think that some of you may be basing your decisions on old information about the cost of living in Bangkok and Thailand in general because it could be disastrous to your standard of living. What does everyone think? Am I way off base of has it really become much more expensive to live and retire in Thailand over the past several years?

Are All Thai Ladyboys Prostitutes?

Are All Thai Ladyboys Prostitutes?

It seems that many of the men that visit Thailand have a preconceived notion that all of Thailands ladyboys are also prostitutes. Its true that normally foreign men only meet the ladyboys that work in bars and restaurants, however this is only a small percentage of all the kathoeys in Thailand.

Ive met and been talking with several ladyboys on Hi5 and they cannot understand why so many think that just because they are kathoeys they are prostitutes as well. This isn’t just limited to foreigners either, Ive been told that many Thais hold this preconception.

When spying a ladyboy in tourist areas or going out late at night, immediately the idea that she is a prostitute starts to circulate. Why would people think this just because the person is a ladyboy?

I can tell you from my conversations this makes many of them quite sad. Thai ladyboys may be different from you and I that’s true, but in many ways they are the same too. They have the same feelings, needs and wants as most people. Many of them are looking for a stable relationship and would love to settle down with someone special.

Most ladyboys work in traditional jobs such as clerical staff, hairdressers or waitresses and they work very hard, just like the rest of us. Its not fair that they have to labor under two prejudices. They are thought of poorly because of their lifestyle choice and then to compound this prejudice are often thought of as prostitutes.

I have no idea how many kathoeys exactly work as prostitutes in Thailand and yes the number is probably statistically higher than men and women, however most are still just normal hard working people. Please consider this the next time you meet a ladyboy, dont immediately assume that they are looking to sell sex because you might be hurting, embarrassing and humiliating a very nice person.

Toilets for Ladyboys at School

Toilets for Ladyboys at School

It seems that a rural high school in Thailand may start a an economic boom for signmakers around the world. Just see the photo to see what I mean. Don’t know what it is? It is a new sign designed by the administration at Kampang Secondary School, located in Sisaket province in northeast Thailand, to mark the toilets meant exclusively for the ladyboys at that school.

The symbol representing them combines a male and female figure. Since the school population is comprised of roughly 10% ladyboys the new toilet facilities are pretty popular.

Tolerance of transsexuals, at least those born as males, is widespread in Thai society. They maintain a much higher public profile there than in most countries, working in a wide range of jobs.

Likewise, sex-change surgery has become a Thai medical specialty, common and affordable.

The challenge facing Kampang School officials was to spare girl students the embarrassment of sharing their toilets with (lady)boys who in turn didn’t want to share toilets with the regular boys, whom they consider a different breed.

“These students want to be able to go in peace without fear of being watched, laughed at or groped,” said Sitisak Sumontha, the school’s director.

The solution to this was to create new toilet facilities for the group and the designation for these toilets is a sign that combines the male and female signs, cut right down the middle.

Currently there are 50 universally accepted signals for signs, including the standard male and female, airports, hotels, etc. If this new sign catches on internationally there could be a huge new market for the sign makers of the world!

Thai Love Words and Phrases

Thai Love Words and Phrases

Lots of you come to Thailand Musings looking for Thai love phrases and that’s not surprising. You want to be able to express yourself in your new Thai girlfriends native language and that’s a really good thing. It help you to understand the culture a little better and it gives her a really good feeling too. By learning some Thai language she knows that you are more committed and that you are interested in her culture.

I didn’t need to become proficient, but I wanted to be able to express my feelings for her in a way I knew she would understand and I wanted her to know that I cared for her so much that I was willing to take the time to learn her language.

So, for those of you that want or need to speak the language of love in Thai heres a small dictionary of Thai love phrases that are sure to impress and excite your new Thai girlfriend. I guarantee she will be amazed and impressed. If you’re having trouble with pronunciation you can ask her for help too which will help to make your relationship more concrete.

Beginning Your Relationship

I am single. (pom yung sot) ผมยังโสด

You are very beautiful. (koon suay mak mak) คุณสวยมากๆ

You are very cute. (koon na-ruk mak mak) คุณน่ารักมากๆ

I like your smile. (pom chorp roi yim kong koon) ผมชอบรอยยิ้มของคุณ

Can I see you tomorrow? (proong nee jer gun dai mai) – For yes the reply is “dai” and for no the reply is “mai dai” พรุ่งนี้เจอกันได้ไหม? ได้ / ไม่ได้

Are you free tonight? (keun nee koon wang mai) – For yes the reply is “wang” and for no the reply is “mai wang” คืนนี้คุณว่างไหม? ว่าง / ไม่ว่าง

Do you like me? (koon chorp pom reu blao) – For yes the reply is “chorp” and for no the reply is “mai chorp” คุณชอบผมหรือเปล่า? ชอบ / ไม่ชอบ

Can you go out with me? (bai tee-o gup pom dai mai) – For yes the reply is “dai” and for no the reply is “mai dai” ไปเที่ยวกับผมได้ไหม? ได้ / ไม่ได้

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? (koon mee faen reu yung) – For yes the reply is “me” and for no the reply is “yung mai mee” คุณมีแฟนหรือยัง? มี / ยังไม่มี

What kind of men do you like? (koon chorp poo-chai bap nai) คุณชอบผู้ชายแบบไหน?

Can you tell me your phone number please? (kor ber tor koon dai mai) – For yes the reply is “dai” and for no the reply is “mai dai” ขอเบอร์โทรคุณได้ไหม? ได้ / ไม่ได้

Do you want to go and eat with me? (bai gin kao gub pom mai) – For yes the reply is “bai” and for no the reply is “mai bai” ไปกินข้าวกับผมไหม? ไป / ไม่ไป

Do you want to go to watch a movie? (bai doo nung gup pom mai) – For yes the reply is “bai” and for no the reply is “mai bai” ไปดูหนังกับผมไหม? ไป / ไม่ไป

Your eyes are so beautiful. (duang dtar kong koon suay mak) ดวงตาของคุณสวยมาก

Can I hold your hand? (pom kor jub meu koon dai mai?) ผมขอจับมือคุณได้ไหม?

Have a nice dream. (fun dee na) ฝันดีนะ

Take care of yourself. (do lae dtua eng duay na) ดูแลตัวเองด้วยนะ
Taking it to the Next Level

Love at first sight. (ruk raek pop) รักแรกพบ

I still remember the first moment we met. (pom yung jum krang-raek tee row pob gun dai) ผมยังจำครั้งแรกที่เราพบกันได้

I want you to be happy. (pom dtong gan hai koon mee kwarm sook) ผมต้องการให้คุณมีความสุข

You make me happy. (koon tam hai pom mee kwarm sook) คุณทำให้ผมมีความสุข

I miss you. (pom kit teung koon) ผมคิดถึงคุณ

I miss you all the time. (pom kit-teung koon dta-lod way-la) ผมคิดถึงคุณตลอดเวลา

Can you be my girlfriend? (ben faen gub pom dai mai) – For yes the reply is “dai” and for no the reply is “mai dai” เป็นแฟนกับผมได้ไหม? ได้ / ไม่ได้

You are my girlfriend. (koon ben fan kong pom) คุณเป็นแฟนของผม

You are my sweetheart. (koon keu yot -ruk kong pom) คุณคือยอดรักของผม

You are the one I have been waiting for. (koon bpen kon dieow tee pom ror koi) คุณเป็นคนเดียวที่ผมรอคอย

I am serious about you. (pom jing jai gup koon) ผมจริงจังกับคุณ

I think about you all night. (pom kit teung koon tung keun) ผมคิดถึงคุณทั้งคืน

I want to meet you. (pom dtong-gan/yaak pop koon) ผมต้องการ/อยากพบคุณ

I want to hug you. (pom dtong-gan/yaak got koon) ผมต้องการ/อยากกอดคุณ

Can I kiss you? (pom kor joop koon dai mai) ผมขอจูบคุณได้ไหม

I want to be with you. (pom yaak yoo gup koon) ผมอยากอยู่กับคุณ

Do you miss me? (koon kit teung pom baang mai) คุณคิดถึงผมบ้างไหม?

I won’t forget you. (pom ja mai leum koon) ผมจะไม่ลืมคุณ

When do you want me to come back? (koon dtong gan hai pom glup ma muea rai) คุณต้องการให้ผมกลับมาเมื่อไหร่
When Youre Ready to Marry Your Thai Girlfriend

I think I have fallen in love with you. (pom kit wa pom long ruk koon) / (pom kit wa pom dtok loom ruk koon) ผมคิดว่าผมหลงรักคุณ / ผมคิดว่าผมตกหลุมรักคุณ

My heart is yours. (hua jai kong pom ben kong koon) หัวใจของผมเป็นของคุณ

You are my angel. (koon keu nung fa kong pom) คุณคือนางฟ้าของผม

I love you. (pom ruk koon) ผมรักคุณ

I will be faithful to you. (pom ja seu-sut dtor/gub koon) ผมจะซื่อสัตย์ต่อ/กับคุณ

I don’t want to let you go. (pom mai dtong-gan hai koon bai) ผมไม่ต้องการให้คุณไป

Can I meet your parents? (pom ja bai pob por gub mae kong koon dai mai) – For yes the reply is “dai” and for no the reply is “mai dai” ผมจะไปพบพ่อกับแม่ของคุณได้ไหม? ได้ / ไม่ได้

I want to see your face every day. (pom yaak hen na koon took wan) ผมอยากเห็นหน้าคุณทุกวัน

I want to marry you. (pom dtong-gan dtang ngan gub koon) ผมต้องการแต่งงานกับคุณ

I can’t live without you. (pom yoo mai dai ta mai mee koon) ผมอยู่ไม่ได้ถ้าไม่มีคุณ
If Theres Trouble

I hope I can see you again. (pom wang wa ja dai pob koon eek-krang) ผมหว้งว่าจะได้พบคุณอีกครั้ง

Can you give me one more chance? (hai aow-gat pom eek-krang dai mai) – For yes the reply is “dai” and for no the reply is “mai dai” ให้โอกาสผมอีกครั้งได้ไหม? ได้ / ไม่ได้

I will never cheat on you (pom ja mai nork jai koon) ผมจะไม่นอกใจคุณ

Your love is very important to me. (kwarm ruk kong koon sam kun dtor/sam-rap pom mak) ความรักของคุณสำคัญต่อ/สำหรับผมมาก

Please speak to me. (dai brot poot gup pom) ได้โปรดพูดกับผม

You hurt me so much. (koon tam pom jep-bpuat mak) คุณทำผมเจ็บปวดมาก

Please trust me. (brot chuea jai pom) โปรดเชื่อใจผม

I want you to trust me. (pom dtong gan hai koon chuea jai pom) ผมต้องการให้คุณเชื่อใจผม

I never lied to you. (pom mai koie gor hok koon) ผมไม่เคยโกหกคุณ

Don’t leave me. (ya ting pom) อย่าทิ้งผม

I will always be on your side. (pom ja yoo kiang-kang koon sa-mer) ผมจะอยู่เคียงข้างคุณเสมอ

Obviously this is not complete, but it will give you a great start and if possible get your Thai girlfriend to help you expand on your vocabulary. If you’re interested in more Thai language guides leave a comment telling me what you need to know and Ill do my best to put together additional guides. And if you want to hear the phrases maybe I can get my wife to record them and well post them up here. As always, I’m here to help in anyway, just leave a comment and ask.

Westerners Remember to have Jai Yen (Cool Heart)

Westerners Remember to have Jai Yen (Cool Heart)

Jai yen literally means cool heart. In a country thats 95% Theravada Buddhist, jai yen is the preferred approach to any situation. If a cop pulls you over and sticks you for a bribe, jai yen dictates that you pay it to avoid an unpleasant scene. If someone cuts you off in traffic, you shrug your shoulders and suppress your natural urge to run the guy into a ditch. Jai yen. For Buddhists, an emotionally moderate, non-confrontational approach to life will bring its reward when you are reborn. Practice jai yen, and you may come back as a demi-god; get a little hot under the collar and you may find your new, single-celled self bobbing on the surface of a sewage treatment plant in Bang Saphan.

One of the defining qualities of Thai people is the fact that they rarely show strong emotion in public. You’ll find that it takes quite a lot to make a Thai lose his/her temper and if they do it is a very serious matter. If you’ve done something to make a Thai person lose their temper with you I suggest you immediately attempt to either diffuse the situation or remove yourself from the situation.

As westerners in Thailand we should strive to make ourselves jai yen at all times and never show a loss of temper in public. To a Thai losing your temper, or rather outwardly showing any display of anger, is considered crude and extremely bad manners. I can personally attest that some of the worst arguments I have had were not for things considered typical in the west, but rather came from situations where I lost my temper in public. By not remaining jai yen I caused myself loss of face and by extension she experienced loss of face as well.

This frame of mind is sometimes difficult for westerners because open displays of anger are viewed very differently in the west. Open confrontation is not only accepted, but can be considered desirable in some situations. In the west people who conceal their emotions are often considered underhanded or somehow not to be trusted. We base our readings of people on how they react in various situations. A cold and detached demeanor gives us nothing to read a person by and thus leads to a perception that the person has something to hide, distrust and a tendency to avoid that person.

As an example, the typical response of a westerner to poor service or poor performance would be to confront the offending person and look for some type of correction. The feeling would be that not only will we have the situation corrected for ourselves, but would hopefully prevent future occurrences of the same problem. Not so for a Thai person in the same situation. The likely Thai response to any mistake or perceived problem is not a confrontation, but rather to display jai yen and shrug off the problem or annoyance. A common response to problems in Thailand is mai bpen rai which literally means not-exist-anything or never mind, it doesn’t matter. This avoids any need to display anger or confrontation and maintains face for all involved.

So, when in Thailand do as the Thais and jai yen yen, calm down please. Take it easy and don’t let things that are beyond your control get you upset. You’ll be viewed in a much more positive light by the Thais and Ill bet you’ll be happier too. After just a short time you’ll find that it is much less stressful to let things slide a bit and relax over the little things in your life. Rod tid mak (traffic very bad)…mai bpen rai. Appointment/meeting/dinner/train late….mai bpen rai. Focus on the things you have control over and let the rest take care of itself. Youll be much more relaxed and happy in the long run.

Thai Music Expression of Who We Are

Thai Music Expression of Who We Are

I always believe you can tell a lot about a country, it’s culture and people by listening to its music. Just like Art, Food and fashion you can understand more about a culture when you read the lyrics of its popular songs.

Actually for me this was one of the ways I began to learn English and it helped me understand about Western culture when I would listen to the songs and try to understand and learn the lyrics to them.

Thailand has many styles of music but just like every other country we always sing about love in some way. But the other day I got to thinking about our music and it struck me that although we may sing about the same things our interpretations of them can be very different, so I would like to share with you a very Thai interpretation of some popular ideas about love which might give you a different insight into Thai culture that you may not have realized before.

Waiting for love

This is a very popular theme for Thai music, in fact I think it might be the most popular. It is the idea of waiting for a love even when you have not yet found the person you are waiting for. You know that person could be out there somewhere and you dream of the day you will be together and how it will be a perfect love. This theme often goes on to include then finding that love and how wonderful it is, a good example of this is the beautiful song by Rose Sirinitip called ‘More than love’ (Maak Gwaa Rak). This is a really romantic song and is very popular in Thailand.

I love you but you but you love someone else

This song theme is about a 3 person love triangle which I know is one of the most classic themes for songs all over the world. This theme in Thailand is very often expressed in the style of ‘you love someone but they love someone else’ which makes love complicated because of the issue of whether it is wrong to love someone in this way.

An example of this theme in Thai music is

Poor Boy heads to the City and meets a girl from Hometown.

This theme is so often sung by Thai males because it is about the idea of a young man who must leave his hometown to find work and meets and falls in love with a girl from his hometown or at least from the country like him. This also connects with the theme of waiting for love very often sung by Thai females and you can begin to see how these two themes play out in Thai culture. It is very much about how people from the country understand each other and the struggles in life they are prepared to face together.
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A good example of this idea is a song called ‘Num Bao Sao Parn’ by Carabao and Parn.

Our music reflects Thai culture

When I listen to styles of music from around the world I see that Thai music is in fact very soft and quite deep about matters of the heart. We don’t sing about the physical side of relationships because it is not really acceptable and can actually be banned because Thai culture is essentially a Buddhist culture. We are careful about the lyrics to our songs for this reason and so in comparison to Western music this is why our music songs are softer in nature. I think this does reflect our culture quite well in both men and women of Thailand.

So if you like to learn more about Thai culture just listen to some of our Thai music and you will find out more about our culture than you might realize.