Friday, March 15, 2013

Greetings from Stranger in KrungthepmahanakornAmonratt.........

I have said in a recent post that I have a plan to make constant improvements to my blog to give all my wonderful readers a better reading experience.

This morning, I suddenly had a brilliant idea. I would like to change the name of my blog, so that it can capture the TRUE spirit of where I am. Though the city I live in is famously known as Bangkok, after some research online, it seems unclear why it is called so. However, something more interesting I found out is that this city's Thai name, though unknown to most foreigners (and not fully-memorized by most locals), must definitely be the longest city name in the entire universe.

Don't believe me? See below:

Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit

also known as Bangkok

Still don't quite believe it? I even have its meaning for you:

City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra's behest.

I think all of you here will know by now that this blog is named "Stranger in Bangkok". I will now like you to give me your honest comments on the changes I plan to make.

Will it be more impactful if I call this space "Stranger in Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit"?

Incidentally, that will mean that my blog address will become:

Wa..... My new blog will be completely unforgettable and equally impossible to remember, don't you think?

PS. After this site's name change becomes official, remember to add it to your browser's favourites!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Learning Thai with Namewee's "Thai Love Song" and me!

Click here for Part 2 of my Thai Lesson using Namewee's "Thai Sad Song".

I have always been impressed with Thai music, firstly, because it is multi-dimensional as different parts of Thailand appreciate different genres of music, and more so because of the nation-wide availability of performing opportunities for all kinds of musicians. I could be listening to a freelance folk artiste crooning traditional Thai ballads at the most trendy bar today, and jumping along with the most famous band in Thailand at a small pub near my condominium tomorrow.

That said, even though Thai music is starting to gain regional exposure, with many popular Thai pop songs translated into equally successful Chinese songs, it is still virtually impossible to find a Chinese song that has a lot of Thai words in it, until this certain "Thai Love Song" came along, so I am going to make full use of it to teach my dear readers some Thai words (which are more interesting and useful than the standard "Towray" and "Paeng" that you might already know).

I will leave my admiration for Namewee (the song's singer/composer) for another day, but he has really out-done himself again with this production. Coupled with the Thai director's creativity, this MV has successfully captured all aspects of Thai pop culture all in just an over-the-top hilarious 7 minutes(think Thai horror movies, transsexuals, Buddhist Monks, temples, Chatuchak Market, friendly local culture, Tuk Tuk etc. all in one), minus the belittling slapstick humour (think Hangover 2).

Before I leave you to enjoy the MV, here are the Thai words that appear in the song that might just turn out useful during your future trips in Thailand:

  1. Bluechai:
    Actually, the correct pronunciation should be "Poochai". This literally means "man" in Thai. Ladies will be called "Pooying".
  2. Khop Khun Krup:
    This common phrase simply means "Thank you". However, it is important to note that men should use "Krup" to end all phrases while ladies need to end their lines with "Ka".
  3. Sawadee Krup:
    This could be the most famous Thai phrase of all time. It is used when people greet each other in Thailand. Many of you might not know that it is such a general greeting that you could even use it when you bid farewell to someone. Of course, ladies need to use "Sawadee Ka".
  4. Kratoey:
    Also what we call the transsexuals.
  5. Hat Yai:
    A laid-back town in the Southern Thailand province of Songkhla. Mostly visited by Malaysians who take a bus directly northwards from the Peninsular to spend money on some cheap Zebra stainless steel pots and affordable Thai-Chinese-style seafood.
  6. Suai Mak Mak:
    "Suai" means "beautiful" and "Mak" means "very", so the phrase means "very very beautiful". This phrase will come in handy, especially for guys who want to go into the good books of Thai ladies, though it can be used in general terms to describe almost anything that looks nice.

    If the Thai lady you are going for is on the young side, I would recommend you use "Narak mak mak" instead, "Narak" meaning "cute".
  7. Ratchapruek:
    If I am not wrong, this refers to the yellow flowers on the "Golden Shower Trees", which bloom spectacularly during the Songkran season in April/May.
  8. Pratunam:
    Most tourists will know this as the area in Bangkok where the wholesale garments and accessories are. To make this word more useful for you, I shall break it up.

    "Pratu" means "door", and "Nam" refers to "water" (not many words come more useful than this one), no wonder Pratunam is sometimes known as the Watergate market.
  9. Ao Mai:
    Easily to me, the most useful word in the song. "Ao" means "want", "Mai" means "not". In this context, it is phrased as a question. But when you are asked whether you want something, you can simply say "Ao" to take it, or "Mai Ao" to tell him you are not interested. Of course it does not hurt if you can end your phrase politely with a "Krup" or "Ka".
  10. Sabai:
    The final word of this cute song means "relax". As you can see from the phrases "mak mak" and "same same", Thai people like to repeat words to emphasize its meaning. Therefore, you could also double this up and use "sabai sabai" to tell your hosts how relaxed you feel in their care.

    Ratchapruek, also the National Flower of Thailand

Till next time my dear students. Please complete the lesson by watching the video below from start to finish! You won't regret it.

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