Life Along the Waterways

Life Along the Waterways

You’ll notice a slight culinary theme to most of the topics, hence the title of this post, เรื่องกินเรื่องใหญ่ rêuang gin rêuang yài meaning, basically, The issue of eating is a big issue. You might also wonder why they included a story about bananas, but if you take a look at this website you’ll realize the importance of this particular fruit in Thai culture.

As we read through the texts, my teacher asked me questions and we chatted about the various issues that came up. After she asked me what was the first thing I thought of when I thought of bananas and I said studying Thai, we talked about the seemingly over importance that Thais place on food in general conversation.

I mentioned that I used to find it strange when eating a very common dish and being asked the inevitable question อร่อยไหม aroi maai. I explained that back home if I was eating, say a cheese sandwich or a packet of crisps, it would be unlikely that a friend would ask. She, of course, found this unusual but amusing, and this is when I got the title for this post.

So a tip for today, if you find yourself eating, say a banana, and youre getting frustrated with all the questions, you can say, ก็เป็นกล้วย well, its (just) a banana.

Swearing in Thai

Swearing in Thai

Swearing in Thai is not something I would recommend and probably wouldn’t normally include here. However, Ive been asked twice recently to explain why a Thai person wouldnt translate (or even say) the word to refer to water monitor (a species of monitor lizard found in Thailand) to them. So I looked it up on Wikipedia and found this interesting entry which I translated for one of them.

ในสมัยอดีต ชาวบ้านมักจะเลี้ยงไก่ไว้ในบริเวณบ้าน ตัวเหี้ยมักจะมาขโมยไก่ของชาวบ้านลากไปกินในน้ำ ทำให้เป็นสัตว์ที่ผู้คนเกลียดมาก จนถูกนำมาใช้เรียกคนไม่ดี และกลายเป็นคำด่าทอมาจนปัจจุบัน อีกคำหนึ่งที่ใช้ด่าทอกันก็คือ อีดอก ก็เพราะว่าลายบนตัวเหี้ยนั้นจะเป็นลายดอก (ไม่เหมือนกันกับตะกวดหรือสัตว์ตระกูลเดียวกันที่มีลายเป็นลายอื่นๆ ไม่ใช่ลายดอก) [ต้องการแหล่งอ้างอิง] คำนี้จึงเป็นคำด่าผู้หญิงที่ประพฤติตนไม่ดี อนึ่ง มีความเชื่อว่าถ้าเหี้ยขึ้นบ้านใคร บ้านนั้นจะมีแต่ความโชคร้าย จึงเปลี่ยนชื่อเรียกให้ฟังมีสิริมงคล โดยเรียกว่า ตัวเงินตัวทอง

In the past villagers often raised chickens in their gardens and water monitors (dtua hiia) would take them off and eat them in the water, which lead to people hating the animal so much that they began using the term to refer to bad people. A convention which continues to the present day.

Another phrase which Thai people use as a curse word is ee dohk because the colouring on a water monitor is like flowers – dohk means flower – (unlike other types of monitor lizard or animals in the same family which have other colourings).[citation needed] This phrase therefore is now used when cursing a female who behaves badly. Furthermore, there is the belief that if a water monitor climbs up into sommeones house, that house will be brought nothing but bad luck. So, the term used to refer to monitor lizards has been changed to a more fortunate one dtua ngern dtua tong.

So the translation for the first phrase is often something like despicable person although that doesnt quite do it justice but think of the worst thing you could call someone in English. The word dtua incidently means body (the classifier for chairs, tables and in this case animals) so what youll actually hear is just hiia or prefixed with the word aiy or ee (as in ee dohk).

Aiy is an insulting word to refer to a man and ee a female. The phrase ee dohk or ee dohk tong (flower/golden flower) is basicallly used to mean slut. Dtua ngern dtua tong just means silver and gold animal so as to avoid using an unpleasant or unlucky word, but could again be turned around to be used by a friend making fun of you.

I obviously dont recommend anyone using any of the phrases, but you wont have to listen out too hard before you hear them again. Young people use the phrases a bit more sparingly and, of course, its less insulting amongst friends. Its much worse when used with people you dont know.

Laemtong Shopping

Laemtong Shopping

Then you may be wondering why I am not talking about buses or taxis, which are usually the most common transportation in any city around the world. Simply put, there is no bus system in Rayong, only long haul buses and there are very few taxis, I would say maybe 5 or 6 of them, and most of people don’t like to take them.

Indeed, taxis in Rayong are usually waiting in front of Laemtong shopping mall and are willing to take only long distance, and they hardly ever put the meter on, even though they have one with a hiring price at 30 baht. Local people always complain about them, since they charge a very expensive price for short distances. Normally if you have a journey of six to ten kilometers, they will ask you as much as 150 baht.

As I introduced, you could read that public transportation in Rayong are not the most convenient and comfortable, even though you can always find a way to travel for a cheap cost. So if you don’t want to take the public transportation, I will tell you more about how to rent or to buy a car in Rayong, so keep following.

Other stuff to do

Other stuff to do

There are lots of social activities even in this country for people who speak other languages, so it can be a great social activity as well! Plus, if you ever want to talk about someone who’s in the room but doesn’t speak your second language, to someone who does, you have a great and easy way to talk behind their back without them even knowing.

Learning a new language is not as hard as you may think. There are all sorts of tools and classes that can help you. You can take a class, either in person or online; you can buy workbooks; you can buy tapes of people speaking in their native tongues; you can play language games online; you can go to conversation groups to help practice. There are even immersion classes where you spend three weeks in a foreign country where they speak your new language; being around people who speak it is shown to help you learn the new language much faster. Most universities offer classes in a variety of foreign languages.

To find one near you, you can try to use Google to search for both local and online classes. You’ll be speaking like a Frenchman, or Spaniard, or Dutch person in no time! Hey, you can even learn how to speak Thai.