Thai Life, live, reflected and quote back

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Being woman and Thai at that!

So we got your attention with the words Thai and Women right.  Sorry to disappoint those who arrived here by typing Thai and woman in their search boxes hoping to find something else. But thanks for improving my stats!

This is a statement and a half: being female is not easy, compare to male, regardless of nationality, class, education or geography. Regardless of Germaine Greer and any good that came out of The Female Eunuch! What’s more being female here in Thailand is doubly so.  It might not seem so on appearance but that’s just it the appearance!

A lot of this has to do with perception, how Thai women wanted to be perceived and how they are perceived! See what we have to put up with!

This is a great ad but at the end of the day it is still conforms to the Cinderella trick to sell no matter how original the creative director is! This ad sums up the dilemma of most Thai women; we need to make ourselves look attractive at all time as look is very important! Some woman have iron will and will miss meals so they can afford the look.

Here is another!

Classified ad for Mia Noy

Classified ad for Mia Noy

So being female in Thailand does have its disadvantages and some perks, huh! Who could turn down the option of an easy life?  Being “mia noy” that is mistress to non Thai speakers, to wealthy farangs that love to shower attention on us, no string attached for example.

And just look at the fame we have gained, bah notoriety, the BBC comedy hit, Little Britain even created a character for us, Ting Tong from Tooting!

Seriously though, how would you define Thai women? Are we any different from other races? Are we forever looking out for farangs to swindle their money or are we a serious good time girl who would do anything for a few dollars!

Tell us how do you see Thai women and more importantly for all Thai women out there, how do you define yourselves?  Why do we need to conform to what people want us to be?


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Meet The Monk Squad, yes you heard right!

July for most Buddhists, marks the start of the Rain Retreat or Buddhist Lent which lasts for about 3 months.  It’s a time to look inwards and putting the Buddha’s teachings into practice so the theory goes any way! 

Young men can ask for three months off work,  take temporary ordination, i.e. have their heads shaven and don saffron robes. During this period, the streets after dawn are filled with shiny and new saffron robes walking with their alms bowls. Quite a heartwarming sight for most Thais.

However,   it’s quite difficult to tell fake monks from the real ones nowadays. Yes, you heard right, fake monks. This is quite a scam and many alcoholic and drug users choose this route to feed their habits. All they need to do is shave their hair and put on the robe! Then they can go begging. Faithful Thais will generously give to monks, especially young and needy monks. 

This is the reality of modern Thailand! If there is an easy way to make quick money and get away with it then be sure that someone will take that route. 

Needless to say, this harms the image and credibility of real monks! But they are fighting back. They took the matter into their own hands and formed a monk police force! Yes, there’s a monk squad. Watch them in action  and tell me how you feel.

Me, I find this strange verging on bizarre and very funny. At first I thought yes something is done about this but it just doesn’t feel quite right for the monks to take the law, pun pun, into their own hands! 

Still commando style monks police is something Hollywood might be interested in for their  next blockbuster huh!

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Deja vu!




As I read from Australian news, recently, people from Down Under is crazy about the first baby elephant born from Thai elephant Thong Dee in Taronga zoo, Sydney. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25741344-12377,00.html 

Thong Dee, former street elephant in BKK, is one of four other elephants brought from Thailand to Taronga zoo in 2006 as part of an elephant breeding program, intending to preserve the species. I feel happy for them that they are taken care well. They have a pool to swim in, proper food each meal, and their relaxing time under the Australian sun. http://www.taronga.org.au/tcsa/media/media-releases/taronga’s-elephants-enjoying-life-in-sydney.aspx

On the 4th July, (nothing relevant to the Americans), Thong Dee gave birth to her son. And the public was invited to submit the names for the new-born elephant. Now, more than 30,000 suggestions were delivered to the zoo. The given name of the young elephant finally picked by his mahout was “Luk Chai” or son in English.

Luk Chai is not only Australians’ sweetheart, he becomes the main attraction of the zoo. Numbers of visitors, who want to see the cute and exotic Luk Chai, skyrocket to 12,000 each day.

If you think back to our land of smile, do you notice any similarities here?

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For the love of Thai Language

In Thailand we have celebration days for almost everything but one that is looming, is well worth celebrating and that is Thai National Language Day (and that’s tomorrow folks!).

The creation of the writing system by King Ramkhamhaeng (1275-1317) in the latter part of the thirteenth century.

The creation of the writing system by King Ramkhamhaeng in the latter part of the thirteenth century.

Thai language is a beautiful language, riches in tones and depth of meanings. To illustrate my point take that book from Christopher G Moore’s book, Heart Talk which lists all words that begins with Jai – heart in Thai, and there are about 700 words and increasing.

Thai language has its roots in Pali and Sanskrit and is deeply rooted in Buddhist principles. As in Thai culture, Thai language has many layers and at times can be confusing to novices. But when you have mastered the language then you can see how rich and beautiful it is.

It is a language that unites rather than divides people. Furthermore it’s also a language that speaks from the heart and not the mind. Hence all that many jai words!

A good example is the Thai word for understand. In Thai, understand is “kao jai,” the word “kao” can be crudely translated as “reach” or “arrive at” and the word “jai” as you already knew, means heart. Kao jai therefore means something that has been taken to heart or something that has reached the heart level. Now how beautiful is that! Just think the act of understanding means exactly that!

Spoken Thai is even more sophisticated.

The play on words that Thais arrive at is astounding. Language games are played to induce youngsters into learning from an early age. Phrases can be spoken backwards to provide endless laughter and endless fun. Being a phonetic language, this is easier to execute than most languages, making the vocabulary much richer.

Slang words are invented by teens on every street corner to while away their time. Some words started off being exclusively associated with certain street gang, slowly seeped into national consciousness. Take the word “skoi,” this denotes female teens that ride on the back of their man (a ham,  boy!) motorbikes. These girls usually wear extremely short skirt so someone coined the word scooter and skirt and came up with skoi! Now that is inventive!

However, modern Thai slangs have concerned many linguists as they fear that young people will learn the misuse of words and forget the proper Thai.  Example of this is how computer vocabulary has been translated into Thai. The Daily Express has illustrated this quite well.

© 2008 NMG News Co., Ltd.

© 2008 NMG News Co., Ltd.

I still feel that this shows inventive use of language and can only be created by someone with good grounding of the fundamentals. This type of creativity shows the love of the language and should not be judges so harshly!

More worrying though is the new trend of mixing English words in when speaking. As many a time the person using English, misuse the language and others pick up bad habit as well as poor comprehension! There is no reason to use English mix into Thai. The only reason is to show off that you are so international! But that is so uncool!

In this context a national day to celebrate the Thai language might not be a bad idea. We as a nation should help preserve this beautiful language.  So tomorrow  should be the day that we, Thais,  speak grammatically correct and pronunciation perfect Thai in honor of this beautiful language!

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Number 5: Easy escape to the country

We are back to my list of 10 things I love about this country again. So here is why I listed this as number 5!

I often wonder what attract foreigners to our country. Many times, the answer I get is how beautiful and unspoilt our countryside is and they are right.

We sometimes overlook beauty that stares us right in the face! 

All it takes to find the unspoilt countryside  is for you to get out of Bangkok.  The trick is getting out and once you’re out the rolling landscape just bewitch you.

Let me show you instead of talking about this!


Ayutthaya, within an hour if you are lucky, you can be in this landscape!


Saraburi sunflowers fields, not Provence, France!


Nakorn Pathom has guesthouses that allow you to sleep under the stars!

Samed Beach

Samed island takes a bit more effort as it takes 2 hours drive and a boat ride to get there!

This is not all, if you want to go down South to the unspoilt beaches of Samui, that is an hour flight away and up north to Chiang Rai and the mountains, that is also an hour away! How lucky are we to have all this!

Yes, number 5 reason why I love it here is the beautiful rural Thailand.

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Mama Index

When it comes to economic issues, I’m positive you’re familiar with Nikkei, Hangseng, or Down Jones. But in Thailand, we’re more comfortable with “Mama Index”. A weird name, isn’t it?

 In fact, Mama’s a well-know brand of Thai instant noodle. Plenty of them are sold widely from local kiosks to hi-so supermarkets. We also have Wai Wai, Kung King, Yum Yum, etc. in the market. But we generically call all instant noodles as Mama, like you call a cotton bud Q-tip. To offer us alternatives, Mama provides various flavors, from Tom Yam Gung to Korean spicy soup.

But did you know that Mama isn’t the only plain edible product? It also plays an important role in Thai society? Mama’s our economic indicator. Why? After several years of observation by locals and a confirmation by economists, Mama’s sales volume has a reverse variation with economic state.

During economic crisis, we try to cut our cost of living as much as possible. Also when the liquidity almost runs dry at the end of each month because of heavy spent or credit card debt. Mama, only 6 Baht per pouch, is the best way out for us.

Thanks for photo from www.mama.co.th

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“He stands solitarily in a field bathed in sunrise. A sharp sword in his hand points to the ground and blood is dropping from its pointing tip. On the ground lays 70 bodies also covered in blood. The man’s face is expressionless; the massacre he has just committed is his profession.”  This is the picture of Miyamoto Musashi I always have in mind. Have you ever heard of him? He was a famous Japanese swordman living his life in the rise of Samurai’s era. I’ve never thought that I pay much attention to Musashi’s story until the first volume of Vagabond, a comic book by Takehiko Inoue, was released.

Vagabond portrays a life of Musashi who struggled to become a well-known swordman. He failed time after time but he always kept going. A sword fight was like the air that he breathed; he couldn’t live without it. After years of praticing and fighting, he finally rose to fame that he almost traded it with his life.

I was introduced to the comic by my husband who is the big fan of Inoue. Now I’m more obsessed than he is. What strikes me at once is its magnificent drawings. They are painted with Japanese brushes yielding beautiful soft lines and a perfect combination of hue. It makes me look at it again and again to absorb the beauty of pictures as much as I can. I heard that Inoue carefully creates his art. He even draws muscles first before drawing clothes on them. W-O-W.

Takehiko Inoue is not only a genius artist, he is also a good story teller. Even though the main story is about the sword fights, bloodshed and fatal duels aren’t the only things that I’ve got. There’s also a lesson to be learnt. Apart from improving his swordsmanship, Musashi tried to find truth in his life too. He eventually realized that an obstacle prevented him from upgrading his abilities was himself. And it’s true to me as well. No obstacles can hold me back, only myself. It’s time to brake free from my ego.

Thanks for photo from www.gellery.minitokyo.net