Mar
24
2009
0

Profanity

There have been a few times here in Thailand when I’ve run into people who speak English non-natively, but with a very high proficiency. Several of them have really surprised me with the number of obscenities they can work into a simple conversation with a new acquaintance.

I have come to the conclusion that the most probable explanation for this is that these people developed their English skills by use, probably in a university setting, among friends who used obscene words as a part of their regular speech. I assume, that like good second language learners, the people I’ve met are simply imitating speech patterns. They’re not trying to be obscene. They are attempting to sound native. They are speaking the way they have heard native speakers speak.

I’ve come to this conclusion after having a few of my Thai friends respond with shock to speech devices I’ve used. I’m simply imitating what I’ve heard, not realizing that in some situations what I’m saying can be quite rude.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags:
Mar
24
2009
0

Translation

Today I received the following note:

We are sorry about the poor internet service you have been experiencing. The service has been ungraded to 5 Mb. Hopefully there will be future problems !

I’m not entirely sure what it means to ungrade an internet connection. I know I’m not in agreement with my landlady’s hopes for future problems.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags:
Nov
06
2008
3

น้ำแห่งชีวิต

This has been one of my favorite songs since my arrival in Thailand. I wanted to share it with you so I recorded it. I wanted you to understand it so I translated it. I couldn’t find a good recording as a reference so it is quite possible that I have the melody wrong. I also have not yet found the author’s name. If anyone wants to direct me to either a recording or the appropriate information to give proper credit for this great song, please do so. In the meantime, enjoy.

ใจที่กระหายและเหนื่อย
ใจที่ทนทุกข์ลำบาก
ใจที่หมดหวังทุกอย่าง
จงเข้ามา

พระองค์เป็นน้ำแห่งชีวิต
ให้เราดื่มน้ำแห่งชีวิต
หล่อเลี้ยงหัวใจ
ให้ชีวิตใหม่
แม่น้ำแห่งชีวิตจะรินไหลมาจากใจ

Heart that is tired and thirsty
Heart that has faced great trials
Heart that has lost all hope
Enter here

He is the river of life
You may drink of His life
He’ll nourish your heart
Give life a new start
His river of life will then flow
From your heart

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,
Oct
05
2008
2

Observations

The following are observations from my first day in Bangkok:

    Being led in worship in English is a refreshing thing for me
    Mexican food is amazing
    It’s good to sit and talk to a friend face to face in English

Note: I do love Thailand. I love the Thai language. I love Thai food. I love Thai people.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,
Aug
22
2008
3

Story Time

Tonight after dinner I sat and listened to about 2 hours worth of stories from the guard where I live. I learned a ton! Some of it was really sad, some of it was strange, most of it was just fun to listen to. A lot of it seems too personal to share with the world. I will share a little.

His grandmother (or some old lady he knows, the language is ambiguous) is 104 years old! I learned this while listening to his account of living in a village. Living in a village is definitely his choice. He spent several years at various times working in Bangkok, to make money to send home, first to his mother, and more recently to his wife. Currently he is living here as my guard, again so he can send money home/save it. The money he is making here that is good enough to keep him away from his family is one seventh the amount I’m being payed (though he does have a free room).

His goal is to build his own house so he can live with his wife and son. Once he has enough money apparently it will just be a matter of days to construct the house. He said his brother’s house was built in three days by him, his brother, and their stepfather (he used the phrase พอ่เลี้ยง, meaning the father that raised us) (his biological father, who regularly beat his older brother severely, died as a result of drunk driving when he was thirteen).

House building took us to the advantages of the kind of house he will build, a traditional village house. A traditional house is well ventilated and doesn’t trap heat in the roof. So in the evening it cools off quickly. In the village the house tends to be an evening only place anyway. Daytime is spent working or sitting under pavilions, or, if the house is raised, under the house. Also, his house will have a wooden (not concrete or tile) floor. Therefore, people can sleep on it and sit on it without needing cushions (I’m not entirely convinced that I would be entirely comfortable).

Currently, his wife lives in his stepfather’s house. His stepfather lives in his mother’s house. His stepfather’s children live in Bangkok. He and his wife used to live in his wife’s parents home, but her parents have seven kids (many of whom have kids of their own). So, it was too loud there. In addition, her mother didn’t like him. The bride price he paid was less than that paid for some of her sisters.

Following the ol’ stream of conscious is making a mess. Back to why my guard likes to live in a village: In a village people don’t buy food. They หา food. (หา is hard for me to translate without feeling that I’m cheating the word of it’s richness. The dictionary tells me it means “to search, to seek, to inspect, to look; to meet; to visit.” I guess that’s pretty good). Examples my guard gave of หาing food include หาfish, หาcrayfish, หาfrogs, หาlizards, หาweeds/herbs/vegetables.

In my guard’s eyes, if you live in the village, if you want to rest, you rest. If you want to eat, you หา food. You can follow your heart. Also, unlike people who make their living selling things, people in a village are more active. Fetching water from the river or the well does much more to keep your legs in working order than standing behind a counter or a food cart. (This is about the place were I learned that grandma is 104 years old.)

Furthermore, in the village one can ask friends to help. Help build a house, help cast nets for (หา) fish, help plant rice, help harvest rice. Among friends, payment is not expected (though dinner and alcohol are). Then you in turn will help your friends and be fed dinner and beer by them.

Throughout the conversation my guard’s admiration of his wife’s industriousness was quite evident. Not only is she able to do everything (make all kinds of food, fish, farm rice, make roofing thatch, raise cattle, etc) she is quite dedicated to the carrying out of these tasks. He encouraged me to be very careful in choosing a wife. So far so good. He also encouraged me to find a wife who loves me a lot, but not to worry about whether I loved her. He said if I love her too much, she will see it, and then there will be no end of trouble, because she will know that she can get anything out of me. I think when I’m married I’ll risk it; I’ll go ahead and let my wife know that I love her.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,

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