tisdag 13 januari 2009

Addressing each other Thai style

In Thailand people address each other by first name. Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra is Mr Thaksin. PM Abhisit Vejjajiva is Mr Abhisit. Taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers are for example Mr Anurak. The surnames seem to be secondary. Which is nice since they are impossible to pronounce or even remember... Like for example Justice Minister Mr Pirapan, who's surname is Salirathavibhaga.

Another peculiarity is the use of "porn" in first names. I do not know the ethymological meaning but to a westerner it seems a bit weird...

However, for us tourists it's "sir" or "mister" no matter the gender. On the other hand, men are often refered to as "her". Probably natural in a country where the sexes seem to be far more than two and where the news papers are writing about those crazy Americans who won't permit transgender toilets. As a matter of fact you can not always know the sex of the person you are addressing here, and that's really not a problem at all.

Then we have the wai, the Thai way of putting your hands together when saying hello. Of course, Carl Hamilton would force them to shake hands had it been in Sweden, but I am very happy to not being forced to wai in a better way when I am trying to get this going. It seems so easy but is in fact very hard when you often carry something in your hands and don't know how high or low to put your hands, the higher the more humble I presume. A smile and a bow (is it called that in English, my dictionary says salaam...) is often what I manage to produce, but I am trying! (A Thai Carl Hamilton, Mr Carlporn?, would probably have told me to go back where I (didn't) came from.)

2 kommentarer:

Anonym sa...

Are you sure that the Thai does not do as the Chinese and put the Family name first? After all Thai is in the same language family as the Chinese languages. DLM

Anna-Karin sa...

I did think of that but they do call these long, unpronouncable names 'surnames' so I guess that means family name...