Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I've been watching a lot of movies. Movies from every genre, some English, some Thai. I recently watched a Thai horror movie called "Shutter" which I enjoyed and found genuinely scary. I guess they've since remade it in Hollywood to poor reviews, but while usually citing the original as superior. Anyway. I've been thinking a lot about the Thai language and it's seeming lack of depth in communication. I suppose I'm spoiled by the English language which offers dozens of synonyms for every word, each with their own nuances and connotative differences. There is a seemingly endless array of words with which to construct exactly what you mean to say. Not the case in Thailand. Instead of saying things like: annoyed, angry, and irate, you say: a little angry, angry, and very angry. You can create the differences yourself, but it feels like the desired effect is lost. Not that you're misunderstood in any way, but that you aren't able to express your feelings as you truely want. Having grown up with a different language it's hard to settle on saying "very happy" when I know there's words out there that can convey "euphoric", "elated", or "ecstatic". The same way I imagine the Inuit must feel in that cliched fact about their 8 words for snow. Sure we get the job done by saying "wet, heavy snow" but why can't English have an exact word for that? I know I don't speak Thai anywhere close to fluently yet, but I was starting to see a disappointing lack of superfluous vocabulary. Surely there's a difference between a rat and a mouse, right?

I have a point. I'm getting to it. When I recently watched "Shutter", I had the subtitles on but was able to pick up phrases and certain parts of the Thai conversations (It really helps to hear it when you know what they're about to say!). Then I started to notice some simple phrases were translated differently depending on who was speaking to whom or what emotions were being expressed. It got me thinking back to a conversation I had a while ago about the difference between a speaker-oriented language (ex. English) and a listener-oriented language (ex: Thai). In Thai and many other Asian languages, the listener is responsible for comprehending what the speaker has to say. Taking it in for themselves and understanding contextually the nuances of what was said. Maybe that's what I'm missing. There are all these feelings and emotions out there to assign to words; it's just my resposiblilty to do so when someone says them to me. And likewise, for me to trust that what I say will be properly understood. So much so that if, in a movie, I heatedly ask "Understand?" the one listening should interpret that as "You just don't get it, do you?!" Wild stuff.

Much Love,

ps I hear there's some serious snow up there. Any pics? and how would you best describe the snow?

Irate = โกรธแค้น
Annoyed = รำคาญ / หงุดหงิด
Angry= โมโห
ecstatic = ปิติ/ ยินดี
euphoric = สบายใจ
elated = รื่นเริง
I have a lot to learn...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Well, It's been a long long time since I've posted anything but I'm hoping to change that over the next couple days. Sorta like a 12 days of Christmas kinda thing. I've mentioned before how I Can Read's vacation leave breaks down, but it has undergone a change recently. We now get fewer days off we can pick and choose, but get more days off around the actual holidays. While it stinks to have fewer days off like this, it is nice to have actual holidays off. Since we work all day on the weekends we miss a lot of social events already. It's even worse when we have to work on days when most of the city has the day off (not to mention the fact that the classes are only 25% capacity). All this means is that I now have a lengthy break coming up around the new year. I think our plan is just to hang around, maybe take a quick trip to Kanchanaburi just to get out of the city. I'm expecting some visitors in the coming months so I'd rather save up for that.

A lot of people are going home for the holidays so one of my friends had a pre-christmas party last week. She ordered a gigantic turkey with potatoes and stuffing. Oh man. It was so good. Mama's kitchen (restaurant right next to my apartment) was talking about doing another turkey dinner on Christmas day which would also be fantastic. Just know that I'll be thinking of everyone twice as much in the next couple days. Miss you guys.

Much Love

ps I have to work on Xmas day and the 26th But I can bring my computer for potential Skyping. I would have breaks from 12:30 - 1:30 both days and also 10:00am - 11:00 on Sunday (10:00pm - 11:00 est Sat.)
New Skype ID: James.Pizza send me some requests! Let's Jam!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Father's Day

It's Father's Day today in the Kingdom. It's a national holiday and one of the few I get off from work. It's extra sweet this year since it falls on a Sunday which gives me a three-day weekend! I think I've mentioned this before but today is also the King's birthday which means there's gonna be some serious fireworks tonight. There will be firework displays all over the city but our plan is to go up around the royal palace where (I assume) the best one is gonna be. Typically the Thai people all wear yellow on the King's big day but due to the political goings-on it's been changed. Last year it was pink in memory of the King's sister who died earlier in the year. I've done a little scouting and I'm not sure what the color is today but that's ok. We just gotta figure it out before we go up to the palace and are surrounded by thousands all in the one color.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!!

Much Love

EDIT: It's pink again!