So I spent a little less than 3 weeks in Northern Thailand…. And it took me AT LEAST two of those weeks to learn how to say just 6 things in Thai – Thank you, Hello, Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, & Goodbye/See You Later (and yes, even if 5 of the 6 phrase are the same, it still counts. I mean it’s still 6 things I can say. Geesh. Critics. ;-))
So anyway, why’d it take me so long to learn?
Partly vacation brain and orienting myself to a new way of travel in a different part of the world, partly sensory overload with all the different and beautiful things to look at, and, of course, the language has a different “alphabet” and completely unfamiliar set of rules. But those would just be excuses. My real problem was tone.
They didn’t like my tone of voice (Flashback to “Kimberley Ann” [very guttural, highly punctuated, irritated mum voice], “I do NOT like that tone.” ;)).
WHY didn’t they like my tone, you ask? Well, say what you all may but, my tone’s too happy. And after they stopped giggling at my butchered attempts to thank them, most of the Thai ladies tried to tell me this from the very beginning. They corrected me every time by saying it back the way it should be said. Not going to lie, the first few times, if it weren’t for the smiles on these ladies faces, I really would have sworn they were mad at me. But nope. They were trying to get me to sound more forceful.
Now the forceful part for Thai women ISN’T the entire phrase, just the ending.. At least on the SIX things I learned. The ending is a “KA”. It’s gender specific. For a Thai guy, it’s “KRAP” (very Alanis Morissette-worthy for any bitter ladies out there, I’d imagine :)).
So, when a Thai woman says thank you, the way I like to remember how to do it properly is to remind myself it’s all about girl power. Thai women have girl power.
Less “Thank you, kind sir”, more “Thank you, I’M A GIRL, DAMMIT!”
Once I thought of it this way, it was game on.
Sa-Wad-Dee-KA….Hi, I’m a GIRL DAMMIT!
Kob-Khun-KA… Thank you, I’M A GIRL DAMMIT!
Sa-Wad-Dee-KA (the 4 other ‘phrases I learned,.. Just let me have it,ok? :))….
Good morning, I’m a GIRL DAMMIT!
Good afternoon, I’m a GIRL DAMMIT!
Good evening, I’m a GIRL DAMMIT!
Good-bye/See you later, I’m a GIRL DAMMIT!
Anyway, as I go deeper and deeper into Cambodia, I can and do look back in the direction of Thailand and say with the most confidence and a whole lot of girl power to boot, Sa-Wad-Dee-KA…..See you later, I’M A GIRL DAMMIT!
(So,… Thailand,… How do you like my tone now? ;-))
Where Am I? Writing this about: Beautiful Thailand (more pics coming soon)
Where Am I? Posting this from: Kampong Cham, Cambodia (Pics coming soon)
Temperature: 27ºC/81ºF (I posted this at 7 AM)