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Christy Gibson: If There Were No Men Left in This World

Christy Gibson: If There Were No Men Left in This World

Learn Thai with Christy Gibson…

Learning songs in your target language is an entertaining way to acquire new phrases and vocabulary. And fortunately for us, the talented Christy Gibson has kindly agreed to let me share her songs on WLT. Thanks Christy!

Christy Gibson is known for performing ลูกทุ่ง /lôok tôong/. Lookthung, sung from the heart, literally translates to ‘child of the fields’. And if you haven’t read them already, Christy and Jonas Anderson talk about Lookthung, their singing careers, and learning Thai in these two posts:

Expat Interview: Jonas Anderson and Christy Gibson
Successful Thai Language Learners: Jonas Anderson and Christy Gibson

When I came up with the idea to translate Christy’s songs, I asked Hugh Leong if he’d like to share the project. Thankfully, he agreed to help out. Not only is Hugh also a fan of Christy’s, but his translations are waaaay smoother than mine.

Hugh Leong: I find Luk Thung the most accessible Thai music for foreigners. The musicians are quite good, the music is very similar to American country music in theme, adultery, getting drunk, etc. And the shows they put on are lots of fun.

For our first post in the series, the decision was made to start off with ‘If There Were No Men Left in This World’ (ถ้าโลกไม่เหลือผู้ชายสักคน).

Christy Gibson: The theme of “ถ้าโลกไม่เหลือผู้ชายสักคน” is, in part, one that is familiar to the lookthung genre, but we wanted to give it a different twist. I wanted a song that didn’t end with the character feeling worthless, giving up, or just deciding to “live with the pain” or, as they say in Thai, “ยอม” or resign to fate. I wanted a song about a woman who loved, who felt pain, but who was also strong. In another of my songs, “เจ็บที่ไม่ได้เชิญ”, the woman was strong enough to let him go. In this song she’s strong enough to fight to hold on to him.

The song was chosen because fits the criteria (and not just because it’s my fav – ok, perhaps just a little). The catchy tune has clearly enunciated lyrics and a reasonable vocabulary count, delivered with a tempo slow enough for beginners to follow along without their heads exploding.

Btw: There lyrics have around 70 words, and 28 of those are verbs. Verbs are good.

If there were no men left in this world…

Before you dig in, here’s a quick way to hear the pronunciation when reading the lyrics: drop each sentence into Google Translate and click the speaker icon. The audio isn’t perfect but it’s close. And if you want to hear the sentences spoken at a faster speed, take out the spaces between the words.

If there were no men left in this world
ถ้า โลก ไม่ เหลือ ผู้ชาย สักคน
tâa lôhk mâi lĕua pôo-chaai sàk-kon

ถ้า /tâa/: if
โลก /lôhk/: world, earth
ไม่ /mâi/: no
เหลือ /lĕua/: to remain
ผู้ชาย /pôo-chaai/: men, man, male
สักคน /sàk-kon/: just one person

That man there – he is mine
ผู้ชาย คน นั้น เป็น แฟน ฉัน เอง
pôo-chaai kon nán bpen faen chăn ayng

คน /kon/: person, people, classifier for people
นั้น /nán/: there, that, those, used after a noun or pronoun to emphasize it as the subject of the sentence
เป็น /bpen/: to be, is, am, are, become
แฟน /faen/: husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend. When understood, he, she
ฉัน /chăn/: I, me
เอง /ayng/: only, alone, just

extra info:
แฟนฉัน /faen chăn/: my – the short version of แฟนของฉัน /faen kŏng chăn/
ของฉันเอง /kŏng chăn ayng/: mine
ฉันเอง /chăn ayng/: I, me

The one you are holding in your arms
คน ที่ เธอ กำลัง กอด เขา
kon têe ter gam-lang gòt kăo

ที่ /têe/: the, that, which, who
เธอ /ter/: you (spoken), she, her (poetic)
กำลัง /gam-lang/: auxiliary used to put the verb in the present continuous tense
กอด /gòt/: to hold, embrace, hug
เขา /kăo/: he, she, him, her, they, them

extra info:
กำลัง /gam-lang/ + กอด /gòt/ = holding (something at that moment)

Ask him and see; does the word “we”
ถาม เขา ดู สิ • คำว่า เรา
tăam kăo doo sì • kam-wâa rao

ถาม /tăam/: to ask
ดู /doo/: to see (understand the situation), see, appear, seem
สิ /sì/: particle used to show suggestion (“I suggest you ask him”), emphasis
คำว่า /kam wâa/: the word _
เรา /rao/: we, us, our

Mean you and he, or him and me?
เป็น เธอ กับ เขา • หรือ เขา กับ ฉัน
bpen ter gàp kăo • rĕu kăo gàp chăn

กับ /gàp/: and, with, together with
หรือ /rĕu/: or, isn’t it? (written)

If you are going to take the one who is mine
หาก จะ เอา คน ของ ฉัน ไป
hàak jà ao kon kŏng chăn bpai

หาก /hàak/: if
จะ /jà/: will, shall
เอา /ao/: take, bring
ของ /kŏng/: of, thing, possessions, goods, slang for illegal items (eg. drugs)
ไป /bpai/: to go, leave, shows direction away from the speaker

extra info:
ของ /kŏng/ + ฉัน /chăn/ = mine
เอา /ao/ + ไป /bpai/ = take

At least don’t say it was I who was cruel
ก็ อย่า หาว่า ร้าย แล้วกัน
gôr yàa hăa wâa ráai láew-gan

ก็ /gôr/: then, so, therefore, joins clauses
อย่า /yàa/: don’t, do not, never
หาว่า /hăa-wâa/: accuse, charge, claim, blame
ร้าย /ráai/: be cruel, bad, evil
แล้วกัน /láew-gan/: “Ok?” Used after the suggestion; particle used when suggesting a compromise or final plan of action, implies there’s no need for the listener to suggest anything else. “As you like” (idiomatic).

Losing anything else is unimportant to me
เสีย อะไร ก็ ไม่ สำคัญ
sĭa a-rai gôr mâi săm-kan

เสีย /sĭa/: to lose
อะไร /a-rai/: anything, something, whatever, what
สำคัญ /săm-kan/: be important, significant

Note: from the context ‘to me’ is understood.

But my man; I want him
แต่ คน ของ ฉัน • ฉัน ห่วง
dtàe kon kŏng chăn • chăn hùang

แต่ /dtàe/: but
ห่วง /hùang/: care about, be concerned about, think a lot about

Anyone would love her man
แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ รัก
faen kŏng krai • krai gôr rák

ใคร /krai/: anyone, someone, person, who
รัก /rák/: to love

Anyone would be worried about him
แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ ห่วง
faen kŏng krai • krai gôr hùang

No one would want to share him
แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ หวง
faen kŏng krai • krai gôr hŭang

หวง /hŭang/: be possessive, jealous, can be both non-romantic (feeling between son and mother) or romantic (between lovers).

Be careful: ห่วง /hùang/ and หวง /hŭang/ are close in spelling but tone changes everything.

Don’t steal my man away
เธอ อย่า มา แย่ง ของ กัน
ter yàa maa yâeng kŏng gan

แย่ง /yâeng/: steal, snatch, grab, seize
กัน /gan/: one another, each other

There are lots of available men
ผู้ชาย ไม่มี เจ้าของ • มี ถมไป
pôo-chaai mâi-mee jâo-kŏng • mee tŏm-bpai

My first glance at this sentence made me smile: “There are a lot of men without owners”.

ไม่มี /mâi-mee/: not have, don’t have, there isn’t
เจ้าของ /jâo-kŏng/: owner, proprietor, proprietress
มี /mee/: to have, there is, to be available
ถมไป /tŏm-bpai/: lots of, abundant, plentiful, overwhelming

Why do you have to choose mine
ทำไม ต้อง เป็น แฟน ฉัน
tam-mai dtông bpen faen chăn

ทำไม /tam-mai/: why
ต้อง /dtông/: have to, must, need to

Please leave just this one for me
ขอ ไว้ สักคน แล้วกัน
kŏr wái sàk-kon láew-gan

ขอ /kŏr/: to beg, plead, ask, request
ไว้ /waí/: leave (allow to remain), keep, save, store
สักคน /sàk-kon/: just one person

Don’t force me to be cruel
อย่า บังคับ ให้ ร้าย เลย
yàa bang-káp hâi ráai loie

บังคับ /bang-káp/: to force, give an order, command
ให้ /hâi/: to become (aux), to let, have (someone do something), give
ร้าย /ráai/: bad, cruel
เลย /loie/: completely, totally, really, at all, intensifier, to go further

extra info:
Pattern: อย่า /yàa/ _ เลย /loie/ = Don’t do [something], begging

Please release him now
ได้โปรด ปล่อยมือ จาก เขา เสียที
dâai-bpròht bplòi-meu jàak kăo sĭa-tee

ได้โปรด /dâai-bpròht/: please
ปล่อยมือ /bplòi meu/: to release, set free, [release + hand = idiom]
จาก /jàak/: from, to depart, leave, go away from
เสียที /sĭa-tee/: at once, particle showing frustration that an action hasn’t already happened, to be defeated, conquered, tricked

I’m speaking to you nicely now, so don’t ignore me
พูด ดีๆ เธอ อย่า ทำเฉย
pôot dee-dee ter yàa tam-chŏie

พูด /pôot/: to speak, talk, say
ดี /dee/: to be good, nice, happy
ๆ: character used to indicate the previous word is repeated
ทำเฉย /tam-chŏie/: ignore, be standoffish, turn a cold shoulder to

extra info:
ดี /dee/ + ๆ = ดีๆ /dee-dee/ = nicely (is very good)

If there were no men left in this world
ถ้า โลก ไม่มี ผู้ชาย เหลือ เลย
tâa lôhk mâi-mee pôo-chaai lĕua loie

Then you can come and ask for him
แล้วค่อย มา ขอ · ก็แล้วกัน
láew-kôi maa kŏr · gôr-láew-gan

แล้วค่อย /láew-kôi/: then later (idiom)
มา /maa/: come, shows direction towards speaker, puts the main verb in present perfect tense

Giving thanks…

I would like to thank Christy for giving me the opportunity to use her songs for educational purposes, Hugh for translating the lyrics, and Thai Skype teacher Khun Narisa for coming in at the last hour to answer Thai grammar questions.

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14 Comments

  1. Here’s the conversation going on behind the song.
    (Please note: this is rough… and I have not checked for mistakes)

    เอ้า ตีร
    Hey Dtree!

    เดี๋ยวเราไปคุยงานกันพลก่อนนะ
    I’ll go and talk about work with Pon first, ok?

    เราจะแนะนำให้รู้จักนี่พลแฟนเรา
    I would like to introduce you to someone, my husband, Pon.

    แล้วก็นี่ชื่อแก๊ปฮ่ะเพื่อนรักเราเอง
    And this is Gap, my close friend.

    สวัสดีครับแก็ป
    Hello Gap.

    สวัสดีค่ะ
    Hello

    ฮัลโหลหวัดดีค่บ
    Hello

    ตรีวันนี้พลคงไปหาตรีไม่ได้ยังติดงานอยู่ทีรีสอร์ตอยู่เลย
    Dtree, today I cannot go meet you. I’m still stuck with work from the resort.

    ไม่เปนไรคะ
    No problem.

    เดี๋ยวตรีจะไปหาคุณเอง
    I will go see you myself.

    หยุดนะ
    Stop!

    ทำไมเธอต้องมายุ่งกับแฟนฉันด้วย
    Why do you have to mess around with my husband?

    ในโลกนี้มีผู้ชายตั้งเยอะแยะทำไมต้องมายุ่งกับแฟนฉัน
    There are a lot of men in this world, why do you have to mess around with my husband?

    ตรีหยุดนะ
    Dtree, stop.

    ไม่หยุด ปลอ่ยนะ
    I won’t stop! Let me!

    หยุดเดี๋ยวนี่นะ
    Stop this minute!

    เป็นเพื่อนประสาอะไร
    What kind of friend are you?

    เป็นผู้หญิงประสาอะไร
    What kind of women are you?

    ขอบใจนะตรีที่ออกมาพมฉันน่ะ
    Thank you for coming Dtree.

    ก็ ok นะว่าฉันขอบเค้ามาก
    Ok, I accept that I like him a lot.

    แต่ยิ่งฉันเข้าใกล้เขาห่างออกไปทุกที
    But the closer I get to him the further away he gets from me.

    ขอให้มีความสุข นะเพื่อน
    I wish you happiness, my friend.

  2. Great article Cat!

  3. She really has a great voice and I really like this song a lot. I enjoy this type of music and have since my first trip to Thailand. There is something very soothing about the music and often the videos are like mini movies that can be fun to watch, even though they are all about someone dumping someone else or unrequited love.

  4. Talen, Christy does have a great voice. I can’t sing along with all her songs (some demand a talent I don’t have) but this one works within my limits.

    “all about someone dumping someone else or unrequited love” just like country – only without the pickup truck :-)

  5. I agree she has a wonderful voice. What I found most interesting is that in listening, language wasn’t really any problem. That’s the thing about music. When it works, it tends to transcend culture, language and all that stuff. Music hits to the heart.

    Music is an international language that pretty much everybody understands. It doesn’t require Berliz or Rosetta Stone.

  6. “When it works, it tends to transcend culture, language and all that stuff. Music hits to the heart.”

    True. And Christy helps it along by creating a storyline woven behind the lyrics.

  7. Catherine – I hate to sound uncle and auntie-ish, but boy hasn’t Christy grown even more bonny and beautiful. She’s one cracking looking lass.

    Music is a great way to heighten your language skills and country music has got to be one of the best music styles to choose. The words are so much clearer and easier to mimic. Listening to songs is also a fun way of learning a foreign language too. And putting a bit of fun into your language practice is the right way to go about things. Burrowing your head into a language book might work for a few people but it can also have an eventual negative reaction for many. Songs and their lyrics are a sure way to provide variation to any foreign language program.

  8. Martyn, I too think Christy is a lovely lass :-)

    And megga congrats to Christy – her song is at the top in the Thai music charts. It’s a fabulous song and deserves recognition.

  9. Great to hear that the song is doing so well – it has to be said that’s some achievement for someone who is not technically a ‘native speaker’ of the language!

    I think Thai country music is probably one of the most accessible to foreigners, and although the themes tend to repeat somewhat (don’t steal my guy, why did my guy cheat on me, etc.), they are at least more honest than the more ‘mainstream’ stuff which tends to be all romantic and … not true. (Like those ***ing Nescafe ads, for example – churn my stomach just watching them.) At least the ลูกทุ่ง standard themes are realistic!

    Congrats to Christy, and it’s great that she’s given you the chance to use her song to help people who are learning Thai, too.

  10. Scott, I’m not into the OTT romantic songs in Thai either (you are right they get sickening saccharin). But whatever storyline (country or humour – both grab me), I need a beat that keeps me tapping along.

  11. Thank you for this. I love it and the translation is soooo helpful. So many times I think I’ve got the right end of the stick when I don’t. Anyway, could แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ รัก and แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ ห่วง be translated as “Whose boyfriend is he? Well, who loves him?” “Whose boyfriend is he? Well, who cares about him?” ? Is this translation possible?

  12. Wow, she can really sing! I’ve got goose bumps!!

    Cat, You’re right about the screaming, though, we can do without that.

    p.s.
    knockout jewelry! :)

  13. (*Getting caught up*) I’m so curious about her now. How popular is she among the Thais? What a novelty or am I wrong are there other Caucasians singing in Thai?

    (Besides my friend Ingi in her local rock band :P here in CM)

    Love the back story too…the changing of the ending. Yea Christy!

  14. Chris, there are several possibilities of translation but with Thai what’s inferred needs to be taken into account. I know – it makes it difficult sometimes.

    Lynn, isn’t she wonderful? She has such a lovely voice.

    Hi Lani, Christy is hugely popular with Thais. When I interviewed Jonas and Christy awhile back I asked all the Thais I ran into – everyone knew of them.

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