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Thai Politics on Facebook: Manee Has a Chair

Thai Politics: Manee Has A Chair

Manee gets into Thai politics on Facebook…

Thai Politics: Manee Has Chair Monday (tomorrow) is the big kickoff for #BKKshutdown. On twitter the protests are also hashed as #BangkokShutdown and #ShutdownBKK and #ShutdownBangkok and #ปิดกรุงเทพ. Starting early, the anti-government protesters have already shut down Bangkok. Oh joy.

If you are interested in the Thai protests and would like to learn how to read Thai at the same time, there’s a Facebook page that you ‘might’ fancy: Manee Has Chair (มานีมีเเชร์).

Old Thai schoolbook illustrations revived in satirical cartoons: “Manee. Manee has eyes.” These are the first simple words most Thai children in the 1970s and 80s (and possibly every foreign student learning Thai) read in school.

Created by the Ministry of Education and published in 1977, the books – plainly titled “Thai Lesson Book” – aimed at primary school students became a recognizable childhood item for introducing them to reading Thai and also a stable of characters such as the young girl Manee (มานี), her older brother Mana (มานะ) and also a dog called Toh (โต).

Just like the Manee series, the words used are short and sweet. To understand what’s going on in the cartoons, of course you’ll need to follow what’s happening in Thai politics and perhaps dig around some. Oh. And your Thai will get a real workout if you also read the comments below each drawing.

You can see the complete set of artwork here: Maneehaschair Photo Stream

More about Manee…

Download 12 FREE Manee Books
Learn2SpeakThai: Learn Thai with Manee
Manee on Thai Text Reader

More about (present) Thai politics…

Thai Language Thai Culture: Thai Words for This Time of Political Unrest
Keeping Cool (Tempers) in Thailand
Christopher G. Moore: The Kreng Jai System and Thai Politics
Thai Protests 2013: Who to Follow on Twitter

Stay safe everyone.

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Thai Language Thai Culture: Thai Words for This Time of Political Unrest

Thai Language

Thai Words for This Time of Political Unrest…

Things in Thailand have warmed up once again (not talking about the weather this time) and a lot is being said by both sides. It might help to add to our Thai vocabularies some words frequently used as of late. For this post I perused the local Thai and English newspapers and listened to the news on TV to glean words that you might hear.

Words for what they are doing…

Protest: ประท้วง /bprà-túang/. This is the verb “to protest”. A protest “demonstration” of which we are seeing a great deal lately is usually referred to as การประท้วง /gaan-​bprà-túang/, the การ simply changes the verb to a noun.

Rally: ชุมนุม /chum-​num/. This verb normally means to gather or assemble but we are seeing it often now when referring to the large gatherings on the Bangkok streets. When we want to talk about “a rally” we can use ชุมนุมกัน /chum-​num-​gan/. The กัน suffix meaning “together”

March: เดินขบวน /dern-​kà-buan/. This word is made up of two Thai words. เดิน /dern/ meaning “to walk” and ขบวน /kà-buan/ meaning a “parade”, “procession”, and is also use with cars as in “motorcade” and with (a line of ) train cars.

Invade: บุก /bùk/. This word is usually used as in a military movement but lately we see it when a group of people rush into a government building

Words for who they are…

Leader: ผู้นำ /pôo-​nam/. The word นำ is “to lead” or “to guide”. The ผู้ makes it “the person who…”. Also heard in this context is หัวหน้า /hŭa nâa/ or “the head” (of a movement). หัว means head”; หน้า can mean “in front”.

Prime Minister: นายกรัฐมนตรี /naa-​yók-​rát-​tà-mon-​dtree/ or usually shortened to /naa-​yók/. The นาย is often used in front of a person’s name to mean “the boss”. The word รัฐมนตรี /rát-​tà-mon-​dtree/ is used for a government “minister”. So the prime minister is the “boss of the ministers”.

Former (prime minister): อดีตนายก /à-dèet naa-​yók/. We are hearing this word lots lately of course. The word อดีต means “the past” or in this case “former”.

Cabinet: คณะรัฐมนตรี /ká-ná-​rát-​tà-mon-​dtree/. The prefix คณะ means “a group of”, the “cabinet” being a group of ministers.

Parliament: รัฐสภา /rát-​tà-sà-paa/ or often shortened to just สภา /sà-paa/. รัฐ normally means “state” but when used as a prefix like it is here usually refers to “government”, รัฐบาล /rát-​tà-baan/.

Military: ทหาร /tá-hăan/. And if used as an adjective ทางทหาร /taang-​tá-hăan/.

Caretaker (government): ผู้ดูแล /pôo-​doo-​lae/. ดูแล meaning “to care for”.

Words for what they’ve done…

To support (a particular side): สนับสนุน /sà-nàp-sà-nŭn/. You can สนับสนุนเสื้อขาว /sà-nàp-sà-nŭn sêua kăao/ “support the white shirts” or any color shirt you want.

Call for (as in “change”): เรียกร้อง /rîak-​róng/. เรียก is “to call” and ร้อง is “to cry out”. So เรียกร้องการเปลี่ยนแปลง /rîak-​róng gaan-​bplìan-​bplaeng/ is to call for change (เปลี่ยนแปลง /​bplìan-​bplaeng/ is “to change”).

Ultimatum: คำขาด /kam-​kàat/. คำ is “word” and ขาด is “to run out of”.

Resign: การลาออก /gaan-​laa-​òk/. ลา is to “leave” and ออก is to “go out (away)”.

Dissolve parliament: ยุบสภา /yúp-​sà-paa/. The word ยุบ yúp means to disband (dissolve).

Corruption (as in bribery): การทุจริต /gaan-​tút-​jà-rìt/. ทุจริต by itself can mean “to cheat” or to be “dishonest”. Also used is การกินสินบน /gaan gin sĭn-bon/. This word is made of กิน “to eat” and สินบน “bribe”. Sometimes you will see simply กิน “to eat”.

Words for what they might do…

Election: การเลือกตั้ง /gaan-​lêuak-​dtâng/. This has the word เลือก in it which means “to choose”. ตั้ง can mean “to set up” or “to establish”.

Commission (as in “election”): คณะกรรมการ /ká-ná-​gam-​má-gaan/. คณะ again meaning “group” and กรรมการ /gam-​má-gaan/ is “judge”. This word can also be used to mean “committee”. The word กรรมการ /gam-​má-gaan/ is also used in sports to mean “umpire” or “referee”.

Run for Election: เข้าสมัครรับเลือกตั้ง /kâo-​sà-màk-​ráp-​lêuak-​dtâng/. Of course the Thai word for election is here. The word สมัคร is “to apply for”, รับ is received. The more common word for “to run for election” is หาเสียง /hăa sĭang/ or หา “to look for” and เสียง meaning “sound” or “noise”. The word มีชื่อเสียง /mee chêu-sĭang/ literally means “noisy name” but is used to mean “famous”. So “to run for election” can be translated as “to look to become famous”.

Negotiate: การเจรจา /gaan-​jay-​rá-jaa/. The one thing that could help is if everyone decide to เจรจา /​jay-​rá-jaa/

Reform: ปฏิรูป /bpà-dtì-​rôop/. And everyone seems to want this.

Solve problems: แก้ปัญหา /gâe bpan-hăa/. And this too. แก้ means “to solve” or “to repair” and ปัญหา is “problem”.

And the word heard much too often in Thai history…

Coup (as in d’état): รัฐประหาร /rát-tà-bprà-hăan/. The prefix for “government” is here coupled with the word ประหาร which usually means “to execute (as in death penalty)”. This is the official word but the one that will be broadcast on the TV after hours of martial and patriotic music will most likely be ปฏิวัติ /bpà-​dtì-​wát/ which also means “revolution”.

Here is wishing that this word will not be used again soon and that the good people of Thailand will solve this current crisis (วิกฤต /​wí-​grìt/) in a peaceful and positive manner.

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
eBooks in Thailand

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Christopher G. Moore: The Kreng Jai System and Thai Politics

Thai Political Super Storms: Kreng Jai System under Attack

Kreng Jai System and Thai Politics…

After a relatively quiet birthday celebration, followed by a weekend of mostly silence, on Monday morning at 9.39 (exactly?) the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will make another final push to take down the reigning Thai government. See protest map here.

Bangkok Post: Mr Suthep declared on Friday night that demonstrators would “blow the final whistle” on Monday to seize power from the Yingluck administration.

The former Democrat MP said he would not prolong the protest any longer and that Monday’s outcome would make clear whether the demonstrators “win or lose”.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a horse in this race (how could I). But, I do have an interest in what keeps driving the Thai people from both sides of the political divide to repeatedly take to the streets to maim, burn, and kill their own countrymen and women.

This weekend Christopher G. Moore (author of Heart Talk) put forward his theory about what’s going on in his post, Thai Political Super Storms: Kreng Jai System under Attack.

Christopher: What is driving the political turmoil, in my view, is a breakdown of this ancient kreng jai system that has until now been the bedrock of the political establishment. The patronage system, the pee/nong—older and younger person system and the automatic deference to rank, uniform and position were built from the stone and cement of kreng jai. Even voting has been fenced in by the unwritten rules of deference.

It’s an interesting view (and one I feel has merit).

I found the concept of Kreng Jai (and sometimes Greng Jai) difficult to wrap my head around so spent weeks researching the subject. The results of that exercise can be read at Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng Jai.

That post is chockfull of useful Kreng Jai phrases but the one I say most often is ไม่ต้องเกรงใจ /mâi dtông kreng jai/, which means “no need to kreng jai (me)”. Try it. It saves time and aggro.

Anyway, to read all of Christopher’s post here it is again: Thai Political Super Storms: Kreng Jai System under Attack. I just found out that it’s an essay from Fear and Loathing in Bangkok, an ebook on amazon/kindle. Off to the Kindle store I go…

And if you are interested in the blow-by-blow action promised for Monday, take your pick: Thai Protests 2013: Who to Follow on Twitter.

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Thai Protests 2013-14: Who to Follow on Twitter

Thai Protests 2013: Who to Follow on Twitter

Thai Protests 2013-2014: Who to Follow on Twitter…

Yes, the Thai protests are STILL going on. I was hoping they’d be over by now, but oh no. Seriously? I hope this protest is finished before I complete writing this post! Anyway… similar to Staying Safe in Thailand: Streetwise Advice + Twitter, I wanted to share a bunch of twitter people for you to follow in this latest Thai kerfluffle.

If you only have time for one twitter account it’d have to be Richard Barrow’s.

Richard Barrow: (Travel blogger): @RichardBarrow

And here’s Richard’s Bangkok Dangerous Google Map

This morning Richard made a request: if you are running around Bangkok and see any action, do tweet your photos and news to his account. Please do (the more eyes and ears sharing, the better).

And now to the rest of the twitter peeps…

แก้วมาลา Kaewmala (Thai language, culture & politics): @Thai_Talk
Aim_The Nation (Nation): Aim_The Nation (no longer online)
Alessandro Ursic (Freelance journalist): @aleursic
Anasuya (Channel NewsAsia): @Anasuya
Andrew Marshall (Reuters): @Journotopia
Aubrey Belford (Reuters): @AubreyBelford
Bangkok Pundit (Asian Correspondent): @bangkokpundit
Florian Witulski (asia-pacific correspondent): @vaitor
Jason Szep (Reuters): @jasonszep
Jonathan Head (BBC): @pakhead
John Le Fevre (The Establishment Post): @photo_journ
Kate Hodal (The Guardian): @katehodal
Newley Purnell (Journalist): @newley
Nuthatai Chotechuang (Nation Channel): @nuthatai
Patrick Winn (Global Post): @BKKApologist (no longer online)
Saksith Saiyasombut (Siam Voices): @Saksith
Sunai (Human Rights Watch): @sunaibkk
Terry Fredrickson (Bangkok Post): @terryfrd
Thin (Humanitarian): @thinink
Tulsathit Taptim (The Nation): @tulsathit
veena T.: @veen_NT
Waan Chomchuen (Wall Street Journal): @waanspeaking
William Davies (AFP): @WilwithoneL
Zoe Daniel (ABC Australia): @seacorro

2Bangkok: 2Bangkok
FCCThai: FCCThai
Asian Correspondent: @AsCorrespondent
New Mandala: @newmandala
Siam Voices: @siamvoices

Arm MatichonTV: @AMatichon (no longer online)
Bangkok Post: @BPbreakingnews
MCOT English News: @MCOTEnglishnews
The Nation: @nationnews

CMDThai (Civil Movement for Democracy): @CMDThai
Rajprasong News (Red Shirts): @Rajprasong_News
UDD (Red Shirts): @UDD_English

Abhisit Vejjajiva (former PM): @PM_Abhisit
Yingluck Shinawatra (present PM): @PouYingluck

georgehenton (photojournalist): @georgehenton
Grant Cameron (photojournalist): @grantthai
Jack Kurtz (photojournalist): @photogjack
L. Suwanrumpha (photojournalist): @TheLilyfish

Thai protests in the news…

If you need to play catch-up, here’s a few articles:

New Mandala: Who’s who in Thailand’s anti-government forces?

BBC: Thailand: Protests continue amid strike call
Straits Times: Bangkok on a knife-edge : Government on the run, but not out
Bangkok Post: Media groups condemn protest threats
Bangkok Post: TOT power cut hits 750,000 users
asiancorrespondent.com: Who is financing the anti-government Suthep rallies in Bangkok?

asiancorrespondent.com (continuously updated page): LIVE: Fresh violence raises tensions in Bangkok

Note: My thanks goes to photographer L. Suwanrumpha (@TheLilyfish) and Asia Editor Jon Russell (@jonrussell) for suggestions on who to add to my previous twitter list for the Thai protests.

And now that I’ve finished this post, I’m off to see if this latest protest is over yet. See you there?

UPDATE: Here’s the complete list on twitter: Thai Protests

ADDED: Jon Russell (TNW) also has a twitter list: Thai Protests 2013

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Taking a Break from Thai Politics: Squat Toilets and Bum Guns

Squat Toilets and Bum Guns

Need a break from Thai politics? Here a toilet, everywhere a toilet…

The internet is going crazy over protests in Bangkok this week (condolences to Nick Nostitz). But as I’m in Chiang mai and far removed from the action, I thought I’d write about something way different: Squat toilets and bum guns.

Japan was where I first experienced squat toilets, along with a more relaxed attitude towards potty privacy and getting naked. When I was around five years old I witnessed a pantless toddler pooping on the side of the road, right where everyone could see.

My parents were strict on potty training especially so I found the revelation both unexpected and enlightening. The memory stayed all these years, I guess mostly because pooing where I come from is produced behind closed doors.

Now that I’m all grown up (heh) my interest in toilet culture has evolved to taking quick snaps (yeah for the iPhone): Borneo’s squat toilets (where I’ve been tempted to keep the door open to stop from gagging), Italy’s spring-loaded seats (designed to keep the lids up – clearly a man’s world), ancient toilets carved out of wood, squat toilets on trains even, and loads of toilets in between.

Squat Toilets and Bum Guns

Squat toilets and bum guns…

Using squat toilets as a kid is easy because you are close to the ground. But, when you learn (or relearn in my case) to squat as an adult, balancing skills need plenty of practice.

After a long hiatus from squatting I moved to Borneo where squat toilets abounded. To keep my balance, in the beginning I’d lean my head against the wall (if it’d reach), but soon I was pooing like a pro.

And while I’ve always appreciated that squat toilets are good exercise for the legs especially, I never took to the bum gun.

The closet I’ve come to using the gun was on a trip to Cambodia. After touring Siem Reap’s ancient monuments in the baking heat for hours, I was desperate for relief. And there it was. Dangling next to me. The bum gun. Tempting (almost). But there are potty rules against that too.

Cambodian toilets

Guys can be uber religious about their dedication to using the bum gun. Try it sometimes. Mention a preference for toilet paper and even the most well-mannered expat male who’s enamoured with the gun will growl (whereas women tend to keep quiet about the subject).

I’ve always protested that while Thailand’s water purification is supposedly fine, the security of the pipes leading water to my tender parts was in doubt. I mean, we all know what kind of sludge flows along the klongs and drains of Thailand. Right? Just the thought of the stink getting near my bits … yuk.

Thailand Guru: While it has been reported that tap water exceeds world standards for drinking water in many parts of the city, and the Metropolitan Water Works Authority has made a strong effort to exceed World Health Organization standards by 1999, in some places the water that comes out of the tap is still questionable, usually as regards the pipe network that carries the water to some old places.

But in writing this post I had to face facts. It couldn’t possibly be the water I objected to, because to cool off I throw water sans disinfectant soap on my face. And that’s not all. I also wash fruit and veg in water straight from the tap. Oh dear.

So I’ve now decided that my prejudice comes down to a few key facts:

  • ONE: Using a high powered gun on my bum while teetering on a slippery porcelain squat toilet with my back to a door (that may or may not be lockable) would clench my bum so tight a decent poo would be almost impossible unless I had help from tainted food.
  • TWO: I rarely (ever) use a public toilet for number two so it’s not going to happen anyway (except for the previously mentioned assistance).
  • Ok, that doesn’t stop me from using bum guns at home but it doesn’t happen here either, so I’ll add a number THREE: I’m not coordinated enough to use a bum gun without drenching myself along with the floors and walls and anything else within reach. So there you go.

But… the real reason for this post is this bit of news:

Coconuts Bangkok: In recognition of the proud tradition that was yesterday’s “World Toilet Day,” Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health did its duty by dumping data from its research of public toilets in Thailand, which concludes the highest concentration of fecal matter can be found on the ole’ bum gun. Ewwww.

I don’t know how reliable the Ministry of Public Health’s research is but after reading about fecal matter as well as this Reddit post about bum guns, I’m even more convinced to stick with YAAY for squat toilets and EWWW EWWW EWWW for bum guns.

Squat Toilets and Bum Guns

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Thai Floods: FROC’s Highway

FROC's Highway to...

FROC’s highway to…

Both the Bangkok Post and the Nation covered, albeit briefly, complaints about FROC’s invasive ramp into the Energy Complex.

Bangkok Post: Froc’s ‘VIP pass’ irks residents (article no longer online – grrr to the Bangkok Post).

Residents living near the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) say a raised road built to allow access by VIPs is causing them flooding problems.

The special driveway is a road off the tollway exit in front of the Energy Complex building on Vibhavadi Rangsit road.

Nation: Community complains about access road to FROC HQ

A community yesterday cried foul over the construction of a special road for government leaders to access the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC), saying it has blocked drainage of floodwater.

Thing is, I can’t find a mention of the special FROC highway being constructed on Vibhavadi Rangsit (Ding Daeng), all the way to the Don Muang Tollway.

FROC's Highway to... Where?

FROC's Highway to... Where?

FROC's Highway to... Where?

FROC's Highway to... Where?

The Don Muang Tollway eventually leads to the special FROC ramp (mentioned above).

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Campaign Promise: Curing Thais of Five Character Flaws

Campaign Promise: Curing Thais of Five Character Flaws

Five things to change about the Thai character…

In Thailand, if you don’t read or speak Thai, or know someone who does, you miss out on all sorts of goodies. For instance, several weeks ago a Thai friend arrived all excited about a radio talk show. During the show a Thai politician expressed an interest in curing Thai people of their (supposedly) five bad character flaws: Laziness, jealousy, lying, cheating, and boasting.

Laziness: ขี้เกียจ /kêe-gìat/
Jealousy: ขี้อิจฉา /kêe-ìt-chăa/
Lying: ขี้โกหก /kêe-goh-hòk/
Cheating: ขี้โกง /kêe-gohng/
Boasting: ขี้อวด /kêe-ùat/

Pssst: Did you notice all those ขี้อ/kêe/ words? Hugh covers them here: A Sticky Problem.

Apparently a Frenchman spent some time researching the Thai character and pared it down to those five flaws. And btw: If you have information on his research, do tell!

The politician went on to promise that if the Frenchman’s research proved to be true, then he (the politician), would tackle the problem.

If this is a campaign promise, then what a platform for any politician to run on.

Anyway, thanks to Thai politics you now have five new words to add to your Thai language vocabulary: ขี้เกียจ, ขี้อิจฉา, ขี้โกหก, ขี้โกง, ขี้อวด.

Other Thai political campaign posts:
Thai Politician Chuwit Kamolvisit: A Man. His Dog. Their Park.
Chuvit’s Angry Man Campaign Posters Translated
Vote NO! Animal Campaign: Political Posters Translated

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Vote NO! Animal Campaign: Political Posters Translated

Vote NO! Animal Campaign: Political Posters Translated

Tiger, lion, bull, rino… politicians are WILD BEASTS!

After writing about Thai politician Chuvit in two posts: Thai Politician Chuwit Kamolvisit: A Man. His Dog. Their Park and Chuvit’s Angry Man Campaign Posters Translated, it’s now time to feature another star of the Thai political show, the Vote NO! animal posters upsetting many Thais.

The animals in the yellow Vote NO! campaign are the buffalo, tiger, dog, monitor lizard, crocodile, and monkey. The use of animals brings to mind a Thai saying เสือสิงห์กระทิงแรด /sĕua sĭng grà-ting râet/ which directly translates to tiger, lion, buffalo, rino.

Seems harmless enough… but that run of animals translates to WILD BEASTS! in Thai.

พวกนี้เป็นเสือสิงห์กระทิงแรดไว้ใจไม่ได้
pûak-née bpen sĕua sĭng grà-ting râet wái-jai mâi-dâi
These people are WILD BEASTS! Don’t trust them!

I was told that arguing politicians are known to shout at each other:

คุณเป็นประเภทเสือสิงห์กระทิงแรด
khun bpen bprà-pâyt sĕua sĭng grà-ting râet.
You are a (kind of) WILD BEAST!

Note: I realise that คุณ /khun/ is far too polite for this slur but…

When going into scary territory – like visiting in-laws – your Thai friends just might say:

ระวัง! คุณจะไปเจอพวกเสือสิงห์กระทิงแรด
rá-wang! kun jà bpai jer pûak sĕua sĭng grà-ting râet
Careful! You will go to meet the WILD BEASTS!

Animals in Thai culture, Thai thinking…

In the Vote NO! political campaign the animals are dressed in men’s business suits. Some suits are black but others are printed in notable bright blues and reds. The tiger, monitor lizard, and crocodile (in bright blue) apparently represents the Democrat Party (พรรคประชาธิปัตย์, Phak Prachathipat). The crocodile (in red) represents the Red Shirts (พรรคเพื่อไทย, Pheu Thai Party).

nationmultimedia.com: Campaign billboards to depict buffalo-headed candidates in blue and red suits.The first billboard will highlight the message of running from a tiger into a crocodile. The depiction will show the tiger-headed in blue, the colour of the Democrat Party and the crocodile-headed in red, signifying the red shirts.

Each of the animals used in the campaign have a place in Thai thinking.

Buffalo: Slow and stupid.
Tiger: Lazy, gets something for nothing.
Dog: Makes noise and fights.
Monitor lizard: Very bad person.
Crocodile: Troublemaker.
Monkey: Deceives and cheats.

สีซอให้ควายฟัง /sĕe-sor hâi kwaai fang/
Play the fiddle to the buffalo to listen.
The foolish buffalo can’t be taught.

เสือนอนกิน /sĕua non gin/
Tiger laying down and eating.
Tigers profit without effort.

หมาเห่าใบตองแห้ง /măa hào bai dtong hâeng/
Dog barking at a dried banana leaf.
Dogs are all talk, no action.

จระเข้ขวางคลอง /jor-rá-kây kwăang klong/
Crocodile obstructs canal.
Crocodiles are troublemakers.

ลิงหลอกเจ้า /ling lòk jâo/
Monkey deceives owner.
Monkeys deceive and cheat people.

In Thailand, calling someone a monitor lizard is a nasty slur. I purposely neglected to mention the Thai saying but you can read about it in this CNNgo article: 6 animal nicknames to avoid in Thailand.

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

The animal poster with the tiger on the top and the crocodile (not monitor lizard) on the bottom uses another common Thai saying:

หนี… เสือ
nĕe … sĕua
Escape tiger.

ปะ… จระเข้
bpà … jor-rá-kây
Meet crocodile.

Short words, I know. But what it means is this: In the jungle you come across a fierce tiger. You escape by diving into the water, only to meet the hungry crocodile.

English version: Out of the frying pan and into the fire!

Before we leave this poster I’d like you to note the printed number 18 at the top left. The first animal posters had no such deliberate number (just the logo). More on this subject below…

So, whos’ responsible for the Vote NO! Campaign?…

Yellow PAD Political Posters TranslatedCheck out the number 18 added by hand. After finding many handwritten number 18’s I asked a Thai friend what was up.

Early on in the campaign, most of the political articles I read mentioned PAD as being solely responsible for the animal posters. I didn’t start paying attention until the handwritten 18’s started to appear. The information was there all along, I just missed it.

Number 18 is the For Heaven and Earth Party, an offshoot of the Santi Asoke Buddhist Sect. The For Heaven and Earth Party teamed up with PAD to produce the animal campaign. So no, it’s not PAD acting alone.

The original Vote NO! animal campaign posters…

Vote NO! Animal Campaign: Political Posters Translated

[slideshow id=animal-posters w=590px h=393px]

When the animal campaign posters first appeared on the streets of Bangkok they sported the buffalo, tiger, dog, monitor lizard, and monkey. All carried the same message:

3 ก. ค. (abbreviation for กรกฎาคม)
săam gor kor (gà-rá-gà-daa-kom)
3 July

อย่าปล่อยสัตว์เข้าสภา
yàa bplòi sàt kâo sà-paa
Don’t let animals enter parliament.

โหวต NO
wòht NO
Vote NO!

ไปใช้สิทธิ์เลือกตั้งกาช่องไม่ประสงค์ลงคะแนน
bpai chái sìt lêuak dtâng gaa chông mâi bprà-sŏng long ká-naen
Use your right to put an X in the box for “no vote”.

Complete sentence: On the 3rd of July don’t let animals enter parliament. Vote NO! Use your right to put an X in the box for “no vote”.

The Vote NO! animal campaign cartoons…

Vote NO! Animal Campaign: Political Posters Translated

These two cartoons are from a Vote NO! pamphlet being distributed on the streets of Bangkok. The person taking credit is นายตุลย์ ศิริกุลพิพัฒน์. The cartoons are also using animals so I decided to include them here.

First graphic:

ไอ้ควาย!
You buffalo!

Second graphic:

แหม… อยู่ดีๆมายกย่องผมเป็นควายเขินแย่
Well… I am what I am. To admire me as a buffalo. (I’m) really shy.

Title along the bottom:

ที่สภาตัวเงินตัวทอง
At the Lizard Parliament.

ตัวเงินตัวทอง: monitor lizard (polite).
เหี้ย: monitor lizard (extremely rude).

In the cartoon, one politician (a lizard) is calling the other politician (also a lizard) a buffalo. The lizard replies, “Well, I am what I am (a monitor lizard). Why do you say buffalo? I’m really shy.”

English version: I believe this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black (both politicians are acting like animals in parliament). I’m not sure what the admission of being shy is all about though.

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

This cartoon also comes from the Vote NO! pamphlet.

Main speech balloon:

โลกเค้ากำลังเศร้ากำลังเครียด
The world is sorrowful and worried…

เรื่องญี่ปุ่นถูกสินามิถล่มอยู่
about Japan collapsing under the Tsunami…

ไอ้หมาพวกนี้ยังกัดกันอยู่ได้หนวกหูจริง !!!
…while these dogs are still biting each other really loud!

Note: A Thai will say หนวกหู จริง !!! when there’s an annoying, loud disturbance. It means, “keep quiet!”

The couple’s speech balloon:

โธ่คุณก็มันหมา!
(sound of comfort) don’t you know, they are just dogs!

The dog’s speech balloon:

โฮ่งๆ… โฮ่งๆ… แฮ่… !!!
hong hong… hong hong… haa (pant)

Note: Thai dogs say hong hong, not bow wow.

In English: It’s dog eat dog. Meaning, Thai politicians are out for their own interests alone. That’s exactly what Chuvit’s campaign is saying.

And now, for the rest of the Vote NO! animal campaign posters…

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

เลือกลำบากเพราะฉลาด … ทั้งคู่ ?
lêuak lam-bàak prór chà-làat … táng-kôo ?
It’s not easy to choose because both are clever?

3 ก. ค. นี้
săam gor kor née
This 3 July

เข้าคูหากาช่องไม่เลือกใคร
kâo koo-hăa gaa chông mâi lêuak krai
Enter the booth and then make a cross in the space “no vote” for anyone.

Clever? Remember, they are calling both the Democratic Party and the Red Shirts buffaloes.

The For Heaven and Earth Party (Santi Asoke Buddhist Sect) have this to say on the subject (paraphrasing):

The animals are only aiming at the bad politicians. Good politicians have nothing to fear. They [the posters] are not attacking anyone in particular. Those offended by the placards are perhaps taking it too personal.

You can listen to the news report for yourself (it’s in English). But please patient, the animal discussion is a quarter of the way into the video: Yellow Shirts ‘Vote No’ Campaign in Bangkok.

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

Pssst: No, it’s not your imagination. On some posters the Thai words really do have spaces. Weird spaces in some places.

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

3 ก. ค.
săam gor kor
3 July…

วันตบโหลกนักการเมือง (โหลก /lók/ is slang for กะโหลก /gà-hŏh-lók/ head)
wan dtòp lók nák-gaan-meuang
…is the day to slap the heads of the politicians by voting NO.

โหวต NO
wòht NO
Vote NO

กาช่องไม่ประสงค์ลงคะแนน
gaa chông mâi bprà-sŏng long ká-naen
Put an X in the box for “NO vote”.

The news report (above) mentions that the political posters are not attacking any one person but here we have caricatures of Thaksin and Abhist being bonked on the head. Am I missing something?

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

ร่วมกันประท้วงนักการเมือง
rûam-gan bprà-túang nák-gaan-meuang
Join together to protest politicians…

โดยไม่ต้องมีการชุมนุม
doi mâi dtông mee gang-chum-num
…no need to have a rally.

โหวต NO
wòht NO
Vote NO

3 ก. ค.
săam gor kor
3 July

กาช่องไม่ประสงค์ลงคะแนน
gaa chông mâi bprà-sŏng long ká-naen
Put an X in the box for “no vote”.

I took the photo of the “no need to have a rally” poster on the way to the Vote NO political rally this past Friday. If you are interested the rally photos are in the slideshow at the bottom of this post.

Vandalism and Thailand’s political campaign…

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

There’s a great deal of vandalism going on with Thailand’s political posters. Some of the posters have writing on them (like this one) or they’ve been shredded (like the monkey poster below).

The writing says:

ไม่รักชาติ
mâi rák châat
No love nation = they don’t love Thailand = unpatriotic.

The main damage to the political posters has been limited to the animal posters and Abhisit’s campaign (scratching Abhisit’s eyes out is a favourite Thai past-time). Only a few pots of paint were aimed at Thaksin’s sister.

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

I could easily fill a post with the demolished animal posters found inside and out of Bangkok. They are that common.

And what else is the Vote NO! animal campaign getting up to?…

Yellow PAD Political Posters Translated

The animal posters are angering many Thais but even with the threats of crackdowns from the authorities, the posters are still around. And surprisingly, with all this fuss, they are getting BIGGER.

Outdoing even themselves, these HUGE Vote NO! banners are gracing Sathorn Unique, a relic from the Asian crisis. After being three hours in Friday afternoon traffic to take a photo of the banner clad building, I declined climbing up a nearby building to get a better shot.

NOTE: Apologies for taking the slideshow down. The plugin does not work with my rotating header (apparently both use jQuery. Whatever that means). And if you have any suggestions, I’m open.

This slideshow included a few photos from the Vote NO! rally in Bangkok. I’m sure my Red Shirt driver didn’t intend to stop by a Yellow Shirt rally but when we turned a corner SURPRISE! yellow was everywhere. And of course I to go to see. When I came back from the rally I mentioned how average everyone looked. Not a high-so in the bunch. He replied, “they might be dressed as poor Thais but don’t let them fool you. They are not!”

Oh. And could someone please explain the logic behind the banner in the slideshow?

เลือกพรรคไหนก็แพ้ทักษิณ
มาร่วมสร้างอำนาจต่อรองให้ประชาชนโหวต NO!

My take on it: Any party you vote for, Thaksin will win. So let’s unite to vote no.

Anyway, that’s a political wrap. If you missed my other two posts on translating Thai political posters, you can read them here: Thai Politician Chuwit Kamolvisit: A Man. His Dog. Their Park and Chuvit’s Angry Man Campaign Posters Translated. And if you want to see the Thai vocabulary for Thailand’s political campaigns get thee over to Hamish’s Tweet Yourself Thai.

Same as with Chuvit’s translations, my attempts won’t be 100% successful so if you have any suggestions please add them to the comments. Ta!

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Chuvit’s Angry Man Campaign Posters Translated

Chuvit: Angry Man Campaign Posters

Chuvit: The Angry Man of Thai politics…

The Thai press is calling Chuvit the colour of the election: สีสัน การ เลือกตั้ง /sĕe-săn gaan lêuak-dtâng/. And comparing Chuvit to the other candidates, who can argue? Chuvit is colourful, dramatic, and evocative. In your face even.

So it’s no surprise that Chuvit’s powerful posters are the talk of the town. Kudos to his design team, his direction, or whatever the combo. The posters are conveying a message as loud and lively as Chuvit himself.

In order to grab the attention of a speeding motorist, trained designers know that the use of a clean, bold design works. And that the information needs to be kept short, catchy, and memorable. To do just that, for the copy Chuvit took the message he wanted to convey and then pared it down into lean but powerful headlines.

Some of the posters play with words and sentences, that when looked up separately, have a different meaning. Some use noun phrases (word or group of words) to convey a broader meaning. And some could be using colour to add cheek to the message.

And while this method works wonders for a Thai audience, it makes it difficult for struggling students of the Thai language. So for me to understand some of Chuvit’s posters, it was important to find the message he started with before the fiddling, and then work out the possible meanings from there. And that’s what you’ll find in this post.

Note: My attempt won’t be 100% successful so if Chuvit is reading this – please feel free to correct me.

Oh, and I did not do this on my own. I asked a zillion questions. You know who you are. Thank you.

Chuvit for the opposition + footer…

This post is plenty long so I’ve mostly taken out repeats where I could. Chuvit’s request to be in the opposition and the footer information especially.

Chuvit knows he won’t win the election. His aim is to get enough votes to be in the opposition; to become the watchdog of Thai politics. And that’s why you’ll see this phrase repeated throughout his posters:

ผม ขอ เป็น ฝ่ายค้าน
pŏm kŏr bpen fàai-káan
I ask to be in the opposition.

For the duration of this post let’s assume that in every poster he’s first explaining the message and second that if he gets voted in as the opposition he’ll be the anti-corruption watchdog for Thai politics. The short version: Choose me so I can fight corruption.

You can read about Chuvit’s previous political attempts here (in Thai): Wiki: ชูวิทย์_กมลวิศิษฎ์

Also to save room I won’t put the footer, the final message running across the bottom of each poster. If you can’t read Thai, it’s the white copy knocked out of a blue background. Not all of the copy is exactly the same but it goes pretty much like this:

เลือก ชูวิทย์ พร้อมกัน ทุกเขต ทั่วประเทศ
lêuak choo-wít próm-gan túk-kàyt tûa-bprà-tâyt
Vote Chuvit simultaneously every area nationwide.

พรรค รัก ประเทศไทย
pák rák bprà-tâyt-tai
Love Thailand Party

The “everybody vote for Chuvit at the same time” phrase refers to the voting times for Thailand. You’ll read it on other political posters too. The polls are open from 8am–3pm, July 3, 2011. Everyone who’s going to vote needs to be there during those times. If they are late, they cannot vote so everyone votes at the same time.

From what I understand, there are three ways for Thais to vote in the election. 1) At the designated polls (Thais receive a letter in the mail telling them where). 2) Or they can vote ahead of time by registering on June 26th (a week before). 3) Or they can vote from overseas.

Chuvit’s angry man political posters…

There were many outings to get photos of the campaign posters. On the main run I took photos of the posters only, no background. Then I realised how many readers live outside of Thailand so I went back to get local flavour.

So here we go… the posters with their translations and my stab at what it all means. And if you have any suggestions, corrections, whatever, please share them in the comments.

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

เลือก ชูวิทย์ เป็น ฝ่าย ค้าน ต้าน คอรัปชั่น
lêuak choo-wít bpen fàai káan dtâan kor-ráp-chân
Pick Chuvit for the opposition. To oppose corruption.

ได้ ทุก เขต ทั่วประเทศ ไทย
dâi túk kàyt tûa-bprà-tâyt tai
Can. Every district nationwide in Thailand.

This simple poster lays out the basic theme running through the rest of the series. It’s main message includes some of the copy I’m leaving out.

Infers: You can choose Chuvit to be the opposition, to oppose corruption, no matter what district, nationwide in Thailand.

Flickr: Rak Thailand

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

คุณ จะ ไป ทาง ไหน ?
kun jà bpai taang năi ?
Which direction are you going?

Noun phrase:
การเมือง + ผลประโยชน์
gaan-meuang + pŏn-bprà-yòht
Political affairs, politics + benefits

Which direction are you going? Politics benefit politicians.

Infers: Which direction are you going when political policies benefit the self interests of the politicians and not ordinary Thais? As a visual, it’s saying that Thais keep choosing to head into known traffic jams instead of going where the lights are green and the streets are clear.

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

คุณ จะ ไป ทาง ไหน ?
kun jà bpai taang năi ?
Which direction are you going?

Noun phrase:
รัฐบาล + ผลประโยชน์
rát-tà-baan + pŏn-bprà-yòht
Government + vested interests

Which direction are you going? Government benefits politicians.

Infers: Same as above. Which direction are you going when government benefits the interests of the politicians?

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

จะ หลงทาง กัน อีก กี่ ครั้ง ?
jà lŏn-taang gan èek gèe kráng ?
How many more times will you lose the way?

Noun phrase:
นโยบาย + ผลประโยชน์ พรรคการเมือง
ná-yoh-baai + pŏn-bprà-yòht pák-gaan-meuang
policies + vested interests [of] political parties

How many more times will you lose your way? The policies of political parties make profits for themselves.

Infers: Chuvit is asking how many more times will Thais lose their way by choosing policies that benefit the political party and not ordinary Thais. It means putting money in politician’s pockets by changing Thai laws to benefit the politician’s family businesses. In the west it’s known as conflict of interest.

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

เมื่อ … นักการเมือง พูด คำว่า
mêua … nák-gaan-meuang pôot kam-wâa
When… politicians say the word

Noun phrase:
ซื่อ + สัตย์
sêu + sàt
honest

ประชาชน จะ เป็นสุข อย่างไร
bprà-chaa-chon jà bpen-sùk yàang-rai
how can people be happy?

When… politicians say the word ‘honest’ how can people be happy?

Could infer: How can people be happy when politicians say the words ‘honest’ but their promise of innocence cannot be trusted?

ซื่อสัตย์ /sêu-sàt/ means to be honest, faithful, and loyal but in this poster Chuvit pushed the two words apart, changing the meaning.

ซื่อ /sêu/ innocent (red)
สัตย์ /sàt/ the promise (black)

สัตย์ /sàt/ is in black so it could be that the promise cannot be trusted. But what could the red colour mean?

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

เลือก ชูวิทย์
lêuak choo-wít
Elect Chuvit

การเมือง เหมือน ผ้าอ้อม
gaan-meuang mĕuan pâa-ôm
Politics are like pampers.

ยิ่ง เปลี่ยน … ยิ่ง ดี
yîng bplìan … yîng dee
The more you change them, the better they are.

Elect Chuvit. Politics are like pampers. The more you change them, the better they are.

Infers: Politicians stink. Chuvit doesn’t.

Flickr: Rak Thailand

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

เมื่อ คุณ ต้องการ ความ ซื่อสัตย์ VOTE 5 ชูวิทย์
mêua kun dtông-gaan kwaam sêu-sàt VOTE hâa choo-wít
When you want honesty VOTE 5 Chuvit

In this poster ซื่อสัตย์ /sêu-sàt/ is in red. The previous poster has ซื่อสัตย์ as two words, changing the meaning. This poster could be playing off the other poster. It is saying honest for real, not untrustworthy, like in the previous poster.

Infers: Chuvit is using his dog, Motomoto, to suggest that dogs are honest but politicians are not. Chuvit’s use of ซื่อสัตย์ /sêu-sàt/ as a complete word could be stating that he’s honest but other politicians are not.

Flickr: Rak Thailand

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

เบื่อ การเมือง
bèua gaan-meuang
bored with politics

แต่…
dtàe
but…

ต้อง ไป เลือก ตั้ง
dtông bpai lêuak dtâng
must go vote

Infers: I know you are bored of politics but you have to vote (chose me so that I can fight corruption).

Flickr: Rak Thailand

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

เลือก ชูวิทย์ กา ที่ เบอร์ 5 ที่ บัญชีรายชื่อ เท่านั้น
lêuak choo-wít gaa têe ber hâa têe ban-chee-raai-chêu tâo-nán
Choose Chuvit by picking number 5 on the party list only.

ปรองดอง… ตอน ได้ ประโยชน์
bprong-dong… dton dâi bprà-yòht
Reconcile… when there’s something to gain

ปองร้าย เมื่อ ขัดแย้ง
bpong-ráai mêua kàt yáeng
Bear ill will… when in conflict

The first message conveys the basic instructions for voters: Only choose number 5 on the party list.

Infers: The second message states that politicians only agree with other politician’s policies when it benefits their personal income. And when their own policies are opposed, they play dirty.

Note the play on words between ปรองดอง /bprong-dong/ (reconciliation) and ปองร้าย /bpong-ráai/ (ill will).

Flickr: Rak Thailand

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

ถ้า คุณ รัก ประเทศไทย
tâa kun rák bprà-tâyt-sà-tai
If you love Thailand

ผิด ต้อง เป็น ผิด
pìt dtông bpen pìt
wrong must be wrong

ถูกต้อง เป็น ถูก
tòok-dtông bpen tòok
right must be right

อุดมการณ์ ชัดเจน ตรงไปตรงมา
ù-dom-gaan chát-jayn dtrong-bpai-dtrong-maa
ideology clear straightforward

If you love Thailand, then wrong must be wrong and right must be right. The ideology is clear and transparent.

Infers: There should be no bias in Thai society, no zig-zag (ซิกแซก).

When a father, in a position of power, refuses to help his errant son, he can say: wrong must be wrong, right must be right. This means the son must pay the consequences because the father will not pull strings to keep him out of jail, whatever. So no ลูก เทวดา /lôok tay-wá-daa/ here!

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

Why is Chuvit going for the English audience? Could he be courting the English press? Trying to get the attention of the English speaking younger generation of Thais? Or is he reaching out to his western-Thai children?

Chuvit’s on top!…

Here in Bangkok Chuvit’s posters are stacked on top of other campaigners. Not the other way around. But stay tuned for next week!

Chuvit Angry Man Campaign Posters

In Thailand the head is a most cherished part of the body so this campaign style of Chuvit’s has me wondering just what the message is. But note: Chuvit’s posters are not just sitting on the other candidates, he’s also doubling up his own posters.

More of Chuvit…

2Bangkok.com has series of Chuvit posters that show just how consistent the designs are: Chuwit Kamolvisit News. Does anyone know the name of the Alsatian?

Apologies, I didn’t provide a vocabulary list but the important Thai words can be found at Tweet Yourself Thai: Promises, Promises: Part 3 – Rak Prathet Thai.

And if you missed my first Chuvit post, head over to Thai Politician Chuwit Kamolvisit: A Man. His Dog. Their Park.

Next up in this mini-series will be the yellow PAD animal posters. And I’d better hurry before population of Bangkok tears the posters to shreds!

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Update 2: Expat’s Eye-witness Report: Ratchaprasong

Expat Eye-witness Report Ratchaprasong

A bit more worried than before…

We are still ok! However now we are a bit more worried than before.

The 19th was hell on earth. Once the leaders gave up all hell broke loose and there were heavy explosions, gunfire, fireworks and smoke everywhere around us. Our windows were shaking vigorously with many explosions. This kept going until dark.

Ratchaprasong burning

From our bedroom window we saw with horror and disbelief Centralworld first going up in heavy black smoke, then fire, and then we heard the terrible noise of part of the building collapsing. That was a shocking moment because it sent burning debris and sparks flying high up and towards our building. At times we were completely engulfed in the smoke from Centralworld – the stench from that fire is still hanging in our apartment.

Ratchaprasong burning

Ratchaprasong burning

This morning after the curfew we went out onto the street to see what’s left. What a mess! What a tragedy! Opposite what’s left from Centralworld BigC was engulfed in flames. Later firefighters told us that it’s completely burnt out in the inside.

Ratchaprasong burning

There was so much destruction everywhere; so many shops and restaurants looted and burnt.

Ratchaprasong burning

We met poor street vendors that sold us much of the food we had in the last weeks – many of them in tears trying to rescue at least something. Some reds were searching in what was left from their tents to see whether anything of their possessions might still be left.

Ratchaprasong burning

Ratchaprasong burning

Ratchaprasong burning

Just when we went back home the street we were on came under fire from very close. We were running for our lives. Later troops were screening every corner, house, hotel and all roofs in the area from pockets of “terrorists”. We have not been allowed to leave our house for the rest of the days.

Ratchaprasong burning

All people we met are absolutely convinced that this is now only a beginning and we will witness a bloody guerilla war starting soon. Doesn’t sound good.

Ratchaprasong burning

We still heard gunfire and few explosions in our neighborhood during the day yesterday.

Ratchaprasong burning

At least it’s quiet now. Let’s hope it remains that way.

Best regards,
Bernd Mechsner
flickr: Ratchaprasong
ThaiVisa: My Neighborhood Under Siege: Ratchaprason

For the rest of Bernd’s eye-witness reports from Ratchaprasong, please read:

NOTE: At Bernd’s request, comments are closed.

RIP Bernd Mechsner. After being forced to delete an eyewitness testimony from this post, I wonder what Bernd would have said to: “the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court has now ruled that the six people who died inside Wat Pathum Wanaram grounds on May 19, 2010 were killed by shots fired by the military“.

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