My Learning Thai Experience

My Learning Thai Experience

Every Monday night is my night out with Kru Da (Teacher Da) and my wonderful Thai friends. Surely, this is the only day of the week, when I can indulge in speaking, reading and writing Thai.

I have been learning Thai since 2003, and since then, I have learnt to speak Thai with a Bangkok (Krungthep Maha Nakorn) accent. You will not believe it, but when I was in Krungthep about two months ago, only a few people suspected I was not a Thai. In fact, I spoke Thai to almost anyone on the bus, taxi, song thaew and even the express boat.

At times, I was so tempted to take advantage of my language advantage, for instance of not paying entrance fees at Wat Pho, Vimarnmek Palace or even at Muang Boran (Ancient City at Samut Prakan). But, then, I was with my parents, and we were like tourists, with my knapsack and my totting camera. Seriously, I felt bad about cheating a Buddhist Temple, or even the Royal Household Bureau —- it will eat up on my karmic points, which I may not have enough!

But why learn Thai? I have been asked this question many times before. A lot of things with me, begins with an academic interest. Besides my official career, I have taken a keen interest on Southern Thai Studies. Currently, I am in the process of writing and completing my dissertation on an economic project in Southern Thailand. Of course, this have meant, research stints in Bangkok. Isn’t it only useful to learn to know the local language?

Yet, sometimes it takes much more to learn a completely new language. I have been fascinated with Thailand for a long time. I feel, Thailand and her people are very captivating.

But deep down, there is also the other driving force —a friendship with Vaninda, a Thai-Chinese girl from Assumption University. We first met in 2002 in Krungthep during a business event, but Vanida was so unlike other Thai people, she was well read, highly cultured and surprisingly appreciative of the arts. We have kept in touch, and when I am in Krungthep, I will try to make time for Vanida. Surely, the dinner and movie date with Vanida at Siam Square would be forever edged in my mind.

Well, in order to communicate with Vanida, I pushed myself to learn Thai harder. Although she could speak English and Teochiu rather fluently, nothing beats the way to a girl’s heart by speaking and understanding her own language, right? On my subsequent visits to Krungthep, she was surprise on my ability to speak Thai. But, somehow life is not always a bed of roses. How sad……………

Today, I see my ability to speak Thai as something unique. For sure, other than my Thai group of friends, I would have little chances to speak Thai in Kuala Lumpur. Sometimes, there is the need to speak Thai at Wat Chetawan or at a Thai restaurant in Malaysia, but that’s about it.

Perhaps, I can be a little optimistic. Who knows a Vanida or any other Thai girl, with her charming eyes, a good heart and of mutual academic qualities will come my way. Can I afford to be a little hopeful in life? Maybe I should, right? Chaiyo

PS: Please also check out http://www.kitjar.blogspot.com for a complete version of this post.

9 responses to “My Learning Thai Experience

  1. Hi Kitjar, I have an almost similar blog in my notebook that I was about to publish – you beat me. Now that I know some of you and your friends through this blog, I become very concious of my shortcomings in writing. It makes me think twice about publishing my blog in the watchful eyes of a professional journalist. 🙂

    There will be another Vanida coming your way if you open your eyes wide. Chaiyo (the last word of Republican Anthem)

  2. Hi Khun Kitjar,
    Your blog is a great inspiration for those who want to learn Thai. Thai is a very beautiful and polite language and I hope people agreed with me.
    I learn Thai language more than 10 years ago and until now I still learning the language. I also love the thai foods and everytime I go to Thailand I always come across new foods. There are so many type of dishes that you cannot finish trying.
    Thai culture a wonderful and I am not hesitating to follow. Do not worried about Vanida because there are many “Vanida” in Pratep Thai.

    Chop Dee and happy learning Thai

  3. Hello Kitjar, I belong to your gang… loving Thailand… but no one particular … yet!!

  4. Well a lady love was only part of my reason and did I get the knowing nods at the Wat when our relationship was found out.! 🙂

    Want to retire there, love writing it, love the mental challenge and love hearing it spoken by anyone other than me.

    Good to hear from you again Khun Kitjar.

  5. I was a student in a Malaysian university and was majoring in French language. When I was in the first semester of my university I took Thai as an audit course.

    I have to admit Thai is not as easy as some might say. Sure, you don’t have to memorize a list off complicated conjugations, but the difficult part for me is the vocabulary, usually the Sanskrit-Pali loan words.

    Just in a few semesters I am able to read French novels, but now I still have trouble reading Thai, even if it’s a very short passage. Consider this, it’s fairly easy to recognize ‘histoire’ is the cognate of ‘history’, but what about ‘ประวัติศาสตร์’? There’s no way that ‘ประวัติศาสตร์ ‘ relates to the English word ‘History’ in my mind.

    And to make it worse, I have problem when I try to learn any foreign languages not wirtten in latin script, the only exception is Korean. I took Parsi for one semester and now the Perso-Arabic script is still a problem to me, same thing goes with Thai script. Sure, people will argue that it’s a phonetic script, but there are so many exceptions. Even a Thai officer I know, who used to work in the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur told me that learning to speak Thai is enough. the script is so difficult to learn.

    Nevertheless I still love Thai!

  6. I am Suchittra not Vanida Ka:)

    I have read your website but not all story .I will try read more even though i am very poor in English 🙂 Like you are trying in Thai na ka..:)I am impress your tryig :))

    Well ! Keep learning there are many things in Patedthai(Thai country) and our people.We are love peace,friendly and easy going.

    Have a nice day 🙂 Sawthai in LA ka

  7. Hi Kitjar…
    do you have any idea where i could learn thai language?
    firstly would like to learn to speak and later read if possible.
    been planing to go over bangkok for a job but since im unable to speak thai shall postpone that thought for now.

    please advice.

  8. Whenever i see the post like your’s i feel that there are helpful people who share information for the help of others, it must be helpful for other’s. thanx and good job.

  9. Hi Kitjar,
    Appreciate if you can advice where i can learn Thai language in KL/PJ/Puchong area, particularly spoken initially and written at a later stage. Due to nature of work, i use to travels to Thailand as well as at the border with Laos & Myanmar. Thai language is commonly spoken at the borders with both countries.
    Chop Dee
    Lionel Chang