“Why do you want to study this language?” seems to the first questions asked by the language class teachers in the first lesson. My then 12-year old son’s reason for studying French was to keep the elder sister company. But then he ended up studying it for 4 years in Alliance Française and left with a DELF diploma, after his sister retired after 2 semesters.
There are many reasons and the main one is that I like personal challenges, but not the type in business and work. Having spent more than 25 years in work is enough for me as a challenge. I too like puzzle and code. My collection of books includes “Da Vinci Code” and “Rule of Four” which I bought in HaadYai.
In many of my trips to Thailand, I felt depressed to be beaten by these Thai Codes of writing. If someone could break “The Rosetta Stone” http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/writing/rosetta.html, I should be able to beat the Thai Scripts with modern technology, the Internet. There’s how I bump into www.learningthai.com and end up signing up for Thai Class.
Another reason is that I would like to do some volunteering works in Thailand. Having done some works in volunteering organization in Malaysia, I lost my faith in organized volunteering organization which tends to carry to much fat. The most recent case in Singapore is a classic example. http://www.petitiononline.com/nkfs/petition.html
I was approached by a pastor friend who runs an orphanage in Chiangmai. But since I am a GONE-again Christian for reading beyond the Bible and books sanctioned by the Vatican, I think it is not right for me to tell Bible stories which I personally do not believe. Teaching English to primary school kids in Thailand seems to be a good option.
The question about my reasons for learning Thai was asked by KitjarNaBangsar when I joined his Thai aficionados group for lunch 2 weeks ago. It is strange to have 2 Malaysians brought together by a Farang in Thailand, thanks to Richard. I was bombarded by so many questions that I have no time to reciprocate the courtesy accorded. The consolation is NOW I know Kitjar’s reason.
While we, non-native speakers, struggle to learn Thai, there are Thais giving up Thai Language. I had a manager in Kuala Lumpur/Singapore who is a Chinese Thai from Chinatown in Bangkok. After completing his secondary school, he headed for Singapore to study in the university and continue to work his way up in Singapore. Now he is big shot in a US Multinational company overseeing ASEAN business. He was married to a Malaysian and had some kids. Once, I met his family and commented that the kids are lucky to have the chance to learn all the languages and dialects of the parents. His reply is “It (Thai) is a useless language”. Economically, he may be right. But with Language, comes the culture and teachings (I don’t mean the teaching of knowledge and skills that we learn in school but the teaching at home on how to be a good person). Singapore kids are really smart – I once ask a cute 9-year old boy “Boy, what is your name? He replied “My father is XXX”. XXX was a rich and famous person who once owned an Internet company listed in SGX.