Would Aliens speak Thai?

“Hope soars!”

-shouts the Metro Express headline as I grab a copy and hurry into the station to catch my train. Once again American and the World is caught up to watch – held breathless- as mankind leaves the Earth behind. Despite dangers and risks and those that we have already lost the space shuttle Discovery finally launched again into orbit as we reach for the stars and endless dreams of what is out there.

Earlier this summer I took my Thai friend Bo and some of his friends from Bangkok on a tour of the monuments and museums here in DC. We got on the subject of the Air and Space Museum where I used to work among all the very cool and actual artifacts, planes and spacecraft that have made history. We even have a Space Shuttle on display now in the museum! I wondered out loud how long before there is a Thai astronaut.

Deep silence and strange looks passed between Bo and his friends before they started laughing.

What was so funny? The Japanese have had astronauts go into space with NASA and so has China. In fact both countries are almost ready to send spacemen into orbit on their own, why not Thailand?

“Thai people aren’t into that” Bo said but the subject was dropped and changed to a chorus of “I’m tired” and “It’s too hot” and “We walk forever where can we get a drink?” before I could ask why he said that….

Perhaps Bo and his friends ‘twenty-something’ generation may not dream of going to the stars when they gaze up in the sky at night but there is always hope for the next generation. Recently some Thai scouts for the first time for SE Asia got to talk by radio to real life astronauts on the International Space Station. Who knows what Thai boy or girl may be inspired today to reach for the moon tomorrow and one day actually land there.

Imagine what that might be like with Thai people in space. I can picture Muay Thai in zero gravity, those lethal punches and graceful kicks even more graceful and beautiful in slow motion like the space ballet scene from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also I figure if Thais know how to handle using a real Thai style toilet then when you have to go to the hong nam (ห้องนำ bath room) in space won’t be a problem!

Actually many of you may be surprised to know Thailand has already made it into space and has in fact traveled beyond our solar system on a path that will one day leave our own galaxy! Wanna bet me?

The year is 1977 …

NASA launches Voyager 1 and Voayger 2 the first space probes on a mission intended to travel to Interstellar space. I was 14 years old then and to hear that it would take 30 years for Voyager to leave our Soar System seems like a life time, and it was, but lifetimes catch up with you and before you know it 14 turns 41.

I remember the coolest thing about Voyager was the Sounds of Earth. A phonograph record put on each of the Voyager spacecraft. The recording was fitted on a 12-inch, copper disc containing, among other things “greetings from Earth people in 60 languages, samples of music from different cultures and eras, and natural sounds of surf, wind and thunder, and birds, whales and other animals. The record also contains electronic information that an advanced technological civilization could convert into diagrams, pictures and printed words, including a message from President Carter. (Courtesy NASA)”

A interstellar hallmark greeting card to anyone that might be out there listening! As you may have guessed one of the greetings recorded on the disk is in Thai which you can listen to here.

Of course I didn’t know anything of Thailand back then I was just intrigued by the ‘fully correct’ drawings of a naked man and woman on the disk to show what we humans look like. Racy stuff! Hey, it was the 70’s and I was 14 we didn’t have Cable TV or the even Internet invented yet!

I wonder if someday another race finds that disk and plays it. Would they send it back if it also had Disco on it? It was the 70’s back then kids. 😉

Would the aliens learn to speak Thai? Could they from one simple greeting? How advanced would they be? They would probably study to learn all Earth languages so they’d get lucky with at least one! Would they be intrigued in us enough to come here? Or maybe just intrigued in the pictures of us (hey maybe it gets reeeeeal lonely out there in space na) I also wonder what else would be different…

Would they need their own gender pronoun other than ‘Krap’ and ‘Kha’ to say hello? “Sa-wa-dee kruyynrxxx!”

Would they like Thai food? Would they prefer ‘farang’ phet (เผ็ด spicy hot), Thai phet (เผ็ด มากๆ really spicy hot!) or would we need a whole other category all together?

Maybe Aliens have already been here a long, long time ago before the first proto humans eyes would have seen them. I doubt we’ll know for sure in our life time whether or not we’re alone out here. After all this time Voyager is just now leaving our cosmic shores to begin crossing one very big intergalactic ocean. By the time another life form discovers our presence out there and they find their way here to say “Hello” “Sawasdee” or “Geuden tag” mankind could long since be turned to dust, the very material that makes up the stars and heavens itself. Our civilization long since disappeared, except for maybe Disco still bouncing around on radio waves out there. 😉

วทย์

6 responses to “Would Aliens speak Thai?

  1. Deep silence and strange looks passed between Bo and his friends before they started laughing.

    I can just imagine what that must’ve been like, lol. Muay Thai in space? That’s an idea. I’m just waiting for that huge human space station with a deck level for each country/culture. 😉

  2. Good question. I was wondering that myself the other day. I noticed that there is a new website called bloginspace.com that beams your blog into space for free. I was thinking about signing up our Thai student blogs! What do you think aliens will make of it? Will they have the correct font?

  3. “Thai people aren’t into that” …
    Perhaps Bo and his friends ‘twenty-something’ generation may not dream of going to the stars when they gaze up in the sky at night but there is always hope for the next generation.

    Hey now! Not true! I *WAS* going to be an astronaut when I was a kid. I was the only one I knew back then to have subscription to Se-Ed’s Science Magazine. Another reason that set me apart from the girls at my school. Girls? Science? Yep. Not the ways of things back in the days.

    Then again, rocket scientist isn’t really a “respectable” occupation back home, is it? What are you going to do with science degree?? Say Scientist and you think government lab = not a lot of money. If you’re that good, you should be an engineer or a doctor. At least that’s how it seems to me when I was growing up.

  4. Oh Richard – If we can upload a Mac virus into the alien’s computer systems in their mothership, sure they’d have Thai fonts ready. 🙂

  5. Then again, rocket scientist isn’t really a “respectable” occupation back home, is it?

    Y’know when you’re a kid, people ask you what you wanted to be? Well, the first thing I thought of was [rocket] scientist, but I figured that I suck at math. But it’s the thought that counts perhaps? lol

  6. Perhaps Bo and his friends ‘twenty-something’ generation may not dream of going to the stars when they gaze up in the sky at night but there is always hope for the next generation.

    Personally I blame MTV, money and western culture in general. 😛
    Who wants a future, meaning you have to wait for it, when you can have a MacLife now? Served up hot and fresh on demand in minutes, seconds even when you can’t go even a minute without “Gimme, gimme, gimme!”

    Maybe that tries to put the debate into too small a nutshell, but it seems like things change from generation to generation. The question is – are we progressing or is each generation rapidly running in the opposite direction toward destruction?

    President John F. Kennedy not only made the promise that we would land a man on the Moon and bring him back to Earth but he also said “ask not what your country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country!”

    What do we have from our leaders today? A disposable future for a disposal culture. Sad.

    Koh thot took kon na krab..sorry troops…more humor, less cynicism next issue. 😉

    Btw…Richard I think the fonts would not be a problem but how well could aliens handle the tones? Naw Nguu, Kruyynrxxx!

    Editors Note –

    In addition to finding some cool photos for my blog after the original posting I also dug alittle deeper and found I posted some incorrect information about the Yoyager space craft. I have since re-edited my blog to correct this and given credit for direct quotes where they are due.

    Wit