Author Archives: Stacker Stack

Are you ready to play?

Well again my entire weekend has been consumed or maybe it was me who consumed….?
They called me on Friday and said, ‘it’s a holiday weekend you ready to play?’. Ready to play? Well, most everyone reading this is aware of Takgraw or Gathaw. For those not familiar, it is an asian game, not sure of it’s real roots but is played by nearly all of the Thai, Philipino, and Lao country boys. There are a couple variations of the game, the style we play is with a net and a court laid our in a similar manner to volleyball. But the rules seem to be a mix of a few games.

Like hackysack and soccer, you may not use your arms or hands. The scoring however is done like volleyball. So basically it is volleyball, but you can not use your hands. Legs, chest, and definately your head are used, but that is about it. Myself I have been playing it since I was a boy of maybe 9 years or so, as I was raised around nearly all Lao refugees in the USA. But for the newcomer it takes ALOT of practice to compete well. Hard to find any white guys here who can learn well enough to play when we are short on a few players.

Somchit, he is the guy with a large tattoo on his arm, he is normally on any team opposite of me. He is one of the best servers I have seen, since I am our team’s server he and I are very competitive with each other. Three players per team, 6 on the court. Two people are at the net and the server in the back, the server gets the workout and the server is expected to recover all the mistakes made by the two players in the front.

Van (pronounced ‘One’), is one of the most well one of the fanciest players we play with. His feet are rarely both on the ground, and nearly all of his spikes are just beautiful even to the white people who do not understand the game.

My team won 7 out of 9 games on Saturday, and 8 out of 9 games on Sunday. The last game was thrown intentionally is was over 90 degrees and we were just tired after the first 8 games. It really seemed non-stop on Sunday, after we won a game there was immediately another team that wanted to challenge our skills.

Here in the States when we play there is plenty of beer and water (now of course we are all of age), and your only break is when you lose a game and your team sits out. I hope by the time I move to Thailand, I will have enough skill to continue leading my team lol yeah right, I have seen school videos and they do flips while kicking the ball perfectly over the net.

All in all it was a very rough weekend, alot of sweat and trash talking. But it was all in fun, we never have any fights or even arguments, except of course when Som cheats as he call the score out to be 7-10 when in actuality it is 7-13. But we all happy when he dishes out a high speed power serve, and it hits his shoe wrong and ends up slamming himself in his faces with a ball going 30Mph+ !! Until next time.


I thought because Monday’s National holiday, I would have to wait until Tuesday to continue watching for the post man, eagerly awaiting my packages from Thailand. To my surprise he knocked on my door today. I was like a child with a present that is gift wrapped, tearing, no shredding my packages open. Finally I get the first one opened, a few very cute handcrafted items sold by the students of Sriwittayapaknam. I will post pictures of these ornaments next blog.

I get past those items and find my much anticipated Thai dictionary. I don’t know how I have gone this long with only an English – Thai. Finally I have my very own Thai-Thai dictionary, then some disney books (3 of them) for my children in Thai and English… They are still camping but they will be very happy to find them on their bed!!! Oh how can I forget… Gor was kind enough to include 2 sets of stickers for my keyboard, since I got my last laptop I have had Thai only on my desktop computer. Like a sigh of relief. And of course as always they included and large number of stickers for my children Now onto the larger package..

I rip this one open in 2 seconds flat… a gorgeous paperback book comfortable enough for my hands to hold lol. The book Thai Light by S. Tsow, and right under it was the book I have needed for sooooo long…. Thai Reference. So big it reminded me of my college days. This book immediately disappointed when I read the cover, Thai Grammar – A Reference for spoken Thai So upsetting, I wanted a reference book for the language. Then I open the book and scan through it, wow was I impressed!! I agree with the review one user in the forums gave, it is lacking Thai script, but the amount (AMOUNT!!!) of information is incredible, it seemed like every page I glanced at I was learning something. Certainly a MUST have for anyone who is beyond the Beginner’s level in any way.

But considering how nice this big book is, I didn’t want to damage it when we played Takraw today, so on the way there I read Thai Light. This is one of the funniest, yet serious, yet honest perspective on the Thai cultures I have yet to view. I am only to chapter 4 now, but I can’t wait to meet the author. He truly has the same appreciation for Thailand, Thai food, just the Thai’s in general that each and everyone on this website has. The book is in no way biased, it is an honest approach to Bangkok so far, both the pros and the cons. The funniest thing is the description is in the words of a Westerner! So everything I find amusing about Thailand the author has seemed to have the same viewpoint.

Impossible to remember letters

As I mentioned the other day, there are several letters that I have always had serious problems remembering.


and these are just as bad for me
So I went ahead and set my font size in Word to 48dpi, then named them each in their own boxes, printed and taped them to a large peice of cardboard to put above my desk. Hopefully that will help them all sink in better.

There is a cute thing I remembered I thought I would share. I think that one of the hardest things about learning a second language is the assumptions we make based on what we already know. Sure it is a great way to pick up quickly on things but when you prefer to use your skills as you are learning this can prove to be a problem. I learned this the hard and embarrassing way.

There are two prefixes/suffixes used in thai to describe personality traits and habits. These two terms are ขี้ (Kii) & ใจ (Jai). ใจ meaning heart or spirit of the heart, and ขี้ meaning well….the outcome of going to the restroom. Some of the meanings are listed below then we will get on with the story behind this.

ขี้โกง – Kii Goong – A Cheater
ขี้หนียว – Kii Niao – Selfish Person
ขี้เมา – Kii Mao – A Drunk
ขี้หึง – Kii Ung – Overly Jealous Person
ขี้โกหก – Kii Goo Hok – A Liar

As for Jai…..

ไว้ใจ – Wai Jai – Trusting
มั่นใจ – Mun Jai – Confident
พอใจ – Paw Jai – Satisfied
ใจดี – Jai Dii – Kindhearted
สบายใจ – Sabai Jai – Contented

Seeing a pattern yet? Having a predsiposed knowledge of the meaning behind the prefix/suffix is where the story begins. Learning the meanings and the fact that the majority of the words containing Kii, tend to have a negative context. Jai being used usually is a positive term used. Knowing this and not studying enough on all the words using these is where my problem began one night.

At a wedding, I was sitting with an old friend, I looked away and began talking to someone else as did he. Well my daughter walked up and said something to me, and as she walked away the man sitting next to me said she was Kii Aii, and I was quickly offended. Spoke up, and the whole situation became heated very quickly. We both walked away, thankfully, and discussed it an hour later when he informed me that Kii Aii simply meant she was shy. I nearly lost my friendship with him over a simple misunderstanding, and me jumping to conclusions. All part of my learning process I guess. Quite embarrassing though, considering nearly half the people at the wedding heard us getting loud.

So as a precautionary word to the wise, NEVER ASSUME the translation.

Ohh here are some pictures of the children from today camping….

Daniel has learned how to pick the hoofs on the horses.

Our Girls Tai and Mary

Manivanh and Mary

Manivanh and my father

American Man & His Thai Family

Can’t find the letter to Kevin’s teacher, I will be sure to do this today.

Today, we had a large dinner at my parent’s house, if only you could have seen their faces as i was eating my small bowl of ยำนื้อ . My wife minces it much finer than what we get in Thailand, it is nearly a paste when she finishes it. So they are watching me dip my rice into this red paste finally when they were almost done they asked what it was. When they were told beef, they asked why it was red though. Because it is not hot my wife replies, curious I finally told them the beef was raw that is why it is red. Funny funny reactions, but the ones who tried it liked it, while at the same time begging for glass after glass of water. I think it had about 4 peppers in that small bowl.

The children all stayed with them, they will be camping this week while they have a vacation from school, so the house will be very quiet this week My package I ordered from Thai Hypermarket – Book Store should be coming this week, hopefully while the children are gone. Then I can put some serious concentration into my new Thai Reference Grammar.

I can read most of what I see, at least enough to get a grasp on the main idea. Reading and writing is where I am having most of my problems in the language. There letters that still confuse me, and there are a few letters that I never even seen before yesterday. While reading quickly and not paying enough attention to the context I get severely thrown by ฟ พ ผ ฝ ฬ The other set I have the most problems with is ฎ ถ ภ ฤ ฏ ก

I am considering printing a large images with them all for the wall above my desk. The letters are all too similar in appearance for me to differentiate while reading fast and even while reading slow at times.

More to come ….

Story of an American Man & His Thai Family

Where to begin, well I don’t know how much is permitted, but I will begin I guess with a breif description of my family prior to daily postings.

My name is Joshua, I met my wife in the States at a wedding in Detroit, Michigan about 8 years ago. At that time we were both married to other people, but shortly after we were both divorced, and both due to mates cheating. We met again 6 years ago and began dating. I have one daughter, Tai(7). She has 3 children Kevin(14), Mary(11), and Daniel(10).

The girls bonded very quickly and act as blood sisters. Kevin the oldest is starting his first year of high school now. He barely understands his language, and NEVER speaks it. The other children all three undertsand and speak well on the otherhand. Their mother is teaching the girls how to read currently.

It is so cute to see the 7 year old white girl speaking in Thai. The first time she had done this was about three years ago we heard in the car and she immediately got to shy to show her face when she realized we noticed what she said. Manivanh comes back to the car from inside the post office and Tai says “Mae, kuhn yark gin kanom”…. Was very cute, it took her a few days after that to begin using it again.

The girls LOVE their karaoke CD’s and that is all they listen to. Their mother and myself are happy with this and buy them what they want, we prefer them watching that moreso than watching the sexually motivated dancing and attire of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilara.

Our oldest Kevin, spends alot of time at his computer. His grades at school for the last 7 years have been between 96-100%, and he has had perfect attendence at school since his education career began. So we allow him to use his computer as much as he wants, consider he is so responsible in the more important areas of his life. Tomorrow I will post a letter he wrote to his teacher a few weeks ago.