pattayamail.gif (2145 bytes)



  HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 
Crying harassment
If you litter in Bangkok, beware
Thai wives can own a house?
Pronouncing Pattaya

Crying harassment


Once more, as you report every two weeks or so, your newspaper presents a report of a farang being caught with underage boys. Do you believe that this represents the erotic section of your newspaper? I am not playing the devil’s advocate, but this attitude leads me to understand that Thai people would never behave in such a manner, and that farangs could never have this kind of feelings for girls, or may be in this case it’s OK.

The English language press in Bangkok reflects the same attitude, but at least they have the good taste not to publish photos (often times arranged by the press or those in uniforms) which could be useful only in a courtroom.

So please, stop the indirect harassment of the homosexual farang minority. Unless of course, you prefer that they, like other minority groups, or even the I.M.F. guys and their money, be forced to depart.

Sadly, we would then lose the Pattaya Mail, which would be missed (except for the page devoted to the national day of various countries, which no one reads).

Maxime Delout
Paris, France

Editor’s reply: Yes, it is exactly our intention to keep child molesters, homosexual and heterosexual, out of our community.

Back to Letters Headline Index

If you litter in Bangkok, beare

Dear Editor,

During my most recent visit to Thailand, I had an experience that I thought I would never have. On the night of Feb. 11, 99, at approximately 10 p.m., I was returning to my hotel along Sukhumvit Rd. I was approached by a Thai man in his mid 20s, claiming to be a policeman. He showed me an I.D. card written in Thai and bearing a photo. He also showed me a paper from his shirt pocket that appeared to be written in English. This was being done while he was accusing me of dropping a cigarette butt onto the street.

As I did not have my glasses with me, I was unable to confirm just who he was. He was dressed in a sport shirt and jeans and spoke fair English. He claimed that Bangkok was the same as Singapore and I was not allowed to drop cigarette butts on the street. I tried to explain that there were no receptacles for my cigarette and I tried to do what I thought was right by dropping it into a storm drain so as not to litter the street. He said that was not good enough.

He then began talking in Thai to me as he thought I understood. I had tried to be polite and spoke some Thai to him. He mentioned money in the amount of 2,500 Baht, and I explained I didn’t understand exactly what he was trying to say and refused to pay any money to him. With that, he pulled out from under his shirt a device that looked like a portable radio. He talked into it, but there was no reply coming from it.

At this point, I started to become suspicious of his credibility and asked to see his I.D. card again. He gave it to me and I looked at the photo more closely but could not determine if it was him or not. I checked his waist for a sidearm or handcuffs and there were none. I asked him where his gun was and he claimed to have left it at his office.

Now, I was 90% sure he was setting me up but still was doubtful and did not want to press the issue. I asked him how much he wanted and his answer was "2,500 Baht, we finish here", meaning the street. I refused and offered 1000 Baht and he then asked for 2000 Baht. I stuck to 1000 and he eventually accepted it. I gave him the money and was relieved to be able to walk away from the situation.

I have since discussed this with friends both Thai and Farang, and it is quite clear to me that this man was not police, or at least not on duty. If he was patrolling as an enforcer of the green area, he should have been wearing a green or blue shirt and should have given me a warning for first offence of littering or a 200 Baht fine for second offence. At no time was a ticket showed or offered to me. Only money was demanded from me. His radio was what I believe to have been a scanner as it had several buttons on it’s face to change frequencies while scanning.

In closing, I say farang beware, especially when alone on the streets of Bangkok in the evening hours.

R.G. Bodkin
Vancouver, B. C. Canada

Back to Letters Headline Index

Thai wives can own a house?

Dear Sir,

A few weeks ago I watched Chuan Leekpai being interviewed on CNN. Viewers were invited to phone in questions. The first question was from a man in Hong Kong who asked the premier when Thai wives married to foreigners would be allowed to buy land or a house in Thailand. His reply was that they were already allowed to. He said when the legislation was written it was a little unclear but it has since been clarified. There was no problem. Thai wives married to foreigners could buy a house or land.

This is contrary to my experience with the land office and local solicitors. I read your excellent newspaper every week but I have not seen any mention of this subject for some time. I would appreciate any information on what the current progress is on this problem.

I would add that I have no desire to hold one square centimeter of Thailand. My only wish is for the future security of my wife and daughter.

Yours sincerely,
Confused Farang

Back to Letters Headline Index

Pronouncing Pattaya

Dear Editor,

I have just read the letter to the editor concerning the pronunciation of the word "Pattaya". I was rather taken aback at the lack of knowledge and similar lack of research on the part of the Pattaya Mail staff. It was also evident that whoever tried to answer the question was not a Thai national - obviously a Farang not very conversant with the Thai language. The nonsense about whether it should be "tie" or "tea" is completely irrelevant to the argument. In the past the Pattaya Mail used to write articles on the Thai language which was fun and sometimes useful. Any chance this could be revived?

Though being a Farang I am somewhat familiar with the Thai language having spent the past 20 years in the Kingdom and studied the Thai language, achieving a modicum of fluency in both spoken and written Thai. Thus, in a modest way, I will attempt to elucidate the obfuscation of Thai pronunciation that seems to bewilder many Farangs.

Without attempting to write a treatise on Thai linguistics, it is essential to understand some basic knowledge of Thai word structure and sound system. The Thai word structure is made up of monosyllabic sounds which are strung together to make words. Without going into the tonal nature of the Thai language (similar to Chinese), an essential feature of the word structure is whether the syllable has a long sound or a short sound. This is the key to the pronunciation of any Thai word.

One of the main reasons for much of the confusion of Thai pronunciation for foreigners is the transliteration of Thai words into English. There is no one definitive system for writing Thai words in English which results in misunderstandings of pronunciation. The obvious answer is that if one wants to know the pronunciation of a Thai word one must look at the "Thai", not the English transliteration of the Thai. While we can not do that here, I will attempt my own transliteration which hopefully will not confuse the reader even further.

If one looks at the word Pattaya, it can be broken down into 3 syllables - pah - ta - yah. (I will not go into the pronunciation of Thai consonants as this is a whole other ball game, and not as the reader suggests similar to English). What I have tried to show is that the first syllable is a long vowel, the second is short, and the third is long. In Thai what this conveys is where a Thai speaker puts emphasis on which syllable when pronouncing a word. Thus in the word Pattaya the major emphasis is on the long vowel in the syllable "pah", no emphasis on the short vowel of the syllable "ta", and a longish emphasis on the long vowel of the syllable "yah". Without having a Thai speaker to pronounce the word, to use my own modest attempt at transliteration, I would pronounce the word "pah t’ yah", with strong emphasis on the "pah".

I would hope to hear from any Thai linguists whom I’m sure could elucidate this conundrum much better than your modest student of the Thai language (which must be admitted is most difficult). But I would submit this letter to try to indicate to foreigners attempting to delve into the complexities of the That language that if one wants to learn a language, don’t ask your buddy who comes to Thailand for one month a year who listens to most of his Thai language in a beer bar with the decibel level of disco music at an ear-shattering level. Also, probably do not ask your sweet young companion on the bar stool beside you how to pronounce words as she very likely has only a grade 4 education at best and her first language may well be Lao or Khmer, rather than Thai. And it is a fact that to the untrained ear Thai pronunciation is very difficult to understand as most students of Thai will readily attest. It took me many months - nay years - to recognize the difference in sounds - long and short as well as the tones and differences in consonants. But the Thai language, though exceedingly complex and obtuse for most foreigners, is also most fascinating and rewarding if one does attempt to actively learn to both speak and read it. Because the Thai language is completely different from our western romance languages, one cannot be expected to just pick it up through casual conversation and the odd travel guide. Thai must be studied seriously and intensively if one wishes to enjoy this rich and colorful language.

Your humble servant,
George Blount

Back to Letters Headline Index

Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand 
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: [email protected]
Created by Andy Gombaz, assisted by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.

Letters published in the Mailbag of Pattaya Mail will also be on our website.

It is noticed that the letters herein in no way reflect the opinions of the editor or writers for Pattaya Mail, but are unsolicited letters from our readers, expressing their own opinions. No anonymous letters or those without genuine addresses are printed, and, whilst we do not object to the use of a nom de plume, preference will be given to those signed.