Thursday, November 24, 2011

How To Be Thai, Part I

In the previous post, How To Be Asian, I covered some basics. As you know (I hope) not all Asians are the same, so let me break down some basics on how to be Thai. I was surprised how many unique qualities I came up with, so as to not overload your brain I'll split it in two parts in true Hollywood fashion (get it?).

Being polite
Thai folk have a special way of being polite in addition to their please and thank you. A lady will say "ka" and a gent says "krub," which sounds like crab at the end of a sentence. You will hear these expressions most often if he/she is talking to an elder. Considering there isn't anything like that in English, I'm still getting used to it. Sure I can say ma'am and sir, respectively, but if I said it as often as I would say "ka," people may just question my education.

In the video below you'll get to hear what "krub" and "ka" sounds like. If you're interested to watch the whole video, you can learn how to introduce yourself in Thai, although the lady doesn't go into explanations about the correct tones to use…Enjoy!

When greeting, saying good-bye or saying thank you Thai people will bow. A Thai bow sort of looks like they're praying. This is so engrained in me now that I sometimes instinctively want to bow to people who aren't even Asian. I have done this honestly, but thankfully with a mere slight bow of my head and not a full on praying session. There are some rules of when and when not to bow and whom to bow to, but I won't fuss about that.

To all fellow folk who are married (or not) to an Asian, you must do this too right--bowing to a non Asian?

 (Picture from this blog)
 Adorable. She's even wearing traditional clothing.

The sniff
To show affection Thanik will seemingly sniff my cheek. Basically, he presses his nose against my cheek and, you know, takes an intake of breath when moving away. I'm sure a picture or video would make a lot more sense. In any case, the first time Thanik did this to me I did ask, "Why are you sniffing my cheek?"
Moral of the story, if a Thai friend does this to you, it's their way of showing they care. Aww.

American fried rice
It came from Thailand.


  1. Being part Japanese (I know it's hard to see it in me) I have a bad (is that bad?) habit of bowing to non Japanese/Asian people. I know our bows are not as severe as the traditional Thai bow, as we do not involve our hands (they are actually kept down, against the sides of your hips) but I think Americans sill look at me cross-eyed when I accidentally bow to them upon apologies, greetings and goodbyes! LOL :)

    ♥ Aya

  2. When I first learned you were half Japanese, I was a bit surprised, yes. I think your eyes give it away slightly and perhaps even your small stature too. Oh no, not bad at all. Ah, another thing I noticed is as I've been learning Thai, I have the urge to respond in Thai, again to non-Thai/Asian people. xD