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Culture clash
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Thread: Culture clash

  1. #1
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    What was the most embarrassing cultural faux pas you made while in Thailand? Did you even know it was inappropriate at the time?
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  2. #2
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    Oopsie...

    Not in Thailand, but with a Thai person.
    I said "suay" with the wrong tone.

    Ouch!!

    Fortunately the misunderstanding was resolved quickly.

  3. #3
    maipenrai Guest
    Great topic!!!

    Guess Who's Coming To Dinner:
    I was visiting my friends family for the first time. They live in a small village outside of Udon. Everyone was so nice that I invited her parents and aunt and uncle (who I was staying with) to dinner at a restaurant in town. Little did I know that meant a dinner for 16 people!!! Turns out, Thai people consider everyone a relative (neighbors and friends) and its an insult not to invite the entire family. It was a lot of fun and well worth the baht. But I am a little bit more careful now.

    Why Is Everyone Laughing?:
    For a few months I was trying to teach English in an Isan college. The students were between the ages of 16-18 years old and mainly girls. During one lesson, early on, I kept asking the students "Have you been to Chiang Mai or Laos?" I would ask them in English and then in Thai (koon koy pai tee Laos mai?) Everytime I would ask someone all the students would giggle and laugh. This would happen for many different classes and for many days. I thought it was because my Thai was really bad. Unfortunately it's because "koy", when said wrong, is slang for penis. DOGH!!! I never did learn how to say "koy" right, so I just stopped asking that question.

    Maipenrai

  4. #4
    maipenrai Guest
    The "suay" mix up happened a few times for me as well. In time I realized that context helps a lot. If you say "Koon pen kon suay" (you are a beautiful person) then you can mispronouce "suay" and they'll still understand. With my Thai, I have to rely on context WAY too much!

    Also, I often made the mistake of saying someone's name was "suay". Turns out "suay" does not apply to names. Oops! I am sure there were many more mistakes, but the Thai people were too polite to correct me.

    Good topic!

    Maipenrai

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