Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sir Addendum, and Linguistic (Ringuistic?) Issues

So I had another visitor. This time I was chilling out in my apartment (which we've ascertained is, of course, 23 square meters not 23 square feet. My bad) when I heard this rustling noise. Not something to pay much attention to as I did have the AC on and I have loose plastic bags in my room from 7-11 runs and the like...but this one was a little bit more insistent. So I go to investigate and bam! Across the floor runs a cockroach literally larger than my thumb. And I'm no slouch in the thumb size if you know what I mean. *suggestive eyebrow raise*

I have no idea what that meant. Anyway. This thing was of significant size and normally would have been cause for great alarm and unmanly activities. But, given I had been previously visited by Sir I was a little bit more zen and tried the same strategy: I opened the front door. No love. So I opened the /balcony/ door. Poof, out goes the cockroach, exploring away. I close the door and think we're done.

Then I hear a scurrying against the outside: The cockroach is trying to get back in. At this point Mom and Nathan are both telling me I have a new pet. And I have a history of anthropomorphizing (giving human characteristics to) creatures and things already, so at this point I'm involved in a mental tug of war. The rational half of me is saying that Carly, as Mom christened him after we discussed why calling him Cocky wouldn't work so well, wants food and shelter and a place to lay a thousand glistening eggs to overrun this feeble world of man.

But the part of me that has an almost girlish love for cute things (which I am shamed to admit and yet fairly obvious about) is saying he wants in and love and company. To which the other half of my brain is laughing its butt off and calling me a pansy. I resolved to wait until morning: If Carly had waited outside like a faithful hound then it was time to find a cage and figure out what cockroaches eat. If not, it was not meant to be.

Needless to say Carly was gone in the morning, flown off to adventure and newfound wisdom no doubt, and I'm sure there is a children's book in this somewhere if I can manage to rhyme cockroach. Yes I said flown, because this thing had huge freaking wings too. Yeah. Maybe Carly will fly back some day and we can be reunited...or more probably Carly is just an insect on a crazy bender who wanted a dark place to dislodge man from his throne through superior breeding and exo-skeletal technology.

As for the questions regarding L/R and how the students handle Mr. Parker and whether or not a nickname has been given to me, answers shall here come (I feel so biblical). Yes, many students have problems with Ls and Rs, the reverse of the stereotypical Japanese problem of turning ls into rs: They turn rs into ls, as I said. But in Thailand it is customary to refer to someone as Mr. not Mr. , so no one has a problem with Mr. Matthew. As to a nickname no, I do not have a nick name here (except for the people who call me Matt).

The Thai nickname is traditionally not even tangentially related to the real name. I do not have their real names written down but needless to say Ping Ping (one of my P3 students) does not have a birth certificate with that name. Nor do my other students Almond, Mint or Best. According to the school principal it is sometimes the parents who pick a nickname or sometimes the students, and a student may switch nicknames as they get older and pick one for themselves. This is a blessing to us poor farang (pronounced falang), or foreigners, who would stumble over some of the names.

For example, using streetnames. I live on Sukhumvit 101/1, Soi 18. Soi 18's name is Wachirathamasatit. Try saying that five times fast. The airport I flew in to is Suvarnabhumi airport, which is pronounced properly as Soo-wah-nah-poom. So students having nicknames helps make our lives easier so we don't call poor Soowahnahpoom Suevarnaboomey instead.

As for some language as requested by Baroness Rosalind: Never let it be said I do not heed my Baroness' wishes. Also if you could not mention to either Baroness Mary whom I lived under from May or the Baroness of the Far West that I still call Rosalind my Baroness, I'd appreciate it ;) Not that I'm worried about my mom telling Baroness Mary anything, although Mom is only two degrees seperated from her through mutual friends.

And obviously these are all my phonetical renderings as Thai does have its' own script.

Hello is sah-wat-dii-kop for a male and kaa for a female. More often rendered as sa-wat-dii. Thai ends differently depending on whether or not you are male or female (and are being polite). Kop (or kup, pronounced halfway between cop and cup most of the time, pick one and it'll be fine) is for males, and kha (pronounced like a bird's caw) for a female.

Thank you is kahp-koon (kup/kha).

Sabai means feeling good.

Sanuk is an interesting one (pronounced sah-nook). It means having fun but can also be used to indicate more of a mindset or general feeling than a specific instance. Something can be sanuk but a job should be sanuk, or at least have some, as well; so it can be specific or general.

Mak means extra, lots, more of or very. So sanuk mak means very fun; you can pile on maks, but it is generally only done in fun as it is not actually grammatically correct.

So there you have it. More info on the bugs of my life, and seriously Thailand must do a brisk business in nightmare fuel inducing insects, and some language things.




  1. hi Uji, the cockroach story reminds me of when Rowen and I used to live in Puerto Rico (decades ago). Just wait till one of them runs up your trousers-leg ;-)


  2. If one runs up his pant leg, we might hear his unmanly scream all the way back here in the U.S. You know, under their rigid carapace lies a soft squishy interior, all of which can destroyed by a shoe. Keep that in mind next time you see one, unless it's bigger than your foot, in which case you should charge it rent.

  3. The thing was bigger than my thumb, I didn't want to get all of that on my shoe. Or on a book! The only book I have big enough is my new copy of Lord of the Rings with a nice cover, and Carley looked juicy.

    Besides, if just opening the door works, why not.

  4. Dear Matthew,

    I loved the post. Yes there is a children's book there somewhere - the adult version having been adequately covered by Kafka. Cockroach may be a rhyming challenge, but Carly should work. America loved Marley, can Carly be far behind.

    Or perhaps something non-fiction along the lines of the entmological challenges of a ferlang from a non-tropical clime learning to love Thailand's indigenous fauna?



  5. As adorable as Ferlang is its farang or falang ;)


  6. You could write a book about the impending cockroach revolution, how they plan it, their intel collection, amassing their troops, etc. You could call it "We fear not the shoe" or "it's my apartment now"

  7. Hi. Did you know the winner of the Super Bowl before we did? Ya know, that day forward stuff....


    Ann, Kyle and Parker

  8. Khan here.
    It's nice to see you are making friends, and finding someone to share the rent. I have a somewhat related tale. All last semester, I had an apple cider bug as my roommate. He was named Thumper. Sadly, he passed away because he left his things (namely his body) on the floor where I walk. Such is the fleeting beauty of friendship, I suppose.
    Say, if you want that door open at night, but an open invitation to the animal kingdom, could you insert a screen? Even a bug net might work. Just send me the measurements for the door frame and I'll have the engineers work up some specs. Or you could wing it.
    Anyway, hope you're having a sanuk mak time, and I'll catch you later.


  9. No, I'm pretty sure I knew the winner of the Super Bowl at the exact same time you did ;) I was even home sick watching the little ticker on, so yeah. Way to fumble Mr. Warner ;)


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