Having said that I don't live in a village and most my contact with Thais is in the big cities or towns and usually in an official capacity.
I can't think of any circumstances in the UK where someone would ask 'Does the Thai want to eat with us'. Or worse, 'does the foreigner want to eat with us'.
95% of the time, 'farang' doesn't bother me. The other 5%, it depends on my mood. If I'm in a good mood, I'll ignore it. A bad mood, or persistent use by a particular person and I react.
When somebody knows my name or my status - as in 'Jin's husband', 'your husband', 'the boy's grandad' (a fairly recent addition ) - and chooses to continue in the use of the term 'farang' to refer to me, I've sometimes responded in kind. I once responded to yet another "sawasdee ka, farang" from Jin's friend, who I'd known for a long time and who knew my name perfectly well, with "sawasdee maae" ("good morning mother" which implies older woman, to someone younger than me, although she looked older). She didn't like it. I sometimes get to a point where I can only take so much of what I see as 'disrespect'. Sometimes I liken it to the way in which I might say "The dog ...". Some might see it as a childish reaction but it is as it is.
I wonder whether it's something to do with Thais love of labels and titles. Jin sometimes calls her son 'Teacher xxxx' or her cousin ' Lawyer xxxx' in normal conversation to their face. She refers to her older brother as 'Pee xxxx or Nayok xxxx'. It's seen as respectful and maybe it impresses other people(??) when used in conversation.
Could it be that, contrary to my (our?) way of seeing it, calling you 'farang' can be a sign of respect in the correct circumstances, a title (such as teacher, lawyer, doctor etc.) if you like, in the absence of another title to apply? Nobody's ever made this point to me - just my own thoughts. But even that thought doesn't reduce the disrespect I feel is shown when they know your name/status but choose to use 'farang'.
Last edited by Martin & Jin; 5th Dec 2018 at 02:56.
I don't think we should get too hung up on the name. Overall, it's the way you're treated that counts.
However, if someone says to you "Sawadee Ka Farang" this is most definitely rude and I would be annoyed. Forgot the term farang the other person is just saying hello and then describing what you are, like "hello human". Although your response "Sawadee maae" is not rude and actually very commonly used usually when referring to a friend/colleagues mother. If you don't know her well to make it more polite you might say "Sawadee krub Khun maae", but either way you have not been rude. Perhaps she might have been offended if you omitted the "krub" since it used to be the practice, perhaps in her generation, to omit this if dealing with someone who you consider to be below you. But if she was your age or younger than you or not a mother it's a but rude.
As you say it's quite common to refer to people with their occupation, such as Kroo xx, or Mor xx etc. However when greeting them we would normally say "Sawadee krub Khun Kroo, Khun Mor" etc, no need to use their name and it is not rude. It's very common to refer to an older person as Pee then their name, and always when referring to an older sibling or family member in polite society. Not so commonly the older person can refer to the younger with Nong as a prefix and then their name, but it is not rude to omit this. I am referred to as "Jame" by my friends and as Khun Jame by everyone else, with no exceptions.
I am not for one minute saying anyone here is guilty of this but I come across many foreigners in Thailand that think the conventions and practices of their home country also apply here and become insulted when that doesn't happen. I have said to many of these people who complain about this words to the affect that they are not at home, this is not their country and they are guests here that chose to live here and quite honestly if they don't like it they should go home.
Last edited by James HKT; 5th Dec 2018 at 05:00.
Re. "Hello Human"; why on earth would anybody, anywhere want to say that? If that's what she actually meant (very doubtful) she could have said "sawasdee ka ma-noot" and could have used that form of address for my wife too. If she didn't know my name or status, why not just "sawasdee ka", as most people would say?
Young people my wife knows often greet her with "sawasdee krub/ka (khun) maae" - NEVER do they omit the polite participle and she'd be a little(!!) put-out if they did. Or in conversation, it's " ... maae ka ... ".
Perhaps in your eagerness to give that Thai lesson, you seem to have missed the whole point of my anecdote which was to illustrate that I was being DELIBERATELY rude in response to her rudeness, both by calling her 'mother' and by omitting the 'krub'. In addition to knowing my name, she knows I'm a few months older than my wife, who's 8 years older than her.
2. "Hello Human"; why on earth would anybody, anywhere want to say that? " I never said that, I said "like", and for the sake of clarity this word was used in a similar manner to akin, similar, etc in that she was saying hello but referring to you not by name, but by a description of what you are.
3. Omitting the polite participle, I was quite clear when I said it used to be the practice to omit this to denote you were speaking to an inferior, much like the Japanese "san". To be clear when I say "used to" I am referring to the past.
There are two sides to every story but what is clear is that her address to you was intentionally rude, and your response to her was the same. You say that this lady is your wife's friend so it's fair to assume you have met her on previous occasions, so there probably some history there. You mention that you were being deliberately rude which of course highlights the maxim that "two wrongs make a right", or maybe I've remembered that incorecty.
I made a conscious decision a long time ago that I would learn Thai properly once I move there permanently. I know plenty of guys who live there now and speak very little Thai so I don't feel I'm particularly lacking.
As for Thai's 'rushing' to learn my name and by the way its not foreign, its just my name - I don't know what your on about. One of the most common things anyone does when meeting someone of any nationality is to ask their name - I doubt it takes much learning. At least that's what people do in my world - perhaps you live in a parallel universe where things are different. 'Rush to learn my name' - are you serious?
I know the names of all my Thai friends and as it happens, they know mine. There have been occasions though, especially in small villages where even family members, who clearly know my name, have referred to me as 'the farang' - that's what I object to.
Either stop making a pratt of yourself or go find someone else's posts to attack - you've become very boring.
Last edited by Flip; 5th Dec 2018 at 11:35.
please guys you both have good points and love reading what you both post (wow like tobias) head shake
Perhaps the family members you speak about thought, like you did in the early days, that it wasn't worth learning because you weren't there long enough for them to regard you as a permanent fixture? Like you were only there a couple of times a year at first, they thought like that?
I can't remember when I was last referred to as 'the farang' by a family member, if I ever was. I'm pretty sure I never was. They'd quietly ask my wife her boyfriend's name or they'd just know it. It seems odd that if you obviously understand enough Thai, they would persist in calling you 'farang' so I suggest it could be due to them thinking you don't understand that much, making you more of an outsider to them.
Last edited by livingwithathaigirl; 5th Dec 2018 at 15:14.
Ah, you replied quoting my first draft before I edited Samsung! (I'm always trying to look for possible offence caused... )
It does sound odd for family members to call you 'farang' instead of by name. To me it suggests they're not taking you seriously as a permanent fixture. I can think of a possible explanation but I don't want to venture it now in case it's misconstrued as an attack (it's not, it's just a theory).
To be honest, when I listen to Thai conversations - people I don't know. They often use similar language and when its the younger generation, especially males, I do sometimes hear some hostility in it - even on occasion, borderline racism.
I believe there is an element of resentment towards westerners in some sections of Thai society.
yes, the pronunciation is very different and spelling too.. in my thinking it's a cultural myth just.. and farang is also a Persian word