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Message started by Mak Nad on 3rd Aug, 2014 at 2:34pm

Title: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by Mak Nad on 3rd Aug, 2014 at 2:34pm
I dedicate this post to TexasCowboy. A PM that he sent me inspired me to think up this post.

Are Thais really as bad as some seem to think? In this thread you all get to read detailed accounts of experiences that I have had firsthand with Thais.

A common theme that comes up in our conversations is that of Isan (Lao) people rejecting their native Lao language. I have met and spoken to many Isan people and have some family in the Isan area so I know a fair amount about this ethnic group. There is some degree of intermarriage between Isan people and Lao people, but I'm not sure to what extent. From my observations it tends to make up a very small percentage of the marriages on both sides of the Mekong River.

Most Isan people don't even know that the language they speak is Lao. Granted, several people do but they are in the minority, not the majority. Thai nationalism and Thaification plays a big part in this. Thailand, though it was culturally diverse at one point, is united under the King as one Thai nation.

The Lao language in Thailand is called the "Isan Language," or "Northeastern Thai."This is more of a political term than a real linguistic term. In the past Isan was part of the Lao Lan Xang kingdom. Isan and all of Lan Xang was eventually conquered by Thailand much later on, and it remained that way until the French came. The French seized Laos from the Siamese, though for some reason they did not take Isan. This crucial historical event is what stopped the Lao people from becoming just another "regional Thai." At the time the predominantly Laotian area of Isan was simply a satellite state of Thailand which paid tribute to Bangkok but maintained some degree of autonomy. The schools taught in the Lao language and people considered themselves Lao, though at that time in history very few people were actually attending school. The Siamese rulers took advantage of the lack of education and unity in the Isan area and burned all the Lao language books and forced the schools to all shut down. This was part of the Thaification process.

Anyways because of this and Thai nationalism propaganda, very few of the Isan people today know that they are Lao.

So what are their views on their language if they don't acknowledge it as Lao??

Well, most don't even see it as a separate language. It's often seen as an inferior dialect of Thai, a hillbilly language spoken by rice farmers with no education. There have been some efforts to encourage the preservation of the Lao language in Thailand, but they have gained little ground. Sometimes it both amazes and disgusts me how in the dark Isan people are about their own history. Of course this is not taught in Thai schools. All Thai history classes are brain washing sessions to make the students believe that all Thais are great.

The Lao language is generally viewed with contempt in the urban areas and often people will switch to Thai when in the cities. The language itself has already been degraded to an extreme point, losing much Lao vocabulary and incorporating much Thai vocabulary. There is no one making any effort to preserve it, as very few Isan people view their language as anything important.

The Lanna language of Northern Thailand and Southern Thai are also experiencing similar declines. The lack of education in general of Thais leaves them without the mental capacity to think that their languages have any value or merit. Most believe that only central Thai is necessary for communication and is the only language taught in schools anyways.

On a more extreme note, some kids from wealthy families these days are going to all English schools and not even learning Central Thai (Siamese)

So what are my personal experiences?

I have been berated in Thailand several times for speaking Lao. Even by ethnic Lao (Isan) people themselves.

One time I was having a conversation and a sub-human Siamese comes up to me and yells at me: "SPEAK THAI!!! DON'T SPEAK LAO!!"

Generally everyone in the rural areas of Isan speaks Lao, except for some areas of Srisaket, Surin and Buriram, where other local languages such as Khmer and Kuy are spoken. In Nakhon Rachasima (Korat) there are many Lao villages, but they are not the majority. Khorat consists mainly of Thai Khorat (a divergent dialect of Thai) and there are also many Central Thai (Siamese) villages in Khorat. Apart from that and some small ethnic minority groups, all of rural Isan speaks Lao. This dialect of Lao is slightly divergent from the Lao of Laos because of influence from the Thai language.

My best bet is that in 100 years the Lao language will still be alive in Thailand but it will have changed significantly due to influence from the Thai language and its number of speaks will have dropped significantly.

About parents transmitting the language to kids? In rural villages where everyone is Lao the transmission rate from generation to generation is about 100%. Good news. For wealthier families that have moved out into the city, the transmission rate is something like 10%-25%. Significant drop right?

I have known several Lao Isan families that moved into the city and didn't transmit the language to their kids. Often times you will see everyone in a family speaking Lao except the young children. Obviously this means that the language will not live on in this family. There are also many Lao Isan villages in areas near the urban centres which all speak Lao but their version is even more Thai influenced than the others. Sometimes they don't even use any Lao vocabulary at all, but just use 100% Thai vocabulary with a Lao accent to the words.

Usually when greeting each other in the cities they will greet each other in Thai and keep talking in Thai until one person indicates it is ok to start speaking Lao. Some may consider it rude to just walk up to another and start speaking in Lao immediately. I've also had people who do speak Lao only reply back in Thai to me just to be smug.

Usually after living in Bangkok for many years people from Thai and Khmer localities will switch to only speaking Thai with each other. Their children will not receive the language. There are very few people out there who see their regional language as having any value at all. Often times it's seen as an impedance to educational progression because Thai is the only language used in the government schools.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by peterpan on 3rd Aug, 2014 at 7:46pm
sub-human Siamese.  What is that?  :P

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by peterpan on 3rd Aug, 2014 at 7:52pm
Here, we won't put English as a compulsory one in national college entrance test. English is f...ed off, yet, it is very important I think.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by ba dac on 4th Aug, 2014 at 11:12am
Very nice write up.You hit the nail right on the head though.
The only way those dummy isan is get educated.You're right
though,most think they are Thai. But i know for a fact some
thai look down at them.They wanna deny their root , which is fine.The truth are within the book and history.I can kinda understand why though.Who would want to be associate with a country that's poor and communist.I been to many
restrurant in the state.Where the owner have came out to
me and said .Laos and Thai we are the same.I know they full
of BS cause they just want you to come eat at their place.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by TexasCowboy on 4th Aug, 2014 at 12:37pm
Siamese minds in Lao bodies. Thankfully the Lao people have historically had good ties with the Khmers and seeing as though the Khmers are khsaitriyas, they will no doubt exterminate the Siamese and peacefully coexist with their Lao brethren.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by Mak Nad on 4th Aug, 2014 at 12:52pm
I'm not sure how different physically the Laos and the Siamese are. It'd be like trying to figure out physical differences between speakers of Cantonese and Mandarin.

One thing I noticed was that Thais tend to be darker than Laos. Lao people are generally lighter skinned and better looking than Thais. A lot of Isan people look just like the tribal people of Laos..Although it varies regionally. Northern Thai people tend to be even lighter than the Laos. But Lanna was also called Lao at one point. Who knows really?

Also TexasCowboy, I remember you saying you went to Cambodia. What is your opinion of the Khmers in contrast with Thais and Laos? I know they can be very money hungry and manipulative as well.

I can speak Khmer and also read it, but not as good as Lao.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by TexasCowboy on 4th Aug, 2014 at 3:56pm
The problem with Khmers is that they are descended from the miscegenation between a Brahman man and the daughter of the king of a reptilian race. Therefore, the Khmer only innately possess half the capacity for morals, self-reflection, and civilized behavior as a normal mammalian man. Their lineage explains why the Khmers are strong, highly skilled with their hands, but also prone to outbursts of violence and brutality. A Khmer will massacre a Vietnamese village if he believes it will benefit his people. He will even kill his own brothers born from the Naga if he believes it will serve the greater good of his race. And like the ancient Semitic tribes, the Khmer is willing to exterminate the entire family because he fears reprisal should he show mercy. In Khmer culture, mercy indicates weakness and forgiveness is a concession of culpability.

The history of the Khmers is basically a long succession of massacres. All of their enduring accomplishments, like Angkor Wat,  certainly came at a heavy cost in terms of human life. The Khmers are respectable for their warrior castehood and heritage. Warrior societies are, however, dysfunctional by nature.

The Vietnamese and the Siamese have traditionally been the enemies of the Khmer and the Khmer will eventually annihilate both peoples but the khmers themselves will be destroyed in the process.

Lao people, on the other hand, are indigenous to the mountainous jungles of modern day Laos and were born from a large gourd in the jungle. The gods made a small tear in the gourd and from the gourd emerged the Khmuic people and most of the ethnic minorities of Laos. An axe was used to make a bigger hole in the gourd and from the second hole emerged the fair skinned Lao who were instructed to live as simple farmers and to cultivate virtue and tame the land for farming. Lao people aren't warriors by nature but their ethical approach to life naturally led to the organization and centralization which led to the formation of Lan Xang.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by peterpan on 4th Aug, 2014 at 4:37pm
It seems tear in gourd does not make a good race? haha ha.

Thank you very much cowboy for the wonderful history.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by Mak Nad on 4th Aug, 2014 at 9:51pm
Ive heard about that gourd story actually. I was once dating a Khmu girl. The lighter Lao race was actualy birthed at Dien Bien Phu, present day Vietnam. It was called Sipsongjaotai back then. It almost became a country but Ho Chi Minh caused infighting between the Red and Black Tais. Its a shame because I always dream to see my Tai brethren succeed. I want to see the Tais independent from Vietnam and the Shans independent from Burma. These sick nations are forcing their culture on my Tai brothers.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by TexasCowboy on 4th Aug, 2014 at 10:17pm
The gourd legend is definitely true. It is the only feasible explanation for the genesis of the Lao people. I want to visit Dien Bien Phu soon. The problem is that VN visas are expensive as hell for Americanos.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by TexasCowboy on 4th Aug, 2014 at 10:20pm
Also it is impressive that you can read some Khmer. Where did you learn Khmer and how the hell are you able to practice the language in the states? I waste too much time posting on forums and browsing the net and I should be devoting way more time to my language studies. I want to learn Khmer someday but it will probably be about 25 years down the road realistically.

You should study Vietnamese as they will soon be the masters of Lao.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by Mak Nad on 4th Aug, 2014 at 10:51pm
I just got some female penpals from Cambodia. Not hard to find in the internet age and all. Also Khmer is rather easy if you know Thai and Lao due to some shared vocabulary. I plan to learn Vietnamese next but I never want to see them take over Laos

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by peterpan on 5th Aug, 2014 at 11:22am

Buk Nut wrote on 4th Aug, 2014 at 10:51pm:
I just got some female penpals from Cambodia. Not hard to find in the internet age and all. Also Khmer is rather easy if you know Thai and Lao due to some shared vocabulary. I plan to learn Vietnamese next but I never want to see them take over Laos


you got female penpals from Cambodia? Holy......

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by Mak Nad on 5th Aug, 2014 at 2:42pm
Yep. Stick around to see Lao meat in a Khmer taco and watch me unite the two nations

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by peterpan on 5th Aug, 2014 at 3:11pm

Buk Nut wrote on 5th Aug, 2014 at 2:42pm:
Yep. Stick around to see Lao meat in a Khmer taco and watch me unite the two nations


I will enjoy a Khmer taco with Lao wild bush meat watching you making statement. ;D

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by ba dac on 6th Aug, 2014 at 12:40pm
I'm assuming you gonna be the beast from the east ,lol.
Before you know it .you'll be all over utube. ;D

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by TexasCowboy on 27th Aug, 2014 at 6:24pm
The Kathuic peoples apparently descend from a snake. An orphan was expelled from his village and went to live in the jungle alone as a hermit. He built a small hut to live in and everyday when he returned from his fields, he came home to a delicious dinner. Not knowing who had prepared it for him, he decided one day to hide in his hut and to see who was cooking for him. He discovered that it was a very beautiful woman who was bringing him dinner. He questioned her, asking why she was providing for him. The woman responded that she saw him living alone and had taken pity on him. He asked to marry her and she brought him home to her parents. As they were approaching the home of her parents, she transformed into a snake. It was then that the man realized that his love was in fact a snake and both of her parents were snakes. They permitted the marriage on condition that a dowry would be paid to them. The couple married and had four children together, two girls and two boys. The wife passed away and the children married each other and multiplied. This is the origin of the Kathuic peoples.

Until the 18th century, a giant terrorized the Kathuic people. The giant descended from the heavens every month and demanded that one villager be offered to him. A pariah and an ugly man who was quite fond of smoking a waterpipe had recently settled down in a Kathu village. He was greatly despised and the people found his presence unbearable. The villagers elected to offer him up to the giant. Facing certain death, the pariah asked for his waterpipe and began to smoke. As the giant descended from the heavens, he saw the man exhaling smoke from his mouth. Fearing that the man was, in fact, a dragon, the giant fled. And to this day, the Kathu continue to smoke from bamboo pipes.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by ba dac on 29th Aug, 2014 at 11:30am
Nice story.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by Mak Nad on 30th Sep, 2014 at 10:02am
TexasCowboy, where did you hear that story?

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by TexasCowboy on 7th Oct, 2014 at 4:39am
Many of my friends are Kathu and one of them can speak very good English. My friend explained to me in English and I was talking with a few Kathu in Lao and they confirmed the story.

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by Mak Nad on 8th Oct, 2014 at 7:27am
That is very nice. Where did you meet them? As far as I'm aware, most Kathu people live in Xe Kong, with a few villages in Salavan Province on the way to Tad Lo. There are also Kathu people in Vietnam, believe it or not. I'm actually very interested in their cultures and language and I'd someday like to learn their languages and do some linguistic analysis. I have no linguistics degree but I'm an amateur linguist.

As far as I am aware, the province of Champassak is mainly Lao people in Pak Se, with a small Suay population in Sukuma and Muang Bajeang. The Ngae tribe can be found in Bajeang also. Around the Pak Song loop towards Attapeu you can find the Yahern people.

Attapeu: Yahern tribe continuing down on the same road coming from Pak Song in Champassak. A smaller tribe called Oy, I have visited their village once before. From Phu Vong down to Cambodia, you can find the Brao tribe, also called Lavae (some find Lavae offensive).

Se Kong: Kathu, in many villages. There are very few Lao people in Se Kong outside of the city. It's basically a Mon Khmer speaking province, but Lao people came and set up the city as a trading post. Tae Taeng has Suay, and Kathu and Ta Oy, I think. (I'm not so sure.) If you go around Muang Laman it's all Alak. They have very cool looking designs on their homes if you ever get to go take a look. Around Pa Um, you will see a huge missile, an old remnant from the Vietnam War. If you continue up into the mountains from Pa Um in between the path to Chalern Xai there is an unknown Mon-Khmer tribe. I've been up there myself and asked them, but they don't seem to be able to speak Lao. There are no schools and no electricity in that area. If you go towards Dak Cheung, high up in the mountains, the Talieng tribe can be found. They can all speak Lao, although the area is on the poor side. I think Talieng is the only tribe in Dak Cheung.

I haven't visited all of Attapeu and Se Kong, but I'm sure there are other tribes there. I have to go back and map them out someday. Maybe you can help me, TexasCowboy, if you are still in Laos. I need to learn information of the tribe that lives between Pa Um and Chalern Xai. None of them can speak Lao. I've suspected that it was Alak but I'm not sure.

I attached a picture of this unknown tribe's village in the mountains.

EDIT: the village is bigger than that but I couldn't fit the whole image on here due to a file size limit.
tribal_village.jpg (237 KB | 387 )

Title: Re: Just how sick in the head are Thais? My firsthand experiences
Post by peterpan on 8th Oct, 2014 at 1:39pm
Nice village!

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