Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Random pics (Llama)

So I'm putting my new camera phone to use... here's a couple of pics of everyday life in my part of Bangkok. This is a shot of the sidewalk very close to my office. To get to where I work you go down to where that orange sign is and turn right.

This is a busy sidewalk market. You can buy anything here, from shirts to snacks to lottery tickets to toys. Everything to the right there is erected afresh every day at about 10:00, and torn down by 3:00. By 5:00 it has transformed into a food market. By midnight it is again an empty lot.

You can see that the vendors spill over onto the sidewalk itself; during lunch hour, it takes about 2 minutes to navigate the 1/2 block through the crowd.

Here's another shot of the same area, this time with my farang boss waving to the camera. That's Ross. I always think he looks like the great white hunter with that mustache of his.

Finally here is a shot of a local western hangout, called "Gullivers." It's a bit of a strange place. The food here is more expensive than a typical Thai establishment, but it's much less expensive than your typical place looking to attract farang tourists. The food and atmosphere is comparable to Chilli's or some other B&G like that, but there are 8 pool tables contained within. There are always plenty of farang men and Thai women hanging around looking to hook up with each other.

Hopefully this will be the start of a series of picture entries... as I see things worth sharing I'll post them here.


pacatrue said...

Is farang just the Thai version of the English "Foreign" and does it apply to everyone or just Caucasians? Can you be Japanese and be farang? And is the B&G you mention where we should imagine the llama shooting pool and meeting people?

Hawaii has a word for white folk "haole" which means foreigner basically. It is something of an offensive term because if you are white, even if your great grandfather served King Kalakaua, you are still haole. It's the same annoying thing that Asian-Americans whose grandfather was born in California get. People want to know where they are really from, because America cannot be the answer.... However, if you are Asian in Hawaii, even if you just moved here, you are not haole.

I only realized recently, however, that Captain Cook and the Europeans were the first non-Polynesians to ever get to Hawaii, so probably the name was just attached to Europeans first, which is entirely appropriate, and then it stuck to the racial group, not to actually being a foreigner. Anyway, I was wondering how "farang" worked.

Killer Llama said...

Farang doesn't derive from "foreign". That's one of the things that makes learning Thai difficult; very few words here have any resemblence to their English counterparts.

Farang only applies to caucasians. It is exactly the same word as a fruit (guava) and is the word for something French. So, the French language is "Pasa Farang", a French person is "Khon Farang", etc. Actually the formal word is "Farangset", but it is usually shortened to "Farang."

Not sure when France and Thailand were introduced, but there are a few words French terms sprinkled throughout the vocabular. "Farang" generally doesn't just mean someone that is French but has been broadened to be any white-skinned person. And a word for "loved one", i.e. boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, is "faen", which I understand also dates back to the French in some way.

"Farang" does contain a negative conotation, but it is so widely used that many times there is no negativity at all. It depends on the circumstances. Certainly if the word is said with a sneer it is not meant to be a kind descriptor. But more often than not it is harmless.

To my knowledge there is no word for people with dark skin and/or someone from Africa. There is a strong predjudice against dark skin in this country... not African's so to speak but Indians and even dark skinned Thai's (of which there are many) are considered crude and of lower class.

mom said...

Enjoyed your post. Glad you got the phone-camera. the pics are great. I'll look forward to more. Love, Mom