Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sabai di mai kha? (Khun Charis "phuuts")

Following up from Sam's post yesterday, the fish turned out fine despite being balanced rather precariously on a steamer thingy that's way to big for the pot that it was on. Can't say the same for the rice, though. We usually steam our rice using the microwave and a ceramic bowl and yesterday I: a) put too little water in b) put it on High for an extra 2 mins. Yep, we nearly had rice crispies that went snap, crackle and pop. It didn't help my self-esteem when my phasa-Thai (Thai language) instructor laughed a little too long and loud when I told her of this little incident. Sigh.

Despite, or in spite of what happened, I still love going for my Thai lessons. The conversations around me are becoming less of gibberish and I can slowly start conversing with my instructor in broken Thai. Maybe it's 'coz we are Chinese Hakkas, certain words stick easier in our memories. Except for some stark opposites, the most obvious being: pheang which means expensive in Thai and cheap in Cantonese! Oh, speaking about that, let's do a little lesson on bargaining (necessary if you're coming here!) given in its reality and not what you will find in any Thai language instruction books:

Me: Nii thao-rai kha? (How much is this, please?)

Shopgirl takes out calculator and keys in price, 'coz really, who are you kidding? It's obvious you are a farang with that awful Thai.

Me (mustering courage to continue in Thai): Jin jin kha??! Oh, pheang maak, pheang maak. Lod dai mai kha? (Are you for real??! Oh, that's TOO expensive and I'm sure you're not charging a local that! Can you reduce the price, please?)

Shopgirl: Lod rakaa laew kha. Mai dai lod kha! (It's already a bargain. We can't reduce the price any further!)

Me: Ok kha - Dichan suu sorng kua, lod dai mai kha? (Ok, I'll buy two. Can you reduce the price then?)

Shopgirl then almost always makes an angry/"I give up" look, frowns and nods in agreement of the price and then proceeds to collect the proceeds that mostly likely raked in a gross profit margin of easily 300% and up.

Oh, how I'm learning to love this city (not being sarcastic here)! Samuel and I have somewhat fell into the groove of married life now. Hubby gets up early to get ready for work. Wife sleeps on only to be awakened by hubby on going out, a "goodbye, dear" and a hug and hubby's day at work starts. Wife decides to a) switch on laptop and check facebook comments b) take a bath or c) go back to sleep again. Day starts on which option has been chosen. Don't be envious! It's hard work thinking of what to do for the day! *snigger*

My current craze: DIY ceramic mosaic tile art.

Our tenancy's almost coming to an end so Sam and I are currently looking for another place to rent, largely due to our need for a bigger kitchen with preferably an oven (okay, that's my want) and also one with at least 2 bedrooms. Sam and I love having people over and to play hosts so the lack of a "real" extra bedroom now puts us off inviting friends/family to stay with us. It would also be good for little pitter patters in the future and it doesn't hurt to have an extra room or two (I said future). So, please pray with us so we can find the right place!

Disclaimer: The bargaining scenario depicted above does not in a way speak in general of all traders in Bangkok but just one as experienced by the blogger. Bangkok remains one of the most economical places to shop and eat in except for Bandung, Indonesia, where there are factory outlets galore and worthy of annual pilgrimages, with or without the necessity for a new wardrobe.


  1. Haha, sounds like a Japanese housewife than a Thai version.

  2. You should make a podcast out of the bargaining :D

  3. Hi K who has remained unknown! :) Did I sound like a Japanese wife?! Haha! Oh, you don't need a podcast of the bargaining - just experience it yourself, it happens often enough! :D

  4. Charis, I totally understand your feeling in learning new language! Because I also have lots of problem learning Korean. Haha.

  5. Hi Su Lin! I like your name Janice! :D Yes, Thai sounds a bit like Chinese so a bit confusing also :( Remember how you and Ken taught me and Gim Mandarin a long time ago? Haha... Take care, girl!