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good vs. bad

Thai words and their origins

Moderator: acloudmovingby

Re: good vs. bad

Postby mangkorn » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:08 pm

Hi David: yes, I caught the Marxian "dialectic."

Translating terms like this into English, for Western audiences, requires a comparable historical, cultural and socioeconomic context. I think that feudal Europe seems to fit the bill much more aptly. The terms อำมาตย์ and ไพร่ date to the Thai feudal system; they refer pretty clearly to feudal lords and serfs, nobility and slaves.

But Marx's "bourgeoisie" would also include a helluva lot of people who are waging this revolution, and they are certainly not fighting against their own desire to be bourgeois. They're trying to overthrow "the lords of the manor," according to their own rhetoric.

No doubt a few Reds, like Dr Weng, would like to think of what is going on as a titanic Marxist struggle (even though he himself is about as far from "lumpen" as it ever gets). But I doubt that most agree, and certainly not the real leader. No matter: everyone is free to interpret words as best suits his own purposes.

I'm only concerned with what the terms อำมาตย์ and ไพร่ describe in the historical Thai context, and how to translate that into a comparable Western context, without taking sides.

Thanks.
Last edited by mangkorn on Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: good vs. bad

Postby mangkorn » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:08 pm

Nan wrote:That's not true.

The one who called people who support Thaksin as "ไพร่" was Mr.Aphisit two years ago.


Thank you very much for those citations, Khun Nan. That helps to fill in the whole political context.

But please note that I said Thaksin was the first to "promote" the term - not the first to use it.

Also, for what it's worth, Aphisit's point seems quite clear in taking จักรภพ to task for falsely posturing himself as a poor peasant, when his own very comfortable existence and fancy lifestyle in "กทม." was quite the opposite. As political rhetoric, that was pretty good - albeit probably a bad choice of the word ไพร่.

But if จักรภพ is a poor peasant who had to slave in the rice paddies or cut sugarcane to survive, then I'm the Queen of England.. :D

Apropos the above discussion with David, if this were a Marxist kind of revolution, people like จักรภพ would be hauled out of their fine houses and treated badly by the lumpenproletariat, instead of leading their struggle. But this is a very different sort of sociopolitical battle, very complex, and ultimately earth-shaking for เมืองไทย.

It is fascinating: to be able to observe history in the making. I take no part in it personally. In David's Texas vernacular, "I have no dog in this fight."

My own keen interest is mostly anthropological (and linguistic, in the sense of trying to comprehend the competing rhetoric).

The majority of people whom I know, or interact with, are working class, mostly from Isan - but, also from the southern and central provinces. And there are a lot of widely varying, even surprising, opinions to be found among them. To call this "a revolution of Thailand's poor people," is simply naive, and utterly false.

Contemporary conflicts of human co-existence are far more complicated than CNN or the BBC are capable of understanding, evidently.

Thanks.
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Re: good vs. bad

Postby Nan » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:36 am

mangkorn wrote:But please note that I said Thaksin was the first to "promote" the term - not the first to use it.


ไม่คิดว่าคุณมังกรจะเป็นหนึ่งในพวก "ทักษิณโซฮอลล์" ด้วย :D

This remind me of the clip which is not allowed to watch for Thai people.http://www.clipmass.com/movie/226247315212170 It's funny, especially the English part at around 3.53 minute. :D

Thaksin has never promoted this term. He promoted the term "รากหญ้า" not "ไพร่". In fact this term was promoted by people who support Thaksin, they were very angry when heard Mr.Aphisit's statement.

mangkorn wrote:Also, for what it's worth, Aphisit's point seems quite clear in taking จักรภพ to task for falsely posturing himself as a poor peasant, when his own very comfortable existence and fancy lifestyle in "กทม." was quite the opposite. As political rhetoric, that was pretty good - albeit probably a bad choice of the word ไพร่.


I think you misunderstand something. จักรภพ had never postured himself as a poor peasant. He stated that Thailand should not have patronage system. Aphisit argued that he didn't know that จักรภพ would be the one who oppose this system since จักรภพ never mentioned about this before and also was happy being patronized. But จักรภพ is now patronized by "ไพร่" which is the evil patronage system and จักรภพ never oppose that.
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Re: good vs. bad

Postby Pawyilee » Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:48 am

Nan wrote:... the red shirt started calling themselves "ไพร่” for sarcasm from Mr.Aphisit's statement.

It's like "since you call us "ไพร่", well, that's fine. We are "ไพร่” and we will ask for our rights from this democracy system which have been occipied by noble class people back to us. :D

This is very American. As an American child almost a century ago, I was taught that "democracy" was practically synonymous with Mob Rule, and "democrat" with demagogue, until Democrat! was hurled as an insult at Thomas Jefferson, who then wore the label proudly. I can't find any foundation for this on today's www, so I guess it was an apocryphal tale like Betsy Ross's flag and Washington's cherry tree, yet essential to formation of the American character. In re Khun Nai Thaksin, Wikipedia says,
He received a master's degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University in the United States in 1975, and three years later was awarded a doctorate in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University in Texas. Returning to Thailand, he reached the position of Deputy Superintendent of the Policy and Planning Sub-division, General Staff Division, Metropolitan Police Bureau, before resigning in 1987.... Thaksin entered politics in late 1994....
It would seem he learned a lot more than Criminal Justice, for, once he did enter into politics, he went about setting up an American-style political machine, a first for Thailand. It make senses in that context for him to promote the American concept of "grass roots" (รากหญ้า.) Nevertheless, Thailand has always had an old-world system of patronage (การอุปถัมภ์) where ward heelers could be likened to Prai Som (ไพร่สม) who work for a master (มูลนาย หรือเจ้าขุนมูลนาย), and I can see how an Oxford-educated Opposite might introduce these terms into discourse in order to discredit both patron and the patronized as being unhealthy invasions into the body politic. Old-world patronage systems, however, are replete with family-style titles, and this has the effect of excluding those who cannot be conceived of as family members -- political machines appeal to exactly those sort of people. Those sort of people recently elected Obama, so American political machines seem alive and healthy.
I invite board members to critique my revisions on Wikipedia at Prai.
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Re: good vs. bad

Postby Passerby » Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:07 pm

meylao wrote:I’ve just returned to Thailand after a 30 year hiatus and spent a rather eventful month in Bangkok. Way back when I was stationed in the Northeast for four years in the U.S. Peace Corps and developed a great love for Thai-Isan (Lao) people. I was surprised and saddened to hear a fellow-Thai in Bangkok refer to them by the term “prai” ไพร่ which I always thought of as the opposite to “poo dee” ผู้ดึ, literally a “good person,” or someone of more noble station. Does this make “prai” ไพร่ a “poo mai dee” ผู้ไม่ดี? I am not interested in any political remarks about the recent crisis – I don’t care if you wear a red shirt, a yellow shirt, a green shirt or go bare-chested!!! I am interested in knowing whether the term “prai” ไพร่ still carries negative connotations and the derivation of this word, as well as that of the word “poo dee.” ผู้ดึ


Your understanding of the word is not incorrect. From my humble opinion, I think the word may has been misused by some political parties, and it probably was used sarcastically some how.

It is hard to say since I have not been there in your conversation. So, I would not be able to detect any tone that he/she may have expressed, and any details of what brought up this word. To me, it is still not a very good word to use. It still carries a demeaning/prejudiced sense.
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