Por Peang Lifestyle and Community

The type of lifestyle promoted by sufficiency economy, or porpeang, focuses on sharing and building communities. In this short video, different characters and situations are shown where sharing and looking out for one another is beneficial for everyone. This video has characters that have the Thai alphabet on the shirt and is like saying “Mr. A” and “Mr. B” to give the examples. Very simple concept and this video makes it easy to understand and see the impact when it goes from the small, community scale to a grand, national scale.

Case Study on Thailand’s Pwo-Karen

From the DVD “Promoting Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education,” this segment highlights the development of the Pwo-Karen mother tongue instruction program in the northern region of Thailand. The Pwo-Karen community came together to make an agreed upon alphabet and picture dictionary. After that, the community developed big books with local stories, and small reading books on cultural topics.

Stage 1 students focus on learning to listen, speak, read and write in Pwo-Karen. Stage 2 students continue to learn in Pwo-Karen but are now exposed to oral Thai language. In Stage 3, a Thai teacher is added to build their Thai listening and speaking skills and a transition primer is used until the languages are taught about 50-50. In Stage 4 & 5, the amount of teaching in Pwo-Karen decreases while the amount of teaching in Thai increases. English is also added in this stage.

Use of mother tongue vital, studies show

In the Nation article, Use of mother tongue vital, studies show, several speakers and their research results at the Language, Education and Millennium Development Goals were highlighted. Experts in the field of language related their experiences and findings from several countries, including the USA, Canada, Thailand, China, Cambodia and Vietnam. The resounding message from researchers, government officials and teachers was the same, children should learn in their mother tongue before learning a national or international language. With more and evidence to support this philosophy, it has been show by many groups working independently across the globe that the cognitive development of children is supported by learning concrete and abstract concepts in the child’s home langauge first. Then, when the child learns a second or third language, the concepts are easily applied and transferred because the thinking skills and processes are already developed.

I especially think the case in Thailand with the Patani-Malay speaking children was encouraging. Professor of linguistics, Suwilai Premsrirat, from Mahidol University’s Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia explained the process of identifying an appropriate script for the Patani-Malay language, developing learning materials based on the local language, culture and traditions in collaboration with community, teachers, parents and learners. After a few years of implementation, the results are amazing. The project has a 99% approval rate from the community and children are now transitioning from the Thai-based script of Patani-Malay to learning Thai in grade 3 onwards. I think the results are very hopeful and is a critical step in the right direction for solving the problems and conflicts in Thailand’s Deep South.

Source: The Nation

Learning English by reading The Bangkok Post

In this book review of “You Can Read the Bangkok Post”, is touted as a way to independent learn and improve your English with using a dictionary. The book provides strategies that can be applied to any issue of the Bangkok Post and includes some general information about how to read newspapers.

The review provides some examples of the different articles, activities and content in the book, so you can see how the book is set up before you even go to buy it or look at it in the books store. One thing that I thought was humorous is that the English version of the text is provided concurrently with the Thai translation. This means that you don’t need to open a dictionary, but it also means you don’t have to work very hard for comprehension. I don’t know if that’s a pro or a con since working with the text is crucial. I would prefer an emphasis on using context clues and working with word bases to infer meaning of unknown words rather than providing the translation. Maybe I can use this book in reverse to increase the level of my Thai language vocabulary and proficiency.

Source: Bangkok Post

Language, Educaion and Millenium Development Goals Conference 2010

Right now there International Conference going on which brings nearly 400 participants from almost 30 countries from around the world. The three day event began today with a welcoming speech from the Prime minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva highlighting Thailands progress in Multilingual Education, particularily in the deep south.
The event is organized and funde by the Multilingual Work Group, consisting of UNESCO Bangkok, UNICEF, Save the Children, Asian Institute of Technology, Mahidol University, CARE, SEAMEO, ASPBAE. The event is held from November 9-11,2010 at the Twin Towers Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

iCare Club 2010, Creative Social Business Contest

There will be nine teams of university students presenting their ideas on three different topics. This event gives teams 15 minutes to present their ideas and judges will ask questions for 10 minutes. The event is run in Thai language and is geared towards the Thai context in terms of it’s problems, participants, judges and audience.

iCare Club
Location: Hotel S31
Time: 8:00-17:00
Partner: change fusion, Ashoka, Magnolia, TCDC, BE magazine, I care

Thai and Khmer languages

In this interesting blog from the Brooklyn Monk in Asia, author Antonio Graceffo, discusses the similarities between Thai and Khmer languages. He was in a Khmer-speaking region of Thailand when he found himself switching between the two langauges unconsciously. Thai, Khmer and Laos are similar languages in the region and Thai is the linguistic dominant language. Meaning that other people adapt their speaking to Thai listeners rather than Thais adapting themselves to the foreign pronunciation. He goes on to relate his own experiences learning Vietnamese and the cultural similarities that can trigger and influence the learning of languages beyond ligustic similarities.

Buddhism terms in English and Thai

There is a good section in this website on Thai and Lao Language that discusses different terms and vocabulary about Thai Buddhism. It also includes sentences in Thai and translation into English. It serves as a good primer into Thai Buddhism, Thai terms used in Buddhism and as well as practice in reading the Thai Language. It definitely help clarified a few terms for me related to Thai words used in Buddhism as many English text on Buddhism use the Pali words.

Types of Buddhism/Scripture
The Buddha/The Three Gems
Monks & Lay People/Being Ordained
Temple Activities/Language a Monk Uses
Dharma/Impermanance/Four Noble Truths
Path to Enlightenment/Precepts
Merit/Rebirth/The Four Principles


Thai Terms for Character Analysis

There are a number of components that Thai talk about when they talk about the soul and character.

The soul is divided into two parts: Khwan and Winyan. The khwan is the spirit, the essence of life, or the soul element; while the winyan is the consciousness of the soul. Winyan is from the Pali word vinnana and it refers to the part of the soul which remains after death.

To describe character there are three components: Sanda, Nisai and Chai (Chit-Chai). Sandan is related to the inborn traits that a person has, often dealing with a person’s upbringing. Nisai is used to describe a person’s characteristics or personality. Chai or Chit-Chai can be used interchangably with the term heart or mind. Most often a person’s nisai is described in terms of the character of his chai. Sandan, nisai and chai are frequently used to describe or judge the quality of the character of a person.

Source: Thai Buddhist Character Analysis

Thai Buddhist Prayer

Many Thais who practice Buddhism will suat mon, or chant, before going to sleep every night. Saying the prayers starts by putting your hands together in a Wai position, sitting with your knees on the ground facing the Buddha and bowing your head towards the ground 3 times, or bowing 3 times on the pillow. Then followed by these two general payers:

  1. Namotasa
    Namo tatsa pakka-wato ara-hatto samma samputtat-sa,
    Namo tatsa pakka-wato ara-hatto samma samputtat-sa,
    Namo tatsa pakka-wato ara-hatto samma samputtat-sa.
    ( * And slightly bow with your head to your hands 1 time
    or bow towards the floor 1 time *)
  2. Arahang Samma
    Ara-hang samma-sam-putto pakka-wa put-tang-pakka-wan-thang api-wa-temi, (Bow 1 time)
    Sawa-ka-tho pakka-wa-tha tammo
    tammang namat-sami, (Bow 1 time)
    Supha-thi-phanno pakka-wa-tho
    sawa-ga sang-koh sang-khang na-mami (Bow 1 time)

And then feel free to finish with a well-going wish followed by finishing off with a bow towards the ground/pillow 3 times.