How to use Peua and Sumrap

Posted on 24. Mar, 2014 by in Beginner, Intermediate

In Thai there are two different words which mean ‘for’, but they are used in slightly different ways. The first is peuaFเพื่อ, and the second is sumRrapLสำหรับ. It’s ok if you get them mixed up as you will still be understood, and in some cases they are interchangeable.  It’s like in English when you say ‘I want money’ and ‘I need money’, interchangeable and understandable, but the meaning isn’t quite the same. This article is meant to help you tell the two apart.


เพื่อ peuaF

PeuaF can best be translated as ‘for the purpose of …’ and ‘in order to …’

We work for money.
RowM tumMngaanM peuaF ngernM

What is this for?
AnM neeH peuaF aMraiM

This knife is for making food.
MeedF anM neeH peuaF gaanM tumM aaMhaanR

Exercise is for making the body strong.
AwkL gumMlangMgaaiM peuaF haiF raangF gaaiM kaengR raengM

Peua Thai Party (a political party, which means ‘party for Thai’)
PakH peuaF taiM


สำหรับ sumRrapL

SumRrapL is best translated as ‘’is suitable for…’ or ‘is intended for…”

This webpage is for you.
WebM neeH sumRrapL khunM
เว็ปนี้ สำหรับคุณ

Food for the elderly.
AaMhaanR sumRrapL puuF suungR aaMyuH

It’s easy for children.
ManM ngaaiF sumRrapL dekM dekM

A book for teaching students.
NangR seeuR sumRrapL gaanM sawnR nakH rienM

Program for the cellphone.
BroMgraemM sumRrapL meuM teuR

Why does Thailand have Three Different New Years?

Posted on 13. Mar, 2014 by in Beginner, Culture, Travel

Thailand is the only country I am aware of that has three national New Year’s celebrations per year.

image: the famous country-wide 3-day Songkran water fight

1) The traditional Thai New Years is called Songkran (songR graanM สงกรานต์), the famous three day nationwide water fight. This is always mid-April. Thais will flock out of Bangkok to see family in the provinces, causing massive traffic on every major road. Bangkok for three days will have little traffic and many shops closed. Thais would take off about a week from work. This is not much different from how any major Chinese city would be during Chinese new years. Unfortunately, the week comes with lots of heavy drinking and a very high road fatality rate. Pocket-picking is common in crowded areas so watch out.

image: 2011-2012 New Years fireworks at Central World

2) New Year’s is translated as bpeeM maiL ปีใหม่. Thailand now goes by the international western calendar, giving Thais the weekend and approximately two additional days off from work to party like a westerner. This involves fireworks, a countdown, and lots of drinking. Like with Songkran, many Thais leave the city to visit family ‘up country’. They update both their western and Buddhist year calendars on this day. What Buddhist year is it in Thailand, anyway?

image: crowded Chinatown in Bangkok on Chinese New Year’s

3) The last new years celebration is in late February, Chinese New Years. But they don’t call it bpeeM maiL jeenM, instead it’s called dtrutL jeenM ตรุษจีน. Thailand has a significant Chinese heritage from the massive influx of Chinese immigrants a century ago when Chinese fled the political upheaval of that time. While Thais don’t get a day off of work, many ladies can be seen wearing traditional Chinese outfits. You can also find a big celebration in China town – very crowded but still recommended. Plus, it’s yet another good Thai excuse for drinking and partying.
How do you say your New Year’s resolution in Thai?

The Next King of Thailand

Posted on 19. Feb, 2014 by in Culture, History, Intermediate, Thailand Politics

In a previous article I penned an overly broad crash course into Thai politics. Given that this is a language blog I skipped quite a lot of the details, covering only the main gist of things. The core causes of the political conflict are many, ranging from class discrimination, racial discrimination, economic disparity, poor education, corruption, power plays, government over-centralization, and even blind hatred. Some observers simplistically blame it all on Thaksin, some social ill, or the King himself. You can find many articles and even entire books covering these various issues – so I won’t.

Instead, we’ll discuss the extremely taboo and very much illegal topic of royal succession. Who will be the next King? No Thai will publicly talk about the next King, as they are extremely emotional over the subject and it could result in years of imprisonment without trial (the infamous Article 112). Ask a Thai on who should be the next King, and they’ll immediately squirm in discomfort.

Before the end of 2013, the Palace was always extremely influential in Thai politics, often ordering/approving military coups and such while profiting in the process. While the King pulled strings quietly for plausible deniability, the Queen and more recently a daughter have been more public about their approval for coups and military crackdowns. But today the King has been mentally incapacitated due to old age, while the Queen recently suffered from a permanent mentally debilitating stroke. On rare occasion the King and Queen are wheeled out into semi-public settings and PR photographs are released to quell biannual rumors of their death. But, their influence is over.

image: current King and Queen of Thailand

Now that the King and Queen are out of the picture, why do these royalist anti-election protests still persist? The reality is that the King’s inner circle is still pulling strings, and they fear the day when the King dies. For the last 20 years the crown Prince and the Kings inner circle have been at odds. As the Prince has his own inner circle, with succession will come a purge. Most Thais do not like the Prince either (for reasons I won’t go in to), so it will have a severe negative effect on the credibility and influence of the future crown when he takes over. The whole royalist world as they know it will come crashing down.

image: crown prince of Thailand

Yet, the law clearly states the Prince must be the next king.

The inner circle has an obvious solution, and that is to legally change who can become King to someone that can be controlled (some say the current King is also controlled by this inner circle). The three things needed to make this happen are implicit approval from the military, legal approval from the Privy Council, and a law change by Parliament. While the appointed military and Privy Council are under the inner circle control, elections determine who runs Parliament. Given the King is practically on his death bed, there isn’t much time remaining to change the succession law. That means desperation.

image: Suthep, leader of 2013/2014 street protests

Enter protest leader Suthep, a royalist and ex-executive leader of the Democrat Party. Ironically, Suthep is a political godfather previously known for personally ordering three violent military crackdowns against protesters in 2009 and 2010, resulting in nearly 100 deaths and 3000 injured total. He is attempting to force the current government to step down and hand all governmental powers to his appointed “peoples council” composed of only “good people.” As proposed, his council will retain power for ~18 months to “reform” the country and then allow elections afterwards. Proponents say his “reform before elections” proposal will cure corruption and make elections fair, but opponents say Suthep has a long history of corruption and is only trying to rig elections.

Why does this matter? He will have the power to rewrite the succession law.


vocabulary list:

Thai Karaoke English
การเมือง gaanM mueangM politics
พระเจ้าอยู่หัว praH jaoF yuuL huaR king
เจ้าชาย jaoF chaaiM prince
พระราชินี praH raaMchiHneeM queen
สภา saLpaaM parliament
สันตติวงศ์ sanRdtaLdtiLwongM succession
รัฐประหาร ratHbraLhaanR coup
คอรัปชั่น kawLrapMchanR corruption
สภาประชาชน saLpaaM braMchaaMchonM Peoples Council
คณะองคมนตรี kaHnaH ongMkaHmonMdtreeM Privy Council
การเลือกตั้ง gaanM lueakF dtangF elections
คนดี konM deeM “good people”
ปฏิรูป baLdtiLruupF reform
ปฏิรูปก่อนเลือกตั้ง baLdtiLruupF gawnL lueakF dtangF “reform before elections”