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Thread: Thai Proverbs

  1. #1
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    Thai Proverbs

    With its long and colourful history the Kingdom of Thailand has its fare share of old wives tales and proverbs here are just a few with pictures that reflect this great country.


    สีซอให้ควายฟัง (see sor hai kwai fang)
    Translation: To play the violin for the buffalo to listen to.
    Meaning: Talking to a brick wall. (The person you are speaking to does not listen.)


    นีเสื่อประจระเข้ (nee seua pa jo ra kay)
    Translation: To escape from the tiger to the crocodile.
    Meaning: Out of the frying pan into the fire. (When you get out of one problem, but find yourself in a worse situation.)


    ปิดทองหลังพระ (pid tong lang pra)
    Translation: Putting a gold leaf on the back of the Buddha image.
    Meaning: Doing something good without seeking for attention.


    ได้อย่างเสียอย่าง (dai yang sia yang)
    Translation: You have to lose something to get another thing.
    Meaning: You canít make an omelette without breaking eggs (something that you say or do may cause an unwanted effect)


    ชั่วเจ็ดทีดีเจ็ดหน (chua jet tee dee jet hon)
    Translation: Bad seven times, good seven times.
    Meaning: Every cloud has a silver lining. (There is something good even in a bad situation.)


    น้ำขึ้นให้รีบตัก (nam keun hai reep tak)
    Translation: When the water rises, hurry to get some
    Meaning: Make hay while the sun shines.


    จับปลาสองมือ (jab pla song meu)
    Translation: Catch a fish with two hands.
    Meaning: You canít have your cake and eat it. (To spend or used something up but still have it; to have two things when you must choose one.)


    ขวานผ่าซาก ( kwan par sak)
    Translation: Splitting a hard wood with an axe.
    Meaning: Calling a spade a spade. (To speak frankly about something, even if it is unpleasant.)


    แมวไม่อยู่หนูร่าเริง ( meaw mai yoo noo ra reng)
    Translation: When the cat is not there, the mice are happy.
    Meaning: When the catís away, the mice will play.


    รำไมดีโทษปี่โทษกลอง ( rum mai dee tod pee tod glong)
    Translation: Those who canít dance blame it on the flute and the drum.
    Meaning: A bad workman blames his tools. (Something that you say when someone blames the objects they are using for their own mistakes.)


  2. #2
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    I like "just a rat in the rice bag" ergo a do nothing leech.

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    เห็นช้างขี้ขี้ตามช้าง see an elephant shit, shit like an elephant
    ( keeping up with jones' ) ..

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    heres an appropriate one

    "beauty fades, but dumb is forever"

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    Quote Originally Posted by barrylad66 View Post
    เห็นช้างขี้ขี้ตามช้าง see an elephant shit, shit like an elephant
    ( keeping up with jones' ) ..
    Nice...
    Almost voluble in scope.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaimeme View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by barrylad66 View Post
    เห็นช้างขี้ขี้ตามช้าง see an elephant shit, shit like an elephant
    ( keeping up with jones' ) ..
    Nice...
    Almost voluble in scope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crepitas View Post
    I like "just a rat in the rice bag" ergo a do nothing leech.
    Actually "crepitas" there are two close idioms
    หนูตกถังข้าวสาร <- mouse that fell into a tank of raw rice
    This one normally denotes a poor gurl who married a rich guy and there by "hit the mother load".
    The other one is
    นางฟ้ากับหมาวัด <- an angel with a temple dog
    This one is the reverse and means a poor boy who married a rich gurl.

    There's a book called "5000 thai idioms from the past right on up to nowadays", I went thru it page by page, idiom by idiom. I was unable to find an idiom thais have which wasn't mirrored by an english equivalent once you take into consideration geography, religion, culture. This leads me to believe that idioms are conditions of humanity and every culture/race has them Interestingly though in that thai idiom book there are almost 19 pages of things NOT to do!!

    They have the "something is better than nothing" idiom as กำขี้ดว่ากำตก <- a handful of shit is better than a handful of fart, (although to me that's debatable)..

    I did find one which I thought was pretty weird though
    อย่ากินขี้ อย่าสี (ร่วมเพศ) หมา <- don't eat shit, don't have sex with dogs
    Now this begs the question, was shit eating and dog fucking so rampant at one time they had to make an idiom up to caution people NOT to do it. Or was it more a "don't wash your dirty linen in public"? Meaning eat all the shit and fuck all the dogs you want in the privacy of your own home.. I still haven't quite worked it out.

    Not that you guys particularly care, but I did review the 5000 idiom book here.

  8. #8
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    Just had a look at the review Tod, might be good for my reading compressions as I was able to work out some of the examples..

  9. #9
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    Good thread, Chitty.
    "Teacher ruler hit head when eyes are turned around" = Never hurts to learn some of this stuff while you're sitting there (living here).

    I just made that up

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeeCoffee
    I just made that up
    I noticed!

  11. #11
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    "Wind of Fragaria makes sore bottom before noon".

    Strawberry Breezers make your arse sore in the morning.

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    นาริงงามสรรพเมื่อดับเทียน

    All women are beautiful when you turn the lights ( candles ) out

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    Quote Originally Posted by barrylad66 View Post
    นาริงงามสรรพเมื่อดับเทียน

    All women are beautiful when you turn the lights ( candles ) out
    Or, "all cats are grey in the dark"..

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    กระโหล่บางตายช้า กระโหล่หนาตายก่อน

    "The dull die fast; the smart die slow."

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    กักน้ำไว้เผื่อแล้ง

    "Save some water for use during the dry season."

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    ก้างขวางคอ

    "Two's company, three's a crowd."

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    กำขี้ดีกว่ากำตด

    "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

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    กิ้งก่าได้ทอง

    "Set a beggar on horseback, and he’ll ride to the devil."

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    I have a faint suspicion that Withnall made the strawberry breezer one up, I may be wrong.

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    Actually, หนูตกถังข้าวสาร is used only for when a poor guy marries a rich girl. Often the girl may not be that pretty and it's kind of obvious he married her for the money. It's NOT used when a girl marries a rich man, which in Thai culture is taken as a matter of fact. It's strictly used when a GUY marries a girl, and never for girl who marries a guy. People will call the groom "หนูตกถังข้าวสาร" or usually just ตกถังข้าวสาร

    นางฟ้ากับหมาวัด means a very pretty and usually rich girl who marries a poor and not good looking guy out of true love. In Thai culture, for a well off girl to chose to marry a poor and ugly guy, can only mean that it's out of her true love for him.

  21. #21
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    You hate the chicken but you eat the eggs.

    She talks like her house was on fire (about people who talk too loud)


    #4

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    ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตน
    kee chang chup takatan.
    Ride an elephant to catch a grasshopper.
    Breaking an egg with a hammer is the closest English idiom I can think of.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by withnallstoke View Post
    "Wind of Fragaria makes sore bottom before noon".

    Strawberry Breezers make your arse sore in the morning.
    Well, of course, if you drink far too many in the company of a gay guy.

  24. #24
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    "ขวานผ่าซาก ( kwan par sak)
    Translation: Splitting a hard wood with an axe.
    Meaning: Calling a spade a spade. (To speak frankly about something, even if it is unpleasant.)"
    Wifey reckons it's slightly different to "speaking frankly". More like "speaking harshly".
    The emphasis in the meaning is more to do with harshness thank frankness.

  25. #25
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    Great OP CC ... I'll try and try and get MissFarmGirl to contribute.

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