When westerners, or foreigners (in Thai, “farang” ฝรั่ง) first visit or move to Thailand and make the decision to learn Thai language, they may initially be intimidated by the strange, exotic and sometimes obnoxious tonal sounds.
No doubt, learning to speak, read and write Thai may at first seem daunting.
But for the handful of language lovers who find and embrace inspiration, taking on the challenge with arms wide open, success waits just around the corner.
Kwam Payayaam Yuu Tee Nai, Kwam Sumret Yuu Tee Nun ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหนความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั้น….literally,”Where ever there is effort, that’s where success lies.”
It can be a struggle, but a rewarding one for those who persist. There are plenty of tools to help one along the learning path, be it soap operas, karaoke CDs, and of course, Thai friends and strangers.
Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly more common to meet farang in Thailand who speak Thai seemingly flawlessly after seemingly little time or effort, and youtube is full of Thai-speaking attempts by farang, some better than others: take this beautiful Englishwoman who could almost pass as a Thai girl after only 16 months of being in Thailand; or this funny farang interviewing a Burmese girl in Thai… or this young farang who tries his Thai charms on girls at two famous universities, among many other light-hearted public pranks.
But before the days of Youtube, it was much more difficult for farang to get noticed for their Thai talents; first, they had to master the language, enough so as to really impress someone with connections, who could lay out the golden opportunity for the national studio or stage spotlights.
This post includes a list of some of the most famous farang in Thailand of the last few decades, who’ve mastered Thai, and will certainly inspire, educate you to become a better Thai speaker, if not simply provide some good entertainment for you.
Click the link below to read about the first one, Andrew Biggs.