New Thai Political Vocab after 19 Sept 2006 Coup
A new language for a new generation
A colourful phrase or touch of sarcasm adds variety and spice to politics, but what do all these terms really mean?
Writer: Surasak Tumcharoen
Published: 19/07/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: SpectrumWhile the turmoil in Thai politics never seems to abate, you can always count on new, colourful slang to emerge from the chaos. Most has negative connotations, and is used to disparage or ridicule fellow politicians, much to the amusement of the media and the public.
The new batch of slang primarily refers to recent national leaders, including Gen Surayud Chulanont, Samak Sundaravej, Somchai Wongsawat and the current prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva. The following is a quick guide.
Amataya (aristocracy): The word refers to the elite clique or ruling class, ranging from privy councillors, high-ranking government officials and military brass to business tycoons. The Democrat Party is accused of serving the interests of the amataya, who are opposed to deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
While red shirt protesters are known to act in support of the deposed prime minster, yellow shirt protesters are known to be connected with the amataya circle.
Ban lek thee roi sip et (home address 111): Refers to the once-prominent group of ex-Thai Rak Thai MPs and ex-Thaksin cabinet members, including TRT's executive board, who were banned from political activity for five years in the aftermath of 2007's dissolution of the party. Barely one year later, a re-incarnated People Power Party and two other parties were dissolved on charges of electoral rigging, with a total of 109 executive members being suspended from political activity as well.
Gang of Four: This refers to ex-prime minister Samak Sundaravej, Bhumjaithai Party de facto leader Newin Chidchob, ex-deputy premier Surapong Suebwonglee and Thirapol Noprampha, ex-secretary to Mr Samak. The Gang allegedly manipulated plots to keep other factions within the rank and file of the now-dissolved People Power Party at bay.
Gang sam por (gang of three Pors): This refers to a powerful group consisting of Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, army chief Anupong "Pok" Paojinda and army chief-of-staff Prayuth Chan-ocha (who all share the Thai initial letter por). These generals are said to have been the puppet masters behind the formation of the Democrat-led coalition government. The secret plan is said to have been formed at the home of Gen Prawit.
Karn muang mai (new politics): A phrase coined by the People's Alliance for Democracy during its anti-Thaksin movement, which claimed the government was guilty of corruption at policy level and other misconduct. New politics is claimed to be the dawn of a new era, and has since become the moniker of the PAD's newly-formed political party.
Markism-Nevinism: The phrase was coined by first-time MP Somkid Balthaisong of the Puea Thai Party to sarcastically describe the marriage between the Abhisit administration and Mr Newin, the de facto leader of the Bhumjaithai Party. Mark is Mr Abhisit's nickname. The phrase obviously mocks the ideologies of Marxism and Leninism.
Mob mee sen (privileged mob): This phrase was coined by ex-deputy premier Pol Gen Kowit Watana while addressing the House of Representatives. It refers to the anti-Thaksin alliance whose leaders allegedly remained free and far from the somewhat truncated arms of the laws, following their shutdowns of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports and the occupation of Government House last year.
Nayok nominee (nominee for premiership): Ex-premier Samak Sundaravej sarcastically called himself nayok nominee when asked by reporters to comment on his relationships with his predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra.
Phee hua khad (headless ghost): The Puea Thai Party was said by sarcastic government MPs to exist without a real party boss, as Thaksin is in self-exile. While the current leaders of the party are viewed only as Thaksin's nominees.
Phone-in: This widely-used phrase does not only refer to the globetrotting Thaksin making overseas phone calls to his supporters during organised gatherings. Some savvy radio commentators have also adopted it for those phoning in during their live radio talk shows.
Pormod Khamen (Khmer wizard): This refers to House Speaker Chai Chidchob, a Khmer descent, who's adept at keeping his colleagues at parliament dumbfounded with his tricks and filibusters, as if they were mesmerised by a wizard.
Rathaban pla nao (rotten-fish government): Opposition Puea Thai MPs called the Abhisit government a rathaban pla nao, following the distribution of rotten tinned sardines to flood victims in the South by a Democrat minister, Witoon Nambutr. The scandal cost the young minister his cabinet seat.
Rathamontree sangkarn (minister in charge): Puea Thai MP Sunai Chulpongsathorn charged that some Bhumjaithai members of the cabinet were puppets of Mr Newin, who is said to give them orders in a discreet, yet regular fashion.
Sam kleu (Three Stooges): This refers to the trio who are key leaders of the pro-Thaksin, red shirt movement. Veera Musikhapong, Natthawut Saikua and Puea Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan are said to have no "real" influence over the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, although they have remained very active in the anti-government movement since the beginning of the post-Thaksin era.
See thon dai (all-weather paint): Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum and Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai sometimes use the phrase - first used in a TV commercial - to describe themselves as all-weather paint, indicating they can perform under all sorts of pressure and scandals.
So khor klang (middle link): Ex-premier Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh once likened himself to a "middle link" which, he said, could be the go-between to bridge opposing sides of society. Apparently only a few took his comment very seriously.
Song matrathan (double standards): The phrase has been used often to accuse the Abhisit administration, as well as the judiciary and other independent agencies, of applying double standards in their dealings with the yellow shirts and discriminating against the red shirts.
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New Thai vocab issued by Royal Institute
Laptop = Computer on the lap [คอมพิวเตอร์วางตัก]
E-Mail = Electrict Postal Service [ไปรษณีย์อิเล็กทรอนิกส์]
Network = Net for working [เครือข่าย, โครงข่าย]
overload = heavy burden [ภาระเกิน]
Adaptor = Readjustor [ตัวปรับ ตัวปรับต่อ]
Poll = Survey for the Referendium [สำรวจประชามติ]
Logo = Symbolic Seal [ตราสัญลักษณ์]
Search = Find [ค้นหา]
Free = Not paying cash/vacant [ไม่ต้องจ่ายเงิน/ว่าง]
Indoor under the shade/Inside the building [ในร่ม/ในอาคาร]
and so on
Last edited by Wisarut; 09-07-11 at 03:58 AM.
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