April 13, 2009

Word of the Day: สถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน /sa'tʰǎa.ná'kaan chùk 'chə̌ən/

Word of the Day for Saturday, April 11, 2009:

สถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน /sa'tʰǎa.ná'kaan chùk 'chə̌ən/ n. state of emergency (by formal declaration)

Yesterday marked a record for Thailand: the first time in Thai history that a etate of emergency was declared on two consecutive days. Through a little research, though, I learned that Thailand has been in a formal state of emergency in at least one province since 1958.

The recent culprit is the South Thailand insurgency, where the situation was downgraded in 2005 from martial law to state of emergency in 2005, and the SOE has been extended without faily every three months since then. We're up for another extension of the Southern SOE next week.

The important elements here are สถานการณ์ "situation" and ฉุกเฉิน "emergency". Alternately, ภาวะฉุกเฉิน is used with the same meaning, but is not the official term. Occasionally สภาวะฉุกเฉิน will turn up, too. Both of these literally mean "state of emergency".

Bonus vocab:
  • เหตุฉุกเฉิน "emergency" (literally, "emergent event")
  • ประตูฉุกเฉิน "emergency exit" (lit. "emergency door")
  • สัญญาณฉุกเฉิน "emergency alarm"
  • ห้องฉุกเฉิน "emergency room; ER"
  • เบรกฉุกเฉิน "emergency brake; e-brake" (more commonly, เบรกมือ "hand brake")
  • ในกรณีฉุกเฉิน "in case of emergency..."


  1. I somehow doubt the 1958 state of emergency is still in effect, it might be that the announcement of its end is missing, like a handful of announcement I cannot find for the districts. Have you made that list into XML already (nudge nudge) :-)

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  3. Hi.

    My name is Mariana, and I'm a brazilian journalist. I work at www.operamundi.net

    I'd like to ask for an interview about Thailand's situation.

    If you could give me your contact, (or if you can't, tell about someone else for me to interview), I'd be very grateful

    My e-mail: viajantedemundos@gmail.com

  4. @Andy You're misunderstanding -- it's not that the 1958 state of emergency is still in effect. But rather, each subsequent SOE is declared before the previous one is fully revoked. So it's a chain of many states of emergency spanning 50 years. 1958 is simply the last time that a SOE was completely revoked in all provinces.