May 8, 2009

คนพวกนั้น (Those Kind of People)

For those who expressed interest in the Thai-language version Siburapha's story "Those Kind of People" (which I blogged about last week), I have now posted the original story: คนพวกนั้น.

I digitized the text by scanning it and running the scans through ABBYY FineReader 9.0 OCR software. They added Thai support last year and it's by far the best of the meager Thai OCR options. No offense to NECTEC, but their ArnThai is truly terrible in comparison. But it's still not perfect, so I read through it quickly to fix obvious errors. If you spot any more drop me a line and I'll fix them.


Thai Movie DVD Roundup, Part 2: Memory Collection from GMM

It's been a year since my first DVD roundup, when I summarized the classic Thai films on offer from Triple X. I planned to follow up with the Happy Time catalog. While I still have my half-finished notes for that, it'll have to wait its turn. Today I'm gonna take on a bite-sized DVD roundup: GMM's new Memory Collection.

It's only in the last few weeks that I've begun to notice these films on the shelf. And so far there are only three titles in the series. But doing a little research, I find that the first in the Memory Collection series was released in January 2009, followed by released in February and March.

Title: February (กุมภาพันธ์)
Director: Yuthlert Sippapak
Starring: Sopitnapa Dabbaransi, Shahkrit Yamnarm
Run-time: 108 minutes
Original theatrical release: 14 February 2003
Memory Collection release: 29 January 2009

Title: O-Negative (รักออกแบบไม่ได้)
Director: Pinyo Rutharm
Starring: Tata Young, Shahkrit Yamnarm, Ray MacDonald
Run-time: 108 minutes
Original theatrical release: 30 October 1998
Memory Collection release: 26 February 2009

Title: Red Bike Story (จักรยานสีแดง)
Director: Euthana Mukdasanit
Starring: Tata Young, Patipan Pataweekarn
Run-time: 111 minutes
Original theatrical release: 4 March 1997
Memory Collection release: 24 March 2009

Larger covers from Red Bike Story (click for even bigger):

The suggested retail prices for titles in the Memory Collection is 199 baht. Today I saw 189, and online sites Boomerang and Amorn Movie are offering them for 159 and 150 baht, respectively. The bad news: no subtitles of any kind, Thai or English.

The word on the street is that the picture quality is poor, so today I went out and bought Red Bike Story, which I'm not sure has ever been released on DVD before.

On my computer screen the image looks pixelated, which is unfortunate. On a TV (or analog monitor) that computes to a fuzzy picture. But the colors are decent, in comparison to the downright awful quality of most older Thai movies (due to poor preservation and transfers). I'd call the quality very watchable, but certainly not what you'd typically expect from a DVD. If you have any doubt that the image is not crisp, just skip to the end credits, which are washed out and difficult to read.

Here are a couple of screen shots. Click for the full native resolution.

My feelings on this series overall is that it's typical Thai cheap-as-possible production, where they don't appear to either realize or consider that many people do care about things like image and sound quality (just read the comments on that thread I linked to). So it smarts a little when they do cheap transfers and charge 199 baht for it.

But at the same time, I've never had the chance to see Red Bike Story before, so I do hope they continue to release interesting older films. The typical shelf life for DVDs here is so short, it's refreshing to see titles like these back on the shelves.

May 6, 2009

On the death of roi-et ร้อยเอ็ด

No, the province isn't in trouble. I'm talking about the Thai phrase meaning "one hundred and one".

I've noticed that, in Bangkok at least, I never really hear the number 101 written or spoken as ร้อยเอ็ด or หนึ่งร้อยเอ็ด. Rather, หนึ่งร้อยหนึ่ง seems to be the norm these days. The same goes for 201, 501, 1001, etc. I only hear เอ็ด in the tens places -- from 11 to 91.

The most common situation to hear these in is when someone reads you the total from a purchase, whether it's a 7-Eleven stop or a restaurant bill.

One thing to keep in mind is that while you can say หนึ่งร้อยเอ็ด, and abbreviate that ร้อยเอ็ด, you can't really do the same with หนึ่งร้อยหนึ่ง. That's because ร้อยหนึ่ง is understood to mean 100, because หนึ่ง in this case acts like English "a". Asking a friend ขอยืมตังค์ร้อยหนึ่ง means "can I borrow a hundred (baht)"? The same goes for higher decimal places. พันหนึ่ง = 1000, หมื่นหนึ่ง = 10000, and so forth. (But also note that in this type of usage, the tone of หนึ่ง typically becomes a mid tone, and as a result is informally written นึง to reflect that.)

Using เอ็ด for "one" in the ones place of multi-digit numbers is still technically correct, according to the Royal Institute. And it usually helps to avoid confusion. For example, saying 1001 as หนึ่งพันหนึ่ง could be misunderstood as 1100, or หนึ่งพันหนึ่งร้อย, since the decimal unit of the next figure is often omitted in casual speech. พันห้า = 1500, หมื่นสอง = 12000, ล้านสี่ = 1.4 million. The only exception here seems to be the tens place, where สิบ is rarely ever omitted. สองร้อยห้า = 205, not 250, though one may run into occasional exceptions to this exception.

So why would เอ็ด would begin to disappear from usages like 101, 201, or 1001?

And if it really is disappearing, then I wonder whether this bug report for Open Office is really a bug or a feature. Is it simply reflecting common modern usage?

Can anyone else corroborate my experience? What is usage like outside Bangkok?