March 20, 2010

Farang: A Nature Mockumentary

Thanks to Gnarly Kitty, I discovered the hilarious videos of Bon, a Thai with a knack for clever satire.



Bon is known for her blog and video series, Learn Thai the Bon's Way. But this month she started a new website, JaideeTV/ใจดีทีวี, on which she spoofs modern Thai culture. In particular, the video that caught my attention is a nature mockumentary about that strange creature, the farang.

In addition to poking fun at foreigners in Thailand, it mocks Thais who try to mimic farangs, and the whole thing is a parody of the well-known Thai educational TV series กระจกหกด้าน. If you've ever seen the series, you know the parody is spot on.

Because I think this video is so great, I created English subtitles for it. The translation attempts to capture the sense of humor of the original, rather than closely translate the Thai.

Be sure to check out Bon's site JaideeTV, too. Enjoy!

21 comments:

  1. Nice tip. I was amused by the ไทยคำอังกฤษคำ video, too.

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  2. Wow, thanks for writing about this. I went and watched all episodes. All are really funny and got the point right on. I already add JaideeTV feed to my list :)

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  3. Bon does a hilarious job on this one :-)

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  4. Awesome. Pure awesomeness. I especially like the part about "lingual palsy." Priceless.

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  5. Linked from my FB to this post, for those friends who don't speak Thai. Still chuckling about it.

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  6. Hehehe..thanks for the link. I'm glad Bon is getting lots of attention from it. She was featured on CNNGo this week, too.

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  7. Rikker

    A newspaper (probably The Post or the Nation) did a two page spread on learning to speak like a 'Thai trying to sound like a Farang speaking Thai'. It was quite detailed and technical, but now I can't find it. Did you see it?

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  8. I missed that. Too bad, would've really liked to see it. :D

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  9. Wow. There may be a great deal to poke fun at amongst foreign visitors to Thailand, and perhaps it is a very well observed parody of a popular TV show, and perhaps some Thai people emulate foreign ways, but somehow something like this feels rather crass and heavy handed. Back in the Western Hemisphere, racial generalisations are pretty unfashionable these days.

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  10. Wait... it's generalizing about white people? I AM NOW OFFENDED! RAAWWWRR!

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  11. Seriously, though, I'm glad you informed me that racial generalizations are unfashionable in the west now. I had no idea.

    I guess there must be some kind of big time delay caused by the distance between the western and eastern hemispheres (kind of like how aliens are probably watching 1950s sitcoms right now, because it takes the signal so long to get to them). Because I keep seeing all these comedians making jokes about the difference between white people and black people.

    I'm honestly relieved that westerners no longer think that Asians all look alike, or that they are all good at math and are terrible drivers. I don't know when all these stereotypes died, but I take you at your word that these scourges have been ereadicated.

    Bon, did you hear that? You are a bad person because you made fun of white people! Bad Asian! Bad!

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  12. Haha .... ha.

    Oh riiiiiiighht. I get it now. Yeah, doing all the stuff you say other people shouldn't do is absolutely fine if someone else did it to you first.

    Yeah, now I understand Rikker. In fact, the more I read of your blog, the more I understand.

    Fulbright must be proud.

    Why don't I go make a cup of tea, then you can post again to twitter to drum up some more visitors to come and see how cleverly sarcastic you are. I'll go back to being a white person in Asia experiencing racism on a daily basis who still thinks an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, because obviously I don't know anything about it either - being white and all that.

    Goodbye.

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  13. I'm genuinely confused by this sentence:

    "Yeah, doing all the stuff you say other people shouldn't do is absolutely fine if someone else did it to you first."

    Who is saying other people shouldn't do what?

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  14. If you want to have a serious discussion, I'm game. I enjoy discussions. I also enjoy sarcasm. I see now that you do, too.

    It's not like I'm a stranger to racism. I experience it every day, just like you. Most of the time it's good, though. People are friendly to me because I'm white. They go out of their way to help me because I'm white. They think my daughter is cuter just because she is half white. But it's not all good, of course. As a white man in Thailand a lot of things are immediately assumed about me.

    When I watch this video I see it doing three things: poking fun at farangs, poking fun at Thais who mimic farangs, and poking fun at Thai stereotypes of farangs. I don't think it's heavy handed at all. I think it's pretty subtle, which is why more than one person has missed the point. Kind of like people who thought Jonathan Swift was actually in favor of eating human infants.

    Something to chew on: Bon didn't intend for farangs to see this. I only repeat that fact to make sure (perhaps tardily) that readers properly interpret the context in which it was made. If you find it offensive, then the fact that she intended it for Thai consumption doesn't serve to excuse it. But perhaps that fact will help give a better idea of the context in which it was meant to be received. To really get that, though, you'd need to see all her other videos. I don't know if you have.

    I am interested to know what you think, but I don't find myself persuaded by what you've said so far.

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  15. How's it any different from Hyacinth Bucket pretending her name's pronounced "bouquet"?

    People trying to talk like what they aren't, and other upwardly-mobile aspirations to unrealistic stereotypes, have been staples of comedy since at least the classical satirists.

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  16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_tom

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  17. very funny
    ขอบดณครับ

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  18. This is really funny and i am showing it to all my Thai friends. I think i might even assign it to my class. Whoever that guy is getting upset about it needs to relax, go get a massage, enjoy some ridiculously cheap food and enjoy the rest of his day.

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  19. kris willems5/24/2010 10:27 AM

    I think it's funny. I advise everyone to go to see the last show of standup comedian Nose (Udom). In his show he jokes about the strange habits of many nationalities, including Thai.

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  20. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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  21. where can i get the english subtitles you created?

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