Today’s video is about Thail people using the word “Farang”. Some foreigners don’t mind. But others don’t really like it.
So how did this word “Farang” come to be??
The word was first used to refer to the Frankish, or Germanic people and is actually a French word that is derived from “Franc”.
So when these Frankish people travelled to the middle east and to south east asia, they actually brought this word with them and introduced it to these parts of the world.
“Farang Set” refers to people from France.
And this was shortened over time to just “Farang”, which usually means white European people.
If a Thai person calls you “Farang” it’s usually a completely neutral meaning.
It is not negative. It’s just used to refer to your race and the fact that you are a foreigner.
For example, black people are called “African American” in America – which is a neutral phrase.
Other Asian people in Thailand are called Khon tang dao- คนต่างด้าว.
[pronounce the word carefully] – which means Alien — and sometimes not in a positive way.
Black people are sometimes called [say the word for black people] — which can sound very negative and racist, but actually it just refers to people of African descent.
Muslim people are called Kaek.
Sometimes, depending on who says it, and why they say it, it can be good or bad.
So when we ask some Thai people why they call others “Farang” — one very funny answer we got was:
“Well, what other name should we call them?”
The word Farang is used for many other things though.
In Thailand, we use the word “Farang” for the Guava fruit. A very interesting fact about the Guava is that it is not native to Thailand. It was actually brought to here by Purtogeese ships many hundreds of years ago.
So there is always the joke when you go to the market someone might say “The Farang Buy some Farang”
Now if someone says “Farang Khi Nok” that is an insult, and would be to say something like “white trash”.
We sometimes use the word “Farang” when talking about products that come into Thailand to separate them from the same kind of product that is made or grown in Thailand.
For example we would say “man farang” would mean potatoes that were imported into Thailand.
Thailand has words that are sometimes negative to foreigners. But please remember that all countries have words that are negative to foreigners. Not only Thailand.
Generally people in polite conversation these days will use the word “Foreigner” or even refer to you as “French”.
But when talking in casual conversation, even the most High So Thai person will use the word “Farang” easily.
And in fact, many “Farang” refer to other foreigners as “Farang” too.
Remember, Thailand is a different culture and language from your country, so the words you hear sometimes have a different intention than the same words in your country.
Sometimes it has a negative meaning.
But most of the time it is not.
So try not to get triggered easily, instead remember what the person said and ask your Thai friend what it means.
This is why here at Baan Smile we always suggest you try to learn a little Thai language so you do not make a mistake and get offended at something that is quite normal here.
And of course, we always want you to make some Thai friends so they can explain these secrets with you too.