Moving back to Bangkok

1382026166072_wmIn a weeks’ time, I will be back in Bangkok. This time for work. The last few months has been awesome. Been reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, and most importantly, spending time with family. I do hope to have the time and ethusiasm to update this blog from time to time. Is there anyone out there still reading this?


Thai ED visa in KL

Well, I’m back in Bangkok. Once again, landing in Suvarnabhumi does not feel strange nor foreign at all. It was in fact nice to hear people speaking Thai again, as a preamble to the Thai classes that I’ll be attending again tomorrow at Chula and AUA. The one thing that was marginally different this time was that I entered Thailand with a new ED (education) visa that was issued in KL, as the previous Glasgow issued one had expired.

Thai ED visa issued in KL for free!

Thai ED visa issued in KL for free to Malaysians

Living in Ampang, I’d passed by the Royal Thai Embassy on Jalan Ampang thousands of time but had only been there been there for the first time two weeks ago to apply for the visa. You could drive there and hope for getting  off-street parking in the small line next to it, but certainly the best thing to do would be to get the LRT to Ampang Park and walk the 5-10 minutes it takes to get there.

A very pleasant, albeit unexpected, surprise I found at the embassy was that Malaysia has a bilateral agreement with Thailand which allows Malaysians to be exempt from paying visa fees, hence the RM0 entry on my visa sticker as seen above. However, the KL embassy only ever issues single entry ED visas, whereas the Glasgow consulate issues multiple entry ones. Oh well, I shouldn’t complain. After all, this time around it was for FREE! 🙂 The other countries also being exempted currently are Singapore, the Philippines , South Korea and Tunisia.


Neighbouring Malay and Thai royalties

Despite the Burney Treaty of 1826, the British gradually spread its influence in the northern Malay states. During the reign of HM King Chulalongkorn the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 was signed. Hearing it from a Thai perspective was both interesting and insightful. It was seen as Siam signing away its land to a foreign power, in the aim of achieving a greater goal of protecting its hinterland proper in the Chao Phraya basin. On the other hand, the Malaysian discourse states that it was an audacious, unilateral decision between the British and Siamese without consulting the sultans of the northern Malay states, whose subjects would be at the mercy of the agreement. The will of the people was thought to be inconsequential. With a quick flourish of the pen, Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu changed overlords from the Siamese to the British.  They were then incorporated into the Unfederated Malay States (Negeri-negeri Melayu Tak Bersekutu).

British Malaya territories

British Malaya territories, consisting of the Straits Settlements and the Malay sultanates (sans Brunei), as depicted on the Malayan currency of the time

Since the Malay states formally came together Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Federation of Malaya) , and subsequently Malaysia, the relationship between the rulers of the Malay states and Thailand have normalised. The 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong HM Tuanku Abdul Halim was due to embark on a state visit to Thailand  last week on the invitation of HM King Bhumibol, but unfortunately  it had to be cancelled due to His Majesty’s poor health.

Coincidentally, all of the most recent Yang di-Pertuan Agongs of Malaysia,  as shown above, were from the northern Malay states, apart from Selangor.

HM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and HM King Bhumibol

HM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and HM King Bhumibol

Outwith of Malaysia, there is one other country which has a Malay sultan as its ruler, namely Brunei which  has the official state ideology of Melayu Islam Beraja (Malay Islamic Monarchy). Thailand, comparably, holds on to the trinity of country(ชาติ), religion(ศาสนา) and king(พระมหากษัตริย์), as pillars of its society.

Siam and the northern Malay states

The headline news in today’s papers were mostly about the start of talks between Thailand and the southern insurgents which was signed yesterday at PULAPOL in Jalan Semarak, and the meeting between PMs Najib and Yingluck. I hope and pray that this will be start of an eventual peace settlement in that troubled area.

At AUA, one of the subjects used for the teachers to speak in Thai is history. These history lessons constantly remind me of the lessons I received in secondary school on the Siamese influence over the northern Malay states. It is unthinkable today to imagine the current northern Malay states being under Thai sovereignty; the socio-cultural framework, language and religion is quite different from the Thai-Buddhist mainstream, and yet this was the reality about 150 years ago. These states eventually joined the bigger Malay hinterland, whilst the status quo remained for some Malay states in the deep south of Thailand.

At the start of the 19th century, following its victory over Burma, the Siamese kingdom (Chakri dynasty) wanted to consolidate its power over the Malay states in its periphery. The sultanates of Perak, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu were vulnerable to this. Siam ordered Kedah to attack Perak in 1818 as Sultan Perak refused to pay tribute to Bangkok. Kedah acquiesced in fear of attack from Siam over its own territory, and was able to conquer Perak. Nonetheless in 1821, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin of Kedah was called to Bangkok to answer against some allegations but he refused, resulting in Siam attacking Kedah. Siam managed to overcome Kedah but was not able to overpower Perak. 1n 1822, Perak managed to expel the remnant of Siamese influence with the assistance of Selangor.

The Siamese state persisted and via its southern proxy Nakorn Sri Thammarat (Negara Sri Dharmaraja/Ligor in Malay), remained keen on having influence over Perak and Selangor up until 1826, when it signed the Burney Treaty. It was an agreement between King Rama III (Phra Nang Khlao) and Capt. Henry Burney of the East  India Company. Essentially it prevented the spread of Siamese influence over the rest of the Malay states the British themselves had an interest in, particularly Perak and Selangor. Siam was given a free reign over the affairs of the remaining Malay states. Thus the northern Malay states were informally incorporated in the bigger Siamese kingdom. Governor Robert Fullerton, the governor of the Straits Settlements (which was then still based in Penang, having yet to move to Singapore) criticised the Burney Treaty, as the sultans, particularly the Sultan of Kedah, were seen to be particularly ill-treated in the whole affair.


This royal emblem originated from the time of King Chulalongkorn. The three headed elephant represents Siam. The single elephant represents Laos. The keris กริช, represents the Malay states. The official royal Thai emblem has been changed, but one can still see this old state-of-arm still in use in the badge of Royal Thai police cap.

To be continued…

Kisah dua beradik nelayan Melayu-Cham Kemboja

Yusuf dan Ismail

Allahyarham Yusuf dan Ismail


Diceritakan oleh ibu mereka, Kong Sarifas

Kedua-dua anak saya berpelajaran. Mereka boleh membaca dan menulis bahasa Khmer, Cham (bahasa orang Islam di Kemboja), Arab dan Melayu. Ismail juga menuntut ilmu sakti, dia belajar bagaimana untuk mengghaibkan diri dan mengubah arah tujuhala peluru.

Kami tinggal di Kampung Khleang Sbek di daerah Kandal sewaktu pemerintahan rejim Lon Nol. Menjelang tahun 1973, pertempuran makin meruncing di situ maka kami berpindah ke Chraing Chamreh. Tapi setelah beberapa lama, suami saya menyesal kehilangan rumah beliau, lalu membawa Yusuf dan Ismael, serta anak perempuan saya Mari balik ke Khleang Sbek supaya mereka boleh menangkap ikan; beliau berkata tiada apa yang boleh dibuatnya di Chraing Chamreh. Kemudiannya saya mengajak mereka datang balik. Suami berkata beliau dan anak-anak laki kami takkan kembali,  tapi saya boleh membawa Mari pulang. Kami sampai di Chraing Chamreh petang itu. Keesokan paginya kesemua jalan ditutup dan saya tidak pernah  tengok suami dan anak-anak laki saya lagi.

Orang kampung beritahu yang mereka ada nampak dua orang pemuda yang kulitnya macam orang Vietnam; mereka sedang cuba mencari ibu mereka. Seorang lelaki berkata yang beliau ternampak mereka diangkut oleh orang Angkar untuk dibunuh. Orang kata salah seorang daripada mereka berambut kerinting, dan yang lagi seorang berambut lurus. Mendengar cerita ni, hati saya hancur berkecai. Saya tahu yang ianya anak-anak lelaki saya.


Kisah ini dipetik daripada catatan di Muzium Tuol Sleng (S-21), Phnom Penh, Kemboja. Lawatan pada bulan September 2012.

Saya terfikir, sewaktu segala kejadian kejam sebegini berlaku di Kemboja, adakah rakyat negara-negara jiran benar-benar tahu kejadian sebenar atau mengambil peduli? Terbit rasa syukur  menjadi rakyat negara yang aman. Juga timbul rasa kagum dan hormat atas keperibadian masyarakat Kemboja yang telah melalui pahit maung sebegini tidak terlalu lama dahulu.


Tuol Sleng S-21

Back in Sept 2012 I went on a weekend break to Phnom Penh with a Japanese friend. it was my second trip there and his first. Slightly macabre and definitely poignant was a visit to the Tuol Seng museum, a school which was renamed S-21 by the Khmer Rouge where people were tortured and executed.


There were many exhibits in the many classrooms – photos, personal mementos, documents, personal items; they may not have been high-tech but everything succinctly built up a picture of the evil that happened during those tumultuous years. They provided snapshots of the atrocities that occurred not too long ago, not too far from home. Most visitors were quietly contemplative, some were visibly shaken, others were somewhat boisterous, usually coming in big tour groups.


One of the stories that I came across was that of Ly Yousib and Ly Smael, two Cham brothers, as narrated by their mother. Their Malay names would have been Yusuf and Ismail.

VLUU P1200  / Samsung P1200


Kamus Dwibahasa Melayu Thai

Pertama kali saya hendak mempelajari bahasa Thai, saya dapati memang terlalu banyak buku berbahasa Inggeris di persada awam yang sememangnya mudah dibeli di mana-mana toko boko. Namun, bilangan buku berbahasa Melayu terlalu sedikit; memang daif sekali jika hendak dibandingkan.

Dalam pada itu, terdapat juga satu dua naskhah di luar sana yang saya syorkan kepada sesiapa sahaja yang serius untuk mendalami bahasa, iaitu kamus Melayu-Thai.  Dua buah kamus yang memang masih berada di dalam pasaran ini adalah Kamus Thai-Melayu Dewan, terbitan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka serta Kamus Bahasa Melayu-Thai, terbitan Penerbit Universiti Malaya.

Kiri: Terbitan DBP, kanan: Terbitan UM

Kiri: Terbitan DBP, kanan: Terbitan UM

Kamus Thai-Melayu Dewan

Saya suka kamus terbitan DBP ini kerana ia mengandungi ayat-ayat contoh bagi sesetengah entri yang memudahkan pemahaman sesebuah kosakata itu.


Kamus Thai-Melayu Dewan ISBN: 9789836298058

Namun, yang ketara ialah kebolehan membaca Thai itu perlu untuk menggunakan kamus ini, kerana susunan entri kesemuanya adalah menggunakan abjad Thai, bermakna pengguna perlu tahu sesebuah perkataan Thai itu untuk mencari makna di dalam bahasa Melayu. Sebagai contoh yang di atas, perkataan Thai “พูด” bermakna bercakap atau berkata.  Secara jujur, saya berpendapat kamus ini lebih mudah bagi orang Thai yang mula mempelajari bahasa Melayu berbanding orang Melayu yang ingin mempelajari bahasa Thai. Walau apapun, ia juga masih sesuai untuk kita yang berbahasa ibunda Melayu, yang mempelajari bahasa Thai di peringkat pertengahan. Pada peringkat ini kita seharusnya sudah boleh membaca huruf Thai.

Harga kamus setebal 428 mukasurat ini ialah RM40, tetapi selalunya Dawama akan memberi diskaun 10%.  Kamus ini adalah hasil kerjasama Dewan Bahasa Pustaka dan Universiti Prince of Songhkla serta Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris.  Ia masih di dalam cetakan pertama, tahun 2008.

Kompleks Dawama,
Lot 1037, Jalan AU3/1,
54200 Ampang/Hulu Kelang,
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel: 03 – 4107 4233/4286
Faks: 03 – 4108 4235


Kamus Bahasa Melayu-Thai

Saudara dan saudari yang baru sahaja berjinak-jinak dengan bahasa Thai akan memerlukan kamus yang entri asal itu sendiri adalah dalam bahasa Melayu. Saya dapati kamus ini amat mudah digunakan. Cuba lihat sendiri.

Kamus Bahasa Melayu-Thai ISBN: 983-100-063-3

Perkataan Melayu “borak” bermakna พูดคุย, disebut phuut (nada jatuh,vokal panjang) khui (nada biasa, vokal pendek). พูด/phuut it sendiri bermakna cakap, manakala คุย/khui bermaksud sembang. Di sini pula kita dapati yang kamus ini memberi penjelasan bagaimana hendak menyuarakan nada yang betul bagi sesebuah perkataan Thai itu. Ini penting kerana nada yang salah akan memberi makna yang berlainan, langsung akan kedengaran sebagai mengelirukan, pelik atau lucu.

Kamus yang dikarang oleh Siti Asiah Kancana ini mempunyai 481 mukasurat dan berharga RM20. Kamus UM ini diterbitkan terlebih dahulu daripada kamus DBP, iaitu pada tahun 1998, dan masih lagi di dalam cetakan pertama.

University of Malaya Press, Pantai Valley, 50603, Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603-7957 4361/ 603-7967 5906 Fax: 603-7957 4473 E-mail: terbit[a]

Saya telah ke UM dan Dawama sendiri untuk membeli naskhah kepunyaan saya. Bagi mereka yang di luar KL atau Lembah Kelang, kedua-dua pencetak ini menyediakan perkhidmatan belian online dan kiriman melalui pos ,jadi masih senanglah untuk saudara dan saudari berurusniaga.

Sedikit sebanyak saya berharap  sumbangan ini dapat membantu sesiapa sahaja yang sedang mencari sumber pembelajaran bahasa Thai di dalam bahasa Melayu. Selamat belajar! สู้ สู้