All the time and even promoted in Thailand’s tourism boards and TV advertisements features one of Thailand’s most well-known feature; The human smile.
How many times have you come across this generalised statement, that Thailand is the land of the smiles? But who actually knows for sure, if that smile is genuine…
In Western society, we often take smiling for granted. Whether we are sad, happy or just in-between, we often experience a few smiles within the day and for sure, it’s obvious when someone is faking that smile or when that smile is actually genuine.
One of the highlights about Thailand is that this country is renowned for it’s natural image: smiling. Even when confronted with rudeness, the Thai’s seem to have a way around it by smiling often surprising foreign tourists and expatriates. But what actually lies behind these endless smiles?
I recently had a chance to research upon this topic and even confirmed my findings with a local Thai. Although the information was very vague, it gives you an idea of the different smiles here in Thailand.
Did you know that there are many forms of smiling, each one for a particular scenario?
Check out the following list of smiles and see if you can remember the last time you saw that smile, or even used it yourself.
- “Yim Thang nam taa” meaning I’m so happy I am smiling smile.
- “Yim thak thaai” is the polite form of smiling to someone you don’t really know.
- “Yim cheun chom” is the I admire you smile.
- “Fuen Yim” is the casual Your not that funny, but I will smile anyway smile.
- “Yim mee lessanai” is the smile for a wicked person, with a wicked idea.
- “Yim yaw” is the infamous I told you so smile.
- “Yim Sao” is the sad smile. (I know… why would you still smile when you are sad??)
- “Yim Haeng” is the I still owe you money but I don’t have the funds smile. Classic one.
- “Yim Haeng” is the I disagree with you, you can go ahead and propose the idea but your idea’s no good smile.
- “Yim cheua- cheuan” is the I win smile. Winners only.
- “Yim soo” is the smile in the face of an impossible struggle smile. Go figure…
- “Yim mai awk” is the I’m trying to smile but I cannot smile.
Now, if this list of smiles is too confusing for you, please take a moment to consider this picture taken at Phnom Penh.
Is this the only country that do not endorse smiling? Why is the life expectancy so low you may ask?
I, Arthur at nomadicarthur.com smile on a regular basis. But I do not know which list and what sub-category of smiles I belong to.