Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Ka-Ka Girls

 Females in Thailand end many sentences with "ka" and males end sentences with "krup" or "krap."  They also intersperse these sounds within sentences.  Some people do this a lot; others who deal with foreigners in more formal business relationships do not say ka or krup as often.  We have no idea of the meanings of ka or krup.

Our friend Bill on S/V ESTRELLITA shared his story of visiting a local shop in Ao Chalong.  He had some canvas work done the previous week and wanted some adjustments made to a few items.  The English-speaking shop manager, a woman called Dum (pronounced just like dumb in English, but she certainly isn't), was not in; so Bill had to deal directly with a couple of female shop workers who spoke not a word of English.  This is about how the conversation went:

Bill:  See these seams?
Girls:  Ka

Bill:  I want these seams to be this way.
Girls:  Ka-a-a

Bill:  Can you do?
Girls: Ka

Bill:  And these turnbuckles on the end are too hard to work (as he screwed his face into a grimace and motioned twisting with difficulty).
Girls:  Ka-a-a

Bill:  Want these with grommets so can tie like the other piece.
Girls:  Ka-a-a-a (giggle; giggle with hands over mouths) Ka-a-a-a

Bill:  Can you do?
Girls: Ka

Bill:  This piece is too long.
Girls: Ka-a-a

Bill:  Can you make the same length as this other piece?
Girls:  Ka. Ka

Bill:  Can be ready tomorrow?
Girls:  Ka-a-a-a-a

Bill:  Everything all be ready tomorrow?
Girls:  Ka-a. Ka-a

Here was a fairly technical conversation involving several alterations on multiple sections of canvas awning.  And the girls understood everything he wanted done without understanding a word of his language.  And the only sounds the girls uttered was "ka" with various tonal inflections.  And, guess what!  They did all the work correctly and it was ready the following morning.  Gotta love it!

Then this week we called the same shop to see if our awning was repaired and ready for pick-up.  We did not want to waste a drive to Ao Chalong from our isolated marina unless the work was completed. 

Me:  This is Judy on boat BeBe.
Girl:  Ka

Me:  Are you finished working on our awning?
Girl:  Ka

Me:  Can we pick it up in an hour?  Will you be there in the shop?
Girl:  Ka.  Ka.

Me:  How much do we owe you?
Girl:  4,250 Baht-ka.

Me:  Thank you.  We will be there within an hour.  Goodbye.
Girl:  Bye-bye-ka.

And this was Dum, English-speaking shop manager, with whom I was conversing.

We now refer to this shop as the Ka-Ka Girls.  That is a lot shorter than the real name of the shop, which is 4 words we can never remember.

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