Thai names

I’m slowly getting the feel of how Thai names work, at least the given names, when transliterated to English for us farangs, especially for those working for employers with many foreigners. Usually, it’s a many (averaging three from what I can tell) syllable name. Then, to abbreviate it and perhaps make it less likely to be butchered by us farangs, they cut off the beginning and use the last (sometimes two) syllable/s as their name.

Using an obvious example, Thailand’s Olympic athletes, some of which are not abbreviated:
Sailom
Nanthana
Nippon
Pichai
Khjhornsak
Piyathida
Check out, though, the last names!

There are some very common names, although I have yet to figure out which ones are the equivalent to “Jennifer,” “Jeffrey,” “James,” “Christina,” “Robert” etc etc.

I have found out very quickly that one common one for girls is Sivraporn. Which I thought was beautiful. Except when they butcher it up, guess what: Porn. Yes, many women have office name plaques made with “Porn.”

The receptionist at my language school wisely knew better, which was how I found out what the full name was. Of all people in all places in Bangkok, she ought to know.

Imagine, though, my first encounter with a woman by that name. She was the receptionist of a welcome office, where many families visit upon their settling in. I was with a friend and had to pull out all my willpower and discipline to not jab him hard with my elbow and keep a straight face as Porn dug out a packet of Bangkok residential guides for me. What about the families with children stopping by? They’d be greeted with a very helpful, pretty, friendly, and sweet Porn.

Oh dear.

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