Using Thai numerals still. Why?

in #thailand2 months ago

Some of us feel as though they are used in a way to be able to have duel pricing at certain places that foreigners and Thai people both visit. Other people think they hang onto it just for nostalgic or historical reasons, but others feel as though it is just a pain that needs to be phased out the way that cursive was mostly phased out in the western world.


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Thailand kind of marches to the beat of their own drum but it is difficult to not at least think to some degree that they are using this super special magic way of representing numbers to charge a different price to foreigners than to Thais. When I first moved here someone said to me to learn the Thai numbers even if you don't learn anything else because if nothing else, at least you'll be aware of the fact that you are being ripped off.


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That's an easy one because it is 3 digits only for the foreigner price, but there are instances where there are the same amount of digits and the foreigner price is drastically more. Anyway, the point of all of this wasn't to complain about farangs being charged more for stuff. This practice has gone on for a very long time and is likely to continue forever.

What's going on is that there was actually a change.org petition signed by a lot of Thai people that wanted to have the usage of the Thai numeral system scrapped in public and on official government documents. The reason that this petition began in the first place was not because some foreigner was pissed off about getting charged too much to get into a national park but because printers experience difficulties in printing this characters and computers and the international internet community don't recognize the numerals at all.

Like I said, Thailand does what it wants no matter what the rest of the world does. They still stick the Buddhist year and as far as I know they are the only country that does this. To many Thai people this year is 2563 right now and this is reflected on official documents including driving licenses and car tax stickers. A friend of mine got busted for an expired car tax sticker simply because he had no idea what the Buddhist year was. It's pretty confusing, especially when they use Thai numbers to represent a year that no other country in the world puts on their official documents. Trying to make a bank transfer overseas can be complicated because their custom computers keep insisting that it is 500 years in the future as far as the Gregorian calendar is concerned and no bank in the world is going to accept a transfer for 500 years from now.

The petition was of course rejected by the government and was even called "absurd" by the deputy Prime Minister.

To me this is just stubbornness and it makes things overly complicated for a lot of people. It is difficult to even input these numbers onto a document at all ๔๓๒๑. In order to make that happen I had to hit a change language key, then hold down shift in order to enter those. If you don't have a computer made in Thailand, there wouldn't even be any key markings for where these things are located so you would have to open a separate text window or something just to be able to use them. So I guess I can understand where these people who are complaining are coming from.


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It isn't just about ripping off foreigners and I am sure any foreigner names in the change.org petition would be ignored anyway. I understand wanting to hang onto your heritage but why keep this if it is just making everyone's life more complicated and has to be changed when interacting with any other country anyway?

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