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How To Take a Picture With 2 Shirtless Thai Boys

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How To Take a Picture With 2 Shirtless Thai Boys

Jeremy Ginsburg

In June 2015, I spent five days in Northern Thailand. 

Thai people are incredibly friendly.
My minimal Thai didn’t really matter, since most people I encountered spoke English pretty well.
But, there was one incident that I needed to share with you.
In Pai, Northern Thailand, my friends and I were visiting a touristy waterfall.
It was filled with mostly backpackers there.
But, there were a few unsupervised Thai children playing around.
There were two boys in particular that were hanging out on a rock listening to the radio.
It was a classic scene.
When’s the last time you listened to the radio out of a box with an antenna coming out of it?

My friend, Jay, is a photographer and he REALLY wanted to take a picture of them. He got out his camera and asked.

Picture?” He added a thumbs up to ensure that it was okay.
The two boys shook their head and looked away.  Not happening...

Jay frowned and put his camera back in his bag.

He didn’t want to disrespect these kids by taking a picture without permission.
 Five minutes later, I greeted the two children…

 IN THAI.
 “S
awatee Kap, sabai di mai?
 

 

The kids bursted out with laughter!
I pointed at myself and spoke with many errors, “poot pasa Thai dai nid-noi
This means, “Speak a little Thai”.
Their smiles looked permanent; they couldn’t get enough!
 I pointed at myself and continued to practice the little Thai I knew. The translation went like this:
Me (pointing at myself and holding up my fingers) Two. Four. You, how much?
I didn’t know how to ask about age, only how to ask for the price of items for sale. But, the kids understood what I was asking.
They responded in Thai. I didn’t understand the numbers until they showed me with their fingers.

12 years old!
I smiled and gave them a high five. I pointed back to my friend and pretended to take a picture with my two hands, “picture?”
The kids were ecstatic!
They did hilarious poses for the next few minutes.
Then, they asked me to join.
I would say this situation summed up my entire trip to Thailand.
When I spoke in English, people seemed happy that I was visiting their country.
When I spoke in Thai, people welcomed me with open arms and smiles. 

 

Even though my Thai was horrible, it made a HUGE difference.
So, here are two videos that will help you do the same.
The first video is about why you need to tell your family and friends about your language learning.
The second video is me getting rejected on the streets of Taiwan in attempts to practice Mandarin.
If you want to laugh, watch the second video: {Click to laugh}
If you want to learn, watch the first one: {Click to learn}

 

Not learning a language?

That's okay.

The takeaway is this:

When you treat other people like people and not a subject for your picture, they'll respond positively.