Episode 17: This week we’re back with more ใจ/jai words! Listen, download or play.At the end of the podcast, carefully listen for a cheeky expression Thai women use with only each other.
Dont forget to check out the Thai version of this episode below with Thai script, MP3 and VDO.
Download MP3 to listen offline here
Recently I shared the idiom “cross my heart and hope to die” with my Matthayom 2 and Matthayom 3 students. We were learning new words using gestures as a way to help retain and remember. So when it came to teaching ‘trustworthy’ I thought of the ‘cross your heart’ gesture, American kids do, as in “you can trust your secret with me. I won’t tell a soul, cross my heart and hope to die.” I think my students loved it because they ooohed and ahhhed, as if to say, we understand and whoa, that’s intense.
But sometimes these secure promises don’t work out as well as we think they will, and we feel nói jai/ น้อยใจ - that is, we have a small heart because we don’t understand why someone is acting “negatively” towards us. The example we used in the podcast is maybe your boyfriend has stopped opening the door for you when he always did in the past! So we feel nói jai/น้อยใจ because we start to think, “What did I do wrong?” “Is he losing interest?”
I thought this was fascinating from a Western person’s perspective. Because I think Westerners have a tendency to think the man has nói jai น้อยใจ because he’s not opening the door….as in, “What’s his problem?” “Is he getting lazy?” But Mia explained in Thai culture, Buddhist thought, Thais have a tendency to look to them selves first for any perceived problem.
Other jai/ ใจ words were wái jai/ไว้ใจ which is to trust someone. The opposite is to mái wái jai/ ไม่ไว้ใจ, to not trust someone. This is interesting because during this podcast and the last episode, Mia and me talked about lăai jai/หลายใจ or someone with many hearts. At first blush, this sounds good but in pasă Thai/ภาษาไทย, to have many hearts is to be a playboy or playgirl.
But to have one heart, one true heart is jai dieow/ใจเดียว. When something “hits your heart” it’s called dohn jai or โดนใจ – dohn meaning something has happened, like you are in trouble, you got arrested dohn jap/โดนจับ or got caught in the rain dohn fon/โดนฝน. What’s interesting is dohn jai /โดนใจ can be a positive or negative word depending on the context. But mostly it is positive, as in when someone gives you a really thoughtful gift, it dohn jai โดนใจ/hits your heart. Or when you see a sexy lady walking towards you – you have dohn jai /โดนใจ.
If you are worrying or fretting over someone or some situation you could say you have a heavy heart nàk jai /หนักใจ but when the situation has resolved itself you have bao jai/ เบาใจ or a relieved/soft heart.
One that I had never heard of before was gaao jai or heart glue กาวใจ - typically this term is used to refer to children being the glue that keeps the parents together. Of course, this can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation but considering how it is used here I find it to be sweet. This gaao jai/กาวใจ made me think of the English word, “peace maker”.
To end the podcast, Mia shared a funny Thai saying,
“mee lôok guan dtua, mee pŭa guan jai” มีลูกกวนตัว มีผัวกวนใจ.
This translates to, “have children interrupting my body or life, have husband interrupting my heart.” I imagine it’s one of those cheeky things women folk say when they are feeling the heavy mantle of RESPONSIBILITY like a *sigh*.