Thailand’s Thirteen Smiles

A common nickname Thailand is “The Land of Smiles.” — a fact that Thailand’s travel industry will not let you forget. True, the Thai are known for their frequent smiling, but in Thailand a smile is not just a simple expression of happiness; Thai smiles do express joy, but they also appear as the Thai way of reacting to many circumstances, from happy to sad. In Working With The Thais: A Guide to Managing in Thailand, Henry Holmes and Suchada Tangtongtavy describe, and try to analyze the the meaning of, 13 kinds of Thai smiles, including Yim cheun chom, a smile that expresses admiration, Yim chuead chuean, a smile of gloating, and Yim sao, a smile that masks sadness.

Let’s try a “Smile of Being Happy That We Spent a Week in Class Exploring Thai Music but Sadness That We Have to Move On,” and prepare ourselves for next week’s class.