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Songkran in Singapore

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Many Thais are upset that Singapore intends to hold its own its own Songkran festival at the same time as Thailand's traditional festival. Some, however, see the move in a positive light. 

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Songkran in Singapore

Local reaction has been swift to the news that Singapore intends to hold its own Songkran festival at the same time as Thailand's traditional festival, complete with water throwing, Thai boxing and music.

We'll sue the organisers, threatened a senior Culture Ministry official, saying the Singapore facsimile will undermine the value of the Thai New Year celebration.

Culture Surveillance Bureau director Yupa Taweewattanakijbaworn said Singapore is using the festival to promote tourism, without acknowledging the value of the traditions behind Songkran, she said.

"This is wrong because the value of the traditional celebration is being distorted," she said.

Songkran is not just about splashing water for fun, but is aimed at strengthening relationships between family members and communities, Ms Yupa said.

Yupa Taweewattanakijbaworn: Songkran is not just about splashing water for fun, but is aimed at strengthening relationships between family members and communities. NOPPARAT KINGKAEW

Her comments were echoed by many ordinary Thais in the social media.

“I am terribly upset,’’ an online user with the login name “PloyThima’’ wrote on the Pantip web board yesterday.

She said she felt like she was losing a precious asset upon learning of the city state’s plan to hold its own Songkran between April 12 and 13.

“Songkran is no longer ours exclusively. There is now a copy. I am so angry with Singapore. It already has a strong economy, so why does it have to do this? Can’t it start its own festival?’’ she wrote.

Not everyone takes such a dim view of the upcoming Singaporean festival, however. Chai Nakhonchai, Cultural Promotion Department chief, pointed out that Songkran is a traditional festival shared by many countries throughout Southeast Asia.

Mr Chai said Singapore’s celebration of Songkran is not unusual because many other countries in the region also celebrate the festival.

"We should look at Singapore’s Songkran festival positively, as they are promoting Thailand’s Songkran tradition to the world," he said.

On his Facebook page, historian Charnvit Kasetsiri said no country can claim ownership of Songkran.

“Sankranta” is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passage’ or ‘change’. It implies the passage of the sun to mark a new year,’’ Mr Charnvit wrote.

“Songkran is a holiday in India and Sri Lanka. It’s celebrated in southern India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. It’s a shared festival,” Mr Charnvit wrote.

Adapted from Bangkok Post stories

Learn from listening

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Vocabulary:

acknowledge: to accept or admit that something exists, is true or is real - ยอมรับ

aim: to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย

asset: a thing of value - สิ่งที่มีคุณค่า

claim: to demand or ask for something because you believe it is your legal right to own or to have it - อ้างสิทธิ, ยืนยัน

community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน

culture: the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

dim view: a negative opinion or assessment สงสัย,มองในแง่ร้าย - สงสัย,มองในแง่ร้าย

distort: to change something such as information so that it is not longer true or accurate - บิดเบือน

echo: to express the ideas or feelings that someone else has expressed - สะท้อน, กล่าวซ้ำ

exclusively: only used by or intended for one particular person or group; only given to one particular person or group - เฉพาะ, แต่ผู้เดียว

facsimile: an exact copy of something - สำเนา, ก๊อบปี้

festival: an event that is held to celebrate a particular thing or activity - เทศกาล

imply: to suggest that you think something without saying it directly - บอกเป็นนัย, แสดงนัย

intend: to plan to do; to want to happen - ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น, วางแผนไว้

local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

mark: to celebrate or officially remember an event that you consider to be important -

ordinary: not unusual or different in any way - ธรรมดา, ปกติ

ownership: the condition or state of owning things, having things that you "own", that belong to you, that you are the "owner" of - สิทธิการครอบครอง, ความเป็นเจ้าของ

passage: a way through something - การผ่าน, ทางผ่าน

positively: in a good way - ในทางบวก

precious: of great value because of being rare, expensive or important - มีค่า,ล้ำค่า

reaction: the way something responds as a result of something that happens - ปฏิกิริยา การตอบสนอง, ปฏิกิริยาตอบโต้

relationship: the way in which two people, groups or countries behave towards each other or deal with each other - ความสัมพันธ์

senior: with a high rank or position - อาวุโส

social media: the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

state: country - ประเทศ

sue: to take legal action against a person or organisation, especially by making a legal claim for money because of some harm that they have caused you - ฟ้องร้อง

surveillance: the process of carefully watching a person or place that may be involved in a criminal activity - การตรวจตรา

swift: happening quickly - อย่างรวดเร็ว  โดยด่วน

threaten: to say or indicate that you might do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something - ขู่เข็ญ คุกคาม ทำให้กลัว

traditional: of a custom, a way of life or a way of doing things that has not changed for a long time - เป็นประเพณี, ตามธรรมเนียม, ตามที่ปฏิบัติกันมา

undermine: to make something or someone become gradually less effective or successful - ทำให้อ่อนลง,ทำลายทีละน้อย,ทำลายอย่างลับ

upcoming: happening soon; available soon - ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา

upset: to cause to be very worried, angry or sad about something   - ทำให้วิตกกังวล ทำให้หงุดหงิด

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