Written By: Catherine Wentworth
You can buy a wide range of small items from roadside carts. Food. Shoes. Clothes. Toys. And bumper stickers.
Kept cool under the shade of overhanging freeways are carts covered on all sides with stickers. In Thailand they are called รถเข็นที่ขายสติกเกอร์ = rót kĕn têe kăai sà-dtìk-ger = vehicle push that sells stickers = sticker carts.
Thai bumpers stickers range from the mundane to the shocking. Totally shocking. And totally fun. And as Thais love a play on words, some are quite clever (if you can suss them out).
Some are political statements. Some have to do with relationships. Some are religious. Some are a cultural mix of religion and others.
Colour is an important part of the Thai culture (the Monday sea of yellow is a big tip-off). So before a local purchases a vehicle, they go for advice. And when the colour given doesn’t suit, they go elsewhere for a blessing (and a sticker) to make good. And that’s why you’ll find stickers such as mentioned in Rikker’s post,Thai bumper stickers, รถคันนี้สีเขียว (this car is green).
And while I haven’t sourced the magical colour changing sticker, I do have a few on relationships (can you spot the play on words?). Enjoy…
maa tam-hâi sĭeow láew gôr líeow bpai
You make me fall in love, then you go.
fan mâi yòo maa hăa nŏo ná
If your lover is away, come see me.
ruam gan rao yòo tíng goo meung dtaai
Together, we’ll survive. But if you leave me, you die.
เมีย ชึ้อ สอด รถ ชึ้อ ผ่อน
mia séu sot rót séu pòn
He paid the dowry in cash, but got a loan for his car.
มี หมา เป็น เพื่อน ดี กว่า มี เพื่อน ใจ หมา
mee măa bpen pêuan dee gwàa mee pêuan jai măa
Having a dog as a friend is nicer than having a friend with a dog heart.
mae yaai mâi chûay ruay eng gôr dâi
Even if my mother-in-law doesn’t help, I’ll get rich on my own.
róo nâa mâi-róo jai
You might know his face, but you don’t know his heart.
k-yan mâi òt-dtaai
You are hardworking, not dead.
And here’s an added treat. A special note about Thai stickers, from my Thai friend Mira:
Away from home I missed reading Thai stickers. They are derived from chalk writing on the side of trucks. They’ve turned into stickers and still express the same fun comments and Thai sense of humor.
I use to sit in the back seat of my dad’s car driving to Songkhla from Bangkok. (It was a 9-14 hour trip.) The whole trip I would search for chalk writings on the “sib-lor”, or ten wheeler.
Sib lor is a new word for me, so I looked it up at thai2english.com
รถสิบล้อ | rót sìp lór
[ N ] ten – wheeled truck; ten wheeler; truck
รถ | rót | car
สิบ | sìp | ten
ล้อ | lór | wheel
Taxi Bumper Stickers
I’m one who doesn’t mind sitting in Bangkok traffic. Others (who will not be named), fuss, fidget and complain, making life miserable for those of us forced to sit through their grumbles of displeasure.
It reminds me of British weather actually. And the fact that every time it rains (often) the conversation turns to surprise. Like, it doesn’t rain in the UK? Often? Hah!
Same, same with BKK and traffic. It happens. Often. ไม่ เป็นไร (mâi bpen-rai) already!
I have a new trick for keeping occupied while inching forward towards the front of the cue – taking snaps of Thai bumper stickers from the back of a taxi.
It’s great fun for me. And also entertaining (and at times alarming) for the taxi driver when I drape over their side while trying to take that wee shot of opportunity out the wing window.
Taking photos of bumper stickers when in motion is hit and miss. In a lucky moment, I was able to snap this Bangkok taxi (shown in the photo above). Luckier still, it had three stickers.
เมา ไม่ ขับ
mao mâi kàp
If drunk, don’t drive.
bpìt bao bao
Close softly (boot / trunk, door of car)
โทร ไม่ ถือ
toh mâi tĕu
Don’t use a mobile when driving.
Note: โทร is short for โทรศัพท์ (toh-rá-sàp = telephone)
bpèrt bpìt bao bao dûay kòp kun
Turn on, turn off, softly, softly, please.
Please open and close softly (don’t slam the door).
bpìt bao bao.
Close softly, softly.
yín-dêe dton ráp
Pleasure to welcome.
You are welcomed.
hâam sòop bòorèe
Forbidden to smoke cigarettes.
têe sòop boorèe.
Place for smoking cigarettes.
เรา [หัวใจ] พระเจ้าอยู่หัว
rao [heart] prá-jâo-yòo-hŭa
We heart His Majesty.
We love the King.
Love father mother.
I love my parents.