Nice knowing you, Porn! Thai students in New Zealand asked to ditch their dirty nicknames

Thai nicknames like Poo, Pee, and Porn are common when spoken in the local tongue, but when these young Thais go study abroad, a girl named Watchaporn may just give her classmates a wrong impression.

The students with questionable nicknames — be it Ball, Chit or Porn — are being asked to change a “culturally acceptable” names by Thai study abroad agency Smart NZ Education Centre, according to New Zealand Herald.

The agency said they’re asking six out of every ten students who apply to study in New Zealand to consider adopting a new nickname for “smoother cultural integration.”

Although, we imagine everybody wants to party with a girl named Porn and her younger brother Chit.

Chonnanit Na Songkhla, a Thai agent at the center, said that these nicknames will result in students getting harassed.

Vichaya Nilrungratana, a 22-year-old male student, was asked to change his common Thai nickname from “Peach” to “Pete” although this means he’ll no longer fit in with his family, who all have fruit-themed nicknames.

“My mom named me Peach because my mom is Apple and my sister is Pear,” said the young man, who studies at CCEL Christchurch.

Other names quoted in the report are millennial nicknames invented by parents who mix up random English words together such as “Perfume,” “Mydear,” or just “English.”

“A girl in my class was called English, so every time during English period I would feel odd going up to the front of the class and saying ‘Okay, let’s study English’,” said Kaylie Gleeson, a former English teacher in Thailand.

The 21-year-old Perfume, however, decided to wear her nickname proudly.

“I guess we are quite proud to have unique nicknames, people can remember us by something,” said Perfume, also known as Klaowsaung Apinantaswasdi, who studies interior design and architecture in Wellington.

An Education New Zealand’s spokeswoman commented that international students bring cultural diversity to the classrooms, and a part of that experience includes learning about other people’s languages and cultures, including the Thai custom of nicknames.

“It is our understanding that nicknames are common in Thailand and these are generally terms of endearment,” she said.

Thais often give names that associate with good luck and fortune to their children. With “porn” meaning “wish” in Thai, it is a staple word to end both male and female Thai names. Some of the names with porn that sound questionable in English are: Supa-porn, Titi-porn, Som-porn, or even Kitti-porn.

 

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