The world’s top-ranked scrabble player from Bangkok has spoken out regarding an article published on Daily Mail which accused him of speaking “NO English” and using Google Translate to answer their journalist’s questions.
“Man of letters: Thai computer programmer is third best Scrabble player in the world despite speaking NO ENGLISH,” the headline read.
Komol Panyasophonlert, 31, shared screenshots of his interview with a UK journalist, which was done via Facebook messages. Komol said he believed his written answers led the so-called journalist to write that he does not speak English at all.
“Ok. it’s time to defend myself. These are what I answered the journalist that made him think I used Google translate [sic],” Komol wrote on Facebook.
In their conversation, Komol only suggested that it would be easier to respond via Facebook messages to give detailed answers. It did not say his reason was because he couldn’t speak English. So basically, Komol was doing the guy a favor to ensure he got his story.
The Daily Mail story was run under the byline of Charlie Moore, who wrote Komol “does not speak a single word of English” and that he “relies on Google Translate for written communication.”
Previously, AFP also ran a similar story on Komol which suggested he was the top Scrabble player who “struggled to string an English sentence together.”
Thais use English as a foreign language, and common Thai schools focus on teaching the students written English and grammar, rather than speaking skills. Therefore, some Thais may not have too much experience with casual conversation or need time to think about how they should arrange a sentence when they speak English.
But judging from his answers to Daily Mail, Komol’s English is way above average.
Komol’s response went viral on social media after a Change.org activist shared it along with some insightful comments, calling out Charlie Moore for being a “racist,” as the article also included an unnecessary note that Komol lives with his parents, which is expected in most Asian cultures.
“I hope you know you can’t judge people who are from a different race because you don’t know their context and, in this modern world, we call these narrow-minded people ‘RACISM’ [sic],” commenter Hatai Limprayoonyong wrote.