Sunday, December 23, 2007

Same Same But Different

First came across this phrase in a bollywood song from the film Bombay to Bangkok. The hilarity of bollywood is the songs that they come up with. So in a recent conversation about this to a friend I discovered that 'same same but different' is actually a common phrase used in places like Thailand and hence the adaptation into the song of the movie which is a cross cultural Indian-Thai production.

Further research into the phrase led me to the Urban Dictionary which told me that the phrase is:

Used a lot in Thailand, especially in attempts to sell something but can mean just about anything depending on what the user is trying to achieve.

Q "Is this a real rolex?"
A " Yes Sir, same same but different"

and; Wiki told me that it is Tinglish (or Thainglish):
The imperfect form of English produced by native Thai speakers due to language interference from the first language. Differences from native English include incorrect pronunciation, wrong word choices, misspellings, and grammatical mistakes.
Hence a phrase like 'similar but different in other ways' is translated as 'same same but different.'

Obviously I am not a traveller so this is very new to me but at least I am prepared for when (if) I go to Thailand :)

Aside from Thailand I am also told the phrase in prevalent in places like Cambodia and Malaysia and I'm pretty sure it reaches as far as Bangladesh too...well, it feels like it does given the Tinglish definition...

The film Bombay to Bangkok is released in the new year. I would recommend the film on the basis that the director Nagesh Kukonoor is a very unorthodox bollywood director and the actor Shreyas Talpade is one of the best new upcoming Indian actors (in my humble opinion). You may recognise these two combos from the movies Dor and Iqbal, both of which I highly recommend.

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