My Song

Lyricist: ทิวา สาระจูฑะ Teewa Sarachuta, ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul
Composer: ทิวา สาระจูฑะ Teewa Sarachuta, ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul

Released on YouTube September 9, 2020

Note: Not sure who is supposed to be the audience for Add Carabao’s newly released “My Song,” which begins in English and then includes bits of the best parts of his best songs in Thai—but I love it! Also check out the Thai song, “เพลงของกู” which translated into English as “My Song.”

Most of the song is in English so I will only give you the Thai parts,

“And I sing . . .

[From ทะเลใจ Telay Jai (Ocean Heart)]:
แม้ชีวิตได้ผ่านเลยวัยแห่งความฝัน
mae chee-wít dâai pàan loie wai hàeng kwaam făn
Though [my] life is completely past the age of dreaming
วันที่ผ่านมาไร้จุดหมาย
wan têe pàan maa rái jùt măai
In the days that passed by without aim
ฉันเรียนรู้เพื่ออยู่เพียงตัวและจิตใจ
chăn rian róo pêua yòo piang dtua láe jìt jai
I learned to live only by body and mind
เป็นมิตรแท้ที่ดีต่อกัน
bpen mít táe têe dee dtòr gan
being best friends with each other. . . .

[Second time] “And I sing . . .

[From บัวลอย Bua Loy]
โลกนี้ไม่สมประกอบ
lôhk née mâi sŏm bprà-gòp
This world isn’t balanced
เพราะบางคนชอบเอาแต่ประโยชน์ส่วนตน
prór baang kon chôp ao dtàe bprà-yòht sùan dton
because some people only care about themselves
โลกนี้มีสักกี่คน
lôhk née mee sàk gèe kon
How many people in this world,
เป็นบัวหลุดพ้นดังคนชื่อบัวลอย (บัวลอย)
bpen bua lùt pón dang kon chêu bua-loi ( bua-loi )
being a lotus, become as free as the person named Bua Loi?”

Yuenyong Opakul Clarifies His Religious Position

At minute 41:01 of OVERDRIVE LiVE ICONIC SERIES EP4, posted on YouTube August 31, 2020:

In this interview, Yuenyong Opakul (aka Add Carabao) explains his position regarding religion. There is an apparent tension between the non-magical and very compelling Buddhist insights that come across in his songs and the fact that he is often seen supporting the actually-existing style of Buddhism in Thailand involving holy objects and magical blessings. The question of Add’s religious position is interesting to me because one of my very favorite Add Carabao songs is “ความจริง” “Truth,” which from my American and atheist perspective sounds like a perfect atheist/humanist anthem. According to Thai atheists, it is possible to be both atheist and religious because Buddhism is a religion that does not imply a belief in God and because Buddhism can be construed as just a practice or a method for discovering truth rather than an already fixed set of beliefs one must subscribe to. So what kind of religious person is Add? Is he deeply religious without being superstitious (the impression given off by his songs)? But if that were true, what do we make of his wearing and selling specially blessed aumlets to raise money for temples or Buddhist projects?

(It may or may not be relevant that Eed Opakul, Add’s idential twin brother, who is also Buddhist, has a song explicitly condemning superstitious beliefs: “ควายธนู” “Magic Buffalo”.”)

ADD: อีกเรื่องหนึ่งที่ผมจะยกตัวอย่าง ยกตัวอย่างนะครับ มันมีหลายเรื่อง เรื่องพระพุทธศาสนา ผมเป็นคนพุทธ แต่ไม่รู้รู้จักศาสนาพุทธเลย ก็เลยปักใจจะใช้เวลาให้มากที่สุดเพื่อศึกษาทำความเข้าใจพระพุทธศาสนา ก็จนทำสำเร็จ ก็ศึกษาแล้วก็อ่านค้นคว้า นั่นแหละ

With regard to another matter, I’ll give an example. There are many, many subject areas. The matter of religion. I’m a Buddhist. But I didn’t [really] know Buddhism at all. And so I was determined to spend a lot of time to study and try to understand Buddhism and do it until I succeeded. And so I studied and read digging into it. Just that.

INTERVIEWER: ปฎิบัติด้วยไหมครับ

Do you practice?

ADD: ปฎิบัติด้วยครับ เค้าเดินจงกรมกัน meditational walking เค้านั่งสมาธิกัน ผมก็ทำ แต่ผมปฎิบัติถึง วิ่งจงกรม

Yes. I do meditational walking. I sit for meditation. I also do that. But my practice extends to meditational running.*

[Interviewer laughs]

ADD: เคยได้ยินไหม วิ่งจงกรม

Have you heard of it before? Meditational running?

INTERVIEWER: ไม่เคยครับ ๆ วิ่งจงกรมคืออะไร

No, never. What is meditational running?

ADD: เดี๋ยววันหลังจะสอนให้

Later I’ll teach you.

INTERVIEWER: คืออกไปวิ่งหรือ

It’s going out running?

ADD: วิ่งจงกรม คือวิ่งสมาธิ วิ่งไปเนี่ยแหละ แต่วิ่งไปแล้วเราทำสมาธิอยู่

Meditational running is running meditating. It’s just running, but while running, you are meditating.

INTERVIEWER: อ๋อ เราอยู่ในสมาธิ

Oh, we are in meditation?

ADD: แล้วเราจะมองเห็นตัวเราวิ่ง วิ่งไป

And we will watch and see ourselves running, running along.

INTERVIEWER: คือเราก็จะรู้ตัวเองว่าเรา

It’s that we will know ourselves that we …

ADD: เราจะต้องเป็นคนรู้ตัวเรา

We will have to be the ones knowing ourselves

INTERVIEWER: เออ ใช่

Uh, right

ADD: ต้องดูตัวเรา พระพุทธศาสนา จุดสูงสุดของการทำสมาธิ ก็คือ มองให้เห็นตัวเอง เพราะอริยสัจ อริยสัจทั้งหลายเนี่ย มันเป็นอริยสัจที่เกิดจากจิต มันไม่ได้เกิดข้างนอก มันเกิดข้างใน เพราะฉะนั้น ถ้าเราจะเข้าใจมันเราจะต้องมองให้เห็นตัวเรา คือมองให็เห็นใจตัวเรา

One must see oneself. In Buddhism the starting point of meditation is to watch in order to see yourself. The 4 Noble Truths**, all of them, come from the mind. They don’t come from the outside; they come from the inside. Because of that, if we are going to understand them, we must look and see ourselves. It’s looking and seeing your own heart.

INTERVIEWER: อ๋อ เราก็ต้องรู้ตัวเองของเราตลอด ถูกไหมคับ วิ่งจงกรม

Oh we always need to understand our own selves, isn’t that right? Meditational running …

ADD: ทุกวันนี้อะ พุทธเนี่ย มันเป็นพุทธที่เติบโตมา… พุทธในประเทศไทยเนี่ย มันเป็นพุทธที่เติมโตมาจากผี เพราะฉะนั้นมันก็เลยปนระหว่างพุทธกับผี แต่เอาละ ผมก็อะลุ่มอล่วย คือผมรู้จักพุทธแท้ละ แต่ผมยังทิ้งพุทธผีไม่ได้ เพราะว่าพี่น้องผมมันอยู่แต่พุทธผี ดังนั้น จึงจะเห็นว่าผมก็ไปสร้างภาพช่วยวัดโน้น สร้างภาพช่วยวัดนี้ แต่ผมเข้าใจว่าพุทธแท้คืออะไร พุทธผีคืออะไร ถ้าให้ผมเลือกที่จะอยู่ข้างใดข้างหนึ่ง ผมเลือกพุทธแท้ ถ้าให้ผมเลือกที่จะอยู่ข้างใดข้างหนึ่ง ผมเลือกพุทธแท้ แต่ถ้าจะให้อยู่สองข้าง ผมต้องอยู่ทั้งสองข้าง เพราะผมเป็นคนของสังคม

These days Buddhism, it’s a Buddhism that develops from . . . .Buddhism in Thailand, it’s a Buddhism that develops from spirits [that is, from animism], and because of that it’s a mix between Buddhism and spirits. But alright; I’m able to accommodate for that. It’s that I understand true Buddhism, but I still can’t toss aside spirit-Buddhism, because my brothers and sisters [other Thais] are in spirit-Buddhism. It’s like that. And so you see I go out giving off an image of helping this temple and that. But I know what true Buddhism is and what spirit-Buddhism is. If you have me choose one side, I choose true Buddhism. But if you let me be on two sides, I must be on both sides. Because I am a person of [my] society.

INTERVIEWER: แล้วเป็นคนของส่วนรวม

So you are person [who is a member] of the community at large.

ADD: ผมไม่ใช่พระอรหันต์ ผมยังช่วยเหลือสังคมได้อีกหลายทาง ผมก็ออกเป็นพุทธผี แต่ว่าก็พยายามอย่าดึงพวกผีให้มาเป็นพุทธให้มากที่สุดเท่าที่มีโอกาส มันเหมือนเราพยายาม มันเหมือนจะปรากฎในเสียงเพลงของผม

I’m not an “arahant” [a being who has attained enlightenment]. I can still aid society in many other ways. And so I appear to be a spirit-Buddhist. But as much as possible, I try really hard to convince the followers of spirit stuff to be Buddhists. It’s like how I try . . . I feel it appears in my songs

INTERVIEWER: งั้นเพลงยุคหลัง ๆ ที่ แอ๊ดก็จะเริ่มมีเรื่องปรัชญาพุทธ

Like songs in recent periods, in which you Add, started running into trouble over Buddhist philosophy?

ADD: ครับ แต่ว่า ของพวกนี้มันกว้างไปกว้างไม่ได้ เพราะมันอยู่ในแวดวงจำกัด เพราะคนส่วนใหญ่เค้าจะเป็นผี ส่วนน้อยเป็นพุทธ อย่าง จตุคามรามเทพ อย่างพระเจ้าตาก อย่างไอ้ไข่ เป็นผีหมด สมมติว่าครูนี่ก็เป็นผี แต่ที่ท่านนั่นเป็นพระ ก็ยังไปบังคับให้ท่านเป็นผีอีก ให้มึงเขกโป๊กๆ knocking knuckles ให้อะไร มาบังคับท่าน อันนี้ไม่ใช่พุทธ

Yes. But with regard to those things, I can’t go too wide because it’s in a restricted environment. Because the majority of people are spirit-[type.] The minority are [un-hyphenated] Buddhist. Like Jatukham Rammathep,*** like Prajao Dtak,**** like Ai Kai***** They are all spirits or ghosts. If you assume this [or that] teacher is “spirit”, although he is [just] a monk, you’ve forced him to be yet another “spirit.” Have him knock “bonk bonk.” Do whatever. You’ve forced him [into it.] This isn’t Buddhism.******

*This is completely true. He posts about it on Facebook.
**According to this PBS article on Thai Buddhism, “The Four Noble Truths comprise the essence of Buddha’s teachings, though they leave much left unexplained. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.”
*** Wikipedia says, “Jatukham Rammathep is the name of a popular amulet sold by some Buddhist temples in Thailand. The amulet is named for two princes of the Srivijaya kingdom of southern Thailand, and is believed to provide protection and good fortune to the bearer.”
****King Taksin, the ghost?
***** This is a particular little boy ghost that one temple worships, and Add just did a song for that temple. It is here on YouTube: “พรไอ้ไข่.” I did not bother to translate it.
****** The song “หลวงพ่อคูณ” “Luang Por Koon” would be relevant here. It is about a particular famous monk thought to have especially strong magical powers, yet the monk’s message is that the answer lies within the person:

“ขอพร กันไม่ ขาดสาย
They all ask for blessings continually
หลวงพ่อบอก ไอ้นาย รุ่นกู ให้-มึง . . .
Luang Por tells these young guys, . . .

… ก็แล้วแต่ พวกมึง
… It’s [really] up to you guys
จะนึกถึง ชั่ว-ดี
to be thinking about good and evil
ชั่ว-ดี อยู่ใน กะโหลก
Good and evil is inside the skull
มาเขก โป๊ก โป๊ก จำไว้ ให้ดี
I come knock, bonk! bonk! Be sure to remember and not forget!”

หัวใจสะออน Hua Jai Sa-on (The Heart that Loves to Love)

Lyrics and melody by ยืนยง โอภากุ Yuenyong Opakul and อัสนี โชติกุล Asanee Chotikul
From the อัสนี-วสันต์ โชติกุล Asanee & Wasan Chotikul album ฟักทอง (Pumpkin) (1989)

Note: Whoo-hoo! I discovered a “new” Add Carabao song from (almost) back in the classic period. I actually knew this song as an Asanee & Wasan (Chotikul) song. I didn’t know until recently that Add Carabao helped write it, along with Asanee Chotikul. The Asanee & Wasan version is great, but below is a music video in which a classic-era Add Carabao sings it himself on a beach with long hair blowing in the wind. Must see!

‘สะออน’ (Sa-awn) is a word from the Issan dialect. An Isaan persons says it means “like,” “interest,” or “care.” In this song, the heart is showing interest in love. So I had to take some liberties with the title.

กว่าจะรู้จักจำ
gwàa jà róo jàk jam
By the time you remember [this pain]
ใจต้องชอกช้ำอีก
jai dtông chôk-chám èek
Your heart must be shattered again
กว่าจะคิดเข้าใจ
gwàa jà kít kâo jai
By the time you think you get it
บางทีมันก็สายเกิน(ไป)
baang tee man gôr săai gern (bpai)
It might be too late
ผ่านมาแล้วผ่านไป
pàan maa láew pàan bpai
It’s come and gone
ยังไม่คิดไม่เข็ด
yang mâi kít mâi kèt
and you still haven’t learned your lesson*
ผ่านมาได้ก็บุญแล้ว
pàan maa dâai gôr bun láew
You got past it, which is a ‘boon.’**
เหลือแต่ตัวเปล่าๆ
lĕua dtàe dtua bplào bplào
All that’s left is an empty body [without a heart, which has been completely destroyed]

รักมีไว้ให้ใส่ใจ
rák mee wái hâi sài jai
Love is for caring
รักมีไว้เคียงคู่
rák mee wái kiang kôo
Love exists for a duo
รักมีไว้ให้เชิดชู
rák mee wái hâi chêrt choo
Love is there to hold up
เคียงคู่คนทุกคน
kiang kôo kon túk kon
Love is a buddy for everyone***

**มีหัวใจไม่จำ
mee hŭa jai mâi jam
[You] have a heart that doesn’t remember
น้ำคำที่เคยหลอกลวง
nám kam têe koie lòk luang
the words that once deceived [you]
ไม่เคยห่วงเคยหวง
mâi koie hùang koie hŭang
[It] never worries, never cares about****
ว่าตัวจะช้ำเท่าไร
wâa dtua jà chám tâo rai
how much it will be bruised
ก็หัวใจเจ้ากรรม
gôr hŭa jai jâo gam
A heart that is nothing but trouble!*****
ชอกช้ำแล้วยังชอบลอง
chôk-chám láew yang chôp long
It gets bruised then still likes to try–
ก็ว่าไปตามทำนอง
gôr wâa bpai dtaam tam-nong
like “oh well!”–just following the way
ของคนหัวใจสะออน
kŏng kon hŭa jai sà on
of the person who loves to love

ผ่านมาแล้วผ่านไป
pàan maa láew pàan bpai
It’s come and gone
ยังไม่คิดไม่เข็ด
yang mâi kít mâi kèt
and you still haven’t learned your lesson*
ผ่านมาได้ก็บุญแล้ว
pàan maa dâai gôr bun láew
You got past it, which is a ‘boon.’**
เหลือแต่ตัวเปล่าๆ
lĕua dtàe dtua bplào bplào
All that’s left is an empty body [without a heart, which has been completely destroyed]

กว่าจะรู้สึกตัว
gwàa jà róo sèuk dtua
Until you realize this,
ตัวก็ชอกช้ำอีก
dtua gôr chôk-chám èek
you will get bruised again
เจ็บมาแล้วไม่จำ
jèp maa láew mâi jam
[It] was hurt already and doesn’t remember
ไม่จำหัวใจสะออน
mâi jam hŭa jai sà on
The heart craving love doesn’t remember [the lesson]

[SPOKEN:]
เหมันต์นี้มี คนเศร้าหมอง
hăy-man née mee kon sâo mŏng
This winter there is a sad and gloomy person
น้ำตานอง เพราะผิดหวัง
nám-dtaa nong prór pìt-wăng
The tears flood because of disappointed
ความคาดหมาย
kwaam kâat măai
expectations
หัวใจสะออน คนหัวใจสะออน
hŭa jai sà-on kon hŭa-jai sà-on
The heart craving love. The person with a heart craving love!
หัวใจสะออน
hŭa-jai sà-on
The heart craves love!!!!

[SHOUTING]
สมน้ำหน้า
sŏm nám-nâa
Serves them right!******

[Then much of the song is repeated]

*”เข็ด” or “kèt” means to be shying away from something, especially after a bad experience with it. The closest English word we have is probably “gun-shy” So the line really says (word for word) “Still not thinking, not kèt.” So with no good direct translation, we go with “you still haven’t learned your lesson.”
**”บุญ” is pronounced “boon” and I just realized it has a similar meaning to the word “boon” in English, so I used that word in the translation. However, there is a distinction. In English, “boon” means “blessing” or “godsend.” In Thai, “boon” is some good, lucky, or fortunate thing that happens, which is attributed to the karma from good deeds in the past.
*** The translation of เคียงคู่ (kiang kôo) is tricky because it means a pair of something close together or just having something close to you. So in one line, Love is for “เคียงคู่” or for a couple or duo. And two lines later, love itself is “เคียงคู่” every person, or “close beside” or “buddies with” every person.
**** ห่วง (hùang) and หวง (hŭang) are very similar words that can both be translated to worry or care about. However the second is a possessive/protective kind of worry, like a dog worries about his bone [that someone will try to take it].
***** “เจ้ากรรม” has the word “เจ้า” (jâo) which is a pronoun and “กรรม” (gam) which is a complicated word meaning both sin and bad karma. Putting “เจ้า” in front of an word implies that someone does the second thing skillfully or all the time. Or that they are that adjective personified. So basically it is an exclamation of frustration shouted at the heart, like, “This heart is Mr. Trouble!”
****** Literally, สมน้ำหน้า sŏm nám-nâa means “suitable or appropriate for [their] face!” but functions exactly like the English-language expression, “Serves them right!”

Carabao Songs with Sequels

Below is a list of Carabao songs* with sequels. Many of the pairs of songs are spaced quite far apart in time, such that even fans are often unaware that their favorite song from the classic period has a sequel.

I’ve included my own zero-to-three star ranking, so you can see how relatively important they are. A three-star song in the Top 100 of Carabao songs and is a very favorite song. A one-star song is “Nice!” A zero-star song is not in the top 25% of Carabao songs. It is no surprise that a three-star Carabao song would have a sequel, but it is somewhat surprising how often the sequel turns out to be as good the original song.

The first example may be the most striking example of this. The sequel ลูกลุงขี้เมา Luuk Lung Kee Mow (Child of the Drunken Uncle) was written for the 25th Anniversary of the band, which is 25 years after ลุงขี้เมา Lung Kee Mao (The Drunken Uncle) appeared as the first song on the first album. There is a “punch line” in the second song, linking to the first song, that is really powerful.

The 10 Tuk Kwai Tuey songs, are covered in a separate article. (Note that the song “Bua Loy” listed below as having a sequel, is also part 5 of the 10-part Tuk Kwai Tuey saga told in 10 songs spanning the first 10 Carabao albums.) The “Made In Thailand” sequels will be covered in a separate article.

ลุงขี้เมา Lung Kee Mao (The Drunken Uncle), in 1981 ✰✰✰
ลูกลุงขี้เมา Luuk Lung Kee Mow (Child of the Drunken Uncle), in 2007 ✰✰✰

หนุ่มสุพรรณ Num Suphan (Young Man from Suphan), in 1981 ✰✰✰
หนุ่มสุพรรณ 2 Num Suphan 2 (Young Man from Suphan 2), in 1988 ✰✰

วณิพก Wanipok (The Beggar), in 1983 ✰✰✰
ยายสำอาง Yaai Samang (Good-Looking Grandma), 1993 ✰✰✰ [Not officially a sequel, but seems like a sequel**]

ดือนเพ็ญ Duan Pen (Full Moon), in 1984 ✰✰✰
พลจันทร์เดือนเพ็ญ Polachan Duan Pen (Polachan’s [Song] “Full Moon”), in 1989 ✰✰✰
SEE ALSO: ชีวิตสัมพันธ์ Cheewit Sampat (Related Life), in 1987 ✰✰✰

ลูกหิน Luuk Hin (Stone Child), in 1984 ✰✰✰
ลูกแก้ว Luuk Geow (Glass Child), in 1984 ✰✰✰ [These two songs followed each other on the album Made in Thailand and are often played together in this order***]

หำเทียม Ham Tiam (Dildo), in 1984
หำเฮี้ยน Ham Hian (Ham is Strong Enough to Do It), in 1985

บัวลอย Bua Loy, in 1984 ✰✰✰
เห็นมั้ยบัวลอย Hen Mai Bua Loy? (Do You See This, Bua Loy?) in 2014 ✰✰✰

อเมริโกย Ameri-goy, in 1985 [The title is is a pun usually translated “Greedy Americans”] ✰✰✰
กัญชาคอมมิชชั่น Ganja Commission (Cannabis Commission), in 2019 ✰✰ NEW!! [Not an official sequel, but I strongly feel it is a sequel]

สืบทอดเจตนา Suep Tot Jaydtana (Carrying Out Suep’s Intentions), in 1990
คอริดอร์ Corridor, in 2006 [สืบทอดเจตนา 2 Suep Tot Jaydtana 2 (Carrying Out Suep’s Intentions 2)]

เพลงของกู Playng Kong Gu (My Song), in 2017 ✰✰
เพลงของกู เวอร์ชั่น 3 Playng Kong Gu Version 3 (My Song, Version 3), in 2017 ✰✰✰

*By Carabao song, I mean Carabao (the band) plus Add Carabao (solo) songs.
**Both songs are about a blind musician who roams around playing and begging for money [busking]. In the first song the person is fictional. In the second, she is real. The two songs are spaced a multiple of 5 years apart (10), as with some other songs with sequels, and they were selected as the two songs played during the 2nd Carabao jam session with Santana, in 2016.
***Like the Queen songs “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions.”

ถนนชีวิต Tanon Chewit (The Road of Life)

By ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul
Album: แป๊ะขายขวด Bpae Kaai Kuat (1982)

Note: This old song seems to complaining about the bad traffic situation (probably in Bangkok). However a note under the official Carabao YouTube claims the song is metaphorical: Life is compared to a road; we hurry along it and forget to appreciate our surroundings. FYI: A song-taew is a large pick up truck with an awning over the back and two benches along both sides for picking up passengers. A tuk-tuk is a motorized tricycle that can fit 1 to 3 passengers in the back (in addition to the driver).

รีบตื่นกันไวไว ไม่ทันไปเข้าเรียนสาย
rêep dtèun gan wai wai mâi tan bpai kâo rian săai
Hurry and wake up! We’re running late to class
หลายครังอย่าหวังคะแนนดี
lăai krang yàa wăng ká-naen dee
Too many times [late] and there’s no hope for good grades
รีบตื่นกันไวไว ไม่ทันไปเข้างานสาย…
rêep dtèun gan wai wai mâi tan bpai kâo ngaan săai …
Hurry and wake up! We’re running late to work
หลายครั้งอย่าหวังเงินเดือนดี
lăai kráng yàa wăng ngern deuan dee
Too many times [late], and there’s no hope for a good salary

รถเมล์มีอยู่กี่สายคนก็มากมาย
rót may mee yòo gèe săai kon gôr mâak maai
However many bus lines are there, they are crowded with people
มีถนนอยู่กี่สายรถก็มากมี
mee tà-nŏn yòo gèe săai rót gôr mâak mee
However many roads there are, they are crowded with vehicles.
บนถนนทุกๆ สาย ดูมันวุ่นวาย
bon tà-nŏn túk túk săai doo man wûn waai
On every road, it looks so chaotic.
ทําอย่างไรจะไปทันทํางาน
tam yàang rai jà bpai tan tam ngaan
What can I do to be on time for work?

เมื่อก่อนมีรถราง แล่นพลางก็ร้องพลาง
mêua gòn mee rót raang lâen plaang gôr róng plaang
Before we had a trolley. As it was gliding along it would sing*.
ฉันถึงที่ทํางานทันเวลา
chăn tĕung têe tam ngaan tan way-laa
I got to work on time
เดี๋ยวนี้มีรถเมล์ แล่นเฉไปเฉมา
dĭeow née mee rót may lâen chăy bpai chăy maa
Right now we have buses going along, swerving in and out
ว้า…ยังไม่ทันเวลางาน
wáa … yang mâi tan way-laa ngaan
Sigh . . . I’ll still be late to work

มีรถเมล์มีอยู่กี่สายคนก็มากมาย
mee rót may mee yòo gèe săai kon gôr mâak maai
However many bus lines there are, they are crowded with people.
มีถนนอยู่กี่สายรถมันมากมี
mee tà-nŏn yòo gèe săai rót man mâak mee
However many roads we have, they are crowded with vehicles.
บนถนนทุกๆ สาย ดูมันวุ่นวาย
bon tà-nŏn túk túk săai doo man wûn waai
On every road, it looks chaotic.
ทําอย่างไรจะไปทันโรงเรียน
tam yàang rai jà bpai tan rohng rian
How am I going to be on time for work?

มีรถเก๋งก็รีบไป มีรถเมล์ก็รีบไป
mee rót găyng gôr rêep bpai mee rót may gôr rêep bpai
There are cars rushing along. There are buses rushing along
รถแท็กซี่ก็รีบไป รถสองแถวก็รีบไป
rót táek-sêe gôr rêep bpai rót sŏng tăew gôr rêep bpai
Taxis also rush along. Song-taews also rush along.
รถตุ๊กๆ ก็รีบไป มอเตอร์ไซค์ก็รีบไป
rót dtúk dtúk gôr rêep bpai mor-dtêr-sai gôr rêep bpai
Tuk-tuks, also rush along. Motorcycles also rush along
รถสิบล้อก็รีบไป รถโดยสารก็รีบไป
rót sìp lór gôr rêep bpai rót doi săan gôr rêep bpai
Ten-wheeled trucks also rush along. Commuter vehicles rush along

รถเมล์มีอยู่กี่สายคนก็มากมาย
rót may mee yòo gèe săai kon gôr mâak maai
No matter how many bus lines there are, they are crowded with people
มีถนนอยู่กี่สายรถมันมากมี
mee tà-nŏn yòo gèe săai rót man mâak mee
No matter how many roads there are, they are crowded with vehicles.
บนถนนทุกๆ สายดูมันวุ่นวาย
bon tà-nŏn túk túk săai doo man wûn waai
On every road, it looks chaotic
ทําอย่างไรจะไปทันทํางาน
tam yàang rai jà bpai tan tam ngaan
How am I going to be on time for work?
ทําอย่างไรจะไปทันโรงเรียน
tam yàang rai jà bpai tan rohng rian
How am I going to be on time for school?

ขุดถนนก็ขุดไป กลบถนนก็กลบไป
kùt tà-nŏn gôr kùt bpai glòp tà-nŏn gôr glòp bpai
[If we need to] dig up the roads, do it! Cover the roads? Do it!**
ตัดถนนก็ตัดไป ซ่อมถนนก็ซ่อมไป
dtàt tà-nŏn gôr dtàt bpai sôm tà-nŏn gôr sôm bpai
Build new roads? Do it! Fix the roads? Do it!
นํ้าท่วมถนนก็สูบไป สร้างสะพานก็สร้างไป
nám tûam tà-nŏn gôr sòop bpai sâang sà-paan gôr sâang bpai
If the roads are flooded, go ahead and drain them! [If you need to] build a bridge, build it!

ขุดถนนก็ขุดไป กลบถนนก็กลบไป
kùt tà-nŏn gôr kùt bpai glòp tà-nŏn gôr glòp bpai
[If we need to] dig up the roads, do it! Cover the roads? Do it!**
ตัดถนนก็ตัดไป ซ่อมถนนก็ซ่อมไป
dtàt tà-nŏn gôr dtàt bpai sôm tà-nŏn gôr sôm bpai
Build new roads? Do it! Fix the roads? Do it!
นํ้าท่วมถนนก็สูบไป สร้างสะพานก็สร้างไป
nám tûam tà-nŏn gôr sòop bpai sâang sà-paan gôr sâang bpai
If the roads are flooded, go ahead and drain them! [If you need to] build a bridge, build it!

ขุดถนนก็ขุดไป กลบถนนก็กลบไป
kùt tà-nŏn gôr kùt bpai glòp tà-nŏn gôr glòp bpai
[If we need to] dig up the roads, do it! Cover the roads? Do it!**
ตัดถนนก็ตัดไป ซ่อมถนนก็ซ่อมไป
dtàt tà-nŏn gôr dtàt bpai sôm tà-nŏn gôr sôm bpai
Build new roads? Do it! Fix the roads? Do it!
นํ้าท่วมถนนก็สูบไป สร้างสะพานก็สร้างไป
nám tûam tà-nŏn gôr sòop bpai sâang sà-paan gôr sâang bpai
If the roads are flooded, go ahead and drain them! [If you need to] build a bridge, build it!

* It would “sing,” or possible “cry”. In any case, trolleys make a high screeching sound.
**They dig up the roads to get to the underground pipes.

Announcement: All Songs through “Made In Thailand” ALBUM Fixed by GREAT Translator

Last year, a highly-qualified translator who is a native Thai and is fluent in English volunteered to systematically check and suggest improvements for my translations of Carabao song lyrics. This is a huge project, and I thank this person (who wants to remain anonymous) from the bottom of my heart. I am thrilled to announce we have finished fixing the translations up through the album Made In Thailand.

You can now (as of Valentine’s Day 2020) read the translations of the early Carabao songs with confidence. I am happy to say, we didn’t have any changes that overturned the overall meaning of a song, but we did have at least three song translations that were radically improved. You might want to read their new translation and give these already fascinating songs a fresh listen:

Songs with radically improved translations:

Summer Hill

ท ทหารอดทน Taw Tahaan Ot Ton (The Persevering Soldier)

คนเก็บฟืน Kon Gep Feun [The Firewood Collector]

Some important details were uncovered in at least two songs

In กัมพูชา Kampucha (Cambodia) about the Cambodian genocide there is an already evocative line: “In the end, when the guns stop roaring and echoing/ a plaid cloth [a pakaoma],/ blown away by the wind, falls to the ground.” The new translator notes that a pakama is used to cover the bodies of dead people lying on the ground, thus it is understood by Thais that the pakama is blown by the wind to fall on a dead body.

In the last last line of “เดือนเพ็ญ Duan Pen (Full Moon)” a child who is away wants to return and nestle in the bosom of their mother. I thought it odd that the person, most likely a soldier, misses their mother more than anyone else, and guessed that the “mother” is Thailand itself. But the new translator points out that it is also possible that the person wants to return to their wife, often also called “mae” or “mother” by the husband.

A newly translated song

The song “หำเทียม Ham Tiam (Dildo)” could not have been translated at all without the help of this person. To give you a taste of the complexity, which I could not have sorted out if I studied Thai for the rest of my life, here are the notes explaining the title of the song:

“The man in this song’s story is named ‘Ham,’ which is in the Isaan dialect, can mean either a ‘lad” or ‘penis’ or ‘testicles.’ ‘Ham’ is a cute and friendly word for ‘penis,’ . . . The title of the song is หำเทียม (Ham Tiam), means ‘artificial penis’ or ‘dildo,’ but refers to the longer word หำ[ผสม]เทียม Ham [Pasom] Tiam, which means ‘artificial-mixing penis,’ or ‘artificial insemination,’ . . .”

A Legacy for Fans and Future Researchers

I started this project using the “Fake it ‘til you make it!” approach. I was translating relying heavily on Thai2English.com and on begging friends for help. Because I translated the best songs first, at a time when I could barely translate, the best songs were often the worst translated, while very obscure songs are now receiving relatively deluxe treatment. From the start, I got in-depth help from knowledgeable volunteers to whom I am forever grateful. However, some of my helpers were other Farang translators, meaning we will inevitably miss out on some of the idioms, references, and word play. Other helpers were Thais who are not official translators.

The new translator is able to “read between the lines” and guess when Add Carabao is using a word other than his first choice in order to rhyme. This person is able to interpret an idiom in which all the words of the standard idiom have been swapped out for new words. They can note that two lines that I had separated are actually connected. They can explain why one song advises one to “Be the moon” and “put copper rings on the hands of each child” (because Add is referring to a children’s lullaby which every Thai person knows).

The importance of the project (I want to leave it as a resource to Carabao, international fans of Carabao and to scholarly music ethnologists) means it deserves more than just my own best efforts and sporadic advice from others. The songs deserve solid translations that you can trust! Which you now have.

Lyrics Translations for the Band