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สิงหาคม 2550
9 สิงหาคม 2550
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I play scrabble (or crossword as its called here) a lot. Not something that english people back home are proud to admit to, as playing scrabble is a hobby akin to trainspotting, bird watching or stamp collecting, the sort of thing only boring old men with nothing better to do with their life are into. Even worse, I'm not particularly good at it. I just enjoy trying.

I normally play with a couple of people where I live, though, as they've graduated from uni or moved out, the number of people who will play against me has slowly shrunk down to 1. Their initial excitement of beating the foreigner soon turns into disappointment when they realise that their achievement isn't so great after all. It's not that their use of English is that good, or that they are cleverer or quicker at thinking than an English person. Its just that they beat someone who is really, really, really crap.

Some of the Matayom kids at my school are keen players too, taking it seriously enough to enter official crossword competitions.

Whenever I play against Thai people, I'm normally pretty astounded by their choice of words. Strange old english words like' ye', and 'yore' appear along with odd looking 'ab's, 'ax's, 'fe's, ef's and 'qi's, the 'F' or the 'Q' always being strategically placed on a double or triple letter square. Their words net them 30 plus points a time, making my 10 and 12 pointers look paltry in comparison. I rarely end a game with more than 150 points. They rarely finish with less than 200.

The strange thing about the guys I normally play against is that their English isn't that great. OK, they can string grammatically correct sentences together, which is more than I can normally manage in Thai but their spoken English isn't that fluent. So how come they are so good at scrabble?

Scrabble here isn't about having a laugh, a few beers and maybe a game of two with your mates at the end of the month, when you're too skint to go out for the night and aren't really sure what else to do. Scrabble is seriously competetive. Most of the bookshops in BKK sell books listing all the acceptable 2 and 3 letter words. High school students buy and memorise them.

The Thai people I've played against in the past have all been really competitive. One once brought his own 1000 page plus dictionary with him, because my pocket sized one wasn't detailed enough for him. Another took around 10 minutes to think of every word. There's no playing for 'fun' here. If you don't think you're going to win, you don't risk losing face by attempting to play.

I was thinking it would have been cool to play earlier tonight. I'd just got back from a BBQ at my friends house. My school work was finished, and I'd got some free time. The guy I normally play against has gone upcountry. I thought it'd be a good time to try and find a new opponent.

The scrabble set was on the table, there were lots of people hanging around in the lobby, but no one was interested in a game. I think the only way I will find someone to play against me is if they know that beating me is a dead cert. But, the only way they will find this out is by watching someone else play against me... Wonder how long it will take before someone dares to try...

Create Date : 09 สิงหาคม 2550
Last Update : 13 สิงหาคม 2550 23:38:00 น. 0 comments
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