About the song (˭ Village Chief Lee)

This is one of the most famous Thai country songs that everybody seems to know by heart. The song was written by ԾѲ Ժó Pipat Boriboon , and first performed by Saksri Sriaksorn ѡ ѡ around 1960. The song takes a humorous look at the implementation of the First National Economic Development Plan which was implemented in 1961 (B.E. 2504) during the beginning of the economic development era of Thailand with aids and loans from the World Bank. The way it was done then was the top down approach from the government, where all policies, plans and decisions were made by the authority and passed down to the villagers to carry out.

In the song, Lee, the headman of the village, has just received orders from the authority for the villagers to carry out. Hilarious misunderstanding arises from the governments use of high(Pali-Sanskrit loan) vocabulary in the order.

The full version of the lyrics has 3 parts. Here, we only present the first of the three parts, which is the part that is most widely known.

Culture Notes
1. There are a lot of loanwords from various sources in the Thai language, with Pali and Sanskrit being the main source for words relating to education, religion. Formal vocabulary used in government document are predominantly loanwords from Pali-Sanskrit. In the song, youll see the use of Pali-Sanskrit based animal names:

Pali-Skt Loan
Thai
.
ء
Pig
عѢ
Dog
Cow


2. In addition to kinship terms, certain occupation terms can also function as term of address or pronouns (first person and second person) and can be followed by the persons names such as:

doctor
teacher
female vendor
˭ Village Headman (from. ˭ҹ)


In this song, the name of the village headman is Lee, so he is referred to as ˭

Grammar Notes

Certain occupation term in Thai is a compound consisting of +N

   
Compound
Meaning
+
(rice field) ǹ
Rice farmers
ǹ (orchard)
ǹ Orchard farmers
(plantation) Plantation farmers
ҹ (village) Ǻҹ Villagers
ͧ (city) ͧ City dwellers
ͧ (mine) ͧ Miners

 

Verse by Verse Translation

.. 2504 ˭ ͧ Ъ
In the year 1961, Village Chief Lee hit the drum to call a meeting
Ǻҹ ҧ Each villager went to gather
Ъ ҹ ˭ At the meeting at Village Chief Lees house
仹 ˭ Now, Village Chief Lee would like to speak
֧ ͧ Ъ About the matter of the meeting that he has attended.
ҧ The government has ordered that
ǹ § ء The villagers should raise ducks and sukorn
Ǥ͹ ء Now, Old Man See, with the shaking head, asked What is this sukorn?
˭ ء ͺ ѹ Village Chief lee got up at once to reply
ء ҹ As for sukorn, they are just ordinary little dogs.
ҹ ҹ  

 

Vocabulary

.. 2504 ˭ ͧ Ъ
.. = Buddhist Era (B.E.), abbreviated from طѡҪ
B.E. 2504 = A.D. 1961
(v)= hit
ͧ (n) = drum
Ъ (v, n) = meeting
Ǻҹ ҧ ҧ = each
(v) = gather
Ъ ҹ ˭  
˭ 仹 (conj) = the following, from now on
(v) = to say, speak
֧ ͧ Ъ ͧ (n) = ͧ = subject matter
ҧ ҧ (n) the authority, the government
(v) order, command
ǹ § ء ء (n) (Pali-skt)= = pig
͹ ء (conj). As for, (new topic marker)
(n) grandfather, an old man
͹ (adj) shaking, bobbing
˭ ء ͺ ѹ ء (v) get up, stand up
(adv) up
ѹ (adv poetic) = ѹ = at once
ء ҹ (conj, poetic) as for (topic marker)
ҹ ҹ (adj) typical, usual, ordinary