i sometimes get asked where to find good thai food. (and the answer: thailand.) i'm kinda joking - seattle does have a couple of good places to get thai. but a lot people going for thai food just end up ordering pad thai; so if that's the case, it doesn't really matter where you go. in fact, just make it at home: get some noodles, mix it with cat sup and maybe a little bit of egg, peanuts and bean sprouts, and save $10.
but that's not what this post is about. it's just that i've been wondering if the popularity of thai restaurants and thai food may have opened up this small space for "thailand" in american popular culture. thailand has been a vacation destination for some time, and its also known for its kickboxing, islands, elephants, and temples. but in the past 10-15 years, more people seem to be aware of thailand (and are even able differentiate it from taiwan. my mother got these two confused on occasion.)
recipe books, chang beer, survivor: thailand, and remakes of thai movies (bangkok dangerous, shutter, the eye) all seem to follow this trend. but here i list two thai references in american pop culture that really need a thai horror-movie-style exorcism to rid us of them.
nicki minaj, a rapper/singer of indian and african descent, is all up over the place, (and she aint even released an album yet!)... she's in the young money song (featuring lloyd,) "bedrock" and in trey songz's new club number, "bottoms up." and now she has this new song, "your love," with an asian theme. see below:
nicki does a rap on this song, and she raps herself into a corner saying something like, "i was a geisha, he was a samurai," so she has to follow it up with a rhyming line something like, "i understood him when he spoke thai." (did she mean japanese???)
well, as long as it rhymes, i guess it don't matter, right? (her lyrics are of very low quality, so if you don't wanna watch the whole video, just ffwd to about 2:15 in, and you'll find the aforementioned segment.) but in the end, nicki really does owe an apology to thai people everywhere.
second: sanuk shoes (sorry, not shoes, sandals...) i don't wanna hate on the shoes, even though they're overpriced and fit small. but the name? sanuk is a thai word meaning "fun, happiness!" well, how do you pronounce it? the sanuk website has a help up in the right hand corner! you click on it, and they have someone saying "sanuk" for you! well, the voice seemingly belongs to some sun-soaked surfer of suspicious character. and he clearly is not thai. the pronunciation is all wrong. he says the second syllable like "nuck" (rhymes with "duck.") the word should really be sa-nook, the second syllable sounding like "nuke." c'mon shoe people! if you're gonna name your shoes a thai word, and then go through the trouble of having a pronunciation guide on your website, could you at least make it correct?
a picture of someone having fun in their sanuks (with their feet up in typical thai custom-style)
ok enough hating for one day.