After Yingluck’s speech in Mongolia, she faced criticism from many quarters with some critiquing what she said, but others just directed insults at her. The most prominent example being by well-known Thai cartoonist Chai Rachawat on his personal FB page. Image below:

Google Chrome

BP: First, on the wording of the insult.

AFP translation:

  “… a prostitute is not an evil person, the hooker only sells body. But an evil woman sells the nation”

The Nation translates it as:

“Please understand that prostitutes are not bad women. Prostitutes only sell their bodies, but a bad woman has been wandering around trying to sell the country.”

The Bangkok Post translates it as:

“Prostitutes are not evil. They just sell their bodies. But an evil woman sells the nation.”

BP: โสเภณี would be translated as prostitute, but กระหรี is a much stronger and impolite term than simply a prostitute. The Royal Institute’s list of new words (p7) defines กระหรี as “โสเภณี (เป็นคำไม่สุภาพ)” or “prostitute (impolite word)”. BP views the closest equivalent in English is “whore”. Hence, BP would translate the FB post as “please understand, whores are not evil. Whores just sell their body, but the evil woman sells [her] country.”

Second, on the level of insult of the term กระหรี, a news story from a few years ago was when one singer/presenter, Jennifer Kim (เจนนิเฟอร์ คิ้ม) called the actress Jik Naowarat (จิ๊ก เนาวรัตน์ ยุกตะนันท์) a กระหรี at a pub opening, but when referring to the story ASTV Manager in their headline don’t even print out the full word – they used “กะ_รี่”. Jik stated she didn’t want to make an issue of it (พี่ไม่เอาเรื่อง), but warned Jennifer Kim that if she said this to others they may have hit her or filed a lawsuit. Jennifer Kim later apologized.

Another news story from a few years ago was when the ex-husband of an actress saying she was acting like a กระหรี for having three new boyfriends within the year. A tabloid, Siam Dara, didn’t even print the full word, just referred to it “กะ_รี่”. The actress stated she was going to sue, but the newspaper called to negotiate so she delayed the lawsuit so an agreement could be worked out.

BP can find numerous other examples of newspapers referring to กระหรี the by not spelling it fully, For example, Sanook and Matichon  (you will see in this article that the word “โสเภณี” meaning prostitute is spelled out in full). These examples are different, but the context is that the meaning of กระหรี is a very serious insult in Thai. It is an impolite term, like some swear words in English which are not spelled out. Now, just think of such words in English that directly refer to a women in English and which would not be printed in full (i.e by replacing one of the vowels with a * – such as b*tch or c*nt, and that gives you a better understanding over the level of the insult. The term “prostitute” does not convey the same meaning.

Third, the evil women who sells the country is the specific insult directed at Yingluck, but it is the use of the term “กระหรี”, particularly that direct implication of the statement is that Yingluck is worse than a whore, which is the more serious insult.