“Never read. This is very important. if you read books in order to improve your writing style, you will find yourself trying to write literature, instead of saying what you really mean. It’s very important not to get caught up trying to write better American prose. Don’t do any such thing. Just try to think, Am I saying what I mean? Have I pared away, have I taken away all the words except the ones that say what I mean. And then your writing will be fine. You have the most wonderful writers in America, really great stylists, people like Damon Runyon, and there’s no floweriness, no literary effect, in the work of Damon Runyon, he is as neat as he can possibly be. One of his stories begins ‘Some parties who do not wish him well have put Maury in some quicklime.’
Often pronounced as nalak , this basically means cute. It’s not an obvious word for first time visitors to learn and usually pleasantly surprises Thai people when they hear a foreigner use it in the right context. Let me give you a real life example. Last year my sister was visiting and we were in Krabi on Nopparat Thara beach. A woman holding a baby walks past and there are smiles all round and I say ‘narak’ referring to the baby. After plenty of ‘khop khun ka’s’ from the mother and ‘thamay phut thai dai’ (why can you speak Thai?), I’m invited to join the rest of the family eating their picnic. I’m not suggesting that this happens every time, but it does illustrate two things; Thais love flattery (don’t we all) and they love their children.