Deputy PM insists using Thai numerals to keep “uniqueness”
Following a campaign on Change.org to remove Thai numbers from official documents, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said it was “an absurd controversial topic”. He insisted that Thai numbers might be complicated, but it is the way to maintain Thai uniqueness.
Thai numerals are written in Thai script in formal documents, not the Arabic numerals used in many other countries.
A Thai man launched a campaign on Change.org urging government departments to use Arabic numerals instead of Thai numbers. The man claimed that he worked in the digital sector and saw that using Arabic numerals would be more international and convenient for people. He added that the Arabic numbers would also be better for the digital document processing by a computer too as the Thai numerals were difficult for computers and the internet to understand.
The campaign creator also gave an example of the inappropriate use of Thai numbers like a URL with Thai numbers www.๑๒๑๒occ.com, ๕G (5G), and Windows ๑๐ (Windows 10).
The change.org target supporters was set at 5,000, and the campaign now received more than 3,000 supporters. Many Thai netizens shared the campaign on social media, saying they agreed because the Thai numerals were hard to read and Arabic numbers were more familiar.
Yesterday, reporters asked Deputy PM Wissanu to share his opinion on the topic. Wissanu said he noticed the issue was shared online but didn’t look into more details. He said he agreed that the Arabic numerals were better for the digital documents, but the printed ones should still feature the traditional Thai numbers. Wissanu explained that every country uses its language with official documents. The documents would be adjusted only if they were launched for international use.
“Thai numbers might make things complicated, but we should sometimes let it be complicated to keep our uniqueness.”
Some Thai netizens shared a funny meme about the Thai numbers. A picture of a sign in front of a tourist attraction was circulating online. The entrance fee for Thai people is written with Thai numbers, and the entrance fee for foreigners is written with Arabic numerals. Thai netizens said that maybe Thai numbers were kept to lure foreigners into paying a higher entrance fee.
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