In This article, we will talk about an important idiom that all Thai people know. Therefore, you also have to know it. It is :
เดินตามผู้ใหญ่หมาไม่กัด (dern dtaam pôo yài măa mâi gàt)
What does เดินตามผู้ใหญ่หมาไม่กัด mean in English?
Let’s break it down word by word.
- เดิน (dern) 🚶🏻♀️is to walk
- ตาม (dtaam) means to follow
- ผู้ใหญ่ (pôo yài) 🧓 means adult
- หมา (măa) 🐶 means dog
- ไม่กัด (mâi gàt) means don’t bite
So what does it mean? You walk after the adult, following their steps, and you won’t get bitten by dogs?
Thai people respect adults. This is very obvious when you see how Thai younger people treat older people and vise versa. Also, This is reflected in Thai pronouns. (Aka : different ways of saying ‘you’ and ‘I’.)
If you go to Thailand, you will see a lot of street dogs. Most of them are without owners. They live on the street. Some get diseases but no one care for them. Some act aggressively towards people that walk on the street, and some even bite.
If you follow the advice of adults and obey what they say, you will always be safe and sound. If you follow their suggestions, you will avoid making mistakes and accomplish whatever you set out to do.
A very similar saying in English is, “Do as the wise man says and you will stay out of trouble“.
My parents always say that if I want to accomplish something in life, I have to obey adults because adults have more experience. My dad always says, “Do what the wise man says, and you will stay out of trouble“.
Translation in Thai:
I made a video explaining this idiom. Please take a look:
Download the transcript from the video here.