Thailand's National Anthem



Phleng Chat Thai

For unprepared visitors to Thailand it might be surprising to see that the national anthem is played twice (8am and 6pm) on every public place and blared out of a great number of loudspeakers all around the country. It's played in the radios and the TV's, the schools, all official buildings and, of course, in the barracks. It's expected to stand up when sitting and to stop walking, holding the arms downwards. It's according to a law made by Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram in 1939. If you don't obey, even as a foreigner, you harvest some ugly glances from decent Thai People. It can even be fined. Greetings from George Orwell. Do you remember '1984', where they had the daily '5 minutes hate show' in TV?

It can happen that the national anthem appears preceded or followed by advertisements, local official announcements or merely radio broadcasting through the loudspeakers.

The Thai national anthem (Phleng Chat Thai) was composed in 1932 (the year of the 'coup d'etat') and officially introduced in 1939. The official predecessor of 'Phleng Chat Thai' was 'Pleng San Soen Phra Barami', which is used nowadays as the 'king's anthem' and played in the cinemas before the main movie starts. If you don't stand up in the cinemas when it starts, you get fined as well. Guess why I never go into a Thai cinema...?!


Peter Feith

The contemporary national anthem - Phleng Chat Thai - was composed by Peter Feith (also: Feit, Veit; *1883 - 1968), a composer of German descent. Peter Feith was born in Thailand and lived here. He was the son of Jacob Feith, a German immigrant in Thailand who was appointed as a royal advisor for music by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). Peter Feith changed his name later to Piti Waityakarn (also: Phra Chen Duriyang). He collected all pieces of Thai music who were until then only transfered orally from generation to generation and payed so a relevant contribution to preserve this part of Thailand's culture.

The words of the national anthem are by Luang Saranuprapan.


Text of the Thai National Anthem

Sometimes it comes with an introduction as this:

"Fellow citizens...
the Thai flag and national anthem...
is our unique identity...
The time is now eight am...
Please stop your activities...
and stand up to honour the flag of Thailand
at this very moment, please."

Thailand embraces in its bosom all people of Thai blood,
Every inch of Thailand belongs to the Thais.

It has long maintained it's sovereignity,
Because the Thais have always been united.

The Thai people are peace loving, but they are no cowards at war.

Nor shall they suffer tyranny.

All Thais are ready to give up every drop of blood,
for the nations safety, freedom and progress.


There is a number of different translations of the Thai anthem. Some are more martial, others less. I have seen clearly more aggressive translations than this.

The daily TV spot coming with the anthem is also pretty martialic; all kind of military of the Thai army are shown in the background.

Another translation is this:

Thailand is founded on blood and flesh,
Thai people share,
Every portion of the land belongs to us,
thus we must care,
The reason why this country still exists,
is because the Thai people,
have long loved one another and been united.
We, Thai, are peace-loving people,
but in time of war,
uncowardly, we'll fight to the bitter end.
None is allowed to oppress,
and destroy our independence;
To sacrifice every droplet of blood,
as a national offering, we are always ready,
For the sake of our country's progress and victory.



Audio Sample of the Thai National Anthem

The Thai National Anthem, recorded on March 15th 2013 at 8am in Chiang Khong. The first 1:26 minutes are 'preplay', 1930s style, to make the main piece appearing more important. Audio by Asienreisender

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Published on March 17th, 2013