Fri, July 01, 2022


Campaign to drop Thai numerals drives deep divide among netizens

A proposal floated on about discontinuing the use of traditional Thai numerical digits in official documents has sparked a flurry of arguments online.

The campaign titled “allow the use of Arabic numerals in Thai official documents for the sake of digital development”, was launched on on Friday evening by a user who goes by the name Keng Susumpow.

As of 2pm on Sunday, the campaign had received 1,021 signatures in support. The campaigner, whose aim is to collect at least 1,500 signatures, said he wanted to call on government agencies to start using Arabic numerals for the sake of convenience and digital processing.

He said the use of Thai traditional numerals in digital documents blocked the development of digital document processing. He said the campaign to conserve and promote the use of Thai language should not be linked to the use of traditional numbers.

For instance, he said, the use of Thai digits with English words like 5G, Windows 10 and internet URLs in official documents looks strange and becomes invalid in computer processing.

On Sunday, a Palang Ruam Pracha Chart Thai MP posted a Facebook message opposing the campaign. Her argument is that the Thai script and numerals were created by King Ramkhamhaeng and reflected Thainess.

However, Sarinee Achvanuntakul, an independent academic on economics, posted a message supporting the campaign.

“I invite everybody to sign the campaign and share it. The lives of people who analyse government figures will improve. I support it because Thailand is the only place in the world that uses traditional numerals, and this is an unnecessary identity for this life or next.”

She also pointed out that the Thai numerals for 7 and 9 are confusing and can open the door to mistakes.

However, those who disagree with the campaign have demanded to know how replacing traditional numbers with modern ones on official documents will help develop the country, while other naysayers say Thai numerals pose no problems to educated people.

Published : May 29, 2022