‘Ok’ is definitely not okay
Netizens are confused by an English-language road sign in Phitsanulok province that reads “Wat Chan Thawan Ok”, noting that the spelling of the last syllable is ambiguous as it can be read as either “Ork” or “Okay”.
Tiktok user @vwinrocku raised the issue last week in his video, saying that a foreign tourist told him that they thought the name of the destination was “Wat Chan Thawan Okay”.
The video has gone viral with netizens reacting humorously to the misunderstanding, as the destination should be read as “Wat Chan Thawan Ork”, which translates in Thai as “The East Chan Temple”.
On Monday, Nation reporters took a look at the sign located on Phitsanulok-Nakhon Sawan Highway, also known as Siharat Dechochai Road, in Wat Chan subdistrict of Phitsanulok’s Muang district. The blue sign displays directions to three temples: Wat Chulamani, Wat Chan Thawan Tok (the West Chan Temple), and its sister temple Wat Chan Thawan Ok.
There are no other English-language signs giving directions to these temples in the area.
Suban and Wannaphon, Thai-US citizens who visited Phitsanulok on Monday, said that the sign should be fixed to prevent misunderstanding among foreigners.
Suban, a Thai who has lived in the US for 40 years, said that “Thawan Ok” should not be transliterated following the Thai language, but should instead be translated as “East”, so foreign visitors could understand the meaning of its name.
While in Phitsanulok, reporters also found another ambiguous road sign at an intersection called “Ton We”, although the Thai name is pronounced as “Ton Wah”. It refers to Syzygium cumini or Java plum tree.
These ambiguities indicate that Thai highway authorities might like to step up in their efforts to communicate with foreigners using the English language.