Mystery, Thailand

Thai Talk Show Host Changed Name because of a Guest Speaker Part I

It appears that name is very important in certain individual’s success, as this talk show host of ‘Sabud Show’ recently changed his name from Gamon Sirithanon to Sougon Sijounga .  What made me want to translate this article was the discussion that we had of Danny Bunyavong’s last name at Dirtii Laundry, he is claiming his ethnicity as Thai-American, his parents are both Thai-Chinese, and he was born in the United States, but yet his last name sounds so Lao, and people can’t seem to get over this.

I asked my Gi Joe sister, Danny’s mom, and later learned that his father’s last name was once Eunk, as in Sae Eunk of Chinese decedent, and I knew that his mother side was Wong, a Sae Wong of our Chinese decedent, but both sides of the family adopted a Lao last name when they moved to Laos and this is very common for most people living in that region, and also very common for people living in Thailand to change their last name. I’ve noticed that many Lao families when migrated to the United States, many took a different last name, so last names for many Lao people are not carved in stone, in fact many are borrowed last names.

Back to the article, this is from Koosang Koosom Magazine, written in Thai language by Apreradee and translated by Nye.

Gamon

A talk show host of ‘Sabud Show’ said that he doesn’t believe in Astrology or fortune telling, but the thing that made him change his name is Astrology.  Confuse, then let us hear an explanation from him, he said he doesn’t believe any of that stuff, but why did he do it?

He never believed in Astrology, in his life time, he had never gone to see a fortune teller, never had a gypsy tarot card reading, nor handprint reading, and even mock on them.  But Astrology is what made him change his name, first and last, and it was the name that he had been using for the past 41 years, from Gamon Sirithanon to Sougon Sijounga since October 2551 (2008).

Sabud-Choh1-

Gamon, now known as Sougon is a Thai talk show host for “Sabud Show” for 8 years, and often like to do the things that his guest does all the time, or at least thinking about it.  Like one time, Khun Pong Souphan brought Buddha status to show and when he went home, he looked at his collection to see how much it’d be worth and thought of doing a business of renting Buddha status, but not sure of the profit, so he hasn’t done this yet. Then the owner of a plant shop came to show a plant called Chorn Chom (means admiring) that is very expensive, and he thought of going into this business of selling plants as well.  Another time Ajarn Noo Gunpai, the owner of Sak Yant came and he thought about getting a Yantra (tattoo), but then he only thought about it.  But there is one thing that he actually did and that was to change his name.

Truth is, he had never thought of changing his name, but it started because of the show ‘Sabud Choh’ that he is a co-host with Khoun O Varuit Vorathum.  They invited a guest speaker that specialize in names and had changed name for many Thai celebrities, such as Khun Nun Roungthong Romthong, currently changed to Daruth Jidtagwen, and during one of the shows, their guest speaker, the professor classified the name into 3 classes, 1 for good, 2 for bad, and 3 the worst, and gave example of Khoun O Varuit that his name is considered good, very appropriate for him, then they talked about other stuff until the end of the show.

When they were on stage, he had no interest in asking the professor about his name, or which class it falls in because he felt very neutral about this topic, but when the show was over, and while they were walking off stage, he casually asked the professor that how come the professor never said anything about his name.  The professor said, “Khun Gamon, believe it or not I’ve been wanting for you to ask me this.”

That’s because he looked up the name before he came on the show.  The professor said that he was worried about Gamon and wanted to help, but if he didn’t ask, then he professor wouldn’t be able to tell him anything because he is not the type that would push people into changing their name, they’ve to come and ask for his help, so he had been waiting for Gamon to ask.  The professor said, “we need to have a long talk”, to make the long story short, he said Gamon’s name is a class 3, which is the worst, and if he has time to give him a call.

At this point Gamon began to feel uneasy, he thought to himself that he shouldn’t have asked because when he asked, he didn’t think that he would get this kind of answer.  His life for the past 40 years has been good, and he has had a good profession (prior to this he was the manager of marketing for a Sweden Motor company) and everything was great, never once had any major problem and when the professor said it’s “a long story”, Gamon wondered what he is talking about?  After that he asked the crew members for the professor’s number and gave him a call.

Gamon asked on the phone, “When you said my name is in a class 3, the worst, what do you mean by that professor?”  The professor said in the past years, Gamon has lost many golden opportunities, so he thought back but couldn’t think of anything that stood out to him.  The professor said that his first name, when placed next to his last name, it’s unlucky and for those that use this last name, there is a good chance that they’ll have a terminal disease that can cause him his life…so he should change both his first and last name.

Then he thought to himself, if he was to change and things get better or even if it’s at a status quo, then it’d be good enough for him, but if he doesn’t change as suggested by the professor and something bad really happen, then he doesn’t want to feel sorry, so he decided to change his name.  He told his mother of what the professor said about his name and asked for her opinion, and her replied was, “You’re an adult now, you’ve to make that decision yourself.”

So he changed his name.  His mother doesn’t use the same last name as his, only his three brothers and they’re using their father’s last name and he passed away when Gamon was little, so he didn’t have to worry about hurting his father’s feeling.  As for his brothers, they don’t believe in Astrology, so there is no way in the world that they’d change their names.

At first, he asked the professor to suggest a first name that when use with his last name “Sirithanon,” if it would make things better because deep down inside he still want to keep his last name, it tells his roots of who he is.  But the professor said in his situation, his last name is the one that made things worst, he suggested it would be best to change both.  The professor gave him 4 sets of first and last name and he can switch the combination around to his liking, so he asked p’Tang, Phousit Laithong (the manger of TV Thunder Co Ltd) to see which name is suitable him.  P’Tang asked back, “which name Gamon like?”, and at that time he had 2 names that he really like.

Continued at Thai Talk Show Host Changed Name because of a Guest Speaker Part II

5 thoughts on “Thai Talk Show Host Changed Name because of a Guest Speaker Part I”

  1. I just think it’s amazing how he was a non believer, but since he said that things were going good for him .. he still believed in it. I think I’m gullible and will believe almost anything about my “duang” .. but with reasons of course.

    At least he was happy about the name changes. Thanks p’Nye for translating this 😀

    1. Julie, you’re welcome. I think people fear of the worst, and sometimes it’s better not knowing. I believe in “duang” to some extend also, but I would not change my real name that was given to me by my parents, and in certain situation, I believed you can make bad situation to your advantage, so not all is bad.

  2. My cousin’s name is Robert Vanny. His name sounds either french or English.. but he’s full blooded Lao. His father changed their last name when they first migrated to the US. So yeah, name changes are very common.

    I think the reason why some readers couldn’t get over your nephew’s Lao last name is cause Lao people (including myself) rarely see a Lao person make it big in the Entertainment business. Finally there is Lao person like Ananda Everingham who a famous, but most people would think he is Thai, so yet again, the “Lao” part is put in the back burner.

    They were very happy to see a Lao guy (or so we thought); your nephew make it big. I guess when they found out that he is actually Thai, they overlooked the other aspects of his modeling career and only focused on his last name.

    I guess with the Thai issan/Lao issan history, it was hard to believe that he is full Thai when he has a Lao last name. And also some Lao people sometimes are ashamed to admit that they are Lao, so they claim to be Thai when they are not. So it’s kind of hard to distinguish the truth when there are so many flaws out there.

    But in your nephew’s case, it’s different. From what you wrote and from his interview, I know for sure he is Thai. So I do hope that people would focus on his success; on him as a model, and not so much his ethnicity.

    1. lady0fdarkness, I think when it comes to Thai/Lao Issan, Thai central people think of them as Lao and Laotian in Laos think of them as Thai, so when they communicate, some try to speak in Thai central accent, and I don’t think that they’re ashamed but more like wanting to be accepted. As for me, Issan people living in Thailand are Thai people, no less than the Thai people speaking Thai central. I think the Thai pride exists as much as the Lao pride.

      When I first saw Danny’s profile way back, it kind of bother me at first because I felt that the Lao part should be there somewhere since his parents used to live in Laos and adopted the Lao last name. I knew it’d be problematic amongst the Lao/Thai communities, both want and don’t want to embrace him as a person, but pay more attention to his ethnicity, and that is why he is better off in the US. When he went to Thailand 2 years ago, the Thais received him well, most thought he looks more Korean because of his light complexion in comparison to the Thai people (not counting movie stars) living in Thailand.

      As for me, since I’m his aunt and claiming to be Lao, I know some Lao person might have a problem with my Laoness now. 🙂

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