One of my students told me his little adventure with a policeman who stopped him on the highway from Pattaya to Bangkok.
So, he drove a little bit too fast, I think, and got stopped at the police check point.
The patrol police asked him. Khun maa jaak nai krab?
Right away, aha! I know the words....Khun ma jaak nai krab? My student claimed. It means where (country) do you come from?
krab = ending polite word for men
Aha...super easy question, I quickly replied back to him out loud with confidence in my Thai.
"Phom maa jaak America krab" meaning I come from America. Right?
The same cop asked me again " Khun maa jaak nai krab?" And shook his head.
"Phom maa jaak America krab" I gave him the same reply! Nothing is wrong with my answer, right?
Khun maa jaak nai krab? The cop's last attempt at me.
"Phom maa jaak America krab" I replied for the third time too!
Well, this time not only did he shake his head harder, but he
waved his hand to dismiss me...bpai bpai bpai! (meaning Go Go Go!)
At this point, I couldn't hold myself from laughing so hard: here is the reason.
Because of the barrier of his English, it's easier to just let go of you than for him to try to explain to this crazy farang (foreigner)! What he was asking was....Where did you just come from?
More examples: Phom maa jaak gym krab = I just came from the gym.
Phom maa jaak sa-naam-bin krab = I just came from the airport.
Phom maa jaak baan = I just came from home.
Phom maa jaak ngaan-liang = I just came from a party. (Bad answer! Drink-driving!)
Phom maa jaak dta-laad = I just came from a market.
Phom maa jaak America = I just came from America. (but also, I come from America.)
Finally! My student said to me with a big smile: Phom maa jaak Pattaya krab :)
(Richard, thank you for sharing your story!)