Your dose of ASEAN information

Saturday, February 7, 2015

How to say "I Love You" in ASEAN languages

In my previous post we learned how to say "Thank you" in ten ASEAN languages. Saying it in the native language of the person you are talking to gives more tone of sincerity and cuteness as opposed to its English equivalent. But what if you fancy someone from another country within our region? That's the moment you'll be saying something other than "Thank you." Something that tickles your heart and has something to do with everybody's friend and foe; Cupid.

So here's how you say the world's three sweetest words that make everybody blush. 

Say "Aku cinta kamu" if the man or woman of your dreams is Indonesian. If you want to do it formally although I don't personally recommend it because I'm not formal, say "Saya cinta padamu." Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu are so close to each other that they literally confuse people as they cannot tell the difference. So if you're in Malaysia and you wanna sound more like Malaysian, then say "Saya cintamu" (pronounce cinta as chinta)." If, again, you wanna sound formal, say "Aku cinta padamu." I told you they can be confusing, right?

Brunei also speak Bahasa but they speak and follow the Malaysian way. So that goes without saying that they also use "Saya cintamu."

In Thailand where I am right now, people say "Chan Rak Ter" especially in romantic songs. It applies to both male and female and is the easiest one most foreigners use so as to avoid confusion. What confusion? If you're a man, you'll have to say "Phom Rak Ter." Make sense?

Now let's go to the only landlocked ASEAN country we call Laos. Some people say they are one of the most romantic people in our region. So if you're attached to a Laotian, better be romantic as well. Say "Khoi huk chao." 

Filipinos say "Mahal Kita." The word "Mahal" is synonymous to the word "expensive." If you say "You're expensive," although that would sound awkward and a little dirty given the fact that you have a mind like me, it could also mean "important" - You're important to me.  Others may use "Inibig kita" or "Sinisinta kita"  but that would sound old school, not mainstream - a term overused in books and songs. Anyway, if you look closely, "Sinisinta kita" sounds a bit Bahasa. I think Tagalog and Bahasa are closely related.

Singaporeans speak Bahasa Melayu which means they say Saya cintamu. However, Singaporeans also speak Chinese. If the latter is your preference, say "Wo ai ni." That is correct. It's Mandarin Chinese!

They say "Chit pa de' in Myanmar and "Toi yeu em" in Vietnam. If you're in Cambodia however, say "Borng srolanh oun" - that is, if you're a boy. If you happen to be a girl or feels like one, reverse it by saying "Borng srolanh oun." But if you're memory is a little rusty in terms of remembering and reversing, say "Kanhom srolanh nak," it's general!

So, are you ready to say "I love you" to your love interest in his/her local language? Make the love month more romantic and say it. NOW!


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