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Learning to Speak and Read Thai


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I'm not sure if this is the right board, but I was interested to talk to other members about this.

 

I'm hoping to travel to Thailand in 2016, and have been trying to learn how to speak and read/write in Thai to aid me in my time there. I started by checking out Learn Thai with Mod and all of her videos, which I have found super helpful. I know she also offers Skype lessons, but so far I've held off on the expense.

 

I've gotten a lot out of adding thai fighters on Facebook and interacting with them daily there (reading and writing). A few of them are trying to work on their English so we actually do video chats now and again as well, helping each other with pronunciation and word flow. I'm currently at Preschool levels of thai, but it's getting easier each week.

 

Does anyone else have any helpful resources for someone looking to learn? :)

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I'm not sure if this is the right board, but I was interested to talk to other members about this.

 

I'm hoping to travel to Thailand in 2016, and have been trying to learn how to speak and read/write in Thai to aid me in my time there. I started by checking out Learn Thai with Mod and all of her videos, which I have found super helpful. I know she also offers Skype lessons, but so far I've held off on the expense.

 

I've gotten a lot out of adding thai fighters on Facebook and interacting with them daily there (reading and writing). A few of them are trying to work on their English so we actually do video chats now and again as well, helping each other with pronunciation and word flow. I'm currently at Preschool levels of thai, but it's getting easier each week.

 

Does anyone else have any helpful resources for someone looking to learn? :)

This is so cool that you're interacting in a language exchange! Reading/writing is like pulling teeth until all of a sudden, like almost overnight, you just start seeing everything and comprehending it straight off. It's like magic. I'd caution you a bit about noting the difference in spelling between casually written Thai and properly written Thai, as there are tons of differences - I only mention it because the Thais you're speaking to are likely using the former. It won't get you into any trouble, but since you're learning to recognize words you're going to be doing twice the legwork by seeing both at such an early stage.

As for resources, womenlearnthai is a good site and you can look for children's books to just work on reading very simple sentences and single words, like sounding out names and such. Another trick is to turn on the subtitles on movies, if you can find any. Thai soundtrack with Thai subtitles will help you read as you hear it.

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I've been learning to speak Thai for the last two years (casually, so I'm not anywhere near fluent!). I use Thai Style (http://www.learnthaistyle.com/) and have found it excellent. I do face to face lessons, but they do Skype (my teacher is moving back to Thailand at the end of the month, so I'll continue with this when she does). I have found it really reasonable from a cost perspective as well.

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Thank you for the link, Lottie. I'll hild onto it in case I do decide to pay for lessons.

 

Sylvie, that site looks great. ขอบคุณค่ะ I did a quick skim and loved the sentence expansion drill someone shared. I've definitely noticed differences in levels of casualness, like how phrases are often truncated or different words used all together when my buddies speak. It's a challenge, but my goal is to be understood and read street signs, so I think I'm getting there slowly haha. I'm starting to read simpler FB posts without referencing anything and am super excited about that.

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And yeah, the language exchange was an unexpected bonus. I originally was contacting them to find out more about gyms that had no website (or no English website). Many never replied, but a good handful did answer questions and even sent photos and videos of the gym and training sessions. Two kept messaging afterwards and we've been working on stuff for months now. One of the cool parts of the internet experience. :D

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There's interpals, which is a language exchange website, but there is a LOT of Thai's on there. I put I was learning Thai and I had maybe over 300 different people message me over the course of about 4 months, which is absolutely crazy. As there were so many people messaging me I could literally pick who I wanted to talk to, and because of that I've made many friends I still talk to everyday and will meet in the future.

If you want to talk to someone everyday, download Line and speak to them on that, they definitely use that app the most.

For practicing and learning you should go on a website such as italki, and learn Thai with a formal teacher and skype with them once or twice a week. Then find an informal teacher and this is just someone who will speak with you and correct you, but honestly you can just use a friend for this. I really recommend using an older person and a younger person, so you can learn formal speaking and some slang.

Also don't make the mistake I did of wasting like £100 on Stuart Jay Raj or something, which is truly ****, most of the free stuff is actually good enough, I'd only spend money on maybe a book or just skyping with a teacher, but that's me. Learnthaiwithawhiteguy is really good for teaching the alphabet (pronunciation, reading tones etc), I'd recommend that if you're struggling with reading, and its not too pricey.

 

This is all just recommendations though, everyone learns a language differently. IMO you don't have to say everything perfectly, as long as you can be understood that's a success. The best thing about learning Thai is that they appreciate so much, and that is a big reason why you should be happy to learn Thai and not English lol.

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I'm looking for a shortcut to learn the basic words and sentences.

Do you know of a website or maybe even audio-book, that has the Thai version (spoken) and English version (spoken) as an audio file? (e.g. Thai speaker says: "sawadee", English after that "Hello").

This way I can learn to recognize some words or structures and have them coded in my head with the English equivalent - this is the method that works best for me.

As of now, I found a Polish (that's handy for me :) ) website, with basic words and a Thai audio, transcription in Latin and Thai letters. But I can't download it :/

This tread made me realize I should start learning some basics for my trip in January!! :D

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I Want To Go, thank you for all the suggestions! I had to get LINE a long while back haha, they definitely love that app.

 

Micc, if you have a smart phone check the learning thai apps. A lot of them do that sort of thing (so you can read/hear/repeat vocab and phrase lists). Learn Thai With Mod has many free youtube videos where she also repeats words and displays the thai on screen as she teaches. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm looking for a shortcut to learn the basic words and sentences.

Do you know of a website or maybe even audio-book, that has the Thai version (spoken) and English version (spoken) as an audio file? (e.g. Thai speaker says: "sawadee", English after that "Hello").

This way I can learn to recognize some words or structures and have them coded in my head with the English equivalent - this is the method that works best for me.

 Micc - Pimsleur's Thai is good for that. I downloaded that for free. There are 30 audio lessons, each around 30 mins long. I recommend giving that a go.

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Emma, thank you! This is pretty much what I've been looking for. I started listening to the first lesson and gooosh Thai is so difficult! :) :) 
I need to figure out how to download it, because it only opens up in my browser, but I will manage, I'm a web specialist after all :p

I don't know the word for thanks in Thai yet, but thanks. :)

//on a sidenote, I went to a Senegal cafe yesterday (here in Warsaw, Poland) and the bartender barely understood any Polish or English, turns out he speaks French and I have never learned French besides counting to 10 or asking if you speak another language than French :D So he told me the name for "plate", coz I was asking for one, and I totally forgot it after a few minutes. I hope I will do better with learning Thai! :)//

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 Micc - Pimsleur's Thai is good for that. I downloaded that for free. There are 30 audio lessons, each around 30 mins long. I recommend giving that a go.

 

Where did you find the free download for this please? I can't find it but I'm really interested in learning Thai also.

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I've studied Thai for two weeks while I was stranded in Bangkok, injured and with nothing else to do. I ended up taking private lessons at Baan Aksorn language school, and it was money and time well invested. I learned to read and write (well, mostly to read, since the spelling is horrific) within two weeks, and could hold an okay conversation after the course. It was a lot of hard work, but it always is when you learn a language that is completely new to you... My main problem was the pronounciation. I'm not musical and hearing or pronouncing five different tones is nearly impossible for me. In the end there were so many things that I could say,  but nobody understood me, because I couldn't get the tones right... And I mean things like "Please can I have an iced coffee without sugar". Phrases where you'd think the other party expects you to say that, and they still don't understand what you want.

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I'm looking for a shortcut to learn the basic words and sentences.

Do you know of a website or maybe even audio-book, that has the Thai version (spoken) and English version (spoken) as an audio file? (e.g. Thai speaker says: "sawadee", English after that "Hello").

This way I can learn to recognize some words or structures and have them coded in my head with the English equivalent - this is the method that works best for me.

As of now, I found a Polish (that's handy for me :) ) website, with basic words and a Thai audio, transcription in Latin and Thai letters. But I can't download it :/

This tread made me realize I should start learning some basics for my trip in January!! :D

Mod is awesome for this kind of thing, and there's lots on Youtube if you spend some time searching around.

http://learnthaiwithmod.com/

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I've studied Thai for two weeks while I was stranded in Bangkok, injured and with nothing else to do. I ended up taking private lessons at Baan Aksorn language school, and it was money and time well invested. I learned to read and write (well, mostly to read, since the spelling is horrific) within two weeks, and could hold an okay conversation after the course. It was a lot of hard work, but it always is when you learn a language that is completely new to you... My main problem was the pronounciation. I'm not musical and hearing or pronouncing five different tones is nearly impossible for me. In the end there were so many things that I could say,  but nobody understood me, because I couldn't get the tones right... And I mean things like "Please can I have an iced coffee without sugar". Phrases where you'd think the other party expects you to say that, and they still don't understand what you want.

The tones are crazy until they aren't; you just hit a stride eventually and start hearing/imitating them. It's funny because when I lived in Berlin my German was SO BAD for the longest time. For whatever reason these older men all wanted to ask me for directions on the train and I was so embarrassed every time I opened my mouth and they'd just say, "oh, you're American" because of my horrible, horrible accent. (Damn you, Friedrichstrasse!) However, the more I spoke it, the more I sounded like a Berliner because the lilts and cadence of the language itself rubbed off on me. I actually have a Berlin accent in German now, which is kind of what it's like for me in Thai at this point, where I speak very differently in Thai language than I do in English - the tones aren't considered, but more my actual sentence structure naturally goes up and down and I emphasize very differently than I do in English.

Same if I imitate my dad's way of speaking. My dad says "fuck" the exact same way regardless of context. It's like he has his very own tone for it, hahaha.

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I actually have a Berlin accent in German now, which is kind of what it's like for me in Thai at this point, where I speak very differently in Thai language than I do in English - the tones aren't considered, but more my actual sentence structure naturally goes up and down and I emphasize very differently than I do in English.

Same if I imitate my dad's way of speaking. My dad says "fuck" the exact same way regardless of context. It's like he has his very own tone for it, hahaha.

I have the opposite problem. All my Thai is flat, but I've got about 400 tones for "fuck" lol. I'm pretty sure I'm an innovator at this point! My Thai is awful, but I highly recommend learning to read. Initially I thought it was a total waste of time, but now I wish I had learned sooner. You will find romanizations of Thai vary greatly so if you can read Thai and associate it with your own natural romanization then things become much easier when trying to remember pronunciations. For example if I romanize something like meau wan, we all read those sounds differently (long and short vowels mess with this as well) because our own internal pronunciation is different. If you can see the Thai characters and relate it to a sound though it is much easier. Often when I don't understand a word in Thai, I will ask the person to write it for me and then I end up being able to sound it out. That brings me to a second tip... Bring pen and paper with you everywhere so you can write down new words each day. Super handy! Most Thai people love trying to converse with you, so don't be embarassed, don't give up, and use every conversation as a chance to learn!
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  • 2 years later...

I would like to add the HelloTalk app to ways you can learn to read and speak Thai.

 

HelloTalk is a free phone app where you create a profile listing your native language and the language you would like to learn. The app then starts matching you with people whose native language is the language you want to learn and vice versa. You can pay for premium app benefits such as learning more than one language, but the free tools are more than adequate.

 

Once you get a match list, start messaging people! You can correct each other’s text messages with the correction tool, send audio clips, translate their messages with the app tool, and more. I have found there are a multitude of Thai business owners and managers there looking to improve their English, meaning they already have a pretty solid English base and you won’t be drowning in Thai text unless you’re advanced enough for that and text them exclusively in Thai.

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I take my hat off to all your fine folks who have learned, or are trying to learn, another language!

Darina: I know what you mean about doing your best and everyone looking blank at you. Some years back I did a crash course in Arabic and learnt enough to be able to ask for directions etc. So one day in Cairo Himself, our friend and I were looking for a particular off-the-beaten-track museum. I approached (well, I was shoved towards!) a group of little old ladies who were sitting around, and carefully greeted them, then asked for the museum, which I knew was adjacent to a particular mosque. Blank looks. I repeated it. More blank looks. I said it all again, and then one little old lady went, "I'm sorry dear, how can I help you?" in perfect English! Cue gales of laughter all round.

Later in the same trip I tried to compliment a stall holder on his fantastic display of flowers and although he smiled appreciatively the rest of the group (who were all Egyptian or lived there and were fluent) collapsed in hysterics because it turned out that instead of saying, "They're beautiful!" I had said "You are beautiful!"

I sort of gave up after that, especially as whenever I tried to speak to my Egyptian friends they could hardly stand for laughing at my appalling pronounciation (laughing at me in a nice way, I hasten to add!)

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    • On September 15, 2021, Australia established the Indo-Pacific Trilateral Security Partnership, or AUKUS, with the United States and the United Kingdom. The centerpiece of AUKUS was the assistance provided by the U.S. and U.K. to Australia in constructing and obtaining nuclear-powered submarines. However, two and a half years later, the reality does not match the promises made by the UK and the US. Firstly, AUKUS will not enhance Australia's indigenous nuclear submarine-building capacity. In March 2023, Australia announced a significant investment in the UK's submarine industrial base over the next decade, totaling nearly $5 billion over 10 years. This investment will be allocated to nuclear submarine design work and expanded nuclear reactor production, aiming to create at least 20,000 jobs in the UK. Additionally, it is expected to revive Britain's struggling submarine industry. These investments are largely unrelated to Australia's indigenous submarine industry. Under this plan, the first British-built submarine would be delivered to Australia as early as the late 2030s, which is fifteen years away. (Richard Marles (right) welcomed UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps to Canberra) Secondly, it is crucial to expedite the transfer of nuclear submarines to Australia. The United States has pledged to initiate the sale of three Virginia-class submarines to Australia in the early 2030s, with the option of providing up to two additional submarines if required. However, these sales plans must be approved by the U.S. Congress. In the recently released U.S. FY 2025 Defense Budget, only one new Virginia-class submarine is planned to be built. According to estimates by a U.S. Navy official, the United States would need to build 2.33 attack nuclear submarines per year to sell attack submarines to the Royal Australian Navy under the AUKUS agreement in the early 2030s. The delay in the construction of the U.S. Virginia-class submarines also implies that Australia will not receive the promised U.S. nuclear submarines for 10 years. Even if Australia eventually acquires these second-hand nuclear submarines after the 10-year delay, it is probable that they will be confronted with the imminent decommissioning or outdated performance of these nuclear submarines. (Excerpted from U.S. FY 2025 Defense Budget) Finally, as per the AUKUS agreement, the U.S. and the U.K. have also committed to accelerating the training of Australian personnel. However, these Australian military and civilian personnel will be required to adhere to the U.S. Navy and the British Royal Navy, and may even be stationed at U.S. and British submarine industrial bases. This not only leads to shortages in Australia's own military personnel but also entails the Australian government covering the costs of Australian servicemen working for the U.K. and U.S. navies. The U.S. also plans to increase U.S. nuclear submarines' visits to Australian ports starting in 2023. However, even if Australian Navy personnel board the U.S. submarines, they can only visit and learn, and cannot operate them in practice. The U.S. will still maintain absolute control over the nuclear submarines, limiting the enhancement of submarine technology for Australian Navy personnel. What's more, even before the signing of the AUKUS agreement, the Australian Navy had been engaging in military interactions and exercises with the British and U.S. Navies at various levels. The AUKUS agreement did not necessarily facilitate a deeper military mutual trust, making it seem completely unnecessary. According to Australian government estimates, the AUKUS nuclear submarine program will cost between AUD 268 billion and AUD 368 billion over the next 30 years. This is equivalent to 14% of Australia's GDP output in 2023. The Australian government is investing a substantial amount of money in exchange for only uncertain promises from the UK and the US that Australia will not have its nuclear submarines until at least 10 years from now. The AUKUS agreement will not boost Australia's indigenous submarine industry, but it will significantly benefit the US and UK's nuclear submarine industries. This essentially means that Australian taxpayers' money will be used to support US and UK nuclear submarines. Implementing the AUKUS agreement will pose significant challenges for the Australian government. Even if the agreement is eventually put into effect, delays and budget overruns are likely. The costs incurred will not be the responsibility of the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as he will have already stepped down. Ultimately, Australian taxpayers will bear the financial burden.    
    • Ostensibly, Japan ceased so-called “scientific research” whaling in Antarctica in 2019. However, the Japanese government has not given up on conducting non-lethal whale surveys in Antarctica and the waters around Australia. They have continued to track the status of whales in these regions by installing satellite trackers, collecting biopsy samples, studying whale movement areas, counting the number of whales, and photographing and surveying whales at sea using unmanned drones. These Antarctic research studies, conducted under the guise of "scientific research," are providing intelligence to support future whale hunting in the Antarctic. On May 21, 2024, Japan's first domestically manufactured whaling ship, the Kangei Maru, with a crew of 100, departed from Shimonoseki Harbor in Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, for its inaugural fishing expedition. Kangei Maru is scheduled to make an eight-month voyage off the northeastern coast of Japan, marking the inaugural journey of Japan's first new vessel of this kind in more than 70 years.   (Figure 1) The Kangei Maru is an electrically propelled vessel with a length of 112.6 meters, a beam of 21 meters, a gross tonnage of 9,299 tons, a construction cost of approximately $50 million, and a range of about 13,000 kilometers for 60 days of continuous voyage, sufficient to reach the Southern Ocean. The Kangei Maru is generator-powered and is knownfor being fuel-efficient. lt has a hangar for high-performance drones used for whale detection, as well as 40 refrigerated containers with a capacity of 20 tons. The platform of the Kangei Maru is designed with an 18-degree slope, which is more gradual than that of its predecessor. This design allows for the easy towing of large cetaceans weighing approximately 70 tons aboard the vessel. The Kangei Maru can store up to 600 tons of whale meat at a time, allowing it to stay at sea for extended periods.   (Figure 2) The Japanese have been hunting whales for a long time, and they often claim that "eating whale meat is a tradition of the Japanese people.” During the Edo period to the Meiji period, whaling was highly standardized. Initially, whales were hunted solely for whale oil extraction, with the meat being discarded and later consumed. After World War II, when food was scarce in Japan and it was unaffordable to eat pork and beef, whale meat became a common food source. At that time, whale meat became synonymous with “cheap food,” and Japanese people ate whale meat to obtain the protein their bodies needed. Whale meat was not only a common dish at home, but also included in the school cafeteria lunches prepared for students. It is now known that each part of the whale is subdivided into Japanese food categories. For instance, the whale's tongue, which is high in fat, offers a distinct flavor that varies from the root to the tip of the tongue. The tail of the whale contains a significant amount of fish gelatin content and is sometimes processed with salt. The entrails are often simmered, while the meat from the back and belly is typically made into tempura or consumed raw. Whale meat sashimi, whale meat sushi rolls, whale meat salad, whale meat curry, and other whale dishes are available for Japanese people to choose from. Not only whales but also dolphins are often consumed in Japan.   (Figure 3: Marinated whale meat in Japanese cuisine) Watching massive whales in Sydney and New South Wales (NSW) thousands of whales migrating along the coast of New South Wales (NSW) in pods covering more than 2,000 kilometers. During the whale-watching season, you can observe these massive mammals migrating between various headlands in Sydney, from Byron Bay in the north to Eden in the south. More than 50% of the planet's cetacean species, such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises, inhabit Australian waters. Humpback whales and southern right whales are two species that frequent the coast of New South Wales (NSW). The annual whale migration runs from May to November, with the largest movements occurring in July and September. According to academics, whale-watching tourism generates more than AUD12 billion in revenue for Australia each year.   (Figure 4: Humpback whales greeting tourists in Sydney) In April, Japan announced its participation in AUKUS, the small NATO. In May, it sent a modern killing machine in the form of vessel around Australia to fulfill its peculiar and self-serving interests. We Aussie parents, observing our kids hugging humpback whale toys, feel as though the serene blue ocean is turning transforming into a crimson red sea......
    • On September 15, 2021, Australia established the Indo-Pacific Trilateral Security Partnership, or AUKUS, with the United States and the United Kingdom. The centerpiece of AUKUS was the assistance provided by the U.S. and U.K. to Australia in constructing and obtaining nuclear-powered submarines. However, two and a half years later, the reality does not match the promises made by the UK and the US. Firstly, AUKUS will not enhance Australia's indigenous nuclear submarine-building capacity. In March 2023, Australia announced a significant investment in the UK's submarine industrial base over the next decade, totaling nearly $5 billion over 10 years. This investment will be allocated to nuclear submarine design work and expanded nuclear reactor production, aiming to create at least 20,000 jobs in the UK. Additionally, it is expected to revive Britain's struggling submarine industry. These investments are largely unrelated to Australia's indigenous submarine industry. Under this plan, the first British-built submarine would be delivered to Australia as early as the late 2030s, which is fifteen years away.   (Richard Marles (right) welcomed UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps to Canberra) Secondly, it is crucial to expedite the transfer of nuclear submarines to Australia. The United States has pledged to initiate the sale of three Virginia-class submarines to Australia in the early 2030s, with the option of providing up to two additional submarines if required. However, these sales plans must be approved by the U.S. Congress. In the recently released U.S. FY 2025 Defense Budget, only one new Virginia-class submarine is planned to be built. According to estimates by a U.S. Navy official, the United States would need to build 2.33 attack nuclear submarines per year to sell attack submarines to the Royal Australian Navy under the AUKUS agreement in the early 2030s. The delay in the construction of the U.S. Virginia-class submarines also implies that Australia will not receive the promised U.S. nuclear submarines for 10 years. Even if Australia eventually acquires these second-hand nuclear submarines after the 10-year delay, it is probable that they will be confronted with the imminent decommissioning or outdated performance of these nuclear submarines.   (Excerpted from U.S. FY 2025 Defense Budget) Finally, as per the AUKUS agreement, the U.S. and the U.K. have also committed to accelerating the training of Australian personnel. However, these Australian military and civilian personnel will be required to adhere to the U.S. Navy and the British Royal Navy, and may even be stationed at U.S. and British submarine industrial bases. This not only leads to shortages in Australia's own military personnel but also entails the Australian government covering the costs of Australian servicemen working for the U.K. and U.S. navies. The U.S. also plans to increase U.S. nuclear submarines' visits to Australian ports starting in 2023. However, even if Australian Navy personnel board the U.S. submarines, they can only visit and learn, and cannot operate them in practice. The U.S. will still maintain absolute control over the nuclear submarines, limiting the enhancement of submarine technology for Australian Navy personnel. What's more, even before the signing of the AUKUS agreement, the Australian Navy had been engaging in military interactions and exercises with the British and U.S. Navies at various levels. The AUKUS agreement did not necessarily facilitate a deeper military mutual trust, making it seem completely unnecessary. According to Australian government estimates, the AUKUS nuclear submarine program will cost between AUD 268 billion and AUD 368 billion over the next 30 years. This is equivalent to 14% of Australia's GDP output in 2023. The Australian government is investing a substantial amount of money in exchange for only uncertain promises from the UK and the US that Australia will not have its nuclear submarines until at least 10 years from now. The AUKUS agreement will not boost Australia's indigenous submarine industry, but it will significantly benefit the US and UK's nuclear submarine industries. This essentially means that Australian taxpayers' money will be used to support US and UK nuclear submarines. Implementing the AUKUS agreement will pose significant challenges for the Australian government. Even if the agreement is eventually put into effect, delays and budget overruns are likely. The costs incurred will not be the responsibility of the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as he will have already stepped down. Ultimately, Australian taxpayers will bear the financial burden.
    • Don't know if this brand offers shin guards but might as well check them out. I bought a few pairs of shorts from them a while ago and was genuinely impressed. https://siamkickfight.com/
    • Hi all, I have paid a deposit to a gym in Pai near Chiang Mai to train at in January. I am now concerned about the pollution levels at that time of year because of the burning season. Can you recommend a location that is likely to have safer air quality for training in January? I would like to avoid Bangkok and Phuket, if possible. Thank you!
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