Same same? What what?
May 29, 2009 7:36 PM   Subscribe

What's the deal with the SAME SAME t-shirts?

Saw a bunch of tourists wearing those in Thailand last summer (maybe even saw those for sale in Bangkok? I don't remember), saw one guy in the US (NY or NJ, though probably not relevant) wearing one about a month ago. Who makes them? Where did they come from? What does it mean? Why was it popular in Thailand?
posted by KateHasQuestions to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
very common expression in Thailand.



What's the difference between the 2 hour elephant trek for 1000 baht and the 2 hour elephant trek and monkey show for 900 baht ?


Same same. But different.

The irony in the "But Different" part of the answer is usually printed on the back of t-shirt.
posted by dawdle at 7:41 PM on May 29, 2009

Best answer: Same same!


Same same but different!

It's kind of "engrish" in Thailand that is dubbed "Tinglish." Tourists were probably wearing them because it's such a common phrase to hear while travelling and living in Thailand (and vietnam too, for some reason).

"Same same" might be used ironically because often it's not the same! Vendors use it - "same same" (as Nike) or if you're looking for a 7 day tour and you get a 3 day tour "same same." Or "same same but different" is used when it's vaguely a similar category but a different item. (Cabbage/lettuce or coke/pepsi or whatever).

Same Same is also a Thai band that consisted of twins.
posted by barnone at 7:42 PM on May 29, 2009

There's even a Same Same hostel in Cambodia - or at least there used to be.
posted by lunasol at 8:31 PM on May 29, 2009

Best answer: The dogdad travels to Thailand a lot, and he told me that the street market vendors are especially hilarious with this phrase. He will ask if they have a blue t-shirt in XXL, and they'll hand him a yellow small, insisting he buy it because it's "same same!"
posted by dogmom at 8:55 PM on May 29, 2009

Best answer: To add to the understanding, my former employer at the Thai cafeteria I worked at pointed out to me that, in Thai, repeating a word (like same) is used in Thai for emphasis. So, "same same" would be approximately "very much the same" in regular English usage. The Laotian cook at the cafeteria used this sentence construction a lot: "How are you, Kong?" "Thirsty thirsty!"
posted by lleachie at 9:04 PM on May 29, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all! I get it. Little did I know this should've been in the "language" or "culture" category, not the "clothing" one.

I like this simplified sentence construction. I already do that for certain words - I say "coffee coffee" "hungry hungry" and "yes yes" all the time. I might start doing that with more words for a little while, just to switch things up.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 9:12 PM on May 29, 2009

You get this in Lao restaurants.

"Lao? Is that like Thai food?"
*weary sigh*
"Same same, but different."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:19 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

"Same same but different" is an especially great phrase. I haven't been in Thailand for almost 6 years and I still say it for some reason. Just cracks me up -- (the XL blue shirt comment is dead on).
posted by barnone at 10:56 PM on May 29, 2009

in cambodia this spring we heard a lot of same sames and other funny repeats, most of which i can't remember right now except for "play play", which meant something like an afternoon nap or just chilling out. our research group was mixed of cambodians and europeans and we pretty much constantly entertained/annoyed ourselves: "you go sleep sleep now?" "yes yes."
posted by hereticfig at 12:08 AM on May 30, 2009

Same same = both the same
Same same but different = similar

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how "cute" you think it is, tourists keep perpetuating the phrase as a proper English phrase in Thailand, viscious cycle
posted by Chrysalis at 12:20 AM on May 30, 2009

viscious/vicious: same same but different
posted by applemeat at 8:37 AM on May 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

very common expression in Thailand.

It was also a very common expression in Singapore/Malaysia, albeit in Malay, "Sama sama", at least 30 years ago.
posted by nomisxid at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2009

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