Samak Sundaravej is the current Prime Minister of Thailand and leader of the People Power Party (PPP). Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party, is his principal opponent. Deaf people refer to the former by touching their nose, and to the latter by moving their hand around their face and giving a thumbs up. So you could say that in Thai sign language, Abhisit is called Pretty Face (he is indeed good looking) and Samak Big Nose (his nose being indeed a prominent feature of his face). This doesn’t please everybody, and a PPP member even asked if deaf people could change the way they refer to their leader.
“This is not to mock or to humiliate him. It’s just the sign that deaf people can understand,” said the chairman of the Council of Disabled People of Thailand. He also urged the party of the Prime Minister not to interfer in the way deaf people construct and communicate their sign language. But he said that the PPP was welcome to pay for the cost of holding a seminar attended by hundreds of people in a bid to determine how best to refer to Samak with another sign.
Are there any specialists of sign language among our readers? Did this kind of debate already take place in other countries? I can already think of a few signs I could do to refer to some politicians… 😉