Let me tell you a story which might resemble that of Gulliver’s travels. I was born and raised in India. I did my higher studies in Europe and now I am living in Thailand. I remember how people found my Indian last name difficult to pronounce. They could do it if they tried but they were worried they would say it wrong and offend me in a way.
When I came to Thailand their names were even longer than the Indian names I knew.
I don’t know to what extent but there are many similarities between Indian and Thai cultures. Their language seem to come from Sanskrit which if I have to simplify, is for south Asian languages what Latin is for French, English, Spanish (to name the the ones I know).
Thanks to the book Bridging the gap by Kriengsak Niratpattanasai, I understood the reason behind the long last names in Thailand. According to the book, Thai people submit their first name and last name to the government officials. “The office then searched the records for identical last names. The name had to be unique and different from those already in use […] As time went by, unique names became harder to come by. More and more syllables were tacked on, resulting in the long names we see today.” (Bridging the gap, Niratpattanasai)
I also found another thing, I don’t know if everybody in Thailand will agree though. In Europe, Indians are usually seen as the shy ones, in Thailand however they are seen as highly competitive, in certain cases aggressive.
Interesting isn’t it?