Installing Thai fonts on a Samsung Galaxy 5 i5503 (custom Froyo ROM)

Above: An example of something that didn't work.

Notes: I am writing this guide from memory and it shouldn’t be considered definitive (or even accurate, ha ha). Also, I get this sort of stuff done with heavy googling and then lots of trial and error, an approach that often ends in tears. It happened to work for me this time, but only after trying several different approaches and tools. It might not work for you and I accept no responsibility for that or what it might entail: Worst case, you might brick your phone.

That being said, it has made the Galaxy 5 one of the best values currently on the Thai smartphone market – cheap (about 5,000 Baht new last time I checked), fast, and installable with almost any app.

Credit where credit is due: The majority of the Thai font install procedure below was adapted from NexusOneHacks.net.

One last thing, is it truly necessary to flash your firmware in order to install the fonts? Maybe not, but it was for me. I was previously using firmware I5500LUYJP2 from this page. I tried the same font installation procedure described below and it did not work until I tried different firmware..

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1. Download firmware and follow the Flashing Instructions on this page: MAD ROM 2.3 Extreme App2SD Edition. If you don’t know how to use ODIN, etc., this guide can help you (just remember to use the firmware you just downloaded instead of the one linked in the guide).

2. After setup is complete, root your phone with Universal Androot (I’ve found that often the first try isn’t successful. Just try again.)

3. Next, install Terminal Emulator on your Galaxy 5.

4. Since Froyo lacks copy functionality from shell (for whatever stupid reason), you need to install busybox. Click this link to download busybox. Then copy it into the root directory of your SD card.

5. Make a new directory in the root of your SD card and name it font. Download this zip file, which contains the Droid Sans font files with Thai support. Unzip it, and copy all the .ttf files into the font directory you made.

6. Open Terminal Emulator on your phone, type each line below (without the $ or # symbols that are there to indicate a new line as shown in the application) and press the enter key.

$ su

Note: This command should open a prompt that asks if you want to grant Superuser privileges to the Terminal Emulator application. Click yes. After this point, the $ symbol before each new command should automatically change to a # symbol. This indicates superuser status.

# mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock4 /system

# mkdir /data/busybox

# cat /sdcard/busybox > /data/busybox/busybox

# chmod 755 /data/busybox/busybox

# mkdir /data/local

# cd /data/busybox

# ./busybox –install
(That’s 2 dashes before install!!!)

# cp /sdcard/font/* /system/fonts

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The fourth line from the bottom with the mkdir command probably isn’t necessary, but even if it isn’t, it will just return a harmless error. Also, the busybox install returned a bunch of errors for me, but seemed to work out in the end.

Lunch break

I’m eating a plate of crab fried rice that looked unremarkable, but actually tastes quite amazing. This is a touristy dish that I pass on in Thailand because it’s usually got bits of shell in it, but it’s what they made for me today, and I’m glad they did – there’s huge chunks of crab meat hidden in the middle, and the egg was crispy with a runny yolk. Yum.

Meanwhile, there’s a guy who looks like jesuscristo floating in the huge hotel pool. If he turns it into wine, I’m calling off the afternoon lecture..

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Night Beer Hiking in Downtown Chiang Mai

Exactly one month ago, our family took a trip to Chiang Mai by way of daddy, Max, Mina, and the nanny hitching a ride with mommy on a business trip. Our driver was fast and polite, and since there are typically no seat belts in a Thai commuter van, we decided to leave the baby seats behind. This made for a very smooth and uneventful ride, just the way I like it.

I’ve written about other parts of the trip already, but I didn’t get around to posting (blurry) photos of one of the highlights, an impromptu night stroll from the center of downtown to our hotel. We went out as a group for dinner and to check out the night market, which was a big tourist trap / disappointment. By that time, we had joined up with Daisuke and some of his and Nam’s students… Dai had expressed a longing to drink on the grounds at Wat Chedi Luang, at the very center of town, because it was beautifully lit up at night and temples make such excellent chill out spots.

So Dai and I got dropped off at the main gate, and everybody else went back to the hotel in the van. So began our journey.

Wat Chedi Luang, former home of the Emerald Buddha

Since the front and side gates were already closed, we had to walk all the way around to find a rear way in. We found it, and weaved through various building to get to the chedi (stupa).

Apparently, UNESCO and some overeager Japanese meddlers did an awesome job of rebuilding these ruins IN THE WRONG ANCIENT STYLE!!

Unfortunately, the temple grounds were full of monks and followers walking around and looking at the illuminated stupa, just like us. We could have had beers while hidden in the shadows, but having other people around kind of killed the appeal of it. Instead, we decided to walk back to the hotel by walking out to the ring road (Chiang Mai has an inner and outer ring road, one running clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, just like Osaka’s nakakanjo and sotokanjo, but not elevated), and following it back. We made several stops at historic sites along the way, roughly fulfilling one of the main to-dos for visitors to CM: Visiting many temples.

A temple on the side of the road, name unknown. I lit joss sticks and felt very spiritual, and then some loud foreign tourists came, so we left.
Some government office with statues of unknown dudes. Oddly, there was an older Thai couple sleeping under the statue.

After leaving the heart of the historical district, we came upon the first 7-11 and eventually instated the two beer rule: Two cans of Leo per person at every 7-11 passed

We ended up at an outdoor futsal stadium with two fields. Daisuke played in the minor soccer league in Japan, so he wanted to watch for a while. I had several beers and a pork bau from a cart outside the 7-11, so I didn’t care. It started getting chilly, though, so I got up and stood watching the khao tom store across the street for ten minutes. There was a deaf guy waiting on the tables who would bring out food to the customers and communicate with them by pointing at the menu and writing things down on the pad, but the cook insisted on shouting at him when orders were ready, very loudly, twice for everything. It made for some fairly hilarious happenings which would suck to relate in writing.

A late night khao tom (aka okayu aka congee) store

Eventually, we neared the ring road.

Mysterious CD-stars pasted to lamp posts and curbs. Somebody is air peeing.
Mysterious CD-stars pasted to lamp posts and curbs. Somebody is air peeing.

We passed an open jazz bar with too many skanky farangs hanging out, and resupplied at another 7-11.

More CD-stars. They might just be used as traffic reflectors, but the placement of some of them was off the road so they might be used to ward off dogs / cats / Christians.

We ended up on the ring road near a historic gate and in dire need of a place to pee, peed on it.

The only public restroom in downtown Chiang Mai

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The rest of the night was fairly surreal. We had seafood noodles outside a car dealership. It was fairly late when I saw a red lantern way down a small street, and I was drawn to it. It turned out to be a Japanese izakaya that was closing. They initially refused to serve us, but I begged piteously and an old Japanese man drinking outside shared his bottle with us. He turned out to be just an average guy from Nagoya, who I naturally gave a lot of shit to even while partaking in his drink, just because I secretly look down on Nagoyans as a proud Osakan. The owner’s husband came around and he turned out to be an ex-coworker of Dai’s, so we extended our unwelcome at the closed bar even longer.

We eventually got home, but I don’t remember that part.

Work experience visit

Our two students at the resort in Saraburi are doing well… Or at least one is pulling the other along. That’s just how it is sometimes.

The 5 we are visiting in this tiny harbor village in Trat, however, seem to have it a lot harder. They are working at a Tourist Authority of Thailand office here which seems an improbable situation at the least, since there isn’t even a 7-11 in town (a primary indicator that you are in the middle of nowhere in Thailand). Anyhow, we will visit them at the office in an official capacity first thing in the morning.

As a sidenote, we entertained ourselves this evening by catching little crabs at low tide on the rocks our bungalows overlook. They look just like the one I used for bait fishing for sheepshead at Catalina with my dad when I was an Indian Scout.