We used to stay in Bangkok, Gooly and I. For 4 years. A period I deem not long enough. If I could, I really would have stayed on with Papah. Alas, due to various reasons (which DO NOT involve the authority) we reluctantly bade farewell to the Kingdom of Smiles in 2009.
This morning, a friend posted a video (on FB) which was produced by the Tourism of Thailand (I think). As the images of Thailand showing its beauty and charm reeled before my (misty) eyes, I realized that I miss the kingdom.
A lot. *sniff*
Of course, when I first moved there, I hated it. (Homosapiens have this very annoying and lousy mechanism called "adapting to new life.") I didn't like their 'maipenrai' (never mind, it's ok) culture - something which I translated very unfairly as to the Thais having very lackadaisical attitude. This sentiment is clearly reflected in my very first few posts, with regards to 'living in Bangkok.'
But as I got to know the locals better and understand, adapt and accept their way of life, I find that people of Thailand are very charming. Again, the feelings were reflected in the latter posts.
I miss giving and receiving 'wais' - the gentle mannerism of clasping the two hands with head slightly bowed which I find very humbling. No matter how many times I do it, I do not exude the beauty and grace of the action. Little Thai girls even give a little curtsy when they 'wai'. But apparently they can't over-do it lest they be called pompous. It's the same when the ladies talk. It's ok to have opinions but not be overtly confident. It's all about striking a balance, I suppose. I find all these very amusing.
I made a very grave mistake when I first moved there though. Intrigued by the gentleness of the action, I was giving 'wais' freely to the kids in my neighbourhood. Aiyayaya..... To my embarrassment, I found out that a 'wai' is not to be given to a child as it is believed to bring them bad luck. Khor tod ka..I didn't know.
Likewise, one should not touch the head of a person. Do not ruffle a kid's head as a form of affection like we often do here. And so, one day, I found an older child using his two hands to cup Gooly's face while saying, "Nalaak." (cute). I find his method equally affectionate, if not more.
I remember my kind old neighbors. The one on my left spoke very little English. But she still ratlled on in thai to me every day. Something I found a lil annoying at first cos I was tired of saying, "Mai kau jai." (I don't understand). But now, I miss her toothless smiles, and wonder a lot how they are and if Nong Bang, her son has gone through the operation which will make him not limp anymore.
I wonder if the little girl with down syndrome has gone to school.
I wonder if they remember me as fondly as I do of them.
Someone once said I'm a Thainese. She meant it as a joke. But I think it's cool. And therefore, I declare, I'm a Thainese - through and through.