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I m wat i am "supposed to be"..but i am not really
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  1. #1
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    panic

    My name is anna,
    I have just turned 20..counting to this day I have lived in australia for about 19 years..I look sooo thai..if thats even possible I have black hair, brown eyes, "petite" in stature and tanned brown skin but its when I open my mouth and i speak that u know that the "typical thai" label doesnt fit me.
    For 3 reasons. 1 is that I speak fluent english and 2 I speak with a thick aussie accent ( dont know how i got it myself) and 3 I cant read or write a single iota of thai..just speak it fluently ..with a aussie accent of course.

    I was born in Chonburi, thailand where my father worked on the army base . My parents seperated when I was not yet a year old. When I was 14 months old my mum took me and my older brother and sister to australia to start a new life.So u could say i was a year and 4 months 2 late to be born in australia...

    I spoke my first words in thai..Though I grew up in surburbian australia...station wagon, picket fence and crazy family dog and all ..no kidding .While my family was living the australian way, the australian lifestyle..eatting bbqs and going to the beach for holidays.. my mother was raising us kids to be nothing but thai..I am talking auttaya period style..(sorry dont know how to spell it) She was and is strict and incredibly traditional and very "tum ma tum mor"..other words very religous..heck I took my first grade school picture in a thai dress i never stand taller than an adult...I walk lightly so ppl cant hear my footsteps..hard sometimes in heels ..I wai all elders..I use Ka ,kaa, Ja, Jaa at the end of all my sentences , I never dress provocativly (mother would have my hide) and i hardly go out at night with friends especially not without my mums permission..call me prude and dull but thats the way i been brought up.I dunno if the way I was brought up was "typical" or not..i do know that my most vivid memories of "growing up as a thai aboard" centers around the "wat thai" my mum would bring us kids to. My mum has relatives send her a thai buddhist calendar every year ..so she knows what days "one pla" falls on..Cause that day if it wasnt a school day was a day to go to the Thai temple and we all knew it..it was preparing food the day before..getting up early cooking it..prayers to the "Hing Pla" at home..getting on our best "causal" gear ..squeezing into a station wagon to make it to the temple in time for "Chun pern Pla" which was 11am. Those of us living aboard probrably been to ones near them as well..I grew up visting just this one temple..whereas u in thailand may vist many. These were times for me as my mum says get in touch with my thai roots and boy did I learn..

    It was at this thai temple every sunday I experienced what it meant to be truely like all the other kids..what it means to be Thai and what it means to be a Buddhist...bascially what it means to be me. Without it i would be anna the aussie living in a thai persons body..Here I would run around with other lost thai kids..speaking "broken thai" mixed with english words.I would observe the thai past time of gossiping outrageoulsy bout everything...and its when I spend time in this wonderful temple I have come to revere that I learnt about what it means to be me. People may think I as an asian in a western land I would have lots of "racial incidents" to talk about..doesnt mean to say I havent had them..I have but it has never really affected me...i was hardly teased in school..nobody thought i was different..i was blessed with true friends...The predjudice I felt was from other thais living aboard..It is this predjudice that had the most profound effect on me. When they meet u they want to know if you come from an important family, wat job you do, how much money u make and how many bedrooms does your house have..how many cars u drive..etc..Basically even though we are out of thailand..we are still clinging to the vain hopes that our "background" will earn us the same respect that it does in thailand...Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesnt..

    This frustrated my life growing up because I wouldnt be able to play with such and such b/c her mom told her that she was " larn khun tun" something...shes another class from me..This wasnt one off..this became typical of thais I have met..they meet u..they size up and put u in a catergory..the "high" ppl wont assoc with others let alone eachother..dont know if others have had the same experiences as me..but as a child growing up I could nt quite understand it..I am not saying all thais are snobs this is just one gals experience of how divided her thai community has always been...My experience of growing up aboard was coloured not by me being "different" in another culture but me being "accepted by my own in a forgien land..It has and always been really important to me to be more than just one of 'those" or one of "them"..I just wanted to be "me"whoever she was..Australian bred Thai born..I am not more than the other.. Living aboard is a blessing I can not express...I have the best of both worlds..I have an education, I have freedom to express myself , and I have a strong culture and faith to draw strength and example from...So the point to this long winded account is...dadadaa...Living aboard as a Thai has been the most fantastic experience..wouldnt have it anyother way..looking forward to how to teach my own children how to balance one culture with another with pride without losing their sense of identity..take them to the temple thats wat I'll do

    thai_temptress@hotmail.com

  2. #2
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    Hello Anna! I hope you had an happy, happy birthday! Sawasdee wan gurt!!
    Great and touching post! It was a pleasure reading you! I wonder what our other Anna will answer... Same experience in USA?



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  3. #3
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    happy

    Hehehe wow I must be famous!!! Well, Anna, I didn't read all of your post because I don't have enough time right now. I'm just bumming it right now. Anyway I somewhat can relate to the other Anna. I am half-Thai, but I am some other ethnics too. I'm turning 14 in 21 more days and still counting!! I have not been to Thailand since I've started visited this site, so right now I'm not quite sure on how my Thai is. I can read and write a minum of Thai, but I'm just a beginner!! I speak Thai to my family and I have a thick American accent, but when I speak English I have a Southern dialect since I was raised down the south. Ever since my father saw my cousin walking making noises as she walks without shoes, he told me to walk softly because it's not "lady-like" if people hear you walking. Also when I wear heels of course I click those shoes!!!!!! More attention WOO HOO!! I look older, or that's what EVERYONE tells me. I could pass for perhaps a 20 year-old if I fix my make-up. It's all in the make-up. Hmm... I think that just about sums it up!

  4. #4
    delawang Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Guest @ May 20 2003,16:21)]The predjudice I felt was from other thais living aboard..It is this predjudice that had the most profound effect on me. When they meet u they want to know if you come from an important family, wat job you do, how much money u make and how many bedrooms does your house have..how many cars u drive..etc..Basically even though we are out of thailand..we are still clinging to the vain hopes that our "background" will earn us the same respect that it does in thailand...Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesnt..

    This frustrated my life growing up because I wouldnt be able to play with such and such b/c her mom told her that she was " larn khun tun" something...shes another class from me..This wasnt one off..this became typical of thais I have met..they meet u..they size up and put u in a catergory..the "high" ppl wont assoc with others let alone eachother..dont know if others have had the same experiences as me..but as a child growing up I could nt quite understand it
    I know exactly what you are talking about here; I have this same experience all the time. In the Thai culture it is very hard to get out of the box into which you were born. Thai's I meet in the west, and in Bangkok for that matter, always try to size me up and see which box my wife and I fit into. What I have noticed is that it bothers me a lot more than my wife. She accepts the prejudice against rice farmers without any resentment. I, on the other hand.....

    Your mother gave you a great gift; both cultures are yours and you can take the best in each. Australians treat everyone as equals, there are no classes or castes in Australia. Australians do not believe anyone is born better than anyone else. Thailand does not have this value. There are several other Thai values that are just as important, but freedom from prejudice- that came to you from Australia. .

    del

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Australians treat everyone as equals, there are no classes or castes in Australia
    Nice dream Delawang... Don't forget the way the Aborigene have been and still are treated...

    PS: I am happy to hear that you know speak Lanna Thai thanks to Busakorn's site!



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  6. #6
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    I really hope I am not off-topic on this. Because the article I post below is about India. But then again, it compares western egalitirianism with the caste system. And though the class system in Thailand would be far different this article may just have some value in this discussion. I do not subscribe to class or caste, but the article is really a good reading, I think. If you think otherwise, I am sorry for this post.

    Caste System – Excerpts
    BY MARK TULLY

    Although all men may be equal in God’s eyes, they can never be equal in the eyes of other men, and because of that basic flaw in the doctrine of egalitarianism we in the West now talk of "equality of opportunity". The pursuit of equal opportunities for all has many achievements to its credit, but this ideal too is going to be realized only if there is another life after this one.

    Our differences of opportunity start the moment we are conceived. The gap widens as we live in different families, go to different schools, are inspired or bored by different teachers, discover or fail to discover our individual talents and are given or not given the resources to develop those talents. So it goes on throughout our lives. There will always be winners and losers.

    The alienation of many young people in the West and the loneliness of the old show the suffering that egalitarianism inflicts on those who do not win, the superficiality of an egalitarianism which in effect means equal opportunities for all to win and then ignores the inevitable losers. Imagine how many losers there must be in a country like India where many children have their physical and mental growth stunted by malnutrition.

    Imagine also what would happen if egalitarianism and its companion individualism destroyed the communities which support those who start life with no opportunities. For all that, the elite of India have become so spellbound by egalitarianism that they are unable to see any good in the only institution which does provide a sense of identity and dignity to those who are robbed from birth of the opportunity to compete on an equal footing –

    Caste is obnoxious to the egalitarian West, so it is obnoxious to the Indian elite too.

    One way to discredit any system is to highlight its excesses, and this only adds to the sense of inferiority that many Indians feel about their own culture. It would lead to a greater respect for India’s culture, and indeed a better understanding of it, if it were recognized that the caste system has never been totally static, that it is adapting itself to today’s changing circumstances and that it has positive as well as negative aspects.

    The caste system provides security and a community for millions of Indians. It gives them an identity that neither Western Science nor Western thought has yet provided, because caste is not just a matter of being a Brahmin or a Harijan: it is also a kinship system. The system provides a wider support group than a family: a group which has a social life in which all its members participate.

    In the September 1989 issue of Seminar magazine, Madhu Kishwar, one of India leading feminists, wrote, " The caste system provides for relatively greater stability and dignity to the individuals than they would have as atomized individuals. This is part explains why the Indian poor retain a strong sense of self-respect. It is that self-respect which the thought-less insistence on egalitarianism destroys."


    Never hit someone below the belt; for you are not the creator.

  7. #7
    delawang Guest
    Well, i really don't know anything about India or Australia, and I think Thai culture has many things that are missing in the west. Many, many things, and they are good things and I am lucky to have them added to my life. But, Anna's observations are something people should not ignore.

    When I see the thing Anna described happening in the US or Bangkok, I *try* to remember that you can not decide how other people treat you, only how you treat other people. That usually keeps me from doing something that I would regret later.

    Anna, your post covered a lot of things and I don't want to monopolize your topic with this one subject. It was really a small part of the picture. All I can say is it's quite amazing what you have seen in only twenty years. I wonder what your next twenty will be like...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (delawang @ May 21 2003,23:28)]When I see the thing Anna described happening in the US or Bangkok, I *try* to remember that you can not decide how other people treat you, only how you treat other people.
    I really believe what you say and I hope you did not read the article as any reaction. The Indian context, I understand is of not much relevance on this board... I posted it, simply because it took such a different approach to the issue of equality, opportunity etc... Just another interesting view...
    Never hit someone below the belt; for you are not the creator.

  9. #9
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    Umm... how I treat other people?!?! Um...... whatever.

  10. #10
    annabee Guest
    Thanks for your replys..I have registered now so the other "anna" wont hav to be confused with me... I am attending an australain universty now and learning alot more about eqality and snobbery...so I just thought I would add some more observations to my list

    I thought being picked over in the thai community was hard..when u get to universty..they pick you over for everything..jock..glam student..nerdy academic..student government...ah well thats life I guess...every1 has their place..though does it have to be soo preordained

    If the being a good thai gal wasnt so in grained in me I think I would of become a goth just to see how others would treat me...can u picture it..small bookish asian looking gal..all gothed up...black boots ..and scrowl on her face I am laughing just thinking bout wat my conservative mother would say..hahahahahhah

    Newayz ciao

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