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A tribewoman of the global village
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  1. #1
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    talking

    I am a 42 year old mother of a 14 year old Thai boy. We know live in Toronto, Canada. This is my story, which I had fun writing. I guess it is a form of self-therapy:

    "I was born off the edge of Chaos. When I look back at that edge I feel that it was closer to near death static than to the alive, paradoxically orderly, complex edge of which I presently float in. Sakolnakorn is a town far away from the center of Thai politics, history, and economy. Time stands still in this town. Change happened so slowly and so little during the past 20 years that I hardly perceive it when I visit my mother, a true native tribal member of this changeless town. It was a place of birth, not the place that I grew up in. I have no town-mates I knew from kindergarden, no intimate pals I knew from the local high school alumni. Even as in a simple town life, a large part of the town are my distant cousins, aunts and uncles, I hardly know them.

    My life is a constant reorientation. My family and I pack and re-pack our belongings nearly every two years. Even if we stayed in one city, there was always a reason to move to a new house. As I started to become aware of my identity during adolescence, I had these nagging feelings that I was somehow strangely out of place. As a youngster, because you grow up with the environment, there is an illusion that the neighborhood you play in is yours. My father's work took us to Lebanon when I was five. Being an Asian in Beirut during the late 60s and mid 70s was definitely not the norm. When we mentioned that we were from Thailand, very few people knew where it was. Yet when I was going through Grades 2 to 8 in a school where most kids came from different places and soon left for different places, I realized that, well, since I was one of the few class members who had been there since Grade two, I had somehow earned a status that opened me to groups of "non-others" that otherwise wouldn't have allowed me access. When I returned to Thailand as a quite disoriented teenager, I suffered the culture shock of going back to a culture that was mine but which I didn't have a clue about. I couldn't even speak Thai. So came the years of trying to belong. Maybe it would be more appropriate to call the period - the years of creating a belongingness in non-locality.

    My Psyche gave me preliminary warnings of the ordeals she demanded as her due for passing through the dark nights of her world with an inflammed, congested gall bladder that was maybe unnecessarily removed. I obliviously throdded through her gates. Her breathe of wakening only hit me full in my face when I started falling apart internally at cocktails parties under my well-learnt mask of Thai politeness, graciousness, and the facade of a politically correct career woman, in the middle of a soon to be cut short career as a Thai diplomat. (I still carry the symtoms of vertigo whenever I engage with groups larger than about 12.) I was then in my early 30s, divorced and a single mother of a 3 years old boy who was starting to show symtoms of language confusion in an English-speaking Asian city-state that emulated a Western model of development.

    So started my journeys of self-uncovering. Through this merry-go-round of disorientation I found the name of my tribe, by reading Marshall McLuhan. He named this new village, the Global Village, and so I recognized that I was in essence a non-literate, aural woman in an obsolescing, electrically accelerated visual/linear world."


    Please visit me at a blog I am slowly building. I would love to hear your comments, questions, whatever.

  2. #2
    delawang Guest
    Hi La_NuiT! Sounds like you have a lot going on. I started on your blog and will post after I have time to read it.
    Do you get back to Thailand much? Do you still have family in Sakhonakhon?

  3. #3
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    Dear La_nuit,

    I am sorry to hear about your stuggles. Have you thought about seeing a professional therapist. There are therapist that specialize in this area. I know that there is a desire in most of us to find our "roots". But I believe life is what you make it. You are you. Be yourself. Yes, I know it is difficult. But I am sure that you will find yourself true self. Just look inside. Best of luck.

  4. #4
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    Delawang, StevenRay...Hi!

    Thanks for your comments. Steve, I've done group therapy, it was good. Mostly I do self-therapy with writing. Delawang, thanks for visiting my blog, it's still a learning process, mostly for computer skills and trying to understand the world of cyberspace. I came on to this site because of Gor's world. That's an amazing piece of work, made me laugh, smile, feel proud to be and miss Thailand.

  5. #5
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    Dear Delawang,

    Sorry, I forgot to anwer your questions. BTW, "globalwoman" and "LaNuiT" are the same person. I had problems registering and sent the wrong email address for "LaNuiT" so I had to re-register to get access to chat, hence the new nickname.

    The last time I visited Thailand and my 76 yrs old Mom who lives in Sakolnakorn was two years ago. I was living in Mexico then. Now I am living in Toronto, Canada. I think I feel far away from home because Mexico and Canada are really on the other side of the world from Thailand, the cost of the air tickets to go back never fails to remind me of that. I studied in Holland for nearly two years and lived in Singapore for 4 years, I never missed Thailand much during those years. But now I do. I wish I could be closer to my aging mom, that is difficult to endure.

    I browsed through some older posts and came upon one where you asked for some advice about moving to US, whether you should bring your wife's daughter with you or not. In my son's class, there is 12 year old girl from Mahasarakarm. She just moved to Toronto last June to be with her mother who has been living in Toronto for over 10 years. I helped her with her English and homework during the first term, now she is managing well enough on her own. She is a well-adjusted girl, confident, caring girl. She constantly complains how she misses Thailand and the extended family she grew up with in Mahasarkarm. She was taken care of by her mother's sister and mother. She was surrounded by cousins and friends. Her mother visited her often. She is distant with her mother, but I am confident they will work things out. The stories she tells me about her life in Mahasarkam makes me think that it was good for her to grow up there. She can read and write Thai, she is well-grounded in her own culture, coming to Canada can be a plus for her but only because she had the advantage of knowing her culture firsthand.

    Myself, having grown up in the West, I used to think that it was better. Now I am learning the depth and wisdom of my own culture, a bit late in life, but that was because modern life had completely brainwashed me in thinking otherwise.

    But then at the same time, it is tough to be left without your mother. That is an issue where you should respect your wife's decision, because she will have to untangle any difficulties in your family relationships whatever the decision might be.

  6. #6
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    Global Woman. You truly sound like a person who has seen a lot. To be come grounded to your <span style='font-size:15pt;line-height:100%'>วัฒนธรรมไทย</span>
    at this time in your life can only be good for you. Has your son been exposed to the Thai culture and accept it as part of who he is?

  7. #7
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    panic

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]
    So started my journeys of self-uncovering.
    I would definitely love to read more about that.
    My spectrum is gone , its spectrum remains !

  8. #8
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    Hello recaliamo & smiaw,

    recaliamo, we lived in BKK from 1997-2001. When we left Singapore my son thought that he was Singaporean (he was 8) and swore that he would go back to live there as an adult. (I think he has forgotten that by now (age 14), in fact, he is going through a "I am Canadian" phase.) In BKK, he attended an international school with his step-sister who is Mexican. So he has a faint idea of the Thai culture. He has difficulty in learning "formal" languages and even after four year of weekly classes of Thai he couldn&#39;t master the alphabets. He has difficulty connecting vowel and consonant sounds in his writing and reading, in English, the language he has used in school since Grade 1. I think as with any growing child the question of identity is always taking shape. I&#39;m not so worried that he will not know he is Thai. With all the examples I am reading on this website, I am learning that Thainess is something much stronger than location&#33;

    smiaw, just to make a long story short: self-uncovering was mostly done through a lot of reading and observing how different people related to each other. Trying to understand how meaning, knowledge is conceptualized, and noting the difference between how it was done in the west compared to how as a Thai, I did it.

    The longer and pretty mixed-up ongoing "story" of how I am trying to put order to my conceptualization is sort of told in my "webpage" which is actually a blog.

    But maybe you could help me make the story more fun, by telling me which part you would like to specifically hear about?

  9. #9
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    That was a wonderful piece. If you enjoyed writing it, I must claim more pleasure from merely reading it. I will be sure to follow through on your blog where hopefully I can live vicariously the journey of your "self uncovering". But first, I have to deal with the immediate issues at hand which deprive me of the most precious element of time, my examinations. I will see you around, La_Nuit.

  10. #10
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    Global woman. You say your in Toronto. I know that is a far place from Calgary; but by chance do you know anyone trusting enough to help someone out in western Canada?
    A friend of mine will be going there for a conference. Just earned their PHD in nursing a couple of years back and will visit that part of Canada next month. Employed in Chiang Mai At the university Teaching hospital . Asked me if I knew anyone out there. Just thought I would ask you.Thanks.

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