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My Thai Story





Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit - La CoffeeMelodie Suite


Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit:

A Thai soprano from head to toe with an attitude of a no-nonsense entrepreneur with innovative ideas and, sometimes, shocking approaches, who fits the phrase "been there, done that" perfectly, and is looking forward to new challenges. A leader, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and, a chef-ME-NOT. All makes a person who turns every situation into a learning experience, and, is super charged with positive energy.



My Thai Story
One Thai person's short story about being Thai.


My Thai Story: One Thai person's short story about being Thai.
Having grown up, and lived in Thailand,
under the patronage of
my beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej.






Growing up the Thai way.



Tag bag: my Thai story | short story | being Thai | King Bhumibol Adulyadej | Thailand


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April 3rd, 2010 - "Mommy, could you pass the remote?"
April 3rd, 2010 11:36am - "Dear 800 number service"
April 3rd, 2010 8:47pm - Dinner was a success.
April 4th, 2010 7:27am - Shiatsu massage
April 5th, 2010 7:34am - If you receive something for FREE
April 6th, 2010 7:34am - Achievement
April 9th, 2010 7:59am - Spring Cleaning
April 9th, 2010 10:43am - Fool!
Sunday, April 11th, 2010 - My "Thai" Story
Thursday, May 6th, 2010 - Table Napkins
June 24th, 2010 - Time: Hi-Tech Body Brain Heart Hard Drive Motherboard
July 23th, 2010 - If is the Title of This Story









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My Thai Story


April 11th, 2010

I am Thai.


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I grew up under the patronage of my beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great. It was and is MY CHOICE to love and cherish him because I like what I see. He is the hardest working man whose work never ends. He is my inspiration for the selfless love of his people. He has been walking around since he was eighteen years old (now eighty-two) with the responsiblity of his people on his shoulders without complaint. I love him because he's selfless, and I'm not the only one. He unifies Thais.
Thai is a proper noun that refers to a group of people- low-key and peace seeking- who migrated from the south of China in search of a new land where they could live peacefully while minding their own business. The word itself means "freedom," and when used as an adjective "people who live freely." -Not only physically free, but also free in spirit.


Thailand was the only country in the Southeast Asia region that was never colonized, but this doesn't mean attempts weren't made. So rich in natural resources, and with the Grand Chaophraya River so deep and so wide that it connects the country to the Gulf of Thailand, the country was very appealing to colonial powers back in the 1800s.


Thailand and its people were saved because of the country's many Great Kings. A monarchy is so different from other governments in the rest of the civilized world, and the Thai people, in turn, choose to love and worship their Kings.


Thailand is not, however, an absolute monarchy. When the King saved the country from the last colonization attempts by the already developed and civilized nations- The King cut off parts of Thailand and offered them at the signing of peace treaties. These sections that are now parts of Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia- he sent his chidren and many others' across the oceans to study in order to observe and learn how things got handled and done in these countries. In turn, they all brought back to Thailand what they had learned, and through adapting and adjusting applied what was good in hopes of bringing the nation forward into the modern world.


This is probably the original reason for Thai people to send their children to be educated abroad.


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My grandmother, the only sister between two brothers, often told to me the story how she, her mother, and her younger brother saw off her older brother "Khun So" (So Sethaputra - pronounced "saw") at "Paknam" as he boarded the ship to England, where he was to study at Oxford University. He ended up staying through the second World War and worked "underground" for the Allies. She also talked about his encounter in Paris with a young brilliant-minded Thai student whom he referred to as a crazy communist. When Khun So finished his education and returned to Thailand he did what he vowed to do, which was to bring back the new knowledge he had learned in order to bring Thailand to the forefront, the Thai way of doing things. While serving under the King he wrote books about his experiences abroad. He was also a guest lecturer and a professor at universities. Along with his friends, he started a newspaper and a publishing house; and, as a serious part-time venture, conducted many experiments on his fruit alcohol- inventions to turn local natural resources into fuel.



Knowledge is there, but its ultimate use is up to each of us. A funny thing, isn't it? We can all be taught the same thing, but we apply and use it differently. Some Thai people came back with some years of knowledge but, unfortunately, were short in fore- and hind- sight and rushed into turning an idea into action without the thoroughness, and with much too much confidence.


I remember visiting my great unlcle's house when I was very young - 3-4 years old, only a couple of years before he passed. As we drove up the very long driveway, I felt I was at an orchard. There were many fruited trees and vineyards. I was too young to know what vineyards and wineries were all about, but there were so many grape vines, and every fruit on every tree appeared to be covered with a newspaper or plastic bag. I asked to taste a mouth-watering-looking bright reddish-purple grape but was told not to pick any fruit because it was all for my "Khunta So's experiments." In the back of the property there was a large barn, and inside was a giant (at least to me) newspager printing machine (as I later was told), making a loud noise around which were a lot of people at work. Next to the barn was another giant barn containing many cars. All had their hoods up, and parts were scattered all about. Thinking back, it was where my great uncle's "fruit alcohol fuel" experiments took place.


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These memories are based upon a day which happened a couple of decades after my great uncle got out of jail.


Yes, he went to jail- a political jail- a tiny island off the southern peninsula, so isolated and surrounded by sharks, where he spent years with his other "too liberal-minded" buddies.


The ironic thing was, the power behind Khun So's landing in jail was the young man my great uncle once called a crazy communist. My great uncle declined an invitation to join a new political party. Khun So was working at his newspaper when the police came to take him away.


All the political prisoners were either Cambridge or Oxford graduates. Some were royalty and others were the ones who served them. They conversed in English, German and French, for they knew that the prison guards were to report all their communications. They had their freedom to move around the island during the day but had to return to their cells by night. Spending their time growing vegetables, fruits, and making cooking-convenient inventions, they shared what they had with the guards. They were some attempts at escape, but with a single exception all failed because of the sharks (which were the real deal- more than Jaws and other shark movies would ever be).


For his part, my great uncle didn't try to escape, for his health condition wouldn't allow him to do that. Instead, he started to translate the Oxford Dictionary in Thai, alphabetically, word-by-word, and page-by-page. After some bartering, he got a guard to take a page of the very first Oxford English-Thai Dictionary to somebody in Penang, Malaysia, who then forwarded it on to Bangkok to a publisher friend who published it and delivered the royalty fees to my great-grandmother.


The reason for this first dictionary ever? To help his mother get by.


My great-grandmother was a widow by then (another long story coming, should the occasion arise). She used to own practically a third of the property on the west side of Bangkok across The Chaophraya. Her only income was the rents of houses on the property to several families.


FEAR is the ultimate cause of all time.


When my great uncle was sent to prison, all the family members who worked in the government received "new assignments". This included my grandfather. All through his lifetime as a sheriff, because he married a "Sethaputra" he was always sent to the "red zones" - the dangerous zones- and was never promoted, while his colleagues moved up the career ladder to the left and right of him. My grandfather was re-assigned, and he and his family had to report immediately to his new post. My youngest great uncle, who was contracted by the government to build all the railroads in Thailand, was also affected by the situation. (Again, I could talk about how his payment was stalled for years and how he had to sell everything he had to pay his workers. Finally after many fee reductions, he was paid one million baht - all in one baht bills. My grandmother laughed when she talked about when her little brother didn't have a house to store all the bills- because he had gone bankrupt prior to that- so my grandparents had to move their furniture out of one room in their house to make room for the cash.) Still, these many years later, whenever the democrat party is not running the country, family members - by blood and by marriage - now a few generations down, are under the "potential threats" category.


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With the situaton in Thailand right now, I know at least one person who has troubles because he and his family bear the family name. He is my great uncle's son, who had greater opportunities to make his living as a surgeon anywhere in any part of the world. Yet, forty some years ago he honored his vow and went to a small town in the suburbs of Bangkok and worked at the county's hospital. (His friend who came to study with him reneged on his promise and decided to make a great living outside Thailand.) An idealist like his father, he took part in the development of the hospital and the town. He opened a clinic in the middle of the market where anyone and everyone walks in and, most often, is given service and medicine at no cost. He has never been "rich" in the sense of having a lot of money, but he was the most beloved "doc" among the townspeople.


Now, he and his family can't leave their house, for all the townspeople who have sought his help at least once have put on red shirts and no longer wish to have him around.


During the hard times, and without any of her children around, my great grandmother had to take care of all the businesses. When the department of Land Registration called all Bangkok property owners to show in order to issue property deeds, she was running around trying to keep her family together and failed to show at the Land Registrar. All her property tenants went and claimed the lands as their own.


And this is why my great uncle, hundreds of miles away and still surrounded by sharks with sharp and pointy teeth, wrote the dictionary. "Thank you ka Khunta So, I owned at least six editions of your dictionary. Your dictionary kept me sane when I first arrived- as a student- in the United States."


Had my great uncle swallowed his principles and joined the political group (and only wrote what was approved by them), all of us would have had better lives, right?


I don't have an answer, but I think I would have made the same decision he made. I'm sure all his children and grand children would have agreed.


Many years ago, while we were still living in Thailand, I brushed shoulders in some social situations with the powers-that-be. What was my impression? A dynamic, highly ambitious being, with kid-like enthusiam already equipped with so much power. A person whose need is never satisfied, like a drug addict whose drug need is for greater doses and higher potency.


What happens if a rich kid- no, make that a super spoiled rich kid- has so much power? He has everything, and may as well go for something that he cannot have. And, to achieve the ultimate goal, he will do anything - BECAUSE HE CAN.


No morals, no remorse. Not a way of a Thai, not a way of a Buddhist.


Although Buddhism is most Thais' choice of religion, for several hundred years the Thai Kings have been welcoming the practices of all religions without bias.


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Buddhism to me is a philosophy. I walk around carrying "Buddha" in my soul. I choose to be a Buddhist because the philosophy of this "religion" is agreeable with WHO I AM.


I grew up under the patronage of my beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great. It was and is MY CHOICE to love and cherish him because I like what I see. He is the hardest working man whose work never ends. He is my inspiration for the selfless love of his people. He has been walking around since he was eighteen years old (now eighty-two) with the responsiblity of his people on his shoulders without complaint. I love him because he's selfless, and I'm not the only one. He unifies Thais.


The rich kid only sees one side, the so-called privilege that comes from being King. He wishes to be like the King. He turns green from jealousy, gets upset, and throws tantrums.


The rich kid is very powerful, for he has bought everything he could possible get his little hands on. He ran the country as a selfish business CEO runs his own empire. He lies, cheats, steals and preys on human's nature of vulnerability. IGNORANCE, FEAR, and, GREED.


Look into yourselves and really accept who you see, fellow Thais. Then, look outside, from the eyes inside your souls.


We are Thais under the patronage of our beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej. I am me who is so proud to be Thai.




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The Buzzin' Bubbles!!!!




Bubble Buzz is about the first thought that comes when I get up in the morning, or perhaps sometimes not; Often random, perhaps a few words, or, in some case, a phrase a day.

Words that may be meaningless to some and meaningful to others. A few words or a phrase a day which may or may not be relevent, and, perhaps, not one bit interesting. Chances are, nothing profound may be found here. But who knows if some plain words might turn out to be an inspiration? A reminder? Or, some entertainment on a low level?


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Your first thought as you set your foot off the bed and on the floor!

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