I am Thai

Location

When I was young, I used to dream of far off lands and play pretend 

Dance around school like i was in some fairy tale den. 

But as the years went by, childhood fables replaced by multiplication tables

The people around me putting color in their lips, eyes

And, Santa Claus was a lie? 

 

We are told, “you are the future,” and yet 

“Don’t stand out, get good grades, ssh 

Just be the same.” 

But most importantly, especially in Thai culture,

Don’t lose face. 

 

What does that even mean?

 

Does it mean, staying quiet, 

words behind lips, can’t express through our hips 

Does it mean blocking things we believe in, 

perceive in, don’t show we care

How do they even dare look us young people in the eyes and say, 

“Things are the way they are for a reason.”

 

Because education is all about O-Net, SAT, AP

Abbreviations, this crowded academic nation 

In which our foundations lie on 

Marks all students the same,

All humans the same 

If you don’t pass one test, people look at you and say,

“What a shame.” 

And yet I wonder if its possible to live where how much you learn 

Lies in how much you see 

Because what I see is potential, unlock the key. 

 

Thai…What does it mean to be Thai?

Growing up, looking at the chit chat rooms,

I was supposed to be “passive” and a “whore”  

Says the world wide web. 

The hands of a country stained red, the political crisis long to be dead 

But we can be more. 

There must be more.

 

In Thailand we are taught discipline and respect 

Often with the whip and threats 

In a world full of status quo, 

It is we the youth who need to break the mold 

 

There must be more than being passive,

Memorizing, repeating, deceiving

More than absorbing facts 

Just for the sake of that grade and all those

“College hacks.”

More than passion pushed back to die

The exploitations of the political elite

Hear our cry  

More than  ”I love you long time.”

More than sleepless nights, long flights

Cute accents, new heights,

We are not the sum of our nation’s shortcomings. 

 

I ventured into high school abroad at the age of 12, 

A school where learning meant Chinese in the Great Wall of China 

Biology in the Amazon Rainforest 

Discussions with Noam Chomsky 

Where voice and thought is encouraged

No limitations, fewer rules 

Classroom walls lifted, question everything

This is the beginning of a curriculum shifted 

 

A war may be brewing, 

History and tradition seldom like change 

But for us to survive, change begets change 

And there will be people, who will laugh and mock, 

How dare this girl-

Who is this girl-

But I will stand. 

Let the fireworks light the skies above. 

Illuminate the world. 

 

I am Thai. 

Comments

thewriter

I have been thinking about changing the lack of empowerment of youth in my home country for many years, and have started doing so recently with an initiative called Light Footsteps Dance , which aims to empower hospitalized youth in Chiang Mai and abroad. Having grown up as the daughter of two doctors, I have seen these youth so overlooked, blocked out from the rest of the world through white walls. People on the street many times don't realize how much simply giving a bit of care to them could mean. To show that they can become anything, pursue any hobby and express their thoughts, regardless of their condition...That is what LFD fights for. Rascism, sexism...Throughout history, many demographics have slowly gained recognition for the social discrimination...But what about the stigma against those with disease?

 

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