Editorial : December 2006
They call me a half child – lukkrung. I get miffed with this and tell people that I am whole, have the best of both worlds, and that I am actually lucky for being able to adapt and draw from both Thai and western cultures. But no one cares; I am simply called lukkrung- half child. It implies that I am not complete, and I resent that. It implies that I am neither one nor the other when I know that I am both. It implies an inability to decide who I am, when I know that I am as complete and unique an individual as the girl next door. It insults when I know that it should compliment.
My father is English, very English. My mother is Thai, very Thai. So in some ways I am only able to live up to half of their collective expectations; in others I exceed each of their individual expectations.
Funny stuff this lukkrung business. On one hand you are treated like you are so special, on the other, as a teenager, adults eyed me with suspicious trepidation, probably expecting me to strip down to my underwear and perform some lewd dance on the buffet table at a moment’s notice. They were so suspicious of my wicked western ways that once my mother received a phone call from a concerned friend who wished to warn her that she had caught a glimpse of an errant bra strap peeking from my t-shirt as I was shopping at the Night Bazaar. Such sinful behaviour, she asserted, must not be ignored. I was fourteen.
Then there is the model thing. 1 couldn’t believe the number of people who told me to lose weight so that I could be a model, TV presenter or actress; it was almost like lukkrung had no other use than to prance around offering eye candy and entertainment to an enthralled public. The fact that the entertainment business held no appeal to me was unfathomable to many.
Thirty years ago when I first waddled around Chiang Mai, cowslips and curls forming a misguiding halo around my head, ruddy cheeks featuring a constellation of freckles and with a nose which simply fascinated in its protrusion, I was made to feel pretty special. Everyone wanted to touch, tickle, squeeze and play with me. Considering there are many places in the world where mixed blood is, at best, frowned upon, usMuggles must pray to our duet of deities in thanks for how well accepted we are here in Thailand.
But it is also a shame that this acceptance at times comes with narrow visions and expectations. It frustrates me that so many buy into the entertainment cop-out. Beautiful young boys and girls of mixed parentage grow up groomed to join the entertainment business. But what about the unique potentials lukkrung have to be able to cross cultural and linguistic divides? This, to me, is untapped talent. So many lukkrung are only able to speak one language: the onus here lying directly upon the parents. They are told they are beautiful, they are cute, they are entertaining. They are not told of the substance within them and the edge which they already have over so many others.
I have no idea how many lukkrung there are in Thailand. Whatever the number, it is high. Being a lukkrung myself I have often enjoyed this unmerited advantage and have utilized it numerous times in my career and in life. It would be a wonderful thing to see more parents and teachers actively encourage their little freckled rascals to develop their raw and natural advantages of language and culture so that they can become meaningful members of society who can, perhaps, offer a unique and different perspective in life and work. With more and more of US Muggles being born here every day, I do hope that parents will help their little ones to aim for the stars rather than simply aiming to become one.
Citylife this month:
How time flies. As you read this the festive season will be upon you, and 2007 will be looming ahead, swollen with promise and possibilities. Citylifecelebrated our 15 anniversary in late November, marking the publication of over 180 magazines. Over 350 of our clients joined us during the special ‘Your City, Your Life’ party, pictures of which you can see in the following pages. I wish to thank my dear clients for their invaluable support over the past 15 years, and of course, you, dear readers, for supporting our clients in this happy little circle. Citylifepromises to continue to improve our content, design, photography ar.: overall quality over the coming years.
I wish you all a merry Christmas, a glorious new year and much happiness.