Half-filled or half-empty?

Steve has asked me in a previous comment on how life for me as a Eurasian has been so far. So, in this post, I will shed some light onto this issue.

I first heard the word ‘Eurasian’ when I had once asked my dad the ‘What am I?’ question. ‘Papa, if you’re white and mama’s Asian, what does that make me?’ and he took a moment to think before telling me ‘You’re Eurasian’.

I’ve lived in Germany up to the age of eight and went to school there only up to second grade. My father’s parents adored my brother and me very much, the reason, perhaps, had more to do with the fact of having their first grand-daughter. At school, I don’t think I was treated any different than my other [lighter haired] German classmates. I was in fact a German. But I always felt a bit outside of the circle for my own reasons.

(Above Pic: My brother and I with our two cousins)

In my very early childhood, my family had taken a few trips back to Thailand. I’ve read accounts from many other halfies, some, about feeling (some) discrimination and being looked ‘down’ upon. However, I can’t say that applies to me, not as a child anyway. But since I have not been to Thailand for almost a decade, people’s attitudes may vary the next time I go.

Most Thai people, if they know that I have Thai blood, will most likely consider me as one or treat me as a half Thai (or in their case ‘luk farang’), I still have my Western tendencies. When I was little, my mother used to dress my brother and me up in cute outfits which caught many people’s eyes. She always wanted her kids to look their best. Between my brother and me, I got more attention because I had the ‘typical’ luk kreung features; brown, curly-ends of hair, round chubby cheeks, fair complexion [and being a girl, lol].

There were a few memorable instances involving praise from other Thai people. One time, a cash teller noticed me walking with my mother and called us over, instantly complimenting me with words like ‘dek narak, suay maak’ (pretty child, very lovely). She even suggested for my mom to bring me back there once I’m a little older to become an actress or model. Another time, a bell boy at a hotel liked me so much, he joked about wanting to have me as his little sister if my mom was willing to give me away!

(Right Pic: My aunt with my brother and me)

In my mother’s family, there weren’t any problems with us being different either. We were kids after all and generally accepted. If there ever were any negative feelings towards us, I would not know about it. Even here in England, there are many Thai women with Farang husbands who have half children and it is not really an issue these days. Several times, there would be some Thai people conversing with me in Thai. I guess this could be considered a sign of acceptance but with that comes the first expectation to know Thai (as they have a school at the Temple where young children are sent to learn Thai). My uncle would also urge me to learn more so I can communicate with him better. 🙂

I do get some stares sometimes, the reasons could be varied. Perhaps because I’m already grown up as there are more young half children around. Whatever the reason, I don’t think it is a problem. I know Thais sometimes have a tendency to stare; it is more uncomfortable if I didn’t know why.

Admittedly, the only ‘not-Thai’ label I ever got was from my mother. Now, why would my own mother say that to me? Well, this probably wouldn’t have bothered me if I weren’t into Thai culture. But it did hurt me to hear her say that especially as I was trying to make the effort of educating myself more about it. I understood that she thought about it more in terms of personality and appearance, not blood. I grew up abroad and knew little to nothing about Thai attitude or speaking. She had been discouraged from teaching us whilst we lived in Germany and convinced herself we would not need it anyhow.

My mother does regret not teaching us but in another sense I can’t fully blame her because our family was almost constantly moving and influenced by Western culture, particularly, when we lived in America. However, I can say that I’ve proven to her that it is not too late to learn, and pestering her on occasion for help did show my sincerity and determination to catch up. I think what was most important to me was for my mother to at least accept or approve of the other half of me, which, she gradually has.

Well, I could extract many more stories just from several points in this entry but I’ll leave that for next time.

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