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.

9 responses to “Half-filled or half-empty?

  1. Jen – Wonderful piece! Can’t wait to read more.

    And of course, Thai/Asian moms are famous for clashing with their more progressive/Westernized daughters. I don’t think it matters if you’re half-and-half’s or “modernized” full Thais, moms always want us to be just little bit more like them. 😉 Not entirely a bad thing even though that does bug the crap out of me. HAHAHA.

  2. You are the window between the the two rooms!! Cheers!

  3. Good bit of insight into the life of a ‘luk kreung’.

  4. Jen,

    You have already led quite an interesting life already. I look forward to reading more of these blogs about your experiences as luk kreung.

  5. Great post. Hope to hear more. I appreciate your honesty.

  6. Hi Jen,

    How are you doing? Hope you are doing well na ja.

    I think I used to have the great childhood like yours back in my hometown up north in Phitsanulok, but the difference is that I am not a ‘luk farang’. I remember asking my mom if my father was a farang (even though my natural father was there listening to me asking that question…lol stupid me) or she adopted me from someone because I looked like none of my family members.:P Even now people still keep asking me if I am a ‘luk krueng’. I tell them yeah I am half male half female because I was born to mom and dad. hehehe.

    Nong Jen…you looked so cute when you were a child. Hey…you still look cute, though. Well, were the photo with your aunt taken in Ubon?

    Okay, I have to go. Gotta work now before I am told off again. Talk to you later. Hope to read your next blogs. Take care, sis.

  7. Thanks everyone for the feedback (^.^)

    @: Watdee ka P’Crystal,
    Sabai dee ka. Hope you are well too. You haven’t been posting blogs lately? Tum mai?

    Oh so your hometown is P’lok? I’ve not been there, hopefully I’ll go by there next time round. The pic of me and my aunt is taken in Phetchaburi (central) which is where my family comes from and lives. You’re making me curious about how you look like though.

    Korb kun ka for the nice comments *shys away* Post a blog soon okay?

  8. Nong Jen,

    P’CrystaL sabai dee ka. I’ve been hectic with my job these days that’s why I’m away from the Thai-blogs. I’ve been to Petchaburi already. It’s famous for its Thai deserts. I like ‘kanom mor-kaeng.’ hehe…I have no idea how it’s called in English.

    Nong Jen, I think my written English is not good enough to post any next blog here or else I may come up with provoking issues again. 555 That’s sure not a good idea. I’d rather observe other blogs for a while and make sweet comments.:D As soon as I am avaible, I’ll post something nice about Thailand like the webmasters do then. Keep checking out na ja!

    You’re asking for my picture? I think I have your email address, then I’ll send you my pic soon. It was a sticker photo, though, taken with my fellow students some years ago. You will easily notice me!

    Keep writing na ja…I’ll look forward to reading your joyful blogs. Be good.

  9. Jen, a lovely article.

    I have been a little worried recently about all the media coverage given to racist bullying in Thai schools. I have two young children, both half Thai/English. As both speak both languages there have been no problems so far. However my daughter is now 11 just started a new school. She looks more Thai than English but my son is the other way round.

    I am so hoping he doesnt have any problems with this issue – he is so happy here and most of his friends are Thai – it would be heartbreaking (for him AND me) if he suffered racist abuse as he grows up.