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Where is “I kheaw”?

I now live with my mother and my grandmother only in our home sweet home. My mother has always gone to work and my grandmother has always been the one I spend time with the most. My grandmother and I always do activities together such as eating, watching TV, playing cards, exercising (yoga) and, my favorite one, chatting. My grandmother loves and enjoys telling people stories so much so I ask her to tell me some stories sometimes and here is one of those I fancy the most;
“Take the best care of yourself,” were words my grandmother got from her father every time she was about go out.
“Good night and sweet dreams, sweetheart,” were also words full of love and care she got from her father every night but not anymore since he died just after she got married.
When my grandmother first got pregnant, besides her husband who had always been there to take care of her, there was the little dog coming to sleep in front of my granny’s house every day, too. At first, my gramps didn’t give that dog anything but it never went away so my granny decided to look after it. She fed him and named it, “I Kheaw”, according to its pretty green skin which is “Kheaw” in Thai.
Everyday, I Kheaw acted like the guard of the house. When members in the family came home, he was glad, he licked and played with them but if anybody outside the family visited the house, he barked and set himself like he was ready to attack anytime.
Soon, he became the part of the family and then one day, my grandmother gave birth to my aunt. Everyone was so excited and gratified. So was I Kheaw. “He craned through the front door in order to see the newborn,” my granny said, but the baby was mostly in the cradle so he couldn’t see clearly. After my granny felt better and stronger, she held the baby and walked to I Kheaw. She bent down on her knees, “Come, look closely, Kheaw. Isn’t your sister cute?” He barked softly once and walked away. My granny thought he would have gone to play with other dogs in that village so she went back to her bed and rested.
Next morning, both my grandmother and my grandfather couldn’t find I Kheaw anywhere. They were curious where he was but they thought he must have had fun with his little friends somewhere and he didn’t want to come back home yet so they let it go. Days after days, he still never arrived home. My grandmother and grandfather started to be worried. They went out to look for it but never found, “Guess he has been gone for real now,” said grandfather. They walked back home…disappointed.
When her relatives came to see the baby, my granny told them about I Kheaw and one of them said, “He could be someone more than just a dog, don’t you think?”
That sentenced made my granny think. It could be her beloved father who loved her so much. He might want to check the baby out and how her family is doing like he always cared and took care of her via those sweet words and other deeds.
Superficially, you might not get it much but if considering it a little more, you will see something in this strange but touching story. Believe me, those who are already gone are still here, somewhere, protecting, watching and taking care of us. There could be “life after death” as well, who knows?

About A Bike

“When is it gonna come?! I’ve been waiting breathing in pollution for like one hour already!!” I complained to myself one day while waiting for a bus.
I then saw one man with a mask on his face riding a bike right there in the middle of the street.
Everyone looked at him and got surprised because he seemed to be a hero among the big big mass of black fog, yes.. exhaust gas.

On my way home, I remember my days in Japan. I had to ride a bike to school everyday. At first, I wasn’t used to it and fell on to other people’s bikes a lot but after some time, it turned out to be nice. I love the feeling of wind blowing my hair and the smell of fresh air. Sometimes I met friends before reaching school, we rode and talked al-together, it was fun. But that was in Japan where pollution and dust almost non-exist and where bikes have their own way on the rim of the roads.

Next morning, I heard the news on TV, Taweeporn Tongkambai, a famous artist of ministry of education, just died because of riding a bike. His friends at work stated that he was the one to help the country reducing energy. He rode a bicycle to work and everywhere everyday.That morning, he was hit by the bus and was dragged further away for like 200 metres. He always told others about how good he felt riding a bike and how useful it would be for our country.

I then regreted why someone who try to do something good for others and society have to receive that.

Personally, I still think riding a bike here in Thailand and especially Bangkok is still a good idea. I know how people keep saying it’s completely ridiculous because of pollution thingy and there are no ways for bikes here. But what if Thai people reduce using cars and buses, use gas that’s good for environment and start using bicycles instead?! There won’t be much pollution, right? We can also lessen money spending on gases as well! And about the lanes, government should increase them there at the rims of the roads instead of spending the whole budget on project that will do no good for the environment like BANGKOK, CITY OF FASHION.

I don’t think this is dreamy and I truly believe it can happen if we give our beloved country some time and some full cooperation. I don’t expect it to take place today or tomorrow but I do expect all of us to start realizing before we have to lose somebody valuable from this for “nothing” again.

When he was still young…

“You watched “Long Kong?!”
“YEAH!! So scary and disgusting!! Blood everywhere!”
“Aww.. I wasn’t brave enough to watch it, really”
That was one day after school when my friends and I were about to go home, one friend asked about a movie called Long Kong, and we discussed about it. Well, Long in Thai is “to try” and Kong is an “Art of the Devil.” It’s something about black magic such as Thai people have believed in since old times. I’ve heard and been skeptical about it for a long time already like..if it’s true or not ~ until…
“I never watch that movie but I have real story to share! Wanna know?” one of my friends said.
I didn’t want to at first coz I was quite scared to hear but I was also curious so I listened…
“Actually, it’s something that happened to my father and his friends. They were still young that time ~ like College guys, ya know?”
“One summer, they planned to enjoy a vacation al-together. They decided to go to take some adventure in a jungle somewhere west. They walked during the day and slept in abandoned cottages at night.”
“One night at one old old cottage, they were exhausted and couldn’t walk any further to find another better one so they got in and prepare to sleep.”

“One friend already slept coz he was completely dead tired but my father and another friend still had energy left to talk about that day a little.”
“While talking, my father glanced at the wall behind his friend and saw some kind of cabalistic writing so he told his friend to look at it, too.”
“Somehow, both of them looked at each other in the eyes and laughed for some reasons.. like they understood each other what to do with that writing.”
“My father went to his bag right away to find a pen..
Then he came back to his friend with a blue-inked pen in his hand.”
“His friend quickly took of his belt and pulled his trousers down a little ~ But not just that, he also pulled down his underwear and grabbed his penis close to my father.”

We all had our eyebrows knot..
“I know I know ~ it’s not what you guys think, c’mon!! My dad got married with my mum!! He’s not a gay!”
We smiled a little and got back to the look of curiosity once again..
She continued the story,
“My dad started to draw those writings on his friend’s johnson and laughed crazily….
Suddenly, the friend who already fell asleep had his eyes opened! He walked quickly to my dad and strangled him hard. My dad said that time he thought he was gonna die.. he really couldn’t breathe and couldn’t resist his friend’s strength.”
“The half-naked friend then pushed that strangling friend away and shaked him hard..’BE AWAKE!!! WE ARE YOUR FRIEND!!! BUT IF YOU ARE NOT OUR FRIEND~ GET OUT OF OUR FRIEND NOW!!!'”

He kept on shaking more and more.. and went to wash his johnson.

“That friend let my dad go at last ~ his friend fell onto the floor and passed out for a minute. Then my dad prayed to apologize to whoever it was that huanted his friend and they left that place early in the next morning.That’s all.”

– – I got shocked a little after hearing that.. it was true ~ it was real and it was way scary. However, that friend might just had such a nightmare, which made him do that.. but whatever reason it was, I think I now learn to respect everywhere I go and everyone I see and don’t see… Don’t you?!

Whose hand was that!?

Do you believe in ghost or demons? If not, read this article, then you might want to change your attitude about it. (If so, still gotta read! :p)

“Late late late!! Again, again and AGAIN!!” I sighed and complained when I finally got to my seat in my class at school.
“Hey! You do not wanna know what had just happened to me this whole morning..! But nevermind, I’m gonna tell no matter what, ” still complained to my friend next to me, Peung.
“This morning, I woke up real early but you know what? my mum forgot to cook the rice!! I left home late and once again, the bus I took was gone out of order.. Wait for me to grow up a little more, and I’ll change all the buses to be extremly brand-new so that they don’t suddenly stop in the middle of the streets ever again!”

I was being such a talkative girl that day that I ignored to check out my friend if she was listening or reacting anything. However, it’s not the ghost who broke the bus. Right, it doesn’t reach the demon part yet until…

“Bow…, ” Peung finally replied back something.
“Yea?” I turned my head to see her face for the first time after a long alone-talk.
“What happened? You O.K??!?” I saw her face went a little pale.
“Um… this morning … when I woke up..the hand.. I’m scared..,” she tried hard to say something but it didn’t make sense.
“Ey! Listen!! Focus and tell me what is wrong then I’ll know how I can help you, girl!”
“Ok….(she then took a deep breath)… I remember last night I wore pants to bed and slept deeply all night. But in the morning, I found out when I was about to take a shower that there was a mark on the top of my leg.”
“What mark do you mean?” I quickly asked.
“A mark of a hand.”
………………………
“It was a hand. There were five fingers and it was red on my leg.. could be seen so clearly.”
“It looks like somebody pressed the whole hand hard on my leg..it’s so clear”
“Did your mum try to wake you up but you didn’t want to wake up? Maybe she slapped you hard :p” I tried to joke.
“No! Look…” Then Peung pressed her hand hard on my arm..real hard ~ squeezed around my arm.. and let go at last.
I could see a mark of three fingers of hers for jest a few seconds and they were gone right away.

I understood what she tried to tell me then that it’s impossible for a human to make such a clear mark on another person’s skin. That evening, I came home and tried to press my fingers everywhere on my skin harder and harder. There were still no marks that could last more than 4 seconds. But how did that happen?!?

The next morning was the key of the whole story. Peung asked her mother (who is so interested in mysterious things science can’t solve) and she said something about ‘Pret’, the very tall demon with very small needle-like mouth from hell. Well, there are a lot of beliefs about Pret asking for merit from people who still live. Everytime we give food to monks, we have to pour water slowly on the ground, in the bowl or somewhere to share merits with our relatives who died and those stray ghosts, too. If we don’t, prets may come to ask for merit from us. That’s what we believe. And this story, too ~ if there’s a hand on you after you wake up, that means someone came to you the night before and that one wants something from you.

Don’t know if my friend was just kidding me or not but it’s really something we believe. And it makes sense when we start thinking hard about it. Isn’t it time for us to start thinking good, making good and sharing good with others? Or else… an unknown hand can appear on the front of your leg next time you wake up!

First Dinner With Korean Family

Last July, I was an exchange student to participate in Asia-Pacific Youth Rally 1 in South Korea. There were friends from 9 countries to meet there. The first night, we stayed at Olympic Parktel. It was huge, high-so and convenient. Then we had to leave for the camp. There, we found a lot of Korean friends. We began to get to know one another.

The camp was at Youth Hostel in Seoul. Altough, it was in the capital city, we were close to the nature, too. Besides activities inside the camp, we got a chance to go see the extremely clear water fall (little one) and fresh green fields. We stayed there at the camp for three days and then the last night came, we gathered around the bonfire, lit the candles, wished and put them out by our own thumbs and index fingers. It is a tradition not to blow but to stand the pain. And then.. separated to spend a few more nights with Korean families.

While waiting for my named to be called out and then I would see my host family, I was so excited and kept talking non-stop. At last, “Mr.Nattareeka, please grab your belongings and meet your host family.” I didn’t pay much attention coz I heard it was Mr. but then that name was called again. I felt so familiar with it and knew right away after that..it was me. Well, my name is Miss Nattarika, anyways :p

There, I saw one middle-aged man standing~ waiting for me. He’s my host father. He helped me carry my bags and told me loads of stuff. He told me about his name, his career and his interest. He could speak Japanese, too and of course, we talked in English. So he can speak like three languages..Awesome! We caught a train and got out at Incheon city, that’s where his house is in. When we were about to reach the house, he told me, “Oh, I live with my wife and my son. He’s about your age.” I was like, “OH?!?” Nobody told me there would be a guy at the house I’m going to stay at. Those two times I was an exchange student in Singapore and Japan, there were some rules like we mostly had to stay with girls only except the father and the little brother. But this time, my age ~ I felt a little awkward.

When the door opened, I tried to say some Korean stuff to my host mother, but she shook my hand hard and kept welcoming me with warm words, I completely forgot my own lines. Then I saw my host brother. He seemed nice and yes he was. I could take over his room and his computer. He suggested me how to do some stuff and smiled 🙂 I felt a lot better after that and took it as another new nice experience. ~ After unpacking a little, “Dinner time!!”

I went to the kitchen to help carrying some plates. Then four of us sat together at the dining table. I started to eat. The food was mostly beef and kimji. I have to admit that I didn’t like food there that much because it has no taste mostly..like not sour, spicy or anything. I also didn’t like kimji (spicy pickled cabbage) that much but after eating a lot, I got used to it a little. However, I ate so little. When finishing the meal, the son of the house went to get all of us glasses. I wondered.. coz I already got a glass of water right next to me already ~ “Why do I need one more?”

Then the mother came with a bottle of beer. The father poured in my glass as the first person.. I was confused~ didn’t know what to do and didn’t know what to say. I do not drink, I’m still not old enough to drink and I was there as an exchange student from Thailand..shouldn’t drink but won’t it be rude to deny it?! I decided to tell him that I don’t drink. He said, “I know you are underaged. Our son, too but he drinks.” I was like, “HMMM?!” I’m not sure about others in other countries and also in Thailand if they or you do that or not but I’ve seen loads of bad results after drinking it from my dad, I totally wanted to deny it. The mother tried to convince, “C’mon, Bow! Just a little, O.K?” Then the father said, “For celebration!” Their eyes were like little puppies’, u know? They really wanted me to and I know I was hurting their feelings so I said, “Yes,” at last. Then we all, “CHEERSSS!!!” I let the beer touch my lips but I didn’t open my mouth at all ~ pretended like I was drinking. When I put the glass down on the table, I licked my lips and I still didn’t like its taste that much. Five minutes later, beer in everyone’s glasses and in the bottle was gone except in mine. The mother collected plates including my glass. I thought she knew.. I felt bad ~ I then thought maybe I should try drinking it a little.

However, they treated me nice after I did that. They took me to shop, to play some sports, to eat Chinese food, to see fullhouse set and etc. The mother, son and I even cooked together. I really had a great time there. When I had to leave, I packed all the things with a few tears in my eyes.. I then thought how come they treated me so well like that although I was rude. I mean, I didn’t like host mother’s food that much. I always ate and left a lot in the dish. I didn’t drink the beer.. But I think maybe that’s how they were chosen to be a host family. They are kind, generous and adaptable.. and that’s what I like about the Korea, sweet people. Memories there make me wanna be sweet, too.. guess I need to learn to be more adaptable from now on.