Continued from Part I
This is a translated article from Koosang Koosom Magazine, written by Dek Doi Hongk 5 written in Thai Language, translated by Ginger.
Some days I would go to the farm with my parents to help out. I came from a family of farmers, and we raised fruit crops, such as mangoes, maakhram (tamarine), papaya, lynchee, lumyai (longan fruit), chumpoh (java apple), and the latest that my dad is planting are citrus trees which my dad has some help from his older brother.
My mom grew mostly vegetables, she organically grew hers, so she had many people that would come directly to our farm to buy and her prices are very reasonable, cheap you might even say. We never had to buy fruit or vegetables.
In the past, our village only has 2 black and white televisions, and if you wanted to watch anything, then you had to ask the owner, they would turn them on in the evening for people to watch. There were so many of us that were hooked to the evening programs, and the monitors were only 14 inches, think, and black and white screen on top of that. Some can’t even understand the Thai language, but still watched anyway. As soon as they’d turn on the television, then everyone became real quiet, glued to the screen, as if they were watching a movie at the movie theater, with big beautiful color projector and stereo sound system.
As soon as it’d get dark, the owners of these 2 televisions then closed their doors, but my friends and I hung around to watch, we’d peep through the hole cracks on the wall, it’s a hit and miss type of situation where sometime we couldn’t see very well, but just to be able to hear the sounds, we were content and entertained.
One time, someone brought in ‘Nung Garng Pang’ (drive in movie), we had to pay to get in, and they charged 10 baht for adult, and 5 baht for children. I was so excited when I heard the news, and at the time I didn’t know what ‘Nung Garng Pang’ was, so I got dressed and got there at 5 pm, and the movie didn’t start until 6 pm. When they opened the door for people to go in, I snuck in when there were a lot of people, and I pretended as if an adult accompanied me so I wouldn’t have to buy the ticket. When the movie ended, I left right away because I wanted to be the first one to get home, I was so proud of myself.
When I got old enough to attend school, my parents sent me to attend school in town. I got teased a lot from my friends, that I’m from the mountains. Regardless of the mean things that they said to me, I was still proud of who I was, never once got upset with my friends. Some would tease me by making fun of my accent because I couldn’t speak very clear at the time, and they’d mimic the way I talked, I thought they were so cruel and was insulted by their actions.
When the school had school activities, my teacher would ask me to dress in my traditional tribal outfit of Pow Yout, whether it’s just to show on stage, or to boycott something, and sometime I even get to hold the sign as well. Some people would ask to take photos with me, which made me very proud of who I am and my heritage.
But currently, our village has gone through a huge transformation, as if it were night and day, and mainly because of the modernization that’s creeping in little by little. The people in the village started to welcome all these modern conveniences, they don’t see the importance of dressing in the traditional outfit of Pow Yout any more, that’s the thing of the past, the modern clothing articles that the teenagers are now wearing is that the tighter, the shorter, the better.
Our beautiful culture and tradition that I’m so proud of are rare this day and age. Tourist start to disappear, some might show up, but then left with disappointment because the beautiful hill tribes village is no longer there. I’ve heard some adults from the village complaining, “where are the tourist?” If they come, and don’t see us, don’t see the hill tribal culture and our tradition, the beauty of our people and village, then why would they come?
I want our younger generations to help preserve our culture and tradition of our hill tribes of Pow Yout before it will eventually become a legend in the near future.