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Saturday, January 26, 2008

THE HOUSE WHERE A VIETNAMESE LIVES

The last time I visited my grandparents in Ayutthaya was April last year. So I went for a visit today. It's an hour drive from Bangkok. And as usual, I came unannounced because I don’t want the whole town waiting for me at the gates.

Ayutthaya, for those who don’t know…is the ancient capital of Thailand with lots of historical ruins, old ancestral houses and quite sleepy. Ok? Ok.

This is also a chance to see the old house again where “lives a Vietnamese.” A very curious house I have to pass by on my way to grandma’s.

When I was a kid, mother and I used to pass that old house. She would always point to the second floor and say: “There, lives a Vietnamese.” She always does this each and every time we pass the darn house as if a 6-year old kid gives a sh*t! *Ha!*

So, like an experimental chimp in a laboratory, mother conditioned my brain that “There, lives a Vietnamese.” *Ok, ok! I got it! Shut it already!* – And now that I’m grown up, I still remember that “There, lives a Vietnamese.” Although I never have actually seen the Vietnamese she was talking about. Duh!

Grandmother, as usual, is tending her acres and acres of orchids when I arrived…

“Hello, grandma.” I went to hug and kiss her.

She frowned. She hates it when I don’t "wai" and greet her in Thai. I could almost taste dinner as extra-extra-extra hot later on. This is her way of letting me know she’s pissed. She adds more chilies to the already hot-as-hell food to get me.

To calm her down, I spoke in Thai… (But for your sake, I’ll write it in English)

"Grandma, does the Vietnamese still lives in that old house down the road?"

Without looking at me, still tending her darn orchids, she said annoyed “Can you stop doing that stupid accent?”

"What accent?”

“That! That accent! Speak proper Thai. Didn’t your mother teach you proper Thai?” I can tell from where I’m standing, grandma is pissed.

“Grandma, I just wanna know if that Vietnamese still lives there. Why are you so angry?” I said softly trying to calm her down.

She ignored me, silent treatment. This is how they are -- traditional old people want you to submit to them. Ok, I’ll play the game…

In a calm voice, I said slowly “Grandma, I just wanna know if that --“

“What Vietnamese?!!” She retorted.

*sigh* “That old house that mother used to tell me when I was a kid, over and over, that a Vietnamese lives there.” I said trying my best Thai intonation. “Maybe he was a refugee in the 70s war?” I added, winking my eyes trying to be cute.

“Why would she tell you that?”

“I don’t know. You tell me.” Keeping my Thai enunciation in perfect form.

“Tell you what?”

*sigh* “If that Vietnamese still lives there! GRANDMA!” I said the ‘grandma’ part with a little hint of impatience, so I brazed myself for retaliation. I looked away.

Then grandma spoke in a manner of a true Thai aristocrat... her choice of words were obsolete and will haunt me forever…

“I lived all my life in Ayutthaya. On this same road, on this same house….”

I was listening intently, mesmerized. Then she continued…

“There was no Vietnamese that ever lived in that house.”


MOTHER, I KNOW YOU ARE READING THIS.

I WANT A WRITTEN EXPLANATION. NOW!

9 Comments:

Benz said...

Hmmm. This post reminds me of your family mystery entry last July. Any word from your mom yet regarding that?

Quentin X said...

Part two, anyone?

Nam said...

I am intrigued. Part2 please!

eyron said...

very intriguing...

and a son demanding a written explanation from his mother...

sludgeball said...

I've been to Ayutthaya and I love that place..the ruins remind me of how the thais battle the burmese invaders..but the taxi driver never told me of a vietnamese that lives in "that" house...by fil am in LA

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Thanks for the first comment Sludgeball. Cool! It's always welcome and appreciated. All smiles for us here. LA rocks!

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

UPDATE: I got the answer from mom, last night. The bitch!

MischMensch said...

Hmmm and what is the answer to the trivia?

Anonymous said...

What, Vietnamese in a house? Gosh... seems getting to be Mills & Boons by the day. People, step up the raunch pls. Won't it be more worth our while if we talk about Viet dicks in Ayuttaya?

Ho hum..... zzzzzz.....

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