Wednesday, January 08, 2014


This month coincides with the birth of one of my nieces in Thailand. Hard not to miss that fact when my camera-crazy cousin puts up entire galleries of the photogenic infant in every possible permutation almost every other day. To match the season, it's been Santa hats and reindeer headbands all last week. Pretty little bundle of joy that oddly enough looks just like my mother did as a baby in her sepia-toned pics of yesteryear. Something my cousin remarked on just the other day.

Paul : There certainly is a strong family resemblance.
Cousin : Imagine what it would be like if you guys had been brought up here!

I can well imagine. Since her two younger siblings returned to Thailand after their schoolyears, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that my mother would have seriously considered heading back as well. For those who haven't seen her, my mother already looks the part of the Thai society matron with her stiff silk jackets and her sizable hairdo.

Life in Bangkok way back when

Who knows, I might very well be blogging in ภาษาไทย from our family home in Bangkok if that had actually come true. Probably would have been different with my draconian grandparents around. More traditional. More conservative. Certainly more stylish. Even have a name to fit from my grandfather since my name is readily translatable in most Asian languages - มังกร which basically means dragon. 

Though it wouldn't surprise me if I had developed severe body issues

As naive lil kids, we used to tease my visiting cousins for taking the longest time with their rigorous beauty regime - and that's even before they've achieved their problematic acne-prone teenage years. So you can very well imagine how seriously the beauty-conscious Thais take their various cosmetics, lotions and creams.

Would say it is impossible not to when you're constantly bombarded with instagram images of amazingly perfect Adonises at every juncture. Google search Thai boys and you'll find hard pecs and sculpted six-packs flashed at almost every moment from every possible angle. Of course that doesn't mean all of them resemble preternaturally perfect cover models - but trust me, finding a spectacularly built specimen of manhood right on the grimy streets of Bangkok isn't all that difficult.

In fact you might even find that absurdly gorgeous fellow casually frying up pad thai in a dingy shabby stall right around the corner, with his sweaty grimy white tee tugged up to reveal shockingly cut washboard abs.

Man, the boys are hot. 

Just imagine the relentless competition! Since a troll like me obviously didn't inherit any of those famous Thai good looks, I would have to work doubly hard to keep up. In short, to vie with these dauntingly perfect Stepford boys, I would have to undergo serious plastic surgery, have facial spa sessions every other day and practically live in the gym 24/7. Not forgetting forgoing any form of delicious fat-laden sustenance like ever. Talk about exhausting.

And that's only the boys we're talking about.

From what I've seen, I certainly wouldn't want to compete with the local girls either, some of whom look as if they'd just stepped off the catwalk. If you're thinking the brainy girls wouldn't bother about their looks, you'd be dead wrong. One time I escorted my grandparents to a free medical clinic at one of their premier medical schools and trust me, I thought I'd mistakenly walked into an Asian Victoria Secret catalog - with pristine white coats instead of lacy lingerie of course.

And let's not even start with the perfectly-coiffed, beautifully presented katoeys - who even I find impossible to differentiate from the real deal.

Man, it's hard to be Thai.

1 comment:

GVP said...

You had me laughing at the Thai words in the post.
Yeah, Thailand is a mesmerising place. It must be something in the food and weather that people easily stay sculpted and maintain model-like figures. Ahh~ I certainly miss the food and massage.

Perhaps, rather than subjecting yourself to plastic surgery, do Bikram yoga and get massaged everyday instead :D

Talking about Katoeys, my mum's close friend's son realised that he wasn't born into the right body. After receiving the treatment, she/he now puts my sister to shame.