For today’s interview on Thai Women Living Abroad, we continue the interview with my guest Khun Sittha. This is part two of a three part interview that starts in the northeast of Thailand, and arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland after stopping off in Bangkok and Malta. Nowadays and since 2003 my guests home has been in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband. These are the views, insights and experiences of Khun Sittha.
Introducing Khun Sittha
Scotland Photographs courtesy of Khun Sittha
Do you still have family living in Thailand? If so, do you miss the family at home and do you miss Thailand? Furthermore, what are your favourite places to visit when in Thailand.
My family all still live in Thailand. My Father is in his 80’s, close to 90 and lives with my elder sister. After my Mother passed away, my elder sister took my Father to live with her. My Father has now lived with my sister for approximately 14 years. I feel so lucky that I have have a sister in Thailand to take care of my Father. It means that I don’t have to worry considerably about my Father being taken care of. Aside from this I still have another 3 brothers in Thailand. They all live with their families in different provinces.
I miss my Father the most, however, communication is far more efficient and cheaper than 15 -16 years ago. Now if I miss someone, I’ll just call them up and chat with them. Thailand is my birth place and it’s normal that I would miss it. I miss my friends in Thailand. I also miss vegetables, various fruits and delicious Thai restaurants that I use when I’m in Bangkok.
When I return to Thailand, I enjoy visiting my Father and I’m happy to cook for him. I’m so happy to chat with my older siblings and grandchildren. After spending time with the family, I travel on to Udon Thani and then up to Chiang Mai. I take these journeys in order to meet friends that I’ve associated with for more than 20 years. Spending time with family and friends gives me more warmth and happiness than I can describe.
My favorite places to visit in Thailand are Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, Wat Arun and various other temples in the provinces that my friends and I have visited. There are a lot of places I like, especially those where I have good memories. For example, there’s Bangsaen. That’s where I saw the sea for the first time. I remember being there and watching the sea for hours. Later, I visited many other beaches; such as Trang, Krabi, Koh Samet, Koh Samui, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Cha Am and Koh Mak in the province of Trat.
Have you ever felt unsafe whilst living in Edinburgh?
I think that wherever we are, we always have to be careful and take care of our own safety. That means management and reducing the risk, such as not going out after dark. When going out alone, you should not carry more cash than necessary and I never wear expensive jewellery as it invites temptation. I feel safe living in Edinburgh, I’ve felt safe here right from the moment I got here. I’ve never had a day where I’ve felt insecure.
Which are the places in Scotland that you enjoy visiting? In your opinion, is Scotland beautiful?
In my personal opinion, I think that Scotland is very beautiful. It’s especially beautiful when you leave the city and visit the north west cost, with many small Islands, such as Orkney Island, Outer Hebrides and other Islands. There are many other areas that I think are beautiful and that I like to visit. For example, there’s Glencoe, Oban, Plockton, and Gairloch. The area in the north of Scotland is still natural and very tranquil. When I go to relax, I like to see wildlife such as wild elephants, herons, teal, wild rabbits, etc. I like nature very much. It gives me great enjoyment when I visit these places. The appropriate time to travel to northern Scotland is mid-April and early June. Another good period of time, is the month of October. In the summer there are many tourists visiting. In the countryside there are small insects and midges that suck blood from people and animals. It’s very annoying for the tourists. It’s a period of time that’s not really convenient for hiking in the forest.
What sort of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time.
The thing that I love and give primary importance to is to have the freedom to live one’s life. I mean the freedom to think, to make decisions, to live in general and to travel to places of interest.
If I have a period of time of about 4 – 5 days, I like to go and relax in the north of Scotland, in order to go hiking and view various wildlife. If however I only have a couple of days to spare, I like to go for a walk in Princes Street Garden park. This park is in the heart of Edinburgh, and Edinburgh Castle is the main highlight of a historic castle built on a volcanic rock. I love walking around the park so much. If I have free time of about one week or more , my husband and I will travel to a country within 4 hours of Scotland by plane. This is normally a European location. We usually make our plans of travel at the beginning of the year. Mostly we will visit new places that neither of us have been to before.
There are some times when I’m free that I like to stay at home. I enjoy making delicious food and sometimes I invite friends over and we eat together. We enjoy to eat, chat and have fun together, besides this, I love to cook anyway. My other likes are reading books, novels, investigative murders, New Scientists, and The Sunday Times. Sometimes I listen to sermons on YouTube, I pray and meditate. Some days I make calls to Thailand to talk to my father, sister, brother and friends. I also enjoy exercising by swimming and Yoga.
What do you recommend to Thai women that will be moving to live overseas? What are your suggestions for them to live a good or happy life? What should they be aware of?
Some Thai people think that moving to Europe / Scotland would make for a better life. In regard to this, I would like to say that this is a false belief. The people here have to work to earn a living the same as people in Thailand. Here, they must pay for the house and pay for the car, just the same. Here there are problems with teenage pregnancies, unemployment, and homeless people. There are poor people and there are rich people, the same as Thailand and other countries. I know Thai people that have lived here for more than 10 years and some of them have been successful in their jobs.
Some of them have Thai restaurants or traditional Thai Massage businesses. They have to work hard, be patient, save and stay far away from mischief, like gambling. At the same time, I see other Thai people here who face many problems including domestic violence. Some Thai women live here for many years and at the end are faced only with divorce. They don’t have anywhere to live, they have no money and they feel embarrassed. However, they don’t want the relatives in Thailand to know about their situation, so they live alone with help from the government.
I would like to tell Thai women who are still in Thailand and are now in a relationship with foreigners….. may you have a loving heart. Or another one that I always like to say to my friends is. “Love with a brain”. With this, I mean love yourself so much. I request you have happiness by yourself and look at the world as a realist. Ask yourself many questions and analyse the answers. Things like, is this man the right man for me? If he is the right man, then what do you base this answer on? When you stay together are you able to be yourself? Do you like to laugh out loud – can you do this? Does this man accept you for who you truly are? Do you know his true character? Often,you have to be in the company of someone quite a long time, before you see their true character. Will this man honour and respect you? Do you love this guy? Will he love you, protect and take care of you? I want you to ask yourselves a lot of questions and analyse your answers. Take time to understand each other. If it’s possible, I’d recommend you go for a visit in his country first. Try a trial period of living together first before you agree to marriage.
For Thai woman that are now married and living in Scotland / Europe, then I ask you to live a conscious life. Live life in the now, because when you come to live abroad, things don’t always plan out as you expected.
Take good care of your physical and mental health by exercising. Go for walks and admire the parks and various other places. Go out with friends, but associate with good people only. I ask that you know your responsibilities in the duty of looking after your husband, house and children, if you have any. This is most important as your husband and children are your family members. When there’s a misunderstanding together, I ask that you talk it through like adults. Speak to each other in a normal and rational manner.
If you cannot find a conclusion or cannot agree together, I ask you to meet together half way. When the problem has been rectified, then let that be the end of it. Don’t dig the old problem back up again or other problems from the past. You should continually learn new things towards your personal development. Use your free time to create benefit for yourself. If your knowledge of the language is not good enough, then take further studies. If your knowledge of the language is fine and you have enough time, then perhaps you could look for some work to do. A bit of work to safeguard that you can look after yourself, without the need to wait for or ask for money from your husband.
Meanwhile, if at this time there are Thais living in Scotland that are experiencing problems with domestic violence; for instance, physical or mental abuse, I offer you moral support and encouragement. I’d like to suggest that firstly, you remain composed. Collect evidence such as photographs of the bruises and the ways you’ve been harmed. Further more, go to the doctor for a physical examination. You can visit Shakti Women’s Aid Tel: 0131 4752399 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a charitable organization that assists women with language and ethnic differences that have experienced domestic violence.
When you are physically or mentally abused, life feels very insecure. You can inform the police at the police station or call the telephone number 101. If it’s an emergency, then you can telephone the emergency number of 999. If you are unable to communicate in English confidently enough then, Police officers can provide you with interpreters.