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Chapter 33

posted Jul 23, 2017, 6:41 PM by Ratinan Lee

Kop
Priao was away with family, Kev's dad was called and Kop had to help

Chapter 32 No Risk, No Gain

posted Jul 23, 2017, 6:38 PM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Jul 25, 2017, 8:53 PM ]

Thatchai


เมื่อฟ้า... สั่งให้กูนั้นต้องเดินไป และมึงจะมีคนนั้นเคียงข้างกาย
ขอพร... ให้มึงมีวันที่ดีๆ กูคงไม่มีทางลืมมึงเลย
แม้กู... จะเจ็บเท่าไรก็ยอมทน เพียงมึงมีความสุขกูก็ดีใจ
รักมึง... กูจะรักมึงเรื่อยๆ ไป รักนี้ จะเก็บเอาไว้ นานเท่านาน



Jujurlah sayang aku tak mengapa
Biar semua jelas telah berbeda
Jika nanti aku yang harus pergi
Ku terima walau sakit hati

Chapter 31 A Meeting in London

posted Jul 18, 2017, 7:51 PM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Aug 27, 2017, 9:49 AM ]

- CHAPTER  THIRTY-ONE -

A Meeting in London

—Tṓek Wē̂twíttháyā—

Heathrow Airport, present time

"Bye, JC," I said when JC separated to her gate. "See you later."

JC asked me to send the photos we took together directly to Kevin. She wanted him to forget everything in the past and go on. And well, this was the reason why I have to come to the airport today. JC's flight to Germany is one hour before my flight so she had to board now.

Singapore, you have to go to Singapore and send this to him directly. Telling him that you're not ok with his video. I don't mind leaving it online, but just tell him that I'm not ok that he is still like this. JC asked me yesterday. 

What if he found out the truth?

The truth was... we were friends, but JC wanted me to tell him that we are dating.

I don't know... let's hope that he won't care. She was not so confident.

I still remembered the day she told me she liked me. It was the last day at high school. I don't like you, I told her. I still want to be single and focus on studying.

"Long time no see, Tṓek! Where are you going?"

"Kev!?" I found Kev stood behind me. He smiled. "Hi... I... am going to..."

"Singapore...," said he. I realized that he read the ticket in my shirt's pocket. "Let me upgrade the seat for you."

He dialed his phone and asked his assistant to upgrade the seat for me to first class. It was A380, the first class could be...

...

"Press the button there if you want to sleep. I'm gonna work a bit more." He showed me the button that controls the seat. The flight took off twenty minutes ago, and the seat belt sign was turned off. The first-class area on this A380 was as luxurious as shown in travel review websites and magazines. Four seats per row, with privacy and optional double bed.

"Kev. I want to tell you something. I'm..."

"You're dating with JC, right? You're not ok with the video that I posted." I saw his eyes were still reading something on his iPad.

"Umm..."

"Or you just met JC and she asked you to pretend to be her boyfriend." He was typing something when speaking. His multitasking skill was so nice.

He knew.

"She asked you to pretend?"

He read my reaction.

"I assumed it was right, so you don't have to pretend anymore. It's ok. I'm gonna remove the video."

"You don't really have to remove it. In fact, what you said was correct, but I just want to make sure that you're ok. You are my friend. I don't want to hurt you."

"I'm ok..."

I did not believe him, so I checked his iPad's screen and read the paragraphs on the screen. "How sad do I need to be, how long should I cry to let you know that I sincerely love you...[1] Another song?"

"รถของเล่น (song title: Toy Car)"

"Wow! You're still the same," said I.

Kev did not say anything but selected another song on the screen. He gave me the headset so I could listen to the very same song with him.

我明白世間的真愛,只因你一個人存在
受傷,釋懷之後全都有我承担
我只是一粒塵埃,渺小卻守護我的愛
或許有一天我能给你温暖
[2]

"How can I help you? I really want you to be happy!"

แต่คนอย่างฉัน ต้องอยู่ต่อไป
แม้เสียเธอไป ไร้เธอคู่
แม้ไม่รู้จะอยู่เพื่อใคร
และคนอย่างฉัน ต้องเจ็บกับความช้ำนี้
ไปนานซักเท่าไร จะเจ็บเพียงใด จะอยู่ไปโดยไม่มีเธอ
[3]

He changed to another song.

Then he laughed.

"I'm already dating another girl. She is Taiwanese." I was shocked. "In that YouTube video, I mentioned that it was my very old song. I did not mention anything like... I still cannot forget her. Tṓek, it's about a decade already, how could anyone be continuously sad that long?"

"Alright, congratulations!"

I did not have any more words. And since my task was done now, why should I go to Singapore? Take me back to London now!!!

"Hey! I think you'd better cancel your hotel booking and stay with me in Singapore," invited Kev. "Chūn is also there, remember him?"

"Oh, yeah."

I had not yet booked the hotel. Nice...

"Ok, I will stay with you."

I got two meals on board. The first meal was a beef steak. The second one was beluga caviar and truffle salad. And since this was the first time in the first-class seat, I made my seat a comfortable bed and watched two movies before landing at Changi Airport.

On his iPad, I saw after the second movie ended, there was another song.

ฉันเองก็รู้ ว่านี่คงแฟร์กับเธอ
ฉันเองก็รู้ ว่าความจริงมันเป็นยังไง
ฉันจึงไม่รู้ ว่าฉันจะควรพูดอะไร
น้ำตาที่ไหล ก็แห้งเหือดหายไปกับตา...

มีคำเหล่านั้น ที่ฉันได้ยินเธอเรื่อยมา
พวกคำเหล่านั้น เธออ้างกับฉันอยู่เรื่อยไป
เธออยู่กับเขา แต่เธอว่าเธอไม่มีใคร
ที่ฉันทำไป ก็แค่แกล้งเป็นไม่เคยรู้ ว่าเธอทำอะไร

บอกมาเถอะที่รัก... ฉันจะไม่ว่าอะไร
บอกความจริงข้างใน ได้ไหม ฉันอยากจะฟัง
ถึงแม้ว่าฉัน จะต้องไปก็ไม่เป็นไร
จะยอมรับไว้ แม้มันจะเจ็บ ก็ทน
[4]

He wrote another song.

———

[1] Translated from - Artist: Tiger (เสือโคร่ง; Sū̌ea Khrō̂ng); Title: รถของเล่น (Rót Khɔ̄̌nglên; Toy Car), 2012.

[2] Artist: Timmy Xu (許魏洲; Xǔ Wèizhōu); Title:「塵埃」(Chén'āi; Dust), 2016.

[3] Artist: Blackhead; Title: อยู่ไปไม่มีเธอ (Yū̀ Pai Mâi Mī Thōe; Living Without You), 1999.

[4] Trainslated from - Artist: Repvblik; Title: Sandiwara Cinta (Performing Love), 2014.


< Chapter 30 | Chapter 32 >

Chapter 30 The Announcement

posted Jul 18, 2017, 7:43 PM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Nov 29, 2017, 3:57 AM ]

- CHAPTER  THIRTY -

The Announcement

—JC Müller—

“Madness!” Kev yelled.

It was the morning assembly and Latdawan assigned us a very big homework for the October break. The so-called Integrated Project. The concept was very simple: you select one topic, and submit it to all eight compulsory courses’ assignment.

“This is a complete madness!”

“You are mad, Kawin! This is Thailand, how many more times do I need to remind you?!” Jirayu stood up and scolded.

“STOP!” Khru Latdawan shouted. With the microphone before her, the voice was too loud but the two guys did not listen. Instead, Khru Chanchai walked towards them, and Khru Ui, too, from the other direction.

“You go out and read researches from all over the world! Only least developed countries do what you do! You are not human!” Kev responded. “So Kalā!”

“哥,够了!别要说了!”

“เห็นมั้ยมึง แม้แต่น้องมึงเองยังไม่เข้าข้างมึงเลย”

“你真的什么都不知道吗?I told him to stop cuz it’s not worth talking to the piece of garbage like you! Stupid! Idiot! No wonder Kev wants to get away from here! ไอ้เหี้ย! ไอ้ควาย! ไอ้ชาติชั่ว!”

Maek laughed loudly from the back. He must be the one who taught him these swear words. Min was laughing, too. Khru Ui had just reached the three guys and she was trying to stop them from fighting.

“Khru Ui, I don’t understand how you could do these to students! Complete madness.” Angrily, Chun told Khru Ui.

“เขาไม่เข้าใจว่าเราทำอย่างนี้กับเด็กได้ยังไง อุ้ย” Khru Chanchai translated. “ก็จริงนะ แสดงว่าผมสอนดี เคฟเข้าใจวัฒนธรรมตะวันตก และน้องเขาก็คงรู้อยู่แล้ว”

“แต่มันเป็นวัฒนธรรมที่เลวร้ายนะครู เราจะไปชื่นชมยินดีได้ยังไง”

“You have to open your eyes, Jirayu.” Khru Chanchai calmly explained. “More than a billion people say their culture is fine, but ours is bad.”

Out of the view, Khru Latdawan directed other students to their classrooms. Toek then spoke to me.

“You changed him.”

“What?”

“Kev has never done anything like this. He changed because of you.”

Let’s make this school German school, Kevin’s voice resurfaced from my memory.

...

I did not understand this. How could I change him? But he refused to explain more about it. Logically concluded, yes, he changed after I came here. But why?

Chapter 29 Anyone of Us

posted Jun 13, 2017, 7:54 PM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Jul 19, 2017, 6:02 PM ]

- CHAPTER  TWENTY-NINE -

Anyone of Us

—Mík Jansìrì—

It was Saturday... the concert was over, and I was free. I met Thī at the cinema just for a lunch together.

Yeah! Thī said it was just for a lunch, but I knew it must be something more than a lunch. And when we started eating our Japanese-style fried chicken rice, he started the conversation.

"Can you completely forget her now? I want to tell you something about Pɔ̄i."

"Yeah, I kept myself busy practicing music just to forget it," said I. The soup was nice and I loved it. I believed that most kids in Bangkok loved Japanese food due to its great taste. And well, it's healthy! That's why Japanese people lived older than us.

"Well... she already dumped another guy within a week."

"What!?"

"She dumps the guy after she gets something she wants. This is her Hi5 account!"

Thī gave me the printouts of Pɔ̄i's Hi5 pages. I did not have Hi5 account, so I had never known this before. The first image was from last year, showing Pɔ̄i with an undergrad from a nearby university. She got a new phone. The handwriting on the paper said: already deleted.

The next two pieces of paper were similar. The fourth piece dated last week, it was another guy from a nearby school, he bought her a new necklace. All of them had the handwritten note: already deleted.

Except the last one. It was only a status post, read "It's nice to be single!". This one was yesterday.

"So, she is single again?"

"You have not yet had sex with her, right?"

"Never..."

"She had sex with more than twenty guys in exchange for new gadgets."

I was shocked.

"This can happen to anyone of us, Mík, all you have to do is to accept the truth and recover from it. I'll always be by your side, bro."

After the lunch, I met Phûeng by chance there. She asked me for a short private conversation. Thī had no choice but to walk away.

"I'm sorry, Phûeng."

I said.

"It's ok, Mík. This can happen to anyone. Pɔ̄i's dangerous. Many other guys had been dumped by her just after she got the gadgets. You have not yet bought something for her, right?"

I shook my head instead of saying "no".

"That's nice," said Phûeng, delightfully.

"Luckily, I have not yet given her the rings."

"Rings?"

"I bought a pair of rings, cheap ones," answered I.

Phûeng smiled. "Lucky."

Chapter 28 Gē

posted Jun 8, 2017, 8:10 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Sep 20, 2017, 10:08 AM ]

- CHAPTER  TWENTY-EIGHT -

Lǐ Chūn—

The concert this evening was very nice. My brother was on the stage for about a minute, too! It was perfect, simply perfect. Although the environment here was very strange to me, it was just another part of life.

"Chūn, dinner's ready."

Uncle Tàwan called me, in English, from downstairs. The dinner was a simple cooked Thai food bought from the market. Not a very good meal, but good enough for surviving a day. And because the food was not frozen, they had to be consumed within a few hours.

"I think I better cook myself later," Kev was disappointed, as usual.

"You can cook?" I was surprised. "Kev, you have to do it next time!"

"Yes, Chūn, he can cook... mostly instant noodle."

"Bà! I always have fresh meat and veggie in the fridge and those fresh things are much better than your pre-cooked Thai market food."

"Huh... children these days... can't have Thai food anymore." Uncle sighed. "Thai culture is now on the cliff, ready to fall and extinct on any day."

"That's good, let's start the new world with no Thai culture."

"But, Kev, I don't think Thai culture is that bad," said I.

Kev turned to me, "Chūn, you have not yet got diarrhea... once you have, you'll surely deny having Thai market food." I slowly learned how he ate, all chilis are separated.

"Well, I just realized that you call Gāo Wén 'Kev' already," asked Uncle Tàwan.

It started a few days ago when I asked Min for Gāo Wén and he did not recognize. "Because everyone calls him Kev at the school."

"I see..."

Our conversation continued in English since Tàwan's Chinese communication skills had been worsened since he came back from Taiwan after the divorce due to the lack of use. After the dinner, Kev locked himself in the bedroom right away, so I had to follow him inside or sleep in the living room. He was working on his Mathematics assignments.

"I saw you had an argument with some of the teachers, especially that Thai language teacher. And I also heard Chānchai said that you would be much better off if you were American." I started the conversation. "You really hate this place, right?"

"Chūn, you have to observe a little bit longer and see how the adults actually think we are. They violate human rights every single day because most of them never think that we are human."

I was silent.

"How can I stay in the place where they think I'm their 'object'?"

"I see." This was the only thing that I could say.

"Done! I'm going to take a shower." He threw his textbook back into the school bag on the floor before leaving for the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, he came back with nothing on his body. I saw that the corridor outside was dark, maybe Uncle Tàwan already went to bed. Kev picked his boxer shorts from a wardrobe to wear for the night.

"Your turn," said Kev.

Only one bedside table lamp was turned on when I came back from a shower. Kev was reading a book on his bed. I lay down beside him.

"我真的喜歡你歌。(wǒ zhēn de xǐhuān nǐ gē.)"

"WHAT!?!?" Kev was shocked and jumped out of the bed.

"我說- 你的歌。" It was my bad. When I was saying that I really like his song, I omitted the word 的 and he thought that I meant: I really like you, brother. "Your songs... you're talented."[1]

"你說- 你真的喜歡我的歌?(you said: nǐ zhēn de xǐhuān wǒ 'de' gē?)"

"對!(Yes!)"

"It's time to sleep, dì[2]!"

He turned off the bedside lamp. Now, only the ambient light from the window was the only source of light, I could not do anything.

Kevin Chen was a young and smart guy who, if grew up in the developed country, must be able to show many more talents, such like his lyric composing skills, linguistic skills (clearly Thailand never supported students to speak foreign languages, although they taught English, Chinese, French, and Japanese in many high schools, but students who use these languages in their daily life could be rejected from the society and become the so-called mā̌-hū̌a-nâo[3]), and maybe computer skills.

Only a few days here, I could see so many things. The school did not want students to think. No one asked questions in classes. It was an old-fashioned one-way education that had been thrown away in my international high-school back in Taiwan for a very long time already.

"我在這裡你難過嗎?(Are you ok that I'm here?)" I asked him after a while.

"你什麼都不知道嗎?因為你是我弟了我高興。(Do you really know nothing? Because you are now my brother, I'm more than happy.)"

———

[1] The words "song" and "older brother" in Chinese are the same , but written differently: 歌 and 哥 respectively. That was the reason why Kev thought 我真的喜歡你(的)歌。 was 我真的喜歡你,哥. The word 的 (de) indicates the ownership and can be omitted.

[2] In Chinese, the older and younger brothers are called differently. Gē (哥) means the older, and dì (弟) means the younger.

[3] Mā̌-hū̌a-nâo (หมาหัวเน่า) is used to call the person who is rejected from the society.


< Chapter 27 | Chapter 29 >

Chapter 27 Music Day

posted Jun 6, 2017, 8:48 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Aug 14, 2017, 10:57 AM ]

- CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN -

Music Day

—Kɔ́p Wíbūnsàkun—

Kevin was very good at translating lyrics. I got five songs from his notebook for my mini-concert at the school on this year's Music Day. It would be great! Wít was already on the stage for preparing all the instruments. Mík was checking his bass guitar.

"Are you ready?" asked Khrū Chānchai from behind the stage.

I responded, "yes, khrū".

"I think it's the time already. It's already crowded," said the teacher. "I'm going up now for the opening, ok?"

"Nah... let me quickly check with Mík and Wít first."

"I heard it. I'm ready!" Wít yelled from the stage. And at the same time, Mík also signaled me from where he sat. Without a word, Khrū Chānchai walked up to the stage.

I smiled.

Mík was ready with his bass guitar. Wít was at the drum kit. I was with the microphone, ready to sing. The first song started few minutes after that. People started to jump as the music sounded. Everyone knew this song very well, especially the guys.

I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end, it doesn't even matter
I had to fall, to lose it all
But in the end, it doesn't even matter
[1]

After this world-wide famous song, I calmed everybody down by singing a more relaxed pop song and a local rock song before switching to a translated famous Mandarin pop song, in the Thai version.

"Alright, I think... it's time for the most famous song for the girls... Dong Hwaaaaaa!"

วาดฝันในใจ... ว่าฉันจะเป็น
เจ้าชายคนนั้นให้เธอให้ได้
จะโบกบินไป... พร้อมเธอ... เคียงข้างกาย
เชื่อใจกันนะ... ว่าเราจะเป็น ดัง... เทพนิยาย
จะรักกัน อยู่ด้วยกัน ตลอดกาล...
[2]

Girls really loved this song. Since many girls followed more Korean entertainment which recently had been beating Taiwanese entertainment so violently, I guessed some of them did not even know the original version sung by Michael Wong. After this Wong's song, it was Jay Chou's. This song was also translated by Kevin. And well, it was also very popular among girls.

"Maybe we have to stop daydreaming. Maybe it's time to be a little bit sad. I believe everyone knows Jay Chou's... Yī Lù Xiàng Běi!"

จะหนีให้พ้นไป ไม่ให้เธอเห็นในสายตา
ได้ยินเธอเอ่ยลา เธอเหนื่อยที่จะยื้อเอาไว้
สายลมพัดแผ่วเบา เรื่องราวดีๆ สิ้นลงเพียงเพราะฉันพลาดไป
กี่ครั้งแล้วใจดวงนี้ที่ผิดต่อเธอ
[3]

"The next song. Personally, I had never known this song before, but one day, my friend introduced this to me," said I. "The meaning is very nice and good for the ones who are dumped. Alright, are you ready for the first time of this song? Kenangan Terindah!"

เมื่อฟ้า... ลิขิตให้ฉันต้องเดินไป และเธอจะมีคนนั้นเคียงข้างกาย
ขอพร... เธอจงมีวันที่ดีๆ ฉันจะไม่มีทางลืมเธอเลย
แม้ฉัน... จะเจ็บเท่าไรก็ยอมทน เพียงเธอ มีความสุขฉันก็ดีใจ
รักเรา... ฉันจะเก็บไว้อย่างดี จะชื่นชม ความงดงามนี้ ตราบเท่านาน
[4]

"Well... do you know who was behind all these songs in Thai version?"

Yeah! The crowd answered loudly.

"Do you want to see the one who made Music Club today!?"

Yeah!

"Please welcome... Kevin Chen!"

It was my plan. Phét brought Kev up to the stage for me because, surely, Kev would run away. And yes, now that he was on the stage with me, I interviewed him.

"So, Kev, how could you come up with these translations?" I asked him. I also passed the microphone for him to answer.

"Well... I just want to do it. That's all. But your Kenangan Terindah was not my version. In Indonesian, the terms ku and mu are common terms, and they are translated directly to and mueng in Thai, not chǎn and thōe. Or simply, f*** Government and teachers in Thailand did the f*** terrible thing by prohibiting us from using and mueng as pronouns because of racist issues! Hence, to be a good person, to behave well, you guys have to use and mueng!"

Kev walked down angrily from the stage right after answering the question.

"Umm... I'm sorry. So sorry." The issue Kev just stated was about the pronouns used in Thailand. Teachers said and mueng are prohibited because these terms were rude. Anyway, most of us used these terms anyway although we could be punished if any of the teachers heard.

Then, I continued talking to the audiences. "Alright, before we conclude our show today... Are you ready for our last song?"

Yeah!

"Are you ready?"

Yeah!

"Alright... Yaaaaaaā Phít!"

เอะอะก็ว่ารัก เอะอะก็คิดถึง แต่เธอไม่เคยซึ้งไม่เคยเข้าใจ
ไม่เคยทำให้รู้ ไม่เคยทำให้เห็น ไม่ห่วงเลยว่าใครจะเป็นจะตาย
คำพูดที่ไม่เคยคิด ที่จริงก็คือยาพิษ ทำลายชีวิตของคนงมงาย
เธอจะรู้บ้างหรือเปล่า คิดบ้างหรือเปล่า ว่ามีใครเขาทุกข์ทน
พิษของคำคน ร้ายแรง แค่ไหน
[5]

The concert ended with this song. Behind the stage, Prī̂ao was waiting for me with a can of coca cola in her hand. I looked at her and smiled. "Thank you, Prī̂ao 😊"

"Your performance today was perfect. I think we'd better go dinner together tonight."

My cute girl smiled when I drank the drink. "I have to help Mík and Wít first."

"Sure. I'll wait for you there."

Within half an hour, we finished moving everything including the drum set back to the Music Club's room. We separated at around 6 pm. Wít had his tons of homework, yes, he was a Science-Mathematics student. Everything was difficult! And well, Mík went home.

He was very strong. Now, he completely forgot his ex-girlfriend.

I, by the way, went home with Prī̂ao.

———

[1] Artist: Linkin Park; Title: In The End, 2001.

[2] Loosely translated - Artist: Michael Wong; Title:「童話」(Tóng Huà; Fairy Tales), 2005.

And I will be your prince, the one you've been waiting for. I'll take you there, to the sky, together. Believe in me that we will be like those fairy tales. I'll be there, together, forever.

[3] Loosely translated - Artist: Jay Chou (周杰倫; Zhōu Jiélún); Title:「一路向北」(Yī Lù Xiàng Běi; All the Way North), 2005.

I'll run away so you won't see me anymore. Since you said it, you won't be going to hold on. As the wind flows by, our love needs to be ended cuz my fault. Oh, my heart, why it always makes things wrong.

[4] Loosely translated - Artist: Samsons; Title: Kenangan Terindah (Memory is still Beautiful), 2006.

Oh since destiny asks me to go, and you will have that guy by your side. I wish that you will be better off, and I won't ever forget you. Although I'll be hurt, it's ok. I want to see your happiness. Our love will be kept securely. I'll keep our memory forever.

[5] Artist: Bodyslam; Title: ยาพิษ (Yā Phít; Poison), 2007.

You said I love you, you said I miss you, but you never feel, never understand. Never show anything, nor ever pretend. Never ever care if I get hurt. Oh, your stupid words actually are poison. It destroys those who do believe. Have you ever known, nor ever thought about how poisonous your words could be, one could get hurt.


< Chapter 26 | Chapter 28 >

Chapter 26 The New Student

posted Jun 6, 2017, 7:37 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Aug 13, 2017, 12:23 PM ]

- CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX -

The New Student

—Máek Wínailō̂et—

Kevin was sleeping after the morning assembly. The assembly was very short but we managed to talk about what Kevin had done in Taiwan. He said that he attended the wedding of the Taiwanese airline's CEO and his mom, so he had to stay there for the whole week. Moreover, he said that after the graduation in March, he will go back to Taiwan for the undergraduate degree. Leaving Thailand, maybe, forever.

This piece of information shocked us that we forgot to sing the national anthem.

"Stand up, please," shouted Jì right after Khrū Ûi stepped into the classroom.

"Good morning," every student automatically stood and greeted the teacher. Except for Kevin, he was still sleeping.

"Good morning. Today I have to introduce another new student. He will stay with us until the end of the year." After she finished, she walked toward the door and signaled a Chinese-look boy to get into the class.

"You may introduce yourself now," in English, Khrū Ûi tried her best. But why?

"Good morning everyone. My name is Lǐ Chūn. Chūnjié-de-chūn[1]. This is the second time in Thailand, so if there are anything I don't know, please advice."

He spoke English!

"Now, let us... find you... a seat," said Khrū Ûi but Chūn was already walking toward us.

"Look like he is angry at someone who didn't wake up to listen to his self-introduction," whispered Min. I laughed silently.

And yes, Chūn stopped at the vacant desk beside Kevin's.

"FIRE!"

He shouted right above Kevin's left ear.

"FIRE!?!?"

"Hahaha! 哥哥,我來了。(Bro, I'm here now!)"

"Gēge?" I repeated the word Chūn used to call Kevin. "Older brother?"

"I never know about this," said Min.

"你為什麼來?(Why are you here?)"

"Good question! I come to collect infor-mai-tion[2] about your conditions here. If I think you're not worth moving to Taiwan, then I can report my stepmom directly," answered Chūn. His English was so spontaneous. "Am I right, Mrs. Siribaba?" He was trying to say Mrs. Sìrìpràphā, which was the last name of Khrū Ûi.

"Eh... yeah... yes." Khrū Ûi had a problem understanding him. She, then, turned to Kevin, spoke in Thai. "Your father came to school yesterday afternoon for your brother admission, Kevin. He kept this secret to prevent you from going out to find your mother and follow her back to Taiwan."

"I see..." Kevin stared at Chūn. "你不是我弟!(You're not my brother!)"

"Hey! Calm down, Kev!" I approached him.

"Ok... so you'll call your hòumā this evening - making up false infor-mai-tion about this place - saying that this place is terrible and you want to go back to Taiwan tomorrow, right?"

Chūn laughed. "Your Australian accent is so weird."

"Cuz actually I speak American accent!"

They talked about the accents, but most of us did not even know the language! I did not even know how they could recognize the accents.

"So chaotic! F*ck it!" I heard Jì murmured again.

...

"So Chūn is your stepfather's son, and he followed you here to assess your condition? This is so weird." It was the lunch time when Kevin explained everything to Min and me. Chūn was also sitting together, but silently.

Since Kevin was eating his chicken rice, he hesitated to respond. "Not weird. Bā never wants me to go away from him. I hate Thailand, he knows this very well. So he has to make sure that I really can't stay here before he lets me go. Chūn just had an operation two months ago so he is now taking a gap year from school. This is a good time that he can relax. Staying here, he doesn't have to take exams but he can still make more friends and have fun. To him, this is much better than staying at home, jerking off five times a day."

Both of us who could understand laughed. Min was laughing so hard that he almost suffocated.

"What are you laughing at?"

"Nothing."

"Can I sit with you?" Thátchai arrived with his noodle in his hands.

"Yes, you can," answered Min in Thai.

"Umm... well... My name is Thátchai. Nice to meet you, Chūn," he introduced himself in Thai-accent English.

"Thaadzai?"

"Thát like a touch /tʌt͡ʃ/, but without the /ʃ/ sound. Chai like... um... cāi. 混猜 (Hùncāi)," explained Kev, seemed like Chūn wouldn't be able to forget the name. When he introduced my name, he said Máek like in McIntyre (thank you for comparing the sound of my name with the superstar's - Thongchai McIntyre), and Min's name, Min... minimum.

"Tʌt-cāi?"

"Yeah!" Thátchai smiled. He turned to Kevin and spoke in Thai. "You are the real genius!"

Hey, wait, I looked at Min's face... minimum... He must be angry at it.

"Well, Kevin, I have to tell you one thing. We have to translate one song from Thai to English, or vice versa. Have to be a group of three to four people, and we already added your name to our group. We can include Chūn, too," said I. "I still have no idea about the song that we have to choose."

"Should we go to karaoke this evening?" asked Min.

"Good idea," Kev turned to Thátchai, "wanna join us?"

"No. It's your group. I already have mine."

"Ok, then it's four of us."

At the karaoke, Kevin and Chūn were fighting at the song selection screen. Songs after songs had been selected, all Chinese songs.

我們這麼在乎她卻被他全部抹煞
แล้วทำไม เธอกับฉัน คอยกัดกันทุกทีเรื่อยไป
到底她怎麼想應該繼續猜測嗎
รักกัน แต่ทำไม เป็นอย่างงี้
[3]

"Hey... we have to find our inspirations to do our assignment. We should not have fun like this." I said when the song started to fade out. The song was very old, and it was the first time that I knew there was a Chinese version of this song.

"Huh. Can you let brothers have fun for a while?" yelled Kevin when the song stopped playing. He walked to his school bag for a notebook. He passed it to us. "You pick one from this and the assignment is done," added him.

"Eh?"

There were so many English songs in the book.

"No! These are Thai songs," murmured Min.

"Yup, Min, you sing in the English version." Kevin suddenly threw the microphone toward him when the next song started. "Your favorite song, right?"

I just can't say anything but only see your eyes
Love that we had together has just broken
Don't know will it all right, I just hope you'll be fine
Want you to know that you always are my only one
[4]

"Your translation is really nice. Well, the feeling and context are still there although they are not the word-by-word translation. I felt like I was listening to the English song," said I, after the song.

"He rewrote the song," said Min. "He did not translate the song."

"Hahaha!" I laughed.

———

[1] In Chinese, several characters share the same sound, so it is essential to explain the characters that make up the name. Chūn was saying that the character chūn is the same as in the word chūnjié.

[2] It's "information" in Australian English.

[3] This song was composed by Chatri Khongsuwan. The original version was in Thai, คู่กัด (Khū̂ Kàt), sung by Thongchai McIntyre. The Chinese version was 失戀陣線聯盟 (Shīliàn Zhènxiàn Liánméng), sung by 草蜢 (Grasshopper).

[4] Translated from - Artist: เต๋า สมชาย เข็มกลัด (Sǒmchāi "Tǎo" Khěmklàt); Title: โลกทั้งใบให้นายคนเดียว (Lôk Tháng Bai Hâi Nāi Khon Dīao), 1995.


< Chapter 25 | Chapter 27 >

Chapter 25 Bathing Naked

posted Jun 6, 2017, 7:35 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Jul 8, 2017, 10:51 AM ]

- CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE -

Bathing Naked

—Lǐ Chūn—

"Ok... 九個月 (Ok... Nine months)"

"Well, since Gāo Wén has to go back until he graduates, I think I'd better have fun with him for a few days. I don't have to go to school anyway," it was a very nice idea of mine.

"Then, just tell me when you needs to go back. I'll book the flight for you," dad told Gāo Wén.

"Thank you, CEO Lǐ," said Gāo Wén.

"Tony, I go back first," said Masha. "I'm so tired. I need some more sleep."

"Mā, wait a sec!"

"Wén-wén, aren't you going out with Chūn?"

"Yeah..."

"You'd better stay here few more days. I'll be here this evening, come back to have dinner together, érzi."

"Alright, mā."

I left home with Gāo Wén at around 10 am. The weather was very nice and sunny. In my white Mercedes, we talked about our destinations. I wanted to take him to Xiàngshān but Chūn wanted to go to Běitóu. Well, Xiàngshān was very close. The mountain there was far enough and high enough for taking a perfect photograph of the tallest and famous Taipei 101 Building. Běitóu is further away to the north of the city. The town there was famous for hot springs. Anyway, most of the public hot springs there started to prohibit visitors to bath naked. Except for some private and expensive ones.

"I thought people from Thailand won't be naked in front of anyone else," I started the conversation after I stepped into the hot spring bath. It was the private luxurious indoor one.

"I don't care. I want to come here, so I don't have any other choices but to be naked here." Gāo Wén answered in a very flat tone. "And well, mine is not that small, why should I be shy?"

"You're right." And yes, his one was not that small although it was not erected. He was so...

"Anyway, Chūn, I think... since you already know that he loves you more than my mom, it should be ok if you allow them to get married."

He seriously said.

"Then we will be brothers."

"I don't care, having you as my brother is not bad, though. Last night I was thinking very hard. All I want is to come back to Taiwan. I just don't care who will marry my mom or who will be my stepfather. That's all I want to say."

"Gāo Wén, you are right from your side. But... I don't want anyone to replace my mom," said I.

"Listen to me, Chūn. My mom is not replacing your mom," Gāo Wén declared. "Your mom is your mom. Mine is mine. She can only be your stepmother, not your mom. Do you understand?"

It was true, too!

"I will think about it."

Nice... The conversation should not be like this. We should have talked about something fun. So, I needed to find some other topics to talk.

"Well, what do you like to do when you're free?"

Gāo Wén was surprised a little bit since I changed the topic so sudden. Then he answered, "read books, watch films".

"Wow! Are you a bookworm?"

"Yeah. I am."

"What kind of books do you like?"

"Well, mostly documentary. I liked technology but also liked culture and history. How about you?"

"Me? Oh, I like sports, cycling, hiking. That's why I wanted to take you to Xiàngshān. The view from the top of the mountain there is one of the best of the city. You have to go there. Maybe we can go together later."

"Sure!"


< Chapter 24 | Chapter 26 >

Chapter 24 Family Matters

posted Jun 6, 2017, 5:55 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Jul 8, 2017, 10:50 AM ]

- CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR -

Family Matters

—Kev Chen—

"你還沒有對你爸說過? (You haven't tell your dad yet?)" Chūn was so surprised when I told him that I had not yet informed my dad about this journey. Perhaps, he thought that it could be very bad if my dad found out on his own later.

I smiled. "今天晚上啊!我今天晚上打電話給他!(This evening! I'll call him this evening!)"

"Keep your word!"

"I will! But where's my boarding pass?" I had not yet seen it at all. When Chūn went to check in, he told me to go to get rid of my student uniform. And now I was wearing his expensive blue shirt.

"We'll board together, you won't need it."

"Ok, and where are we going?" I kept asking him questions. "This isn't the way to the gate, is it?"

"We go to the lounge first. I gotta get some drink."

We walked along Suvarnabhumi Airport's transit area, it was not so crowded today, but the temperature was very hot.

"I think they forgot to fix the air con."

The lounge was a small one on the upper floor. With just enough seats for twenty guests and small counters for bakery, snacks, and drinks. There were few people inside.

"那真的是李先生嗎?(Is that Mr. Lǐ?)" Someone was talking from the inside.

"真的! (Yes!)" Another one answered.

Then, they all stood up and walked toward Chūn. From their uniforms, I could only tell that they were pilots.

"李先生,您好! (Good afternoon, Mr. Lǐ)" They finally greeted.

"李先生? (Mr. Lǐ?)" I was confused. Completely confused. Who was this guy???

"Alright, I'm the only son of the CEO of this airline."

I was shocked after knowing this. "So your dad is Lǐ Tiān Lóng!?"

"Yup."

We were the first to board the Dreamliner's first-class seats after we left the lounge, but what Chūn had to say to all staffs was "SHUT UP". Otherwise, they would line up, shout "welcome", and lay down the red carpet for him immediately. Chūn told me that if he booked everything on his own, his father might have already known this. He got the help from his friend, Xiǎohǔ, who was a computer nerd. Xiǎohǔ booked the tickets using his name and changed the passenger's name at the last minute using the root password of the booking system so no one could catch Chūn in time.

"You are so lucky," I told him.

The flight to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was not very long, but when we arrived, the sun was already set. We also had to set the time one hour forward because the time here was UTC+8:00. The airport was in Taoyuan city area, and in order to go to Taipei, we needed to catch a taxi or ...

"Hey! Bro! How was Thailand?" A white tall guy was standing in front of his black Mercedes.

"Xiǎohǔ!, talk later! Call your maid to prepare some clothes for Gāo Wén also." Chūn walked fast toward the Mercedes and opened the door. "Com'on, Gāo Wén, we have to go. The wedding is tomorrow morning," he told me.

I followed him quietly.

"That's him! Master is there!"

"Go! Go! Go!" Chūn shouted. We rushed inside the Mercedes within seconds. And Xiǎohǔ then quickly drove away. The three men in black suits radioed but I think it would be worthless because Xiǎohǔ parked his Mercedes in the car park and changed to a white Toyota. Nice plan!

"So you call her Masha, and you just knew it this morning that her actual name was Mù Xiān?" I asked Chūn.

"Yes, and that's why it was much harder to identify her," said Xiǎohǔ. "I was the one who told him this morning."

"And we have to get to the hotel, ah, Xiǎohǔ, what's the name you used to book?" Chūn asked.

"My maid's, of course," answered Xiǎohǔ. "I used my name to book for another hotel, so your dad's men will go there."

"Nice!"

I felt like I was a thief, running away from the police. Anyway, we arrived the city within 40 minutes. The area was Xīmén and Xiǎohǔ stopped at the restaurant for dinner. Right after we got our noodles, Xiǎohǔ's phone rang. He went outside before answering it.

"Guys, the wedding tomorrow was canceled days ago and your dad is now heading back to Taipei," he informed us the new updates he knew from the phone conversation. "What would you like to do next, Chūn-gē[1]?"

"Umm..."

"If he is now traveling back here. We stay at the hotel together first, and tomorrow we'll head back home to meet them. Is that ok?" Since Chūn was silent for a while, I proposed.

"I don't think we have any other idea," said he.

...

"Since you wouldn't like me to marry her this much, I already canceled the wedding. You know, family matters. You won't have to call her your hòumā[2]." Lǐ Tiān Lóng talked to his son in the morning when we arrived at his residence. It was a penthouse with outdoor swimming pool in Xìnyì area, so close to the famous Tower, Taipei 101. A woman sat beside him. I could remember very well that she was my mother, Chén Mù Xiān. Xiǎohǔ was still with us. "Ā-Hǔ[3], I'll have to hire you to look after our booking system after your graduation. And who is this guy?"

"I'm Chén. My name is Chén Gāo Wén. Nice to meet you, CEO Lǐ," said I, before I turned to the woman. "And I'm really happy to see you again."

"You are like your father pretty much, érzi[4]," said my mom. "You come here to stop the wedding?"

"I wanted to stop the wedding. But one more reason is that I want to tell you that I hate to stay there!"

"Why? Tàwan was a very good father. He must be..."

"No matter how good he is, the problem is the Thai culture! I HATE THAILAND! There are so many stupid people over there!"

She was shocked.

"Two families, two different problems... I think I better go," said Xiǎohǔ.

"Good idea, Bái Jiā Hǔ, you shouldn't have joined us from the beginning," said Tiān Lóng. It was so powerful.

"See you later, bro!" Chūn said his farewell.

"See you!" Xiǎohǔ took his turn.

"I think we should restart everything again," said Chūn after Xiǎohǔ closed the door. "The wedding was canceled, yes, that's nice. Thank you, bà. Then, Masha, will you take Gāo Wén back here? Based on what I experienced over there, his life has been very terrible."

"Well, if Tàwan says yes, then it should be ok."

"Ok, mā, if bà says yes. I'll force him to say yes."

Mom immediately separated for calling my dad. It was a short call but so stressful.

"Well, Gāo Wén, why do you hate Thailand?" Tiān Lóng silently asked. "I thought Thailand is a nice place to live."

"That's a propaganda. The people over there are so selfish. Criminal rates are terribly high throughout the country. And the worst thing is its education system. It teaches people to be stupid. Living expenses are also more expensive than here!"

Mom hung up the phone, Tiān Lóng turned his attention to her.

"What did he say, Masha?" asked Tiān Lóng.

"Wén-wén can live here if he wants, but he must go back to finish his last year at high-school there first," answered mom.

"Gāo Wén, ah," said Tiān Lóng, "I agree with your dad. You know, you should finish your school there first because transferring for the last year is not very easy, especially from Thailand. And because this is Taiwan, good schools are not going to accept you that easily."

"Ok... Nine months..." I think I have to accept this truth.

———

[1] Gēge (哥哥) means brother. When you are calling an older brother or a friend who is older than you, you can call him his name, followed by gē or gēge, i.e. Kevin-gē, Chūn-gē.

[2] Hòumā (後媽) means stepmother.

[3] There are so many ways to call a person in Chinese. Xiǎohǔ's real name is Bái Jiā Hǔ (白嘉虎). Normally, a person is called by the last character in the name. By adding Xiǎo (小) as a prefix to it, it could mean that the person being called is younger than the caller. The most common one is a prefix Ā (啊), like how Tiān Lóng calls him. Mù Xiān calls her son different way, she doubles the last character of the name, making it Wén-wén.

[4] Érzi (兒子) means son.


< Chapter 23 | Chapter 25 >

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