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Chapter 14 Demand and Suffer

posted May 23, 2017, 10:34 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Jul 8, 2017, 10:35 AM ]


Demand and Suffer

—JC Müller—

It was very boring in the auditorium. The show was for kids under six, but we were seventeen already! So I decided not to pay any attention to the show and started to talk to Pā̂eng who sat just in front of me.

"Hey, Pā̂eng. What is Kev's real name?" I finally asked her.

"You've not yet known his name?" Pā̂eng was confused. Yeah, because he and I had worked together already.

"I know only Kev, but I don't know his full name. And because he wrote it in Chinese, and I could not read it," said I... Well, this was the only reason. I saw only two characters on his worksheet.

"Well, his surname is Chén... So his full name is Kevin Chén. And it must be Chén, not Tâng. No Sā̂e in the front like most Teochew people in Thailand[1]. He speaks Taiwanese Mandarin."

Was it the KC101 Introduction to Kevin Chén?

But! Hey! Wait!

"Didn't Jì call him... Kàwin?"

Pā̂eng laughed. "That's not his official name. His dad was trying to change his name for a very long time already, but Kev was able to stop all attempts. Otherwise, his name must be Kàwin Tângjàrōen. Oh, well, his official name was, in fact, Chén Gāo Wén... Just a Chinese pronunciation of Kevin Chén."

"Then, this morning, why did he asked me like Gāo-Gāo was someone else!?"


I just realized that Kevin used German. So... Pā̂eng did not understand the question.

"Well, he asked me... if he was Gāo-Gāo, I mean, Kevin Chén... would I feel so disgusted like this?"

"Haha! He thought you have not yet known about this. And because he always writes his name in Chinese, you won't be able to know it. But wait! You know Kev before?"

Umm... I nodded. But it was long ago.


I felt like more of us started talking. The song from the show was more difficult to hear.

"Excuse me, students, can you stop talking and watch the show!?" It was Látdāwan.

The show was stopped.

"This morning it was Kevin who caused troubles for the school again. Now all of you... Can you please stop causing problems and participate in the activity?"

"Forcing students to attend the extra-curriculum activities violates human rights. I can file this case to the International Human Rights Watch! And I can also post this incident online with audio or video files so that Thailand, the WHOLE THAILAND, fails the next Human Rights Review because this clearly violates Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Everybody in the hall was so surprised. The one who said this was Tṓek. And I believed what he said was (almost) exactly what Kev said before we came here. No one knew where Kev was at the moment, but now we just had his copy.

He finally stood up.

"We, human, can tolerate what we don't want like this for a while. When it is too much, beyond the threshold, of course, we won't tolerate at all and we do what we want. Isn't this directly from Biology class when we learn about mammal's behavior? And we all are mammals!"

Oh my God! He is using his knowledge from the class to attack the school back. I was thinking. His academic performance must be the best of the best.

"Thánát! If you need to tolerate then it's your duty to tolerate because this is the school's rule. You have to..."

"This is NOT school's rule!" Tṓek cut sharp. "I cannot remember anything in the rules about mandatory extra-curriculum activities. You have no rights to force us to join! I did not sign for this. Rule number twelve asks us only to obey anything according to the curriculum. No extra things can be included in this rule. Rule number thirteen asks us to participate in co- and extra- curriculum activities only if it is suitable. Is this one suitable? No advance notice. No planning. Nothing at all. Just force us to come here. Is this suitable?"

More students started to talk about this. Can anyone remember the rules? and F*** It! He can remember the rules! ... Rule number... twelve???

"Anyway, you also have to follow Thai culture! You have..."

"The culture that violates human rights should be destroyed! Otherwise, Thailand will fail the International Review and may be at risk because foreign countries may cut us out from their point of view, and we will be left stranded."

He's only seventeen... How could he know this? More people started to talk about him. I thought some of them might not have heard what Kev said earlier. Is he only seventeen?

"TṒEK! SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!" This time it was Jì who stood up to help Látdāwan.

"YOU SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP, JÌ!" Pā̂eng stood up.

Then Min. "I agree with Thánát. And... well... with Kev."

Then Máek. Then Wít. Then many others.

Then Tṓek passed out. He fell to the floor so quickly but Min was able to prevent his head from hitting the tile floor. TṒEK!!! Someone yelled. It was more and more chaotic when someone approached him and checked his condition. Still breathing, heart still beating, not a heart attack. And people yelled for the way. Excuse me! I saw that Látdāwan was standing still. Call an ambulance! Some people asked those with mobile phones to call an ambulance. What's the number? Máek and Min carried Tṓek. It's Nárēsū̌an Center! People stepped back to make way for Min and Máek. Isn't it Nárēnthɔ̄n!? Nothing can be trusted. 1169! Is it true? I know only 1150![2] What the f***?! Then I saw one of the TV Show's staff ran to the gates and opened it. "Use our van!"

I think the staffs are more moral than Látdāwan.

The teachers. And other school's staffs. No one was as useful as this particular Show's staff.

Everything was fast. And the show had to stop. And we were directed back to the classroom. Min and Máek went to the hospital with the staff.

"Mā̂e, I think you have to stop pressure him," Min said this to Tṓek's mother at the hospital when we were there after classes. "Tṓek's first priority should be his own happiness and health."

"I agree, mā̂e, I don't want to see any of my classmates being admitted to the hospital again," said I.

"Why should I listen to you? Without good academic records, how could he succeed? You are still too young to understand 😠!"

"Nah, mā̂e, these kids are right. If our son cannot handle it anymore, then why don't we just let him live the way he wants? Study too much could cause negative effects and now Tṓek is lying unconscious in front of us. Do you want to see him here again?" Tṓek's father helped us explain.

"Phɔ̄̂! How could you!?"

"Mā̂e, it's his live, not ours!" Tṓek's father scolded. "I just want Tṓek to be happy! I want my son to be healthy! And now, I also want you to remember that I got 10 F's on my report cards but now I could earn enough for you to travel abroad every year!"

Pā̂eng, Min, Máek, and other classmates slowly walked out of the room. Many of us separated. Only Pā̂eng, Min, and Máek eventually ended up at the noodle stall nearby. Pā̂eng asked me to stay with her.

"Lék, Nā́m Tòk."

"Lék, Nā́m Tòk, no bean spout."

"Yài, Fō."

Máek and Min ordered first, then Pā̂eng followed. Sincerely, I had never had this kind of noodle for a very long time. I did not know what to eat.

"JC, what do you want to eat?" Pā̂eng silently asked me.

I shook my head. "I don't know."

They were very helpful, asked me what I could eat, what I could not. I ended up having something they call "Lék, Nā́m Sǎi" with fishballs.

"Hey, you guys are still here?" said Tṓek's father. He took a chair from the other table and sit with us. "Tṓek woke up already, he only requested his mother to be silent."

"Really? That's so nice!" All of us were very glad to hear such update. I asked, "will mā̂e understand him?"

"Tṓek already asked her. He said, please don't be k... kia... something. The more mā̂e wants, the more Tṓek has to suffer. I think finally she will understand."

"Haha... phɔ̄̂, that word was kiasu. Tṓek learned a lot from Kev, I think. Kev said that Thai people are more kiasu than Singaporean, the owner of this word," Máek explained. "It means afraid of losing."

"Yeah, phɔ̄̂, today I heard Tṓek talk something I had never heard before. He copied almost all Kev's words before he fell this morning," said Min.

"Anyway, I wish him good luck," said I. "He is smart and kind. I really want him to recover as fast as possible and come back to study with us again."

"Me, too, phɔ̄̂," said Pā̂eng.



Tṓek to his mom: Don't be kiasu. The more parents demand, the more the child has to suffer.




[1] The surname 陳 (traditional Chinese) or 陈 (simplified Chinese) is pronounced differently in different regions. The surname is Chén among Mandarin speakers, but Tang among Teochew people (pronounced Tâng in Thai context). The Chinese surname, when registered as is in Thailand, it must be prefixed by Sā̂e (แซ่), for example, Xí Jìnpíng, the President of PRC's name, if registered in Thai, would be Jìnpíng Sā̂e Xí.

[2] The emergency numbers in Thailand are so chaotic. The number 191 is used only for the police, where 199 is for fire and rescue. To call an ambulance, the number 1669 is used throughout the country, but in Bangkok, the number are 1646 and 1154. The number "1150" is used to order a fried chicken delivery service.

A/N In Thailand, you can call your friend's family members the same as how your friend call, or alternatively, the same way as the way you call people in your own family. If your friend calls his mother "mā̂e" and you call your own mother "mā", then you can call your friend's mother either "mā̂e" or "mā".

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