Pattaya Daily News

24 February 2008 :: 23:02:45 pm 6934

“Me, Play the Traditional Thai Housewife Role? Never!”

She treated them as boys or under-developed men with a little boy‘s mentality, that she was too outspoken for being a Thai lady. In other words, she had become too much of a farang. Some rejected ones claimed that she had lost the cherished quality of Thai women, who should remain‘ the hind legs of an elephant.
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Sunita herself was educated in England, having spent six years there, and a period to which she alluded as her ‘Anglo-Saxon’ years. Consenting to her parents’ wish, she returned home and all was well for a while until she finally admitted that she could not watch Thai television and put up with the stupidity and childishness, that there was no theatrical life, no concerts, and most of all she had no friends.

“I’m utterly out of place in Bangkok,” she had written to one of her English girlfriends. Yet, in the same letter, she did not fail to mention a life style in the great house of the Panichakulkosols with a team of servants, chauffeurs and gardeners at her beck and call. Gone were her days of having to cook and wash the dishes, doing the laundry by herself in London.

The Panichakulkosols had become in a span of only thirty years one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the country. They had established and profitably run an extensive and ever- expanding chain of commercial enterprises, property developing concerns, automobile dealership, the operation of a fleet of ships and fishing vessels, several hotels and resorts, nationwide petrol stations and convenience stores.

Not long after Sunita’s home-coming, suitors wasted little time in seeking her hand, but they soon realized that she treated them as boys or under-developed men with a little boy’s mentality, that she was too outspoken for being a Thai lady. In other words, she had become too much of a farang. Some rejected ones claimed that she had lost the cherished quality of Thai women, who should remain’ the hind legs of an elephant. By this they meant that she should stay behind, remaining a submissive and obedient follower instead of being at the fore. Many a wounded one had to bear the brunt of her open contempt: “Me play the traditional role of a Thai housewife? Forget it.” And she had laughed in their faces:

“You think I’d stay home doing nothing except being a mother to the children of a childish man?”

 

Hence it was not a surprise when she finally chose her husband.

At the time the choice did not cause as much a stir as some might speculate. In modern Thailand such inter-racial marriages were becoming acceptable in high society. Rumours had it that the wedding reception held in the flagship of the Panichakulkosols’ hotels was definitely one of the grandest, most exuberant, most glittering Bangkokians had ever seen.                  

One could imagine the amount of gold and diamonds that adorned elegant and charming ladies of high birth and of wealthy and renowned houses that evening. It was surprising, however, to see that most of the rejected suitors turned up among the thousand guests; some of them were heard extolling Sunita’s virtues. Of the bridegroom, they paid unreservedly their compliments on his exceedingly good looks, that he was eminently suitable. None would insinuate that he could be a foreign adventurer, seeking fortune through marriage.

So they gallantly circulated, trying not only to keep on the good side of the bride but also to renew their favourable contact with her father and some of the cabinet members who were guests of honour. After Sunita’s honeymoon had been well over, those who loved her had hoped that she would be happy and settled, seriously taking part in running the family commercial enterprises. But she disappointed them. For when Bangkok became boring and stifling, she flew back to her home in London. If not London, then she resorted to her Rayong beach villa where
she brooded as she was doing now.

Now the opulent mansion and the bougainvillaea and the coconut palms brooded and sighed along with her. It had been a happy marriage for a long while, but somehow after their children; one son and a daughter, had grown up and were in boarding schools in the United Kingdom, she and Charles began to drift apart. Once or twice a week Charles would come home in the small hours or sleep somewhere else. Recently she had engaged a private detective firm to confirm her suspicions and to come up with some evidence which she could use in court. For 50,000 baht, she had a report that her husband regularly drove his personal car to a certain hotel’s multi-storied car park, made a telephone call from his mobile phone, and waited for the hotel’s general manager, who soon turned up with bags of food and wines. The two men then went to a luxurious serviced apartment for which the suspected paid monthly rent, and spent the evening or the night there.                     

 

But Sunita did not seem to hear or be aware that a guest had entered the verandah. Picking up Women in Love, the English visitor peered at the cover. “This is a rather serious book to read on the beach over the weekend, isn’t it? ” Without turning to acknowledge the presence of Mrs Pennington, Ms Panichakulkosol (in whose mind the marriage had already been dissolved) brusquely remarked: “Just to refresh my memory of the film” and left it at that. It was too early for gin and tonic. Champagne would do nicely though most unsuitable for an occasion on which headlines of and articles in the day’s newspapers, Thai and English and Chinese alike, could be so damaging to her father, to her too, and to the clan members who bore their surname.
“Oh, yes, the film was fantastic, wasn’t it?” mused Rebecca, unaware of the inner tension and shattering nerve in the other. “Hunky Oliver Reed wrestled with dishy Alan Bates. Both stark naked. Yum! Yum!” Then the English woman walked down to the beach to stand in knee deep in the rolling sea water, lifting her pale blue cotton dress up above the lapping tongue of the sea. Sunita kept the sight on Rebecca while her anger against the British sense of superiority rose It was they, Rebecca and her husband, who could talk facetiously about the filthy rich in Thailand and in Hong Kong where they live And it was Charles, who joined in with: “No, no. Not filthy rich but sinisterly rich!”

How dare they, the foreigners in her house, sneer at her in her face, making outrageous remarks such as this while the wallowed in the wealth of her family, eating her food, drinking her wines, using her cars and servants! Then there was the sound of a car being parked in the garage. Some minutes later, Charles and Edwin appeared in similar tennis outfits. “Hello, darling,” the husband greeted his wife, tossing the Morning Post on the coffee table, and then bent down to turn the front page up so the bold headline of Billionaire Witanawong is refuse US visa could be seen from where the woman was standing. Without a word, Edwin Pennington left the friend to join Rebecca on the beach. But then Charles followed as if he was the other’s shadow.

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Stories

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