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Pattaya Daily News

05 January 2009 :: 22:01:38 pm 2132

Oldest Performing Katoey in the World

This week the 114 year old Californian Gertrude Baines is due to be crowned the world’s oldest woman by the Guinness Book Of Records. Gertrude, born to former slaves in a small town south of Atlanta, Georgia in 1894 and now living in a Los Angeles nursing home told the Los Angeles Times she spends most of her time "doing nothing but eating and sleeping". Asked to explain how she’d managed to live for so long she said that she took good care of herself “the way (God) wanted me to”.
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Some of us here at PDN were wondering whether any such records exist for the increasingly ubiquitous “third gender” here in Thailand, otherwise widely known as the Katoeys or Ladyboys. While we attempt to track down the oldest Katoey in Thailand we can for now reveal an interview we made in February 2008 with someone claiming to be the oldest performing (in the theatrical sense) Katoey in the world. She is known as “Grandmom Nong” but her ID Card showed a name of Mr. Sawing Nisakornsen [ 73] .

She’d been performing since the age of 14 and at the time of the interview was going through a difficult period. Recently she’d had problems with her bones and was falling over frequently but had luckily been invited to a TV Show

(from the same producers who covered the story of Grandpa Yen  who had since been supporting her to the tune of 2000 baht a month. But she wasn’t sure how long this would last.

The 114 year old
Californian Gertrude Baines

Read the story of Grandpa Yen  here

To reach the ripe old age of 108 is an amazing achievement by any standards. But every Thai must have paused for a moment on hearing that the nation had lost one of its most celebrated and admired senior citizens, Grandpa ….

At the time she had a midnight show every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the X-Man Pub on Suriwongse Road in Bangkok with her performance including typical Indian dancing, apparently still able to swing her hips beautifully, and also Thai classical dancing. For this Grandmom Nong received about 300-400 baht a night, and while waiting for show time she’d earn extra selling lighters and such.

It took her 3 hours to get dressed every night. She has no teeth and terrible eyesight and on the night we interviewed her she had eyebrows painted in different shapes, we assumed, not intentionally.

She is fortunate to have a lot of relatives to help out, especially a man whom she had helped to raise since he was 14 and who was still living with and taking care of her.

Grandmom Nong hopes to carry on performing as the oldest Katoey show in Thailand until nobody wants to see her anymore.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Society

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