When I was young, I used to dream of far off lands and play pretend
Dance around school like i was in some fairy tale den.
But as the years went by, childhood fables replaced by multiplication tables
The people around me putting color in their lips, eyes
And, Santa Claus was a lie?
We are told, “you are the future,” and yet
“Don’t stand out, get good grades, ssh
Just be the same.”
But most importantly, especially in Thai culture,
Don’t lose face.
What does that even mean?
Does it mean, staying quiet,
words behind lips, can’t express through our hips
Does it mean blocking things we believe in,
perceive in, don’t show we care
How do they even dare look us young people in the eyes and say,
“Things are the way they are for a reason.”
Because education is all about O-Net, SAT, AP
Abbreviations, this crowded academic nation
In which our foundations lie on
Marks all students the same,
All humans the same
If you don’t pass one test, people look at you and say,
“What a shame.”
And yet I wonder if its possible to live where how much you learn
Lies in how much you see
Because what I see is potential, unlock the key.
Thai…What does it mean to be Thai?
Growing up, looking at the chit chat rooms,
I was supposed to be “passive” and a “whore”
Says the world wide web.
The hands of a country stained red, the political crisis long to be dead
But we can be more.
There must be more.
In Thailand we are taught discipline and respect
Often with the whip and threats
In a world full of status quo,
It is we the youth who need to break the mold
There must be more than being passive,
Memorizing, repeating, deceiving
More than absorbing facts
Just for the sake of that grade and all those
More than passion pushed back to die
The exploitations of the political elite
Hear our cry
More than ”I love you long time.”
More than sleepless nights, long flights
Cute accents, new heights,
We are not the sum of our nation’s shortcomings.
I ventured into high school abroad at the age of 12,
A school where learning meant Chinese in the Great Wall of China
Biology in the Amazon Rainforest
Discussions with Noam Chomsky
Where voice and thought is encouraged
No limitations, fewer rules
Classroom walls lifted, question everything
This is the beginning of a curriculum shifted
A war may be brewing,
History and tradition seldom like change
But for us to survive, change begets change
And there will be people, who will laugh and mock,
How dare this girl-
Who is this girl-
But I will stand.
Let the fireworks light the skies above.
Illuminate the world.
I am Thai.