By Malie Bifc USA
One of the staff brought Bie a glass of water
Bie… ” Back then, there were 4 us living in my house… my dad, my mom, my sister and me. We lived a comfortable life. When I got a little older, my mom and dad went separate way. My sister and I went with my mom. But, we still visited my dad often.
My house is located within Khu Meuang vicinity of the city of Chiangmai. Living within Khu Meuang vicinity is actually considered to be lucky. Anyone house that stations within the four square corners of the city is call Khu Meuang. From living in BKK and seeing how things are in other cities or other countries made me realized that Chiangmai is the best place in the world. Chiangmai used to be an easy going city… easy to go places, no traffic jam and not a lot of smog. Now that the city is modernized… traffic is starting to get congested.
When I was young, I grew up mostly with the temple. There were so many temples around my house… there were Wat Phra Sing, Wat Pan Aun, Wat Fawn Saoy, Wat Pan Taow, Wat Jay Dee Ruang, Wat Sadue Meuang, Wat See Soda, etc…
I didn’t go to the temple to pray… I was there to dig up dirt, rode my bicycle, flew kites and played marble… I was there all day long that’s why I was so attached to the temple. When I was 7 years old, I remembered the first shopping mall in Chiangmai, Central Suan Kao. I was so excited. Even with a new mall, we would still go back to play at the temple.
Lots of my friends lived close to the temple. We rode our bike to and from each others house. Back then, Chiangmai had lots small streets… now there are lots of houses. After playing at the temple, we would go to the mall. Since I was still a kid, I didn’t have any money… my friends and I would walked around the mall looking at this and that, then we would go back to the temple and play again.
“I love to eat boiled egg. I also liked to visit hot spring in Chiangmai. The hot spring comes every 2 months. My family and I would drive our car to see the hot spring. I would bring eggs with me and I would let the egg(s) cooked in the hot spring… after that, I would take them out, added fish source and ate them… yum “
I feel that Chiangmai modernizes too fast. When I was young, things were cheap. A plate of food cost around 10-15 baht. Now a day, it’s quite expensive… an order of food would cost around 200 baht. If it was this expensive, the store would go out of business. But now a day, they flourish because of tourists. At the same time, everything got more expensive. Cost of living also increases. Traffic is more congested… more dust, more smog… construction materials including land got a lot more expensive… I am just afraid that our tradition and culture would disappear little by little.
Temples are actually very important… Chiangmai has lots and lots of temples. Chiangmai is actually surrounded by temples. As for food, we are lucky that food from the north tastes good. People love to eat them. People tend to remember the soft and sweet spoken language. At the same time, not that many people know about musical instruments from the north… i.e. Salaw, Saw Seung …
When I was young, I learned how to play Salaw. I played Salaw with a Thai band at Monfort college. It was not hard to play. I think foreign music instruments are harder to play. Salaw has Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do and up one key (Bie repeated Do Re Mi…) that’s about it. It is a lot easier to play.
I like people from Chiangmai. They are friendly and they smile (to you)… which is very nice. When I was young, there were lots of nice and friendly people. When I went grocery shopping with my mom, they remembered us since we lived in the area. They would talk to us like a next door neighbor.. “did you eat, yet?”. That was before I became a singer.. Back then, there were many shops around my house… like store that sold school supplies, clothing stores, ice cream store, flower shop, furniture store.. hair salon, watch repair shop, etc… we knew each other well enough that we would ask for discount… that was how friendly people were.
50/50 half city dialect/ half northern dialect. Kids from Monfort College liked to show off… like “sometimes, I speak the northern dialect… sometimes, I don’t…”
I go home around 4 times a year. Chiangmai is consistently changing, a lot more changes occur after I became a singer. When I go home, people who live in the area around my house would say “you disappeared for a while… come home more often”… people around there still remember me… I would ask how they were doing, etc… one thing that is fun about going home… Chiangmai now a day has lots and lots of restaurants… no different from BKK and I love to go out and look for something to eat 🙂
Yes, I love it. When I was young I dreamed of coming to BKK and go to all shopping malls. I had no idea what I was going to do at the mall it was more like a fashion. It seemed that when people came to BKK, they had to go to the mall. Finally I came to live in BKK and I could see that the mall was really a place to shop. Somehow, I changed my thinking. I would rather go and look at nature than to go shopping at the mall. I like to go up the mountain, go and see the waterfall… go to the beach/ ocean or anywhere that I have a chance to go… I love the ocean very much.
I grew up at a place where there were with lots of mountain. I saw so many of them already. I like to visit to the southern part of Thailand… i.e. Phuket, Phang Nga, Suraj, Phi Phi island, Elephant Island, Samed, Samui, Pattaya, Hua Hin, etc… I visited them all. When I travel, I like to go with a group… of my family or friends… it’s not fun to go by myself. I get lonely easily.
Before I became a singer, I went to Pattaya with my friends. There were 10 of us in our gang. We took a train from Chiangmai to BKK. Then, we took a bus from BKK to Pattaya. Once we reached Pattaya, we checked out the beach first before going to Pattaya Music Festival. Many of my friends were in a band.
Back then, I wanted to be in a band with them but no position was available. I could only trail along. When a spot was opened, I would jump into that spot… no guitarist today, I would play guitar. Someone in the bass position was missing, I would play bass. If they didn’t have a singer that day, I would become a singer. I could do little of everything. After we went to Pattaya International Music Fest., my friends suddenly said “we have to be up there and play next year”.
I wanted to be on stage with them even though I was just an extra. In the end, an opportunity opened for me after finishing a singing contest. Being a singer gave me an opportunity to perform on stage at the Pattaya Music Fest. I told my friends… “Hey, come and watch me… soon, I’ll be up there performing”.
Pattaya was so crowded during the music fest. We rented a room in Pattaya South by Walking Street. The room cost around 700 baht. 10 of us shared the room. 4-5 of us slept on the bed. The rest of us slept on the floor around the room. We went to a 90 baht per person lunch buffet. It was cheap and we didn’t have a lot of money. We would eat all we could ever eat… that way we would not have to eat a lot at dinner. We needed to save money for our trip home or for emergency.
When we went to the beach, it cost about 30-40 baht to rent a beach chair… (could be 100 baht now, I am not sure). As we were about to sit down… there came a person to collect the rental fee… we would go “hey, I can sit on the ground”. We would use news paper as ground cover and sat on them. No need to sit on a chair. That’s how my gang was. We could eat and sleep anywhere.