Growing up in the United States I had the great fortune of a loving grandmother who took pride in the good old American Constitution and political system. She was active in local government and made sure that, even as a youngster, I knew what the political world was all about. I enjoyed going to press conferences and meetings with her because it made me feel important to be the cute young girl with an opinion on gun rights and such. A few politicians took note of me and even started to groom me for a political career as early as 11 years old. I worked in the capitol as a page for both the House of Representatives and the Senate and was even invited into backdoor caucus meetings. Eating a $2,000 per plate charity breakfast sitting next to,
Fortunately, I was young enough to spot the double speak and straight out lies that were all around me in that world. Before I could sell my soul, I walked away. My short political career was over by the time I turned 15 years old. That was when Fox news came out in the US and I gave up all hope in the media as well. I literally tuned out, gave my TV away and decided to live a life true to my own inner callings. I do believe that experience set the stage for me to eventually move to Canada and abroad which brings me to here and now (my favourite place to be).
I have moved around and felt at home in many different parts of the world. I do feel that I am settled, at least for the time being, in Thailand. It’s funny how feeling settled has brought out parts of me that I had long since left in the past. It’s easy to be aloof about politics and policies while travelling but once I feel at home, I start to become more aware of and involved in my community. My political roots are still deep down inside me and have crept up from time to time in Thailand. I love to keep things simple by focusing on my immediate family and
Where are you from?
I was born in Lampang, but I have been living in Den Chai for about 40 years. As a young
How many people live in Huai Kood village?
Now we have about 2,050 people.
How long have you been the head of Huai Kood?
Over 6 years. I began my term in 2012.
How long is your term?
I will serve until I am 60 years old. In the
How does one get to be Poo
The people of the village vote.
Does your family work with you?
Yes, they help a lot. Everyone here helps a lot. We all must work together to do everything needed. One person simply cannot do it alone. Many people think it is easy money to be Poo
What does your family help with?
My daughter helps to do all the paperwork needed for official government business. My wife does everything from cooking for many people, when we have big meetings, to organising festivals. They both go with me to meetings, parades, funerals and many other events to help make sure everything runs smoothly.
Do you enjoy your work?
When everyone is working together, I feel very happy and enjoy the work. We also work with government offices and other agencies in the province. Sometimes we have different ideas on how to get things done. I would like to see these ideas brought to the people in the village to allow everyone to vote. I believe this will ensure that
What do you do on a normal day?
The focus for myself and all the people of Huai Kood is to take care of the homes, schools and temples. Day to day that can mean doing many different things.
Every day I work on the farm where we raise chickens, cattle and fish as well as
I also attend to any problems in our village that may have come up. I make myself available 24 hours a day. With normal
It’s very important to remember that the Poo
Am I the first foreigner to live here?
We have had two
What do you think about having a farang living in your village?
It is good! Because we have the opportunity to share ideas together and make some changes. Each country has its own style and it is nice when we can learn from each other. The ideas that are useful here we can share them with all the people in our village. For example, I have learned about a project from Japan. They built a water factory to provide clean drinking water and they allowed only the retired people in their community to buy shares of the business. That way each month they get some money back from their investment. This helps to take care of their needs as they can no longer work. The factory also provides work for the village. I plan to start the same here in the future.
How do you think it affects the town having farang living here?
Good, as well. If farang
What do you think I can do to be part of this community?
You already know how to help here. You look around and think about what can be done to help and you do it. For example, painting old signs and taking care of your street as well as walking in parades and participating in events. Remember, we have the Songkran Festival coming for you to be part of too. We would like you to walk in the parade with the rest of the mothers from the village.
What do you think expats can do to help small villages like this?
Thai people and farang are the same. Everyone would like to help in the small villages. The best way to start is to go
Do you have paid people who help you with Poo
Really, everyone in the village helps but do we have three paid positions for helpers. Two people who check on everything in general and one person for safety issues.
Anything else you would like to say?
I am doing my best to help create jobs for people here. We are teaching people how to look after cattle, chickens and eggs, as well as fish. We will continue to work on the clean drinking water project when we have time. Now we focus on what we can do to make our beef and eggs the best possible. I will continue to build the farm and would like to open it as an official educational centre for the local people to learn about farming. We would also like to offer rooms for people to stay and learn about farming. We plan to keep it fun and Thai style with karaoke and big rooms for eating together. Everyone is welcome.
This experience not only opened my eyes to how welcomed I am but also touched my heart by the sheer selflessness of this position. I am a very practical person when it comes to community and life in general. I love that most of what our Poo yai baan does is the practical day to day stuff. If he sees something that needs to be done, he knows how to get it done. That is a great value to any community. I am not sure in other countries I have lived in what government official has the ability to be so hands on and in touch with the people they work for. The political games that I ran away from leave the representatives of the people either dismayed by their inability to make change or hardened by the whole system. I saw many bright-eyed young politicians who, in a few short years, sold out to the idea that if they wanted to stay, they had to play the game. My old school roots are watered by this concept of a Poo yai baan who knows my name and cares about what happens to me and my family. I am left inspired and ready to stand side by side with my neighbours as a member of this community.