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The Bangkok Podcast

Jul 12, 2022

Ed interviews Emily from Calgary, Canada, a unique ‘expat’ in Thailand if there ever was one. Emily was born 19 years ago in Nong Khai, Thailand, to a Canadian father and Thai mother, and spent the first years of her life as a look-kreung kid in Issaan. But her parents relocated to Calgary where she quickly assimilated and became a full-on Canadian. She went to grade school and high school there, only to have her parents retire back to Nong Khai earlier this year, with Emily in tow.

Ed asks Emily about her Thai language abilities, and Emily explains that it’s technically her first language and that her mother has spoken to her in Thai her whole life. However, after about 4 years in Canada, Emily somehow lost her ability to speak Thai, and today feels little better than a beginner. The two discuss how weird it is for Emily to see her Thai family but to be unable to speak to them, forcing her to communicate largely in sign language. But never fear - she’s hopeful that she’ll get it back soon.

Emily also talks about her early life in Thailand where she was praised as ‘the million baht child’ because, as half-white, she would qualify for a huge dowry if she ever were to marry a Thai man. But upon moving to Canada, Emily states that her status as half-Asian in pasty white Alberta was considerably less than what she had grown up with. 

Ed and Greg discuss parallels to Greg’s own son, and Ed mentions that Emily was actually born with blue eyes before they turned brown after a few days. And lo and behold! Something similar happened to Greg’s son. See the photo below of Greg’s darling boy a few months after he was born.

Listen in for a fascinating discussion of double-reverse culture shock (or something). 

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