The Prejudiced Cop
My wife is Thai. Her father was a Bangkok police officer. She and her sisters kept me away from her father for many months. They said he wouldn't like me and they would need some time to get him to accept a Farang interested in his daughter.
I first met him at his house for supper in 1974. I assumed it would be a family get together with everyone eating at the same time as I was promised support from my wife's sisters to help gain favor with her father. I brought a carton of American cigarettes and a quart of Jack Daniels.
When we arrive I'm extremely polite, do everything Thai style, sit on the floor to eat. Her father has yet to talk to me. I notice that the women only put plates in front of their father and me. I ask my future wife isn't everyone going to eat here? She says no, my father wants us to eat in the kitchen, just you and him eat here. Great, I'm supposed to have some backup and support now I end up on my own.
The first words spoken to me were "Pom my chop kon Farang" (I don't like foreigners). I shot right back in Thai that there are good and bad Farangs and that I was a good Farang with a good heart who loved his daughter and would provide for her the rest of her life. He told me he would never allow her to leave Thailand. He hardly talked the rest of the evening and the women told me it was best to leave after supper so I did.
On the way home I thought what a prejudiced man he was then I started thinking. Wasn't that typical of police attitudes throughout the world (the our countrymen are better people than foreigners and in fact we policeman are better than our own people because we are the enforcers of our laws and in charge so people better show a lot of respect our way). I started thinking from his perspective. He and his macho buddies probably talked poorly about farangs everyday at work or in social situations and now his own daughter was seeing one. What a loss of face in his circle of friends. I very much doubted that any of his buddies knew.
Mukda (my wife's name) and her sisters said it didn't go too well and he was totally against it but they all would work to convince him that I was a good man.
I started looking for work in the medical field. I didn't have a degree just experience. I went to it seemed like every hospital in Thailand over the next few months. I finally got a guaranteed offer only if I would go back to America, get a degree and come back. If my memory serves me well it was St. Mary's Hospital, newly opened in Korat, run by a married couple that were both doctors schooled in Canada (the man Canadian, the woman Thai). I decided this was the best route to go so now we need to get married and apply for Mukda's passport and get the marriage registered with the American embassy.
Everything was working out except her father refused to participate in the wedding and really would not acknowledge my existence. The day finally came for us to leave to America. Everyone was nervous for me as her father had said if I tried to leave with her he would arrest me and take me to jail.
We were saying our goodbyes on the tarmac when a police siren could be heard approaching. There was her father coming towards us on his motorcycle, red light flashing and the siren blasting. We all thought "OH SHIT" he was following through on his promise. No, he came to tell his daughter goodbye, no sign of emotion, just goodbye without speaking a word to me.
He never did like me, never once using my name. Even when he was dying of cancer and we went back to see him before he died so he could see his grandson, the whole 2 months we were there he accepted me, loved his grandson but never called me by name. I was always "my daughter's husband or my grandson's father."
My take on this is in life you're always dealing with prejudiced people somewhere in your daily activities. If you know that and understand that's who and what they are it's very easy to deal with it. There are many things in life that we don't like or agree with but when you realize there are some things you're never going to change and everything is not just seen through your eyes acceptance of people and their ideals is much simpler. Once we had children we decided to school them in America. I became a mail carrier who will retire in 2 years and will be moving back to Bangkok.