Stickman Readers' Submissions March 28th, 2011

Yoo Kon-Diow Part 1

Continuing the events following earlier submission “Balanced on the Precipice – Then surviving”:

“Yoo Kon-Diow” – This is the title of a song sung by popular Thai singer Beau Sunita Leetikul. The video clip is set in a surreal fair-ground with merry-go-round, stalls, clowns on stilts and riding a unicycle, jugglers,
children with coloured balloons and all the trappings of a normal fair – it could be a Temple fair. It is almost dark and there is a young woman standing, looking up at the clouds – she has a worried look on her face. People are
watching a magician making white doves appear and a fire-eater is busy entertaining the crowd but the young woman has a sad look on her face. She looks down at a locket on a chain around her neck, opens it then closes it again. A little girl goes
up to her and gives her some fairy floss on a stick and the young woman forces a smile for the little girl. A small bi-plane appears, flying across the sky and all the people are watching it as it fades and then disappears in front of their eyes
– then, rain begins to fall and the people run away. The young woman is left alone, standing in the rain and still looking up at the sky.

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These are the words translated from Thai script in the song:

Keep to myself – stay here and miss you
And it is always worrying to think of you likewise
Being apart – from that day is a long time
I do not know how I will see you again
Here it is very lonely – but
I do not know what to do
Wondering are you lonely same as me? – I do not know

Do not make me wait if you feel the same about me – about love
Do not make me lose belief
I want you to know I'm just waiting for when you'll be back

Keep to myself – let life go around
Meaningless – nothing good
Being apart – seems like a while
But in my heart you are always here
Here it is very lonely but do not know what to do
There –-
I do not know if you're lonely

Is very lonely here
I still have a heart
But a person without spirit
I am lonely – and my heart is suffering
Want you to be here
I only want to have you – do not know why

The clip is such a poignant illustration of the impermanence of all things and how easy it is to lose the most important possession of all – love. Yet, I wonder does love really go just because one person decides they must go away?
I don't think so.

This song was released on Grammy label in 2007 as a double VCD by Beau Sunita, titled “Forever Love Hits” – and it contains 24 songs, of which Yoo Kon-Diow is track 9 on disc 1.

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When I returned to Australia in September 2005, after leaving Wan, I had never heard the song – and I still had not heard it until I bought a whole bunch of Thai discs to bring back to Australia on my visit to Krungthep in 2008. This
song really is similar to my life since I came back here in September 2005 – and I wonder if it has been that way for Wan.

The final approach to the airport is like the last chapter in a book that you have enjoyed so completely that you feel this sense of regret that it is over and you have read the last line. You close the book and you wonder if it will be quite
the same the next time you read it – but, for me, it is always as exciting as the first time I opened the book and began to read the first chapter. That's how Thailand feels to me – and it wouldn't matter if I never went
to any other parts of Thailand other than Krungthep or Chiang Mai – I never tire of those two wonderful destinations.

TG 983 landed at the International Terminal at 11.20 a.m. and my wife, Natalise, picked me up at 12.45 with Tuk (another Thai lady friend) with her in the car. It felt so strange to be back here – and I can't help but notice that
every time I do come back it is a little bit like driving through a country town compared to the frenetic, organised chaos that is Krungthep traffic. It didn't take long to get to Nat's home and I unloaded my things from the car and
dumped the gear down in the garage before joining them upstairs.

After a while I decided to go down and sort out some of the things I had brought back with me – and I really did feel like I could use a shower so I grabbed the towel Nat had left out for me and I jumped into the shower and felt a
little more human afterwards. Still I couldn't get used to the strange feeling of not being with Wan and the more I thought about her the worse I began to feel. What have I done? Is this really what I want? How am I going to cope? How can
I get back to be with her? Will it ever happen again? These were just some of the doubts that kept running through my head – a small portion of a multitude of thoughts that just would not shut down. While Nat went to pick up the kids from
school I tried to lay down on the settee and closed my eyes for a little while, hoping that I might get a short nap – but no such luck.

It was good to see the kids again and to see that everything seemed to be OK with them. After we had our evening meal the kids watched TV for a short while before bed then Nat and I shared a few bourbons and it was a nice evening. Yet, it
seemed strange to be back in this place that we once shared. I thanked her for her generosity and decided that I better go downstairs to the room she had given me and try to get some rest – who knows what tomorrow will bring!


I woke at 5.45 a.m. after a fairly good sleep and went upstairs to have coffee. The kids got up and everyone was getting ready to head off to school about 8 a.m. – final bits of homework to check and lunches to organize. I went off
to the city and spent a short while checking out mail and e-mails then made my way down to a clinic to make arrangements to see somebody for treatment of this depression that is dragging me down so badly. It's going to be a real battle as
I have been taking sleeping medication for so long now that I cannot sleep without it – but I will beat this and that bloody “black dog”. I have even lined up an apartment for myself, so I guess that's a good start.

Natalise, was happy to give me accommodation until I sorted myself out and I was able to find my apartment. She even set me up with towels, linen, crockery, plates, cutlery, saucepans and a TV set – she didn't have to do this
as she was already juggling with a relationship herself – but she did and I am eternally grateful for the support she extended to me. During this time I have been in daily phone contact with Wan – sometimes more than twice each day
as well as via e-mails to and from her. The treatment for the depression and the pill problem will be an ongoing process over the next 18 months before it will be totally resolved. Nat seems to be very happy for me – but I have mixed feelings
because I see that accepting this apartment is my internal acknowledgment that I will not be going back to Wan in the foreseeable future – and that is something that I don't wish to accept.

Today, after searching all CD/DVD sources since I came back, I found the only available copy in Australia of the Scorpions' DVD "Acoustica – Live" and I was so happy that I could now play this here and, at least, feel
those times that Wan and I shared almost every morning at breakfast. I may be crazy but that seems to make things a little bit more bearable here for me. I can sit there and watch the DVD and escape to Chiang Mai in my mind – and remember
how it was – almost.

I have phoned Wan every evening – sometimes twice in the same evening – and some of our exchanges have involved anger from me by accusing her of not telling me the truth. Wednesday has just gone and I told her I don't know
how I will survive if I cannot get back to be with her. I honestly don't know what to do any more. Today, is the Anniversary of the evening Wan and I met in Chiang Mai. The two of us cried a bit on the phone – I remember that evening
as though it were yesterday – and, in my heart, I wish it were that day all over again. Sitting here on my own in this apartment I have nothing but my thoughts and memories to sustain me – but I won't let them slip away. I will
hold onto them strongly – as strong as the love I have for Wan and as strong as the belief I have that we will be back together again. I don't know when it will be – but I know it will happen.


Well, here it is New Year's Eve – a time I have been dreading coming around. I am home alone and playing a few VCD's and DVD's but my thoughts are in Thailand. I called Wan (as I do each and every night) but, yet again,
we have had no luck in winning the Lotto. Wan told me she must now try to find a job and I really do understand that she needs money to live but I don't want her to go back working as a bar hostess. I tried to tell her that I don't have
the money to send to her and I suggested she try to get a job selling or working in a restaurant until I can get back to her – anything but bar work. Both of us cried on the phone and it was a very emotional experience. So far away and
so little that I can do. I feel so helpless. I opened my bottle of Asti (which I know I should not be drinking) and sat thinking of what was – and that which I know still is – then I finished my bottle of wine, well before midnight,
then showered and went to sleep.

The other main consideration is that Nat and I have filed the Divorce Petition and we have received notification that the Hearing is scheduled for The Federal Magistrate's Court on February 1. I am concerned whether she is doing the
right thing and have asked her on a number of occasions if she really wishes to go ahead with this – yet it appears that is what she wants and I won't stand in her way because I do want her to be happy. All I've ever wanted for
her is happiness and security. Well, now she has Citizenship for herself and the children and a good job that gives her independence so I just have to let things take their course and hope for the best.

But for now, things seem to be turning out reasonably well – I'm off most of the sleepers and am finding that I can get to sleep for most of the night. During the days I no longer have that “hung-over” feeling where
you think your head is surrounded by cotton wool. I am happy with the progress.


Today is the Court Hearing for the Divorce Petition and I have asked Nat if she would prefer me to go to the Court with her. She said she would.

We met in the city and walked together down to The Court Precincts and I was glad that I did offer to go with her as I think she may have had trouble finding the building. Inside, we sat in the waiting area to be called and it was a really
strange feeling to realise that something we had fought so hard to achieve was about to be undone by the stroke of a pen by another person. I wanted to say so much to Nat but the words seemed to be unable to come out and, looking at her, she appeared
to be so tiny and vulnerable that I wanted to reach out and hold her hand to give her support – but I didn't do it.

Our time came to go in for the hearing and I was surprised how quickly the matter was handled by the Judge. We were heard and a ruling made within a matter of no more than 5-10 minutes and it was over – the Petition was granted as
we had proposed. There were several other cases in The Court at the same time as us and all of us were heard and decisions made with the same efficiency.

Outside, we walked from the building and decided to catch the same train back to home from Central. I guess neither of us had a lot to say on the way back in the train but we got off at the same station and walked side-by-side down to the
fork in the road. Nat stopped there and she faced me.

"Thank you for coming with me today. You take care of yourself and enjoy your life."

I looked at her and found it hard not to shed a tear.

"Natalise, you look after yourself too. If you ever need a hand with anything I am always here for you. See you later."

"Thank you Mark – 'bye!"

She walked to the right and I walked to the left across the road and I tried to get my head around the fact that I was no longer her husband. Still, I have to be grateful for the fact that we have endured this and still remain on friendly
terms – something that I feel will remain so. I wish her only the best.

The last two weeks have been devastating after Wan told me, on March 16, that she had an American man (Hank) for a boyfriend. I told her that I wished her well but that I would always love her – but that I would not go back to Chiang
Mai now. Of course I understand her situation even though it is not something I want to see – but I know she has to live and she needs money to do that and I am not supplying that for her. She really has no option and I can see that she
would prefer to do work with which she is familiar. I wrote a lengthy letter to Wan and pointed out to her the problems that she may encounter by continuing with that work and tried to convince her of the insincerity of most Farang men who become
involved on a short-term basis with Thai women.

Today is a day of deep reflection and introspection. It looks like Wan and I are finished, Nat is moving away from her present address but she doesn't seem to want any help with the move. When all of her belongings had been moved to
the new address I helped her make arrangements for a professional carpet cleaner to come and shampoo the floors in the place she was vacating and I waited for her to come after she finished work so I could give the keys to her. It seems really
strange standing here and looking at these empty rooms and I am remembering back to that first time when we came here. This place seemed so cool and peaceful and I thought we would be really happy here. To be honest, I guess we were for a while
– but we were both under a lot of tension from not knowing the outcome of her Permanent Residency application nor the outcome of her Custody Application for the children in Thailand.

Both of these things created a high level of stress for the two of us and a lack of communication only served to make matters worse. It wasn't her fault and it wasn't mine – we just couldn't find ways in the end to make
things work – and that's the sad part.


June 2006 and Wan has started sending me the occasional e-mail which I respond to, of course – mostly she is saying “I don't forget you – I waiting you every day. I am sad about you and me. I am sorry for everything.
Take care yourself.”

In my replies I said much the same things as she said. Yet, that hardly seemed enough to say to her – so I sat and wrote her a long letter – most of it in Thai (looking back at it now I can see some of the mistakes I made in
it) – then I posted it to her after the e-mail I had just sent. The frequency of mail increased from Wan, often telling me of her undying love, how much she was missing me and wanting me to come back – “My family missing you
too.” And, yes – I believed that she was being honest. I still do because I know she is a good person.

Because of the therapy sessions I have attended, and trying to get out of my apartment to visit people as much as possible, I hadn't picked up a guitar for 6 months but I know that is the only way I am likely to earn money to get back
to Thailand and get back on the black side of the ledger with the bank, so I began to put in some hard yards. Nat occasionally asks me over for dinner and I usually stay the night and sleep on the living room sofa. It's nice to spend time
with her and the kids and I take VCD's or DVD's over to play on the big TV/surround-sound System and we sit and watch them. Some of the ones I have she has never seen before – and she has loaned me some that she has that I do
not have so that I can burn copies for myself.

It's nice that we can still be friends and enjoy some time together even though things are very different and we are no longer married or involved romantically. Quite often, she will ask my opinion about the guy she may be seeing at
the time – and if I think she should do this or do that. I try to give her honest advice as I want to see her life being happy. I feel relaxed enough also to talk about Wan and she doesn't get angry about that either. I wonder why
we weren't able to be this relaxed when we were married.

Wan and I began to call each other on the phone once each week and it was so nice to hear her voice and be able to chat for a half hour. If she calls me I always tell her to hang up the phone and I call her right back. I didn't want
to get back into the old routine of calling each night as I know it is expensive for her to call me and I am conscious of not wishing to intrude on her chances of earning money. Also didn't want her to think I was calling just to check up
on her. Thankfully, time is passing by quickly.

Well, it's 23 August 2007 and the last months have been hard – but I have booked myself on TG 992 to Krungthep. At least there has been the positive aspect that I have had today to look forward to. All the arrangements are locked
in and paid for. I will stay 5 nights at Baiyoke Tower in Krungthep and then fly to Chiang Mai on Wednesday August 29. This will give me some time to get my thoughts together and time to visit Nat's family – something that I always
like to do when I am in Krungthep. The booking has also been made for our usual Room 322 at Thapae Place Hotel in Chiang Mai. Nat and her partner have offered to pick me up and take me to the airport tonight and that was really thoughtful of them.
They called around at 7.30 p.m. and I locked the place up, threw the suitcase into the car and off we went. Traffic was fairly light on the way down there and they were playing an mp3 by Keith Urban on the car stereo – and I was thinking
how the words of the song expressed all the feelings that I have for Wan. We made it to the International Terminal a little after 8 p.m. and they wished me luck. I thanked them and they were gone but, as I trolleyed my suitcase into the Terminal
departures concourse, I remembered the times I had done this same routine so many times in the days when Nat and I were married. How times change!

To be continued.

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