I start to wear the rings

After two days my mother gave me a coil of brass to wear on my neck. I didn't like to wear it but I didn’t dare to refuse, so I had to obey her. When I started to wear the rings I felt heart sick and I couldn't sleep for two or three days because it was uncomfortable, but after a long time I got used to the ring, Since many of my friends were also wearing the brass my heart changed to be happy and comfortable.

Putting on Rings

I like my traditional culture - that is nature and language. I like to keep the traditions because our Kayan ladies have kept the rings for many hundreds of years. If we still keep the tradition they would be very happy, but I also want to be educated person and I don’t want anyone control me. Some people think we came to Thailand for money, but this is not true. We came to Thailand because of the war.  This is what happened to me when I was a child.

Our village is burnt down

There was often fighting in the area between the Burma army and the Karenni army. During that time most of our villagers lived in anxiety. We often had to run away to hide and then return to our homes, because we were worried that the Burmese military would come to attack us. For this reason it was impossible to have schools to educate the children. The last time we ran away the men from the villager came back from the battle and told us to run away from our home and take lots of things with us. It was about 6:30 pm when we ran away. We ran for an hour to one of the Thai villages. We had to rest for two days in the Thai village Daw Kha Htar near Nai Soi. After two days some men from the village went back to the border to made enquiries and they found some of our villages had been burnt down by the military force. That is why we had to settle in Thailand up to the present time. We all moved to live in a new village. My sister, Tina, was born there, so now my parents had seven children. My mother was very ill after she had Tina and she could not feed her so we had to buy milk.

When we were settled in the Thailand village my health was very bad because I got malaria. Then some of the Thai people gave some medicines for me so my headache felt better, but in the next few months I still got malaria very often, about ten times in two years. Now I am very lucky to avoid getting bad malaria. My youngest brother also got malaria and my mother also still had bad health with her heart disease and malaria too. All my family was very lucky as they survived the malaria. 

Kayan Women

My education

When I was young I really wanted to study with my friends, but my mother didn’t allow me to go to school because she had bad health and in my family I was the only one able to earn a little money from tourists for my poor family. If I went to school my mother and all my family would be poorer, so I always have to obey my parents. Everything I did was to help my family.  When I was 14 years old I started going to the Karenni school. In the class room I was the eldest one so I felt very shy in my first two or three days. After that I told myself to stop being shy so I felt better.

I only went to school for four years, because I was too shy to continue with younger children, so I decided to leave school. Now I have a big concern about my education. I know that I was wrong. I was too crazy at that time because I did not obey my parents who wanted me to stay at school.