Thai Culture: Interview with a Thai Soldier Wife

I wonder if my Siamese cats will be safe

By Tammy, this blog humanity journalist

Hi Nat, what are you up to these days with a husband in the Thai army?

As usual, work, take care of him when he is around, and worry about him when he is away.

What is your husband up to these days?

He was re-deploy to the Cambodian border on assignment for a year.

Will you miss him and are you planning to ge see him?

I will miss him very much but the military pay is poor and I work everyday of the week and it will be difficult for me to go and see him. I think he will have to come back and see me, but that is up to the Cambodian border situation.

Are you proud of your husband going off to protect Thailand?

I am proud but I am also worried about him. His family has a long history in the military and it is duty to Thailand. But if he is killed or injured what will I do?

The military takes care of the family does it not?

Yes, but I love my husband and want him to be with me always. We also are planning to have children. But all of that is gone for now, but instead, the military tells him to make a will.

Does that not sadden you?

Yes, a great deal. But I can not stop him, or ask him to leave the military now. It is his choice to be a soldier and I married a soldier. But I never thought there will be anything like this. Thailand had been at peace with everyone around for so long. His only danger had been when call to help stage a coup, and sometimes he tells me there may be Thai soldiers fighting Thai soldiers.

Do you blame Taksin, Hunsen or Abhisit for this?

I think Taksin going to Cambodia is wrong. But I also think to call Cambodia a cheap thug is also wrong, and I think Abhisit has not helped anything.

What about the Thai generals, do you blame them?

They are my husband boss and I do not blame them. They are the team leader who thinks of the war plan. But Thai generals are mostly rich and powerful people, and soldiers like my husband will be doing the fighting. They play golf most of the time, and my husband has to take a second job to help the family. I don’t think that is fair.

Do you think Thai generals love the country?

I think some of them love the country, but mostly, it is just a way of life and a way to have power. Most of them don’t love the country like my husband does.

Do you want Thailand to win the war with Cambodia, if it breaks out?

I want Thailand to win, but I am worried for the families of the soldiers who will get killed. And also of the Cambodians soldier’s family also. I am from a province close to Cambodia, and they are just close neighbors. I go to the border to buy and sell stuff with my mother when I was younger, and they are nice people.

What do you think is the best way to solve the Thai Cambodian problem?

I think both sides need to talk together and put the friendship before the Taksin issue. I don’t like that Taksin went to Cambodia, but I think it is Cambodians business and not Thai business to tell Cambodians what to do.

But Taksin can come to Thailand from Cambodia and it is close to Thailand?

Taksin can come into Thailand from many places. I think Taksin was just trying to aggravate Abhisit, but instead of just thinking about the friendship with Cambodia, Abhisit saw the Cambodians as the enemy of Thailand and that is wrong.

Does your husband tell you anything about what he is doing?

He says he spends most of his time playing soccer with his soldiers friends, but that the girls there are attractive and I need to go see him, because if not, he will have a second wife (Ha Ha).

But seriously, how serious is the situation there? Is he tense or up-tight?

Not really, but as an artillery group commander, in war, he tells me the big guns fight first and it is very dangerous because the Cambodians have very good artillery also. But he tells me his is better and he is better at what he does so he will be OK. I hope.

What do you do with your spare time with him away?

I watch TV, cook and eat alone. But I plan to bring my cousin from E-Sarn to live with me while he is away. It is just very lonely living alone all the time.

Are you a Yellow Shirt or a Red Shirt?

Sometimes I am a Yellow Shirt and sometimes a Red Shit. It depends on what they do. But a few years ago there was an accident with a big gun and I saw many black shirt. I don’t want to be a black shirt.

Is your husband a Red Shirt or a Yellow Shirt?

In the Thai army it is dangerous to be a Red Shirt. But he is not into politics. He just loves the king and the country, and willing to protect them with his life.

Do you have any complain about the Thai army?

I think they are slow with money and they promise this and that and I see it in the newspapers, but he says he never gets it. Maybe he has a second wife (Ha Ha). But the Thai army is very advance these days, with computers everywhere and he has to take computer classes at night, and he is not a good student and that is why he is a soldier.

What is he planning to do in the army, as far as career is concerned?

He is very brave and a good commander and he is being noticed. But in the Thai army, you need more than that to move up so it has been slow. But he is making progress.

What do mean, more than that?

I mean you need friends in high places and be part of the group that is moving up fast. My husband is proud and he does not ask anyone for help, even when he can and his boss likes him. I do not know what to do. He is very stubborn.

What are your friends and your husband friends like?

I don’t have much time to socialize so I have few friends. But my husband has many good friends in the Thai army, but in the army it is about rank and position, so it is not really friends like most people have. It is kind of strange really. I think it is funny actually. When they get together, it still look to me like they are working and playing soldier. It is really weird the way they respect each other even when the uniforms comes off and they are in their shorts and t-shirt.

If there was one thing you wished the Thai army does for soldiers like your husband what will it be?

I think Thai soldiers drink too much and I do not like these long assignments with little help for the family to see each other. I really wished they make soldiers drink less and have a special travelling pay for these long assignments. I also see in my husband’s military magazines that foreign soldiers have very good body protection gear, and I wished the Thai army buys more of them.

Thank you very much Nat.

You are welcome

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