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Graduation day - 25 December 2006 Back to stories index

After meeting with clients in their office in a high rise building on Silom road I came back to my office in a public bus. I touched the top new button of my shirt. It was a bit different from others in colour. It was stitched in rush by my friend in the morning when she found out that I did not have a good looking clothes to meet the clients. She had to quickly search the best shirt I had but the top button was missing from it.

I also had to leave my usual hilltribe bag for a better looking bag by my friend's instruction. Well, it seemed to work perfect. I received the down payment for our services as planned. I wouldn't tell you what did I have to do with my sports trousers in the morning. Being a minority people still wanting to live simple I was not quite fit for the business world. My close friends often complain that what I am doing damages the image and it does not help people trust our company. They always ask me to change and I am still not going to change my way in the foreseeable future.

"How many people? One, two, - - - - -, fourteen. Right? How much is the bus fare?" Someone asked in north-eastern accent. The bus was now crawling with turtle speed on a road closeby a large University. A lot of stalls selling everything from cosmetics and stationary to food, clothes, magazines and even exotic pets jammed the walking platform; some of them actually occupying a meter from the road. People got into the bus in black robes clutching flowers and gifts. They were accompanied by relatives both old and young. Many elder people wore country style clothes. Within a short time the bus was full of them. They were coming back from a graduation ceremony (rehearsal, and actual) at the University.

"Well, how are you? We did not see each other for 2 years already," one girl talked to her friend.
"I am Ok now that I am in a French company. The boss is nice. But I need to study English," the tall blonde girl replied.
"Well, I remember you studied English in a private school for 3 years while you were in the University," pointed out the first girl.
"Oh, that is not enough! I am now doing a private lesson," the blonde responded. "But I think this time I will make good in a year or so," she concluded.
"OK, but you know I have now changed my mind. I will save money and apply to study in a foreign University possibly in Australia," the first girl said. And then she continued, "I may later apply for some kinds of scholarship, - - maybe,"
"See, you never told me about that ! But you are not alone. I also sometimes think about that. But I still need to repay the loan. I know I know - - to get a good job you need good degree from a respectable University," the blonde said while re-adjusting her long black robe.
"That is why I am planning for it. Do you remember Koi? She is now studying in an International Program for a MBA," the first girl said. And she continued, "Hey I have appointment with Koi tonight to watch a movie in the Mall. Will you join us?" the first girl asked.
"Oh, no. I am sorry. I will go to Khao San with John," the blonde said apologetically.
"Who is John," the first girl asked.
"My teacher," replied the blonde.

There was a pause. The air in the bus was now full of all kinds of talks. People were happy. Parents in their fifties and sixties were in big smiles. People talked about their friends, jobs, further study, salary, gossips from the work, etc.

"Hey, you looked sleepy," a good looking boy started talking his lady friend.
"Yes, last night I did not sleep," the girl answered without opening her eyes.
"Why," the boy wanted to know.
"Oh, why you don't know. I had my friend doing all my makeup all night," the girl now trying to open her eyes.
"And you know what happened last night?" said the now open-eyed girl.
"What? How do I know," the boy retorted.
"Your friend touched my boob," she said rather shyly.
"Who? who is my friend?" enquired the boy.
"Oh, that gay. The one who did my makeup last night. Don't you know him? He said he knew you. You were in the same class on second and third years," the girl replied.
"He is gay. So why you care?" the boy wanted to know.
"I don't know. I just wanted to tell you," the girl closed her eyes again as if she did not want to talk any more.

The bus was moving less than 300 meters in five minutes time. The road was jammed with people and cars. More people came in the bus, but fewer people got off. I tried to figure out the time. It was close to 8 pm. according to a large digital watch at a cinema house which was also full of colourful young people.

"Puk, have you got the letter from that University?" a mother asked her daughter.
"Not yet. I think they sent the letter already so I will get it in a week," replied the daughter.
"So, you need to prepare for your visa application. What about bank statement?" the good looking mother said.
"I am doing all. But I can not take leave many times. You know. The Italian boss is very nice. He said he would help me with anything to go to study overseas. But I should not take leave many times," replied the equally good looking daughter.
"You know, now you are already 27. As soon as you get the degree from the European University you must find the best job in a Western company before you reach 30."
"I know. I am doing it. I love very much to go to Europe for a year," the daughter said. She continued,"But I want to be a teacher in a Collage.
"You are Thai and you now have only local Masters' degree. Who will give you the teacher job? You must go get a foreign degree. You don't need to worry about money for now," mother reminded her daughter.

Meanwhile someone called to my mobile phone. That was my accountant friend. "Where are you? I called your office, but you were not there," my friend asked.
I said I was in a bus and would be in the office in next one hour. My friend asked me where did I go. I told him that I went to see my clients on Silom road. He was surprised. He asked,"Was that meeting OK? What did you wear?"
"I have my best dress on today. And you know everything went fine and they gave me the down payment," I replied to my friend.
"Well, today you graduate. You start to understand something," my friend said before hanging up.

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