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Lions Roar : November 2018
brought about science and modernization. His portrait was framed in the living room next to Buddha. I knew how revered he was, how beloved, how Yul Brenner portrayed him in The King and I, which was banned in Thailand because the king would never dance like a monkey. “That’s dumb,” I said. “Dumb is a dumb word,” said my mother. “Don’t say that.” “Whatever,” I said. “Whatever is also dumb,” she said. My father came down the stairs. He wore his weekend cos- tume, a grey sweat suit, and because he hadn’t shaved, his face looked rough like gritty sandpaper. On weekdays, he wore pleated slacks and a golfing polo with a pocket to keep his pens, his work uniform at the tile factory. “Tell your dad what you want to be.” “Larry Bird,” I said. “Why not King Naresuan?” he said. “Do you know King Naresuan?” Of course I knew King Naresuan, who rode into battle on an elephant to duel Prince Mingyi Swa, the Burmese heir appar- ent, and won, who wagered the freedom of the kingdom on a cock-fighting bet, who was a national hero, the top of the Thai echelon of piety. “That’s dumb,” I said. That year I went trick-or-treating as Larry Bird, wearing his number 33 jersey and his black Converse high-tops. People thought I wasn’t wearing a costume. Some houses didn’t give me candy. I FIND THE CARTOON my son watches catchy and creepy. Hello, it’s Halloween echoes in my head. I say it without knowing I’m saying it. I hum the tune without knowing I’m humming the tune. If I dwell on it—I try not to because it makes me think I’m a bad parent—the cartoon depicts a boy and girl entering a haunted house and encountering evil beings out to do them There was one day you could definitely be someone else. One day you could wear a mask and no one would look twice.