Remember those without mothers

Remember those without mothers

Yesterday was the day most Thai mothers had their moments, as it was National Mother's Day. Unfortunately, mine was not among the many happy mothers, as I couldn't make it to visit her this year. And a promise was made on the phone that I will make it up to her as soon as possible.

It's just another day, my dear mother always says, and kids don't need to wait for a national day to say they love their mums. Although, the one year I missed calling her on that very day, the next morning she rang up to complain about it.

If you understand Thai, you could hear the heart-rending songs about mothers' greatest love playing in public places including subway stations and busy shopping malls up to a week before the holiday. Schools, especially, are places that take this day very seriously. Back in my teenage years, I remember there was always a Mother's Day singing contest and my friend represented the school. She was so emotional while singing the famous metaphorical song on Mother's Day called Kah Nam Nom, which literally means the virtue of breast milk, that she almost didn't finish the song.

However, her deep connection to the song landed her third prize. After the contest, I asked her why she was so sentimental about the song. She told me that while she was singing, suddenly she had the thought that one day her mother would no longer be with her and every word in the song became heart-wrenching. Every time I hear this song, it's not my mother who comes to my mind but a picture of my friend crying with a microphone in her hand. The image remains vivid today.

Last week, a colleague shared a maternal experience with me _ every year on Mother's Day she has to attend a special ceremony at her daughter's school. Every year the teachers invite mothers to the school for a big gathering in which students pay respect with flower garlands.

"She was so emotional and cried as if I was dead. I had to whisper to her to take it easy," she said, laughing. She added that the event was filled with the sobbing sounds mixed with Mother's Day anthems.

I was a bit surprised to learn about this kind of event. Growing up in another province, I never experienced this before _ I believe it would rather be more difficult to gather mothers for such events in my home town than it is at schools in Bangkok.

The intention of the schools, it seems, is to teach students to love and show respect to their mums. But the obvious question comes to my mind: what about students who are no longer with their mothers or lost their mothers? Or those who never knew their mothers in the first place?

I have never been to this kind of event and asked my colleague: "When most of the students are hugging and crying with their mothers on that day, what would these other kids be feeling?"

She looked back at me and replied: "I guess this would be the worst place for them to be."

Maybe it's time for schools that organise such events to be more careful when dealing with such sensitive topics involving young people.

I can't imagine how this kind of event would affect them when they have to attend and witness these inconvenient moments every year throughout primary school. This, to me, is the most heart-breaking Mother's Day scenario that I could possibly think of.


Yanapon Musiket writes about art and entertainment for Life and has a monthly column, Queer Eye, dedicated to gay rights and gender diversity.

Yanapon Musiket

Life Writer

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