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Sumati Huber on the things we often get asked as Thai-Indians

by Ashima

“What do you mean you’re Thai? But you don’t look Thai.”

Oh! Are you Indian? Nama-stay! Did I say that right? 555! How come you can speak Thai if you’re Indian? What do you mean you’re Thai? But you don’t look Thai. Your nose is so long and your eyelashes are so thick!

Shouldn’t you be speaking Indian or something? Do you wear the dot on your forehead also? I went to an Indian wedding once and wore the whole costume. Indian clothes are so exotic! That picture of me wearing a sari got the most “likes” on Instagram.

It was my Indian friend Kuldeep but we call him Deep. Do you know him? All you guys are related, right? He got married at 20, so young! His wedding was crazy. I’ve never known anybody to take that many shots at a wedding. How can you guys dance and drink for five days in a row?

Are your parents going to arrange your marriage? Like, you guys have to get married before you are 25, right? Do you have to marry an Indian also? When you get married can I be invited? Indian weddings are so fun!

I really want to go to India. My friend went to Delhi once. He said there were so many cows. But you guys worship cows, right? Does that mean you are Sick or Hindi? Oh, it’s called Sikh and Hindu? Is your family still in India? What do you mean they are in Sukhumvit Soi 12? How are you guys all Thai? But you don’t look Thai at all!

So what does your family do here? Is your dad a tailor? I hear Indians own all the hotels here now too. Do you have a hotel? Can I get a discount if I stay or eat there? Aren’t you guys supposed to become doctors though? All my Indian friends at school were always studying so hard. Their parents never let them go out or do anything.

You also have to live with your whole family, right? Like all your cousins and stuff . It seems super conservative. How come you have so many relatives?

I ate Indian food once at this shop. Do you know what I’m talking about? It was this curry thing with that crispy bread and some green sauce. So spicy! Ok yeah, I guess Thai food is spicy too.

Are you vegetarian? But you can eat chicken and shrimp, right? What about pork? Oh sorry, you can’t eat pork because of your religion, right? Oh, that’s a different religion? How do you eat Thai food if you’re vegetarian? Do you only eat phad pak when you go to a restaurant? Is that your uncle who has the roti stand?

Are you related to any Bollywood celebrities? Can you teach me yoga? Is that your real accent? How come you don’t speak with an Indian accent? Do you want to hear my impression of an Indian accent? It’s really funny!

Why do you keep saying you’re Thai? How can you be Thai? Your skin is so brown and your eyes don’t look Thai at all!

An unreformed party girl and mother of two, writer, editor and observer Sumati Huber tries to make sense of our unique Thai-Indian society and the aunties that she will one day become.

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