Tiger Lily of Bangkok

Tiger Lily of Bangkok

Lily’s Childhood

Lily was born the only child of her Thai-Chinese parents. She had a very happy young childhood until a man, a trusted family friend, whom she had known all her life and called uncle, started taking liberties with her at about the age of eleven.

Her parents were typical of their nationality and generation and showed little outward affection to Lily, although they loved her very much, so when her ‘uncle’ treated her kindly and complimented her, she lapped it up.

Even when he started behaving oddly and asking her to do strange things, she did not really mind at first, because she liked and trusted him and knew no better, although she did have misgivings in the back of her mind.

It started with sitting on his lap, but she did notice that he only asked her to do that when her parents were away at the wholesalers or enjoying a rare half-day off.

Then it became more personal and she felt very uncomfortable about that, but her ‘uncle’ said that she had driven him to it and that she should not tell her parents lest they get angry with her.

It was best kept as ‘their little secret’, he suggested.

Lily was confused, so the situation just continued for a year and more. She tried to tell him that she did not want to do it and if she knew that her parents were not going to be in when she got in from school, she would try to find excuses to be late.

That had an effect on how often it happened, but it did not solve the problem completely, ‘uncle’ was always there in the wings, waiting to seize his opportunity to make an appearance.

One day, a chance occurrence in the school playground, something that no-one of her age should ever have seen, gave her an idea. However, ‘the solution’ was so revolting that it took her a few ‘sessions’ to implement it.

However, the solution that Lily came up with was completely drastic and final. Her ‘uncle’ would never be able to do that to her, or anyone else, ever again. However, that act of violence scarred not only him for life but Lily too.

She was stigmatised, or felt stigmatised for the rest of her childhood and left the village at the first opportunity she had, which was to use the compensation money from her uncle to go to university in Bangkok as a medical student.

However, the problem for Lily was that, although the ‘event’ was over, the wound had left a scar and that scar would always be visible to her and, so she thought, to others.

This was to have a radical effect not only on the rest of her life but also on the lives of many people with whom she came in contact with and many hundreds of thousands of others that she never even met.

One man’s actions and one girl’s reactions would paralyse a nations capital.

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by +Owen Jones