This pissed me off for a couple of weeks now. A response from the Australian Embassy in Thailand when I emailed them about the matter after the Alumni event. Basically, a diplomatic version of 'I don't give a fuck'.
It was nice to have met you at the alumni event on Saturday night. I am sorry to hear about your difficult situation, it must be hard to overcome some of those experiences.
My advise would be to continue pursuing the domestic channels in Australia, which from our chat I believe you have already begun. Additionally, I am sure there are also counseling services in Bangkok that may be able to assist.
Responses from the People in the Yellow House
Well, do I have the right to be angry?Yes, I guess I do.
But that would be counterproductive.
First of all, let me quote myself: “From a completely neutral point of view, they (Yellow House family members) were nice, decent, and kind neighbors.” And damn, I was right, again. Their responses would have stare right in front of my face but I couldn’t see. Going through things alone for most of my life may blurred that vision.
It started off as some of Bligh’s friends childishly ganged up on me but I dust it off, and instead talked to Narm.
“Your story is super weird, is it true?” She asked.
“Well, from my perspective, yes it is.” I replied
“Is that mean you are in love with…”
“Yes, I do.” Firmly, I said.
“What, wait.” She paused a bit, “He’s not young and tiny anymore.” “So what? I like him for who he is and we knew each other since we were kids.“
Then suddenly, with a totally change of tone, she replied. “Is that mean you will turn him gay?”
I lost her after that. I’m way too old to deal with that way of thinking. She was nice as usual even though I can hear it in her voice that she wasn’t too happy with some of the content in my book. I asked her whether I could speak to Patrick; “Are you sure?” She sounded surprise but I told her, “Yeah! why not.”
After all the Hi and How are you routine, I started to ask him about the book. Patrick was calm and never raise his voice. Even though we were on the phone, the tone of his voice made me feel like I’m in the room with the manager who’s about to say “Your position is no longer available at this company”.
“It is a really weird book. I will not say that I hate it,” Patrick said “but there are many parts that I don’t like.”
“Any parts in particular?” I asked.
“The parts that mentioned Michael’s private part, the love letter… Oh! and the fact that you use our real names even though they are all common names and nicknames. But I told Michael that after all, it is a book, there’s always fiction here and there anyway.”
“Fair enough.” I replied. “But to be clear, most of the story are true, at least from my perspective.”
“And… Dave.” Patrick sighed. “To be honest with you, I will not be recommend this book to my friends and people that I know.”
“It’s your choice, Patrick. Thanks for your input anyway. This project has been somewhat therapeutic for me and I thought that you guys would appreciate how much I admire you guys.”
“Anyway, Dave, I’m not sure whether Bligh, Michael or the others in my family will react to this but good luck to you.”
That instant, I knew that would be that last word from them.
You know what, I wasn’t quite hundred percent sure why I wrote all those letters and what I really expect out of it. There is one thing though that I was sure of: I was in love, I am in love. I doubt that without that factor, I would be able to finish or even start this project.
Yet, I got to find out one thing important from this project: I’m in love with the wrong person.
One of my friends told me that this book could affect my relationship if I happen to fall in love with someone in the future.
My respond was: If I could love the wrong person this much. Imagine how much I’d love the right one.
As a psychiatrist, putting myself in someone else's shoes has always been my routine. But this is more. It's like putting on his shoes plus his contact lenses so I could actually see and travel the world the way he did. Somehow, after reading this, I felt more connected to my patients than ever.
Thank you, Dave, for sharing. Your story is far beyond what I expected. THE BOOK IS A REAL PAGE-TURNER!
P.S. I personally think this should be a reading assignment for psychiatric residents.
Kamolvisa Techapoonpol, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Vajira Hospital