Por Yai, a great man.

Por Yai with Ariya, taken 6 weeks ago.

Por Yai with Ariya, taken 6 weeks ago.

Por Yai means Grandpa which is what my kids called my father in Law. 78 years old, a very wise and extremely well respected old man. No gambling, no alcohol, a man of strict buddhist values.
Since I first met him I have loved watching him hold court downstairs every evening around the fire. Men from all around the village would drop by for a few minutes or for hours. The would talk late into the evening, stoking the fire occasionally, telling yarns, catching up on gossip and solving the problems of the small part of the word that they existed in. In the morning he would coax the fire into life a full hour before dawn even thought about breaking and sit by himself waiting for the village to come to life.
During the day he would walk up the road to visit his daughter and her shop. He would construct small thatched roofs to store hay under. He would baby sit his grand kids so the parents could go to work. He would go hunting for bush tucker, visit friends or take a nap under the house listening to the radio. Weekends were looked forward to as friends from all around would join him in front of the TV watching Thai kick boxing.
He has five daughters, each one a credit to the great father that he was.
He lost his wife 30 years ago after giving birth to his only son which died just hours before she did.
He had never travelled further then Ubon, 101 kms away. Never seen the beach, a mountain range, snow etc but he didn’t want to (we tried) He knew were he belonged and he was happy with his lot. We could all learn a lot from that philosophy in life.

My cousin Fran visited here last year and met Por Yai. She sent me a message last night which made me cry. Part of what she said was “Even though I never understood him, he was a man of wisdom, prestige and had a great sense of calm. What an honourable man that you shared your life with. And he was able to spend a lot of time with your daughters – which wouldnt have happened if you stayed in NZ. That is very special.”

The saddest thing coming home last night was seeing his little spot where he was always sitting around his fire. That fire was now extinguished, I guess for ever.

I love you Por Yai, you were a great man who raised the most perfect daughter in all the world, my wife.

15 responses to “Por Yai, a great man.

  1. Sorry to hear about the passing of Por Yai, there are some truly great Thai old folks lots have passed on , but few are still here , I have made a point of seeking them out and having Ciejay help me as I ask about the old times in the villages and the LOS.
    My mother -in -law Sa was such a person as Por Yai , she raised her family as a strict Buddish and taught them right from wrong and to love much and give of yourself to others in need . I only got to know her for one year before she passed , but every time we got together it was an experience not just a visit . My father-in -law was a school teacher , and a strict disciplinarian, and all eight of their kids , plus all the grand-kids they raised are a testimony of love and discipline and the results are evident in the lives of all of them.
    I enjoyed your post and the read , it’s been a while since I’ve noticed a comment from you over in Retired in Thailand and Loving It , maybe you’ve been busy , give me a read sometime and leave a comment if you care to . Malcolm

  2. We are so sorry for your loss. What a blessing that you were able to spend time with him and the kids got to know him and love him in his hometown. Beautiful post and tribute.

  3. That is such a beautiful photo of Ariya with her Por Yai. A wonderful keepsake.

  4. Very, very touching post that is only eclipsed by the wonderful, vibrant photograph of Por Yai and Ariya at the top of your page. Goodbye to a great man but he leaves his legacy in the youth of your family. A well written and touching tribute that pays homage to someone who meant the world to you.

  5. Seerung, Andrew and girls
    I did not ever have the privaledge of meeting your father Seerung, but I have been lucky enough to see the legacy of his life and teaching in you. I’m sure that he will still be watching over you are your family, content that he has passed on and guided you to be the person that you have become and someone that will continue his legacy. My heart goes to all the family at such a sad time.

  6. Andrew, Seerung and family, I have never met you, other than through our blogs. I am so sorry for your loss and Noot and I send our deepest sympathy to you all.

    We have just spent a few days with Noot’s amazing grandfather, I just blogged about our trip there before reading this.

    Again we are so sorry for the loss of a good man. Sounds like you have many good memories of him though to cheerish.

    Jason and Noot

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  8. My condolences for your family’s loss. What a great tribute you paint for your late father-in-law.

    (dropping by via Beyond the Mango Juice’s monthly review, btw)


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  11. It has been said (and I believe) that “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty.
    But at fifty you get the face you deserve.”
    It stands to reason that this would apply even more at age 78.
    Your father in law had a great face.

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