Today, my mother and I had the pleasure of going out to lunch with my dear aunt Pah Maliwan and her friend Pah Naruhnee. I have known Pah Naruhnee ever since I was little as she has been best friends with my aunt for decades and I have always known that she was the landlord of a small commercial area in central Bangkok but it was always very vague to me. We dined at Grand San Yord, which is famous in Bangkok for its tender and sweet roast duck, and being the Ah Mahs that they are, both aunties told me to finish the last prawn dumpling.
Pah Naruhnee said 'Eat this and you'll end up with a beautiful wife', to which I replied 'But I don't want a beautiful wife'. Without missing a beat, Pah Maliwan said 'Eat this and you'll end up with a handsome husband'. While I have never really discussed my sexuality with older relatives so much, it has been an open secret for a while now but in that moment, for my mother's elder sister, a woman that I have always been very fond of, to acknowledge, without making a big deal out of it, this part of my identity...well, it really moved me. It confirmed what I have long believed to be true; that my relatives in Bangkok love and accept me unconditionally, just as I am.
After lunch, my mother and I dropped off both aunties. Pah Maliwan was going to her Private Members Club to meet up with my cousins while Pah Naruhnee was heading home. My mother drove us to Silom and as we went past Bangkok's infamous Patpong district, I realised that we were approaching the hub of gay nightlife in Bangkok, Silom Soi 2-4, which turned out to be Pah Naruhnee's turf! She is the landlady for all the bars and clubs patronized by any gay person who has ever lived in or visited Bangkok, locals and expats. As we pulled away, I commented to my mother and aunt that these two alleys owned by their friend are full of bars and clubs. Both of them casually replied, that's correct, gay bars! Good times! Think I might have to visit Pah Naruhnee's hood before I leave Bangkok in a few days. It won't be my first time there and certainly won't be my last!