Meet Tat. A member of the Karen Mae Klang Luang hill tribe in Doi Inthanon National Park, located a mere 2 hours from Chiang Mai yet easily one of the most culturally foreign places I have ever been. I spent two nights sleeping in a bamboo hut, drinking copious amounts of rice whisky, and laughing over shared meals of pumpkin soup and long bean stir-fry’s. Language was an enormous barrier, but I was fortunate enough to meet Tat who has taught himself English by chatting with the foreigners who come through on hikes to the nearby waterfalls and rice paddies (he’s currently trying to master Hebrew). Humble, immensely proud of where he comes from, and determined to soak up as much in life as he can….
How do you define a successful day?
Work a little bit and then talk with the people.
If you had the possibility to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
Just learn everything by yourself.
Who has been the most important person in your life?
For me right now it’s the tourists, like if somebody wants to exchange some experience with me.
Why is your life beautiful?
I don’t have a busy day, I don’t have to travel anywhere.
What are you proudest of in your life?
That I have freedom.
What one book should everybody read?
Books about philosophy.
What does your future hold?
It will be like the normal people. Just like the man who is without power who is not selfish.
Where is your favorite place in Thailand?
Here in my village. We have lovely nature and lovely people here and it’s like a big school where people can learn a lot of things from this place.
Anything else you want to share?
I would like to tell people that if you want to know something from the hilltribe people, just come and talk and maybe it will help you understand people from the jungle who do not have education. Many people have a high education but maybe just come and exchange and don’t look down on people.