The Fremont Podcast

Episode 112: A Walking Conversation Around the Thai Temple Grounds with Olivia Sanwong

April 05, 2024 Ricky B Season 3 Episode 112
Episode 112: A Walking Conversation Around the Thai Temple Grounds with Olivia Sanwong
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 112: A Walking Conversation Around the Thai Temple Grounds with Olivia Sanwong
Apr 05, 2024 Season 3 Episode 112
Ricky B

Join us on a reflective stroll around the grounds of the local Thai Temple (Wat Buddhanusorn) in Niles. We talk about the deep cultural roots and the art of meditation that unite a diverse community. We'll peek into the lives of Buddhist monks, gain insights into their spiritual routines, and celebrate the heartwarming tradition of community members offering food—each morsel a symbol of shared respect and faith.

Step into a world where the Thai community vibrantly thrives through language, music, and dance. We chat with a new monk who encapsulates the essence of dedication, from tending gardens to imparting the wisdom of Buddhism to inquisitive visitors. Together, we'll traverse the crossroads of cultural exchange, where traditional Thai puppet shows captivate audiences, weaving tales that have echoed through generations.

 This episode reveals interconnectedness and experiences highlighting the strength and beauty of communal bonds shared at Wat Buddhanusorn. Tune in to celebrate the diversity of our bonds and the heritage that enriches the Bay Area's multiracial tapestry.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us on a reflective stroll around the grounds of the local Thai Temple (Wat Buddhanusorn) in Niles. We talk about the deep cultural roots and the art of meditation that unite a diverse community. We'll peek into the lives of Buddhist monks, gain insights into their spiritual routines, and celebrate the heartwarming tradition of community members offering food—each morsel a symbol of shared respect and faith.

Step into a world where the Thai community vibrantly thrives through language, music, and dance. We chat with a new monk who encapsulates the essence of dedication, from tending gardens to imparting the wisdom of Buddhism to inquisitive visitors. Together, we'll traverse the crossroads of cultural exchange, where traditional Thai puppet shows captivate audiences, weaving tales that have echoed through generations.

 This episode reveals interconnectedness and experiences highlighting the strength and beauty of communal bonds shared at Wat Buddhanusorn. Tune in to celebrate the diversity of our bonds and the heritage that enriches the Bay Area's multiracial tapestry.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

So this is your first time for both.

Speaker 2:

Well, I've been here.

Speaker 3:

I've never been here, I've only driven by on the road. I think it's beautiful. I think I love all the artwork.

Speaker 1:

Well, one of the most beautiful temples in the Bay Area.

Speaker 2:

It's so peaceful right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it really is. Yeah, and like and like they said, all this is open. You can go inside if you just want to meditate and reflect, or you can come out here and do that in the garden. I think that that's nice to have. I believe, though, this is the same, you know, if you go to a catholic church or a christian church, sometimes those are also open to the public for similar moments of reflection and to be able to have a quiet space. So that does carry through across a lot of different religions.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 5:

Coming to you straight from Fremont, california. This is the Fremont Podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the City of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 6:

I am in Gomes Park. I am technically in Gomes Park. I'm on the pathway between the Gomes Park playground area and the entrance to the Lake Elizabeth area and along that path there are these two open fields and they're mostly decorative, they're mostly nothing, but because of the recent rains they are now two tiny little ponds. They are now two tiny little ponds and, yes, I just said tiny little ponds, but they take up the whole field. So far, it is well up to my ankles and the ducks are really enjoying themselves, although they're probably enjoying themselves less now that I'm here. They are swimming and grazing and making all sorts of lovely duck sounds. I'm going to try and squat down so they don't think I'm too much of a threat. Yeah, I don't know why. I thought this would work. There they go. You are listening to episode 112 of the Fremont Podcast.

Speaker 5:

Now here's your host, ricky V. Ricky V.

Speaker 2:

That's just like the big thing.

Speaker 3:

Also be mindful of our dress code. Beachwear short skirts Nice.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think if we take off our shoes we can go inside. I mean, it's pretty I love that.

Speaker 3:

It's cool that you see them walking around, yeah, yeah, I mean I've seen them down in niles shopping and at the coffee shop and stuff like that and there's a farmer's market I think yeah I can see that happening it's like how much of this is like familiar to you versus what's new or from. I mean you said you've been here within the last several years.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, so it's all pretty similar yeah I think it's more of the niles boulevard has grown up and around.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so olivia brought me to this, the buddhist temple here in niles, because you used to come here as a little girl.

Speaker 2:

I did. Yes, I grew up in Pleasanton and my father's from Ubon Ratchathani in northeastern Thailand, and this is a long standing temple here, or Wat as it's referred to in the Thai language, wat Buddha, full names over there and also written in Thai. And because my heritage is Thai, my father liked to bring us here, my brother and I, on the weekends. There would be food stalls and you could eat some of the different dishes from Thailand, and it's a great place to be. I personally believe when I come here, it feels like I could be in Thailand and I think this is such a special place and Fremont's so lucky to be home to. Uh, this site and this is a personal site, so it is not part of the East Bay Regional Park District.

Speaker 3:

That was something I didn't fully understand, because you are the director for the East Bay Regional Parks, where we are here. But when we put this on the, uh, I was wondering is this an East Bay Regional Parks park? But I love the fact that we're doing this for a personal part of what you a personal stop, for you know how you grew up and what you experienced in Fremont. That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, it's so important to me personally. You know how you grew up and what you experienced in Fremont. That's awesome. Exactly, it's so important to me personally, you know, as an elected public official of Thai heritage perhaps one of the only ones here in the Bay Area and so when I think of Fremont, I do think about the Thai temple here and how important it is to the Thai community.

Speaker 3:

I've driven by here so many times and I've been curious about, like, what this is. I don't think I knew much about it and my curiosity didn't take me far enough to figure it out on my own, but when we scheduled to be here, I was kind of excited to hear more about this. So this is really cool. You were a child when you started coming here, right? 1980s 1980s and. I think started coming here right 1980s, 1980s and I think this was built early 1980s I believe.

Speaker 2:

So that's correct. Okay, yeah, that's I. I thought I had read somewhere this might be the oldest thai temple in the bay area, not the oldest in california, I believe. Um, what thai and hollywood might be the oldest, certainly the the largest, um, and that one's also great. If you ever find yourself in Los Angeles, I do recommend it. Uh, but this is what we have here in Fremont and in the Bay area.

Speaker 3:

That's cool. That's cool. Were there any particular, uh special memories that you had um growing up here? I know that, like a food festival and other things like that that you used to come to all that stuff.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, I think, mainly the food festival and other things like that. Did you used to come to all that stuff? Exactly, I think, mainly the food festival and then also the familiarity with Thai architecture. Growing up, my parents would actually take me to Thailand in the 1980s, 1990s, so this was my local connection to, I guess, what I like to always say the fatherland where my father's from.

Speaker 3:

That's cool, and you lived there for a little while yourself.

Speaker 2:

I did, yeah, after college I did live in Bangkok for a year. It was important to me to be near my cousins who were also living in Bangkok at the time and you know I also wanted to get become familiar with Thailand and the Thai culture firsthand while living there. And Bangkok's very different from the Bay Area, certainly. You know. I know we talk a lot about traffic here in the Bay Area. I believe the traffic in Bangkok is worse.

Speaker 3:

Well, I think that sounds exciting.

Speaker 2:

It is, it is. Yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 3:

Well, I'm excited to walk around and see some of this with you and see what you remember and what we can discover about this. So, these right here, I mean do you know anything about this particular is this house? You know what this house is used for?

Speaker 2:

I think the monks might live here, the Buddhist monks who are here at the temple. And you know, in Thailand, men of a certain age will typically be a monk for a term

Speaker 2:

okay, and some may choose to do it for their entire life, but a lot of them might do it for, let's say, two years.

Speaker 2:

I know I have one uncle, my my father's younger brother, who did this okay, I want to say for about two years, and then he went on to become a university professor. So he went, you know public life away from the monastery and while the monks serve their local temple. One thing about the food and we did see earlier some people eating, you know a lot of the local community will bring different dishes as a donation to the monks, and I know when I'm in Ubon Ratchathani, my aunt loves to take me to a local Thai temple where it's an English speaking temple, and I believe they do have a partnership with another temple in the California Sierras that I always intend to visit but I haven't yet, strangely enough. But we will bring food to the monks at this temple near Ubon Ratchathani. We will bring food to the monks at this temple near Ubon Ratchathani and it's a whole process in regards to bringing the donations, then eating, with both the community of the other people that have brought food, as well as the monks who are there.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Very cool. Here, Her Majesty the Queen, who this is, you know? In memorial to a very beloved queen, she is the mother of the current king of Thailand, King Rama X. Okay, Now I'm going to have to verify some of these.

Speaker 3:

I didn't have this ready.

Speaker 2:

I think King Rama IX was the previous king, the longest-serving king, and at the time of his death a few years ago, he was the longest-reigning monarch in the world. So in terms of royalty, and that's a really big conversation. Uh, in thailand, um, you know, the royal family has a long history of importance. Uh, and I'll leave it at that. I don't want to get too much into thai politics on this.

Speaker 3:

That's good yeah, I think thai architecture is so beautiful I don't, I'm gonna speak ignorantly, so the uh like the.

Speaker 2:

It looks like birds or I don't know what, what the design is supposed to uh or you know to reflect, but you know possibly dragons dragons, okay, yeah that's definitely what we see here on the side yeah and that would be my guess, because it also does have a bird-like look. So on the front here, and I think it's more of like a spirit, so not really an animal.

Speaker 2:

Dc next, and we can go a little bit closer so you know we might need to have one person, but what they're doing with the hands I can share. You know where the two hands are together. Yeah, like this, that's called the Y and it's a greeting. Okay, here we can try it with this person, hey. So it'd be swadika for me and for you it'd be swadikrap.

Speaker 3:

Swadikrap.

Speaker 2:

Yes, because it's You're welcome to go inside.

Speaker 7:

Okay, you can take some photos.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, do you mind?

Speaker 7:

Oh, please, please Okay.

Speaker 3:

What role do?

Speaker 7:

you. Basically, I'm a new monk here. I've been here for about eight months, okay, and usually each monk have their own duties. I'm usually inside the hall after two o'clock just to greet the guests. Okay, if they have questions about Buddhism or meditation, then we can do like one-on-one. We sit with them and we share them about the benefits of meditation.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Speaker 7:

And with family or individual. So that's usually what I do, and besides that, just gardening.

Speaker 3:

It's very good.

Speaker 4:

Which is also very important.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's very good, we'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 6:

Amy is the owner of Banter Bookshop in downtown Fremont on Capitol Avenue. Amy, you are great, so we are going to skip you. Ellen listens to audiobooks almost exclusively, so, like you, she is susceptible to the lure of a good podcast. Kathy likes historical fiction and so does my best friend. Kathy is a lifelong resident of Fremont and therefore has bested me by five tiny years. I want a rematch. Kim does the window displays at Banter Bookshop and brings music to school kids via the Music for Minors 2 program, and this is objectively awesome. Fariha mainly reads comics. May I recommend Fugitive Days, also the Andre the Giant biography graphic novel, and Out on the Wire, which is literally about how to do my job.

Speaker 6:

Susan picks books at random, which means for her own personal taste. She doesn't exactly need the normal indexing of a well-run bookshop. Susan, google there is nothing wrong in this whole wide world. Make sure that part is all in quotes and then type Adobe next to it. That's a lot, I know, but do it and take a look at how beautiful. Amanda is not listening to this ad because she is at soccer practice. Sarah has chosen her favorite author correctly. She is right. You are not. I'd say more, but I am cooking spaghetti right now, and I will be wandering the small blocked-off alleyway behind my place once I am finished. Bhakti prefers the worlds in her stories rather than the real one. I too have looked outside Hard pass. Jen merely participates in one book club because she needs something to do when not running her two other book clubs as one does. Banter Bookshop is located in downtown Fremont on Capitol Avenue.

Speaker 3:

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Speaker 3:

And now back to our conversation. Well, my editor said that he had tokens and he wanted some. He had a few things that he wanted to get. I have to look up the. I have to look up exactly what he said. But do they still serve food here?

Speaker 7:

no, it got it. It got over just over crowded oh, okay, the neighbors complaining because there's too many people, huh, and it's like, just like a mess, you know okay, what?

Speaker 3:

what are the different uh areas of the property? So there's this house and like this guard, did they signify anything special or what? What are the different uh uses of the property?

Speaker 7:

we live here okay yes, and the back house there is for like volunteers okay yeah, long term back over that way, yeah okay, yes, and they're parking in the back there for, like, bigger events and a smaller events, just parking right here okay, other than that. We open at five okay in the morning, okay sometimes. Sometimes people come and they meditate okay, five in the morning, wow, and we close at eight p. They meditate Okay, five in the morning, wow, and we close at 8 pm.

Speaker 2:

Okay, and you have classes too. I know there's Thai language classes for young people and then some. I think I saw there might be some for adults too at some point.

Speaker 7:

They have like a Thai culture. Music, okay, dance class.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 7:

And instrument Thai instrument.

Speaker 3:

Oh yes, Well, thank you for letting us walk around, It'll be it'll be nice to what is your name.

Speaker 2:

I'm Olivia San Wong.

Speaker 7:

Oh, olivia, yes, Okay, nice meeting you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I'm Ricky. Okay, appreciate it so much. It was good. What was your name again?

Speaker 7:

Um, just called Tara.

Speaker 3:

Tara.

Speaker 7:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you thank you so?

Speaker 3:

much for your time. Yeah, I want to walk through this real quick too here thank you there's a lot of different stories in thailand.

Speaker 2:

You might have seen some of the thai puppets and it's actually it's actually very nice to go to one of the shows. Okay, um, and so a lot of these will be featured in those th puppet shows and Thai stories.

Speaker 4:

Very cool.

Speaker 3:

Hey, can I interrupt you for a second? And I was just curious do you guys come here regularly for lunch?

Speaker 1:

Yes, yeah, not for lunch. We donate food, donate food. Okay, the monks do not cook. Okay, you know that's something like that. So depends on whatever. Uh, people brought in the food. Uh, well, very, you know, traditional, traditional way of religious, like you don't crave for that. The monk do not demand what type of food or something. They were just to actually eating to survive, not, you know, for living to live, not live to eat. Yeah, you know, not for living To live. Yeah, not live to eat. Yeah, that's good, something like that. So you know, whatever. And usually they will have a bowl and he'll mix everything into the bowl. Okay, you?

Speaker 3:

know, so do you? Do you do this regularly? Are you part of this, regularly Bringing food to them? Yes, my wife.

Speaker 1:

Okay, yeah, she's been doing that. She's normally like there's a group of people like this lady. Her day is Wednesday. Okay, so every Wednesday she'll be here, but my wife will do the Saturday, okay.

Speaker 1:

So you know they Trade it, take turns, yeah, yeah, you can, you're welcome to. When they have like a festival, this is really nice. They have the performance or you know, they have some kind, a lot of activity. Because my grandkids came to school, they have a Sunday school and they have a regular school. A Sunday school they teach Thai language to the kids who were born here, the Thai kids who were born here, that was you, so that we always can have a connection to our heritage.

Speaker 1:

They also have a class for the adults. Thank you, thank you for sharing all that. Oh, no problem Appreciate it.

Speaker 3:

yeah, You're quite welcome.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for coming in yeah, yeah and one more thing is the monk, the abbot here, you know the head of the abbot here just being promoted to the highest rank of the highest rank, all the monks in the us wow.

Speaker 3:

The, the abbot here, yes, has just been promoted to the highest monk in all of the us.

Speaker 1:

Yes, wow, yeah, yes wow, okay, yeah, so now he's very busy. He have to go to other temple in other, you know, so he has quite busy schedule.

Speaker 6:

The Ohlone College flea market is happening every second Saturday of the month from 9 am to 3 pm on Ohlone's Fremont campus. Can I ask you, what are you hoping to find today?

Speaker 7:

It's just interesting to see what's out there, and you never know what you'll find Treasures.

Speaker 6:

Hey Van, if people want to contact you, how do they get in touch?

Speaker 4:

So our phone number is 510-659-6285 and the email is fleemarket at aloniedu. More information can be found at aloniedu slash fle dash market.

Speaker 6:

Fremont Bank has been in business for 60 years. For clarity, fremont Bank is the Fremont Bank that you see on almost every sponsored by banner in town. Fremont Bank really likes helping out the community, do the things that it wants to do and now it is a sponsor of this podcast about community in Fremont. Thank you, fremont Bank.

Speaker 3:

How long have you been coming here and helping?

Speaker 1:

Well, actually we have been coming here not that long but before.

Speaker 1:

We have a restaurant in Union City, but we live in San Francisco, so you know, it's very, very unusual for me, for us, when we have a restaurant, we don't come to the temple, right, right, we, you know, after work we go back to the city, you know, until we sold the restaurant and then we got the house here in Union City, okay, so we, no more restaurant, but we have a house, but you have a house here, right, you know? And then we have a restaurant in the city, okay, and so it's just all the commute here, but now that we retired, so you know we have more time here Very close by.

Speaker 1:

It's only like seven minutes, ten minutes from the house, so my wife came here on a very regular basis.

Speaker 1:

Okay, right now, the lady in the black car, the red car, her son is one of the board members here oh okay, his name is Steve, steve Martin, steve Martin, okay, yeah, yeah, of the the board members, oh, okay, and uh, his name is steve, okay, steve mung, okay, yeah, yeah, so around the kobe time they don't do the, the activities here, the ceremony up here, because they do it open air down by the garden. Yeah, that's during the past three years where you know the. That's during the past three years, you know the COVID, but now we are back to normal kind of things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, very beautiful temple, yeah, when in Thailand are you from?

Speaker 1:

I'm actually from Bangkok. And my wife is from Agitthaya. Okay, yes, the ancient capital. The heart of the ancient capital Right. Okay, Do you speak Thai at all?

Speaker 2:

Nitnoy, a little bit Nitnoy, yeah, Plut Thai Nitnoy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, have a seat inside. Thank you, paul, it's cooler in here inside.

Speaker 2:

It's so peaceful right.

Speaker 7:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Really is.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And, like they said, all of this is open. You can go inside if you just want to meditate and reflect, or you can come out here and do that in the garden. I think that that's nice to have. I believe, though, this is the same. You know, if you go to a Catholic church or a Christian church, sometimes those are also open to the public for similar. You know moments of reflection, and you know to be able to have a quiet space, so that does carry through across a lot of different religions.

Speaker 3:

Right, there's a lot of, I think, culture and tradition and history that's wrapped into so many of these, though you know, it's like it's just interesting to see how different things over time, whether it's history or legend or whatever has kind of influenced the various parts of these cultures.

Speaker 2:

Very interesting well, yes, you can also see here. I believe these two on the right might also be shared with you.

Speaker 2:

Know, chinese Buddhism okay in fact, I think the one on the very right I might be familiar with, I think when there's a festival for this one on the right I don't have the name, but my uncle the same uncle who had been a Buddhist monk for two years did buy me the statue, because I'm a vegetarian, actually, and I believe when that when this is celebrated the deity on the right there is a celebration where there's a vegetarian diet, so they don't eat meat, and so that was something that I connected with. You can see. The lanterns next to her look very Chinese to me, and so you can see that there's a lot of shared worship.

Speaker 2:

Would be the best way to describe it with some of the Chinese religions. And that's because actually in Bangkok you have a pretty significant Chinese heritage population. They're still very Thai and may not even speak any of the, may not speak the main Chinese dialects of Mandarin or Cantonese. But actually within China there is a group, the Dai D-A-I I think it's how we might translate that in English and that's really. The Thai people have a heritage connection to the Dai people in China.

Speaker 2:

Very cool, but then where my family's from in northeastern Thailand with Lao, but then where my family's from, in northeastern Thailand with Lao. You know we don't have as much of the shared history with the Chinese religion, so it will look a little bit different in northeastern Thailand. I can read a little bit of Thai, but I'm not super fluent so I don't know if I can translate that, although I think now you can take a picture and use Google Translate Right.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so yeah. How has it been for you trying to reconnect with both the culture and your parents?

Speaker 2:

Because your parents Are also from two different Right.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, backgrounds, your parents are also from two different backgrounds.

Speaker 2:

So, being multiracial, it is interesting to you know reconcile the two different cultures. But I will share. I think we are moving toward a more multicultural society. I see lots of younger mixed children around the Bay area, so this is a trend. I think that there are more and more um I I can share. Growing up, you know, in the east bay in the 80s and 90s, um 1980s, 1990s, having thai heritage, a lot of people weren't as familiar with thailand. Thai food in terms of popularity hadn't quite yet taken off and i've've noticed that as Thai food has become more popular to the American diet, then more people are familiar with Thailand. Plus, thailand now is a top destination in terms of travel.

Speaker 3:

A lot of people like going there. It's a beautiful country.

Speaker 2:

I love the beaches.

Speaker 2:

I think a lot of other people love the beaches and so it has been a lot easier for me to talk about Thailand. I've noticed in the past 20 years versus, you know, in the 1980s, 1990s, growing up. So to your question, you know, growing up, you know I was also a swimmer, so I do tend to this. This sounds funny, but I do tend to tan easily if I'm swimming a lot, and so I would have a much darker skin tone as a child and a lot of people would ask me where I was from or where my heritage is, and I would say Thai. So I grew up always saying that I'm Thai or Thai American. And then when I finally went to Thailand after college and I guess I should also mention I went to UCLA for college, and Los Angeles is the second largest city in the world in terms of Thai population after Bangkok, and it's interesting because the city of Los Angeles is the city of angels and Bangkok also translates to city of angels.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's interesting.

Speaker 2:

So there's a fun connection there between Los Angeles and Bangkok, and that really helped put me in touch a lot more. I did take Thai language courses while at UCLA, and my professor for Thai language was the one who helped me obtain a job after graduation.

Speaker 2:

So when I moved, to Bangkok I had a job there and it was interesting being there. I never felt more American, having grown up and saying that I'm Thai, right, and then going to Thailand and saying that I'm American. It is a very interesting, you know, cultural situation. And then even now, today, you know, I do get asked about my multiracial background and, you know, having Thai heritage is important to me, being American is also very important to me, and so I think it's the best of both worlds and it's like I said. You know, I do see a lot more children who are of mixed heritage. You know, running around Fremont and the East Bay.

Speaker 2:

And you know, this is our present and it's our future.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm really glad that you brought me here. This is really cool, I think. I love the fact that you're so proud of it as well, and I think that's just the way it ought to be right.

Speaker 4:

Yes, yes, yeah.

Speaker 2:

In some ways, I think I'm really that first generation of the possibility of this multiracial heritage, because a lot of people from Asia weren't really allowed to immigrate to the United States.

Speaker 4:

Wow yeah from Asia weren't really allowed to immigrate to the United States. Wow.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and even over decades, just to still feel a sense of you know there's a marginalization, or there's a sense of lack of belonging, or you know trying to find, or always, for I think there's a term that the perpetual foreigner right that, no matter how many generations, yeah, one's family has been in the united states.

Speaker 2:

If you're of asian heritage, sometimes you could be always viewed as a foreigner even though you might be, let's say, eighth generation in the united states.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I, yeah, I actually have a really close friend who, I think, listens to the podcast, but, um, he, um, so he is of Chinese heritage and, uh, I joke with him that he's more American than I am because, uh, he's like fifth generation American, like like his great, great great grandfather came to the United States. But when you talk to him about his heritage and you talk to him about, um, the place that he has, uh in our community, um, there's still kind of a, there's still kind of a a a displacement, um of perpetual foreigner, feel about like the way he sees himself maybe how he's been treated in different situations.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, because I mean, I like my, my uh I think it was my great-grandfather, you know came from poland. My great-grandfather, on the other side of the family came from austria, um, and so I've got like three generations removed, you know. But then, like he's been here for five, but at the same time I probably feel more welcome in a part of this community, or, uh, you know the American culture than he does, and so, even though I tease him and say you're more American than I am, he's still. There's still definitely a um, a sense of of, uh, like, like you said, the perpetual foreigner there.

Speaker 2:

The other thing I'll mention, and one reason why I was really motivated to bring you here today, is within Asia. You know, asia's a very large continent. I think there's some really interesting maps today about how many you know people live in Asia, about how many you know people live in Asia, and I think that there is sometimes this monoculture conversation where all Asians get grouped together and it is very different. I mean, I've already talked about Thailand and then, even within Thailand, it's very different if you're from the Bangkok area versus, you know, ubon Ratchathani in Northeastern Thailand and having a little bit more of the Lao heritage, which is my heritage, um and so I think that that's also some a part of the conversation that needs to happen. And this is the same in Europe, you know, if you're Italian but you're from Milan it's very different than if you're from Sicily, so it's.

Speaker 2:

It's not uncommon within countries to also have then these different conversations, and then within Europe, I think we have a bit more of an understanding. You know we don't consider European to be this monoculture necessarily, but I think sometimes that happens within. You know the different parts of Asia.

Speaker 2:

And so that's something I really want. That's one reason I wanted to come here is because, while we have this beautiful Thai temple and we do have a very large population of Thai people in the East Bay you know, we're not as large as the Indian population or the Chinese population or even the Japanese population. So it's good to come and see a place like this to understand.

Speaker 3:

That's great. Yeah, that's good. Well, thank you. Yes, thank you for welcoming me and us into this part of your life. This is cool.

Speaker 5:

Thank you, listen so you don't miss an episode. You can find everything we make, the podcast and all of our social media links at thefremontpodcastcom. Join us next week on the Fremont Podcast.

Speaker 2:

I think there's a Lao one in Richmond as well.

Speaker 1:

In Richmond yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's more Lao.

Speaker 1:

More Laos? Yeah, maybe A lot of Laos people.

Speaker 2:

Because sometimes Isan, northeastern Thailand, were also considered Lao people, and when the French colonized Southeast Asia, the Mekong River was used as the dividing line between the French colony and then Northeastern Thailand, known as Isan, became part of the Kingdom of Siam, which is now Thailand. So, technically I'd say I'm Thai-Lao.

Speaker 1:

Yes, kon-isan, yeah. Basically, you are not Eastern. That's what we call Kon-Isan, kon-isan yeah.

Speaker 4:

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Exploring Thai Temple in Fremont
Monk Duties and Community Involvement
Connecting Cultures in Multiracial Society
Thai-Lao Heritage in Southeast Asia