Dtik Ang – Stuttering in Thai

My speech problems were many in my youth across the harbor from Portland, Maine.

A stutter coupled with a lisp and stammer forced the school authorities of Falmouth Foresides to test my mental competence. The teachers were surprised to discover through a battery of intelligence exams that I was the smartest child within the school system, especially since I sounded ‘retarded’ to them.

Thankfully I had hidden my dyslexia otherwise the school ppolice

would have imprisoned me at Mackworth Island and nothing good ever happened on Mackworth Island.

My fellow classmates passed through these stages , but I still spoke with difficulty. Bullies had recognized a weak member of society and my teachers wrote in my report cards, “Great student, but can not say S.”

My uncle Russ thought my saying, “I lub youd.” was cute, however my father saw a hard road ahead and we went to see specialists at the Maine Medical Center in Portland. My grandfather had been a doctor there and I was treated like a damaged godling. After intensive examinations the doctors reported to my father that my tongue was too big for my mouth instilling laziness into my speech patterns.
“Best, we slice your son’s palate to force his tongue to work harder.”

Slice it how?”

“With razor blades.”

My father was an electrical engineer, not a doctor, but realized these experts know nothing and said, “I’d rather him have a lisp than be tortured by doctors.”

I spent years in therapy.

I learned how to black out time.

I allowed my tongue to wait for syllables.

Consonants were more problematic, but I passed more or less, although smarter sorts heard my weakness in other language as I lived around the world.

I learned the word for stutter in foreign languages.

Bégayer.

Sssstottern in German.

Gagap in Bahasa Indonesian.

Phūd tidx̀āng in Thai.

Even in my 50s I stuttered. My Thai cousin in Ban Nok suggested an easy fool-safe remedy.

“Eat the hee of a pig.”

“Pig vagina?” I played along, because there’s nothing better that upcountry-Thai rice farmers like better than making a fool of a farang.

“Mai CCCCCHua.”

It can’t hurt,” my wife said, but she hadn’t loved me in years.

“OOOOOKKKKay.”

I dug into my wallet and said, “B-B-B-uy a pig and beer.”

My daughter Angie pcked out the ‘moo’. It was a female.

Within minutes the pig was killed, butchered, and roasting on a fire.

The fragrance of burning flesh spread across the rice fields and soon cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends showed up for the impromptu feast. Lao Khao poured out of glass bottles, beers were popped, and whiskey arrived with several farmers. No one have forgotten the reason for the big meal.

“Phūd tidx̀āng,” they shouted at the arrival of a plate of fried pork.

“Hee moo.”

“H-H-Hee moo.”

“You eat no more dit arhn.” laughed a cousin.

I ate the hee moo. It tasted like ear.

Very chewy.

I’ve been cured, I can speak again, because Huah moo makes me hear better.”

“Everyone laughed, because in Thailand the only thing better than a good joke is fried crackling pig ear.

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