Monday, January 20, 2020

Chang and Eng’s wonderful lessons

May 15. 2018
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Re: “Descendants celebrate Siamese Twins and Thai-US friendship”, National, May 13.

I was delighted to read this good article about the American descendants of Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker making their first official visit to Thailand last Friday to celebrate the twins’ birth in Samut Songkhram 207 years ago.

The twins’ decision to remain conjoined ensured the interest from overseas that took them on their journey to the United States. But their subsequent success in life and work derived from several attributes.

Bravery: The twins were only 18 when they moved to America, yet they had the courage to spend many weeks sailing across the ocean, not knowing what lay ahead, or even where the US was located and that it had become a nation only about 50 years earlier.

Patience and diligence: How tired they must have grown during their world tour as entertainers, showing themselves as a “miracle” – the world’s first conjoined twins and still able to live normal lives well into old age. There was also a great deal of hard work when they decided to settle down in Mount Airy, North Carolina, and begin building a stable future.

Flexibility and adjustment: At a time when severe racial discrimination was commonplace in the US, the twins made the decision to evade the problem and chose to settle in Mount Airy. They learned to adjust and showed they had the ability to farm and raise their economic status, so that Americans came to accept them.

Attributes such as these enabled the twins to overcome many obstacles and, despite their conjoined bodies, they built up a fortune achievable and a rich family life. 

It would be wonderful if Mount Airy and Samut Songkhram can indeed become “sister cities”, as the Bunker descendants hope, and even better if the US and Thailand can be “sister countries”.

Sutipunt Bongsununt

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