I am SahaDHA

By Simon Philipp
Published: August 26, 2017

Dha @ Expique

I am Rattana and I am the Head of Operations at Expique.   But who am I?

You can call me Dha <Da> as my nickname. Even some Thai people cannot pronounce it correctly at the first time. Many people have to repeat my name two or three times to make it right. Most of them ended up with calling me ‘Duck’ which is quite similar but totally different. The reason why my name is hard to pronounce because it comes from Islamic word. Yeah, I was born in Islamic family.

There is a side story about why I have an Islamic nickname that relates to my parents. It is, in my view, such a romantic story so I would like to share.

In fact, I am half Muslim half Buddhist.  My dad was born in Buddhist family in Nakhon Panom, province in the north-eastern of Thailand. His family has practiced Buddhism from generation to generation. He once told me from where he came, no one is Muslim. During that time, the population in Nakhorn Panom are Buddhist in majority, and a few Christian who immigrated from Vietnam during Vietnam war. So, he had no concept what Muslim is.

One day, he came to Bangkok where he believed he could build up his fortune, then he found his destiny, my mom. After dating, my mom became pregnant, so he decided to marry her and be responsible, but it wasn’t that easy.

My mom’s family is Muslim. Her ancestors were originally Muslim people settling in Bangkok for over a century. There had never been any inter-faith marriages in her family, so their marriage was against the wishes of both families.

At that time, my Grandpa asked my dad to do something to proof his true love by changing his religion to Islam which means he would have no chance to do any Buddhist activities with his family. He could not be ordained to be a monk. Moreover, he had to do “Abraham’s method” (circumcised) which was a very big deal for grown-up man!

My dad said he didn’t need much time to think about it. He then condition, and turned into practicing Islam. He thought that every religion teaches people to do good deeds, no matter what religion it is, Buddhism or Islam. The important thing was he would like to be a good husband and father. He was happy to change if it could bring him a perfect family.

Also, my mother had to overcome many things to prove her tolerance. She was opposed by both family. She said it was hard from the beginning but it finally was satisfied and acceptable at the end when I was born. A healthy baby girl made everything better. The two families then realized that it was somehow nonsense to make life tough for anyone and even an innocent baby.

After changing his religion, my dad practiced Islam well enough to be accepted and he finally won everyone’s heart. This story is so incredibly romantic, isn’t it?


My lovely home town and favorite place

I lived with my mum and her family in Bangkok, Minburi.

Minburi is located in the outskirt of Bangkok. The land around Minburi area was granted to Muslim community by King Rama V according to the history. There reside many Muslim people and it is considered as the biggest Muslim community in Bangkok.

Minburi is a green area. In the past, people here were mostly farmer. My ancestors once did rice farming and grass planting for a living. Unfortunately, when I was so young, they decided to sell some part of land to big investor for their real estate business. Now we are no longer farmers but some parts of Minburi still has rice fields.

Minburi Fresh Market

Minburi fresh market is food paradise, especially Halal food. In the past, there weren’t any shopping malls around Minburi, not even convenience stores like 7-11. I still remember the day the very first 7-11 in Minburi was opened. It was my 7th year on earth. Children in this area were very excited and if anyone had a Big Gulp glass, it was very awesome. Minburi Fresh Market is the center of everything not only food but also general products and fashion trends.

I have great memory of the bakeries here. I am big fan of bakery shop, Sasaki, very cheap and quality products.

sasaki bakery minburi

Some foods made originally only with pork were changed to other meat options which Muslim can eat here such as sweet sausage and sour rice sausage, very tasty.

There are also plenty of restaurants and a-la-carte food stalls. I can really say that they are all tasty especially curry-style ones by Muslim chefs. The noodle restaurant that serves tasty, clear soup with beef and Hainanese chicken rice is recommended. This restaurant is almost 50 years old now.

Minburi is also home of Safari World and Siam Park, Bangkok’s largest amusement and water park. Bangkok is charming not only in city center. Let’s check the outskirt out where traditional and local walks of life is waiting for you to experience.

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