By Rebecca Lomax, Ph.D.
There is a beautiful and tragic song in Les
Miserables, a song in which the heroine remembers her
childhood dreams of hope, love, and justice and contrasts them
to the hopelessness of the life she is living. We all know
people to whom life has not been kind, people who had fine
expectations but somehow did not find the fates smiling as they
turned the corners in their lives. So what a joy it is to meet
someone like Yuttana Chan-Inn, a very positive young man who is
simply taking life as it unfolds Ė and itís unfolding
He was born in Chiang Mai province, the older son of two
teachers. His parents chose to teach poor and disenfranchised
children in rural parts of northern Thailand, and this choice
may be reflected in the sonís acceptance of life. And they
chose to teach young children, influencing them when they were
most impressionable. These choices influenced their son, too,
and he recently found a way to show them how much he respects
and loves them. But more later on that.
His Thai nickname is ďAnĒ, but he picked up a western name
traveling in Morocco that has stuck with him, Antoine. So
Antoine it will be for us. He went to local primary schools,
then on to Yuparat for high school. He loved sports, especially
football (soccer for my fellow Americans), and readily admits
that studies took second place to football and fun. He was a
typical teenaged boy, getting through his studies with minimal
effort and putting all of his energy into sports. But his
childhood slowly ran out, graduation was near and he was forced
to look at his future. He wanted a good life, and to take care
of his parents, but he really had no calling and little
understanding of his options and how to prepare for them. He
examined his interests and found that they lay in business,
accounting and finance. And thatís what he studied,
wholeheartedly. He studied Japanese and was an exchange student,
his first international travel experience, three times. He says
the experience opened the world to him. As his time at
university drew to a close, he put his energies into languages,
English and Japanese. He intended to concentrate on
international business, and he knew that languages were part of
that. He graduated with a major in accounting, a minor in
Japanese language and strong English language skills that he
honed by studying with English majors.
He graduated and applied for jobs, accepting one with a local
bakery/restaurant. He worked in the office, learned about
importing food, and met the customers. It was good, but he
wanted more of a challenge. He worked in the insurance business,
then moved to an import/export business and had another
opportunity for international travel. He went to trade shows in
Morocco, where he picked up his French name, then to Dubai,
Jordan and Brunei. But he missed his family Ė and his
girlfriend Ė so began looking for jobs closer to home.
Thatís when he and his present company found each other.
He says it was destiny. He looked at their web site the very day
they posted the position. He wanted a challenge, an opportunity
to learn more about international business; they wanted somebody
to market their design business. Here was a perfect fit. He
began by observing the operations from top to bottom, from
procuring supplies and producing the products to international
marketing and shipping. He analyzed; he drew charts and graphs.
In short, he took the mystery out of business and put it all on
paper. If you do this, this will follow. Or you can do this and
that will follow. The creative people in the design company
listened. He could free them to be creative while he handled a
lot of details for them. He speaks straight in team meetings, an
unusual quality for a young Thai man working sometimes with
older foreigners. And it does indeed appear to be a team that
has formed. He has great respect for the three designers, and
says they are all very talented people. He hopes to continue to
contribute to the growth of the company.
Heís 29 years old now, and thinking of marriage. He hopes that
will come by the end of the year. And he continues to think
about his parents, all they have done for him and his brother
and all that they continue to do in education. Last month he
found a way to thank them. In the finest of Thai traditions, he
became a monk for a while. He wanted all of the good things that
would come from that to flow directly to his mom and dad, and
Iím sure they did. He speaks with wonder and reverence of the
experience. His teacher taught him how to totally focus on the
moment, to meditate, to trust that his daily needs would be met.
He rose each morning at 3 a.m. and took his alms bowl with him
as he walked the streets. He never knew what would happen,
nothing was guaranteed, but his daily needs for food, water and
shelter were met. He says he was comfortable once he learned to
trust that this would happen. He had more energy to think, more
focus to meditate.
I left our interview with a smile. Not every day is quite so
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