Get to know some of our staff and volunteers in our series ‘Staff Profiles‘!
Running an organisation as complex as DEPDC/GMS takes the collaborative efforts of a team merging diverse backgrounds, talents and responsibilities. Lung Kam* (Uncle Kam) is our all-star security guard whose job is to keep DEPDC/GMS and its residents safe at night. Never failing to wear an honest and friendly smile on his face, Lung Kam exudes an air of energy and health that belies his 54 years.
Born in China, he belongs to the Tai Lue people, an ethnic group living in China’s Yunnan province, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma). At age 13, during the reign of Mao Zedong, his parents fled China, taking Lung Kam and his 7 siblings to Myanmar (Burma). After living there for 2 years, they moved on to Thailand, seeking a life without political and social oppression. They eventually settled in Chiang Rai.
Since then, Lung Kam has been part of the community in Phatak Village, Mae Sai, for the past 37 years. It is clear that Thailand has long become his adopted and beloved country. “I don’t plan to go back to China, not even for a visit,” he says proudly, as he flashes his Thai identification card. We asked him what advice he has about living here. “If you follow the rules, everything is fine”, says the 54-year-old. He seems to follow his own philosophy. He has raised his 2 children in Mae Sai and is now a proud grandfather. He has found new friends and established a busy and interesting life in Phatak. Over the past decades, he has witnessed how the fields and farms of the Phatak Village slowly turned into residential areas, a change he is pleased to see.
18 months ago, when a friend asked him if he would be interested in working as a gatekeeper and security guard for DEPDC/GMS, he hopped on board. Since then, our staff and children have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Lung Kam. “I love the children here,” he says, and he loves his job. We hope that our shy but friendly uncle stays with us for a long time to come and that he never loses that winsome smile of his. We thank Lung Kam for his diligent work in keeping DEPDC/GMS and its residents safe and sound during the night!
Update! As it turns out, Lung Kam isn’t that camera-shy after all! You can now see Lung Kam in a video production by the Mekong Youth Union Training Centre (MYUTC) in Mae Sai. Click here to watch ‘Almost Gone’, a short film about the risks of sending one’s children abroad to earn money.