I am the only “gollowah” (white-skinned foreigner, in the Karen language) working at Mawkerthai Clinic. I attract a lot of attention from the clinic attenders, especially the children. Some are unsure, some are fascinated, others are terrified and a few are delighted when they see me.
Of course, I might have done something unpleasant to the children, during the course of their treatment. If I have to operate on a child, I use ketamine as an anaesthetic, which is supposed to cause amnesia. The child might not remember what happened, but I’m still the chief suspect in their eyes. One child, who is an inpatient at present, covers his face when he sees me, with the flawed logic of: “If I can’t see him, he can’t see me.”
Here are a few pictures of children who are not scared stiff of me.
A more recent development has been the way some staff members find it hilarious when the child of one of the senior nurses sees me and screams if I get too close. The child has a serious, thoughtful nature, and frowns as she scrutinises me from afar. Perhaps they have encouraged this behaviour, by telling her that I’m the “bogeyman”, coming to get her.