MESSAGE FROM FAE'S FOUNDER
WHY DID UNCLE ELEPHANT HAVE TO WALK AROUND HERE?More than forty years ago, I was travelling to Udon Thani Province in the northeast with my father, my brother and sister on Mitraparb Road (Friendship Road). We visited many important places en route and finally a tragedy happend.
As a child of eight, it was the greatest shock to see a big elephant with two long tusks lying on the side of the road. I saw a man in his country folklore, weeping near the enormous pachyderm, He must have been the owner, no doubt!
I asked my father to stop the car. "What's happend to Uncle Elephant?" My father pulled over but?refused to let me go down. I poked my head out of the window. I could not catch any words. But Uncle Elephant was alive, he was still breathing. I saw his stomach move. My father came back to the car. Once seated behind the wheel he said, "Uncle Elephant has been hit by a truck."
"What! Then we should take him to the doctor, Pa!" I cried out, "We should rush him to the doctor." My father replied. "How can we take him, my dear, he is very big. There is no place to take him to. There's no one who can cure him." He started the engine and while we were pulling away and my hand was winding up the side windshield, I heard? a guntshot. My father said softly, "Uncle Elephant is in heaven now, my dear!" I nodded my acknowledgement. "But why did he have to walk?on the road?"
Almost 30 years after that tragic accident I was invited to be the lecturer at the? National Seminar entitled "The Elephant? Project: Natural and Cultural Heritage in Thailand" during 24-26 Apirl 1996 organized by Surin Rajabhat Institute together with the National Culture Commission. In the morn of the 24th I met Associate Professor Chuen Srisawadi. He told me that two weeks ago he watched the T.V. Programme on which I disclosed the facts for the first time about Uncle Elephant.
When uncle Tao Sala-ngam?heard my story he instantly remembered it was his loyal elephant Bua-Joom."The owner of your Uncle Elephant will be meeting you here today." he said. I was stunned. I was so overwhelmed. I never thought I could have a chance to meet him again in my entire life. He was injured by that tragic incident and could no longer walk with a straight back. He was then over 72 years old, Uncle Tao Sala-ngam the owner of Uncle Elephant Bua-Joom*.
I can only hope and have desperately tried with all my capabilities to establish the foundation, "Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE)" to help the elephants and their owners as much as I can. The sound and the vision of the longtime distress is still clear in my memories today.
What would become of Uncle Bua-Joom if today was yesterday!
*Bua-Joom means "LOTUS"