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Just Kouman

By MediumSizeUnavailable
The people in the building call her Kouman, after the little statues - depicting the ghosts of children - one can find placed at the feet of Buddha statues.

Kouman is now 66, but walks around with the spirit and enthusiasm of a five year old girl. She loves to dress up in lavish, outlandish dresses, preferably in screaming colors. In her handbag she carries photos of herself, dressed up for different occasions. In one she wears a short pink dress with a large red heart pinched to it. Her valentine dress. In another one she's dressed up like the tribal mountain people up north. She had it made there. There's one where she poses in her Christmas dress, with Santa hat. In another one Kouman is dressed up for a miss contest. She says she won. She smiles. Then she shows me a red t-shirt she just bought; one with the face of the former prime minister of Thailand, who got ousted and fled the country. The red-shirted people are his supporters. She loves him.
When she goes out, she often wears silly hats and oversized Jacky Kennedy sunglasses. Her hairdo is a reminder of those years as well. And like young girls do, Kouman loves to put on make up. Lots of make up, so that her wrinkles swim in screaming colors and glitterato. I never see her in flip flops, the usual garment for Thai people. Kouman always wears little short boots that try to keep up with her fast and relentless pace.
She shows me another photo. This time in a spotless white uniform. Her police uniform. But now she doesn't work anymore, she says. She seems to miss it. Next to her on the photo stands a man, in police uniform as well. Her brother, Kouman says. He pays her rent now, and makes sure she has what she needs.
Kouman laughs a lot, talks a lot. Enjoys life a lot. She has been my neighbor for 5 years. I don't know much about her. I didn't even know her name until today, when my girlfriend told me "they call her Kouman, like the little ghost kids at the feet of Buddha statues". I asked her if that was her real name. My girlfriend said no, but didn't know her real name. just... Kouman.
(2009-04-08 Bangkok, Thailand)

Tags: Portrait Woman Bangkok Monochrome Contrast Black and white Thailand Portraits and people Koen pieters Kouman

Voters: MadVillPics, MikeGillingham, costas and 22 more

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9 Feb 2020 6:58PM
A wonderful portrait and interesting description.

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cats_123 Plus
16 4.9k 30 Northern Ireland
9 Feb 2020 8:36PM
Great needs characters 😁
9 Feb 2020 10:05PM
Great mono portrait!
10 Feb 2020 12:01AM
Fine mono here, and what a tale she has to tell. A colourful lady!
bliba Plus
14 2 Austria
10 Feb 2020 5:59AM
great description and a fine portrait Koen - love the focus and the bnw treatment

10 Feb 2020 9:09PM
Thanks ollie for the UA
And thanks to everybody for viewing and for commenting
clevercloggs Plus
15 244 11 Netherlands
11 Feb 2020 9:48PM
That is a good portrait.
The story makes me want to see a bit of the hat you refer to.
11 Feb 2020 11:11PM
Cheers Robert. She wasn't wearing one on this occasion. The photo was taken in our apartment block

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