5 Thailand Tatler Mother-Daughter Duos
MR Usnisa and Krissiri Sukhsvasti
Former editor at the Bangkok Post and now an adviser to the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, MR Usnisa and her daughter Krissiri exude that effortless casual-cool vibe with both looking stylish in their individual ways. That said, it is not uncommon for Krissiri to occasionally make fun of her mother’s outfits. “I like to get her feedback and approval with regards to what I am wearing, although she’s not always kind,” says mum with a smile.
The pair spends a lot of time together—at the cinema, shopping, dining out and exercising, but as in many mother-daughter relationships each has habits that annoy the other. “She never hears what I say,” says Krissiri with a laugh, to which her mother responds, “That’s because you always mumble!” For Usnisa, her daughter’s grouchiness and impatience when it comes to explaining things can be ‘tiresome’. Krissiri has an older brother and according to Usnisa, it seems to be easier raising a son.
"There’s no concrete method to motherhood."
“But boy or girl, one of the biggest causes of anxiety as a mother is wondering whether you are doing the right thing. There’s no concrete method to motherhood,” she says. “You have to learn as you go. Each phase of a child’s life varies; hence each phase offers a different challenge. I should add that they also give a lot of fun and a sense of discovery.”
Krissiri, an aspiring actress, is quick to cite her mum as a role model. “She’s very strong and I have come to admire just how capable she is. She has been brilliant as a single mum, successfully raising two happy and healthy kids,” says the 21-year-old Thammasat graduate. Final word goes to mum, “What’s important is that ultimately the children grow up to be kind and compassionate people who can find their own way in life and be happy.”
Chanadda, Pimpisa and Khemmanat Chirathivat
“Absolutely not minimal”
—is how Pimpisa describes her mother’s flamboyant sense of fashion. “Our outfits today were not only picked out by our mum, they are actually hers, which gives you some insight into her character and style,” she laughs.
Married to Thirayuth, CEO of Centara Hotels, Chanadda, or Som, is the mother of three children, son Pachara (Peach), Pimpisa (Pear) and Khemmanat (Pine). Her two daughters describe her as a fun and caring parent, someone who is very young at heart. “When we were younger, mum was extremely strict with regard to homework and our education in general,” says Pear. “I remember there were repercussions for getting a lower-than-expected grade on an exam.”
Today, Som is less stern with her children. As a mother, she says, it is important to adapt to the different needs of children as they grow older and to changing times. “Spend as much time as possible with your children when they are young, before they grow up and become independent,” she advises. She also highlights the importance of not being too clingy or controlling. “My son has already blocked me from his social media,” she laughs.
If there’s one thing the trio have in common it is that they are all foodies, and in addition to their love for shopping they enjoy going out for meals together. “She’s a very attentive mother who remembers exactly what dish each member of the family likes and how they like it prepared.” As for Pear, she has not only inherited her mother’s looks but also her knack for being organised.
Vorakorn and Karn Chatikavanij
"The most important thing for me is to help give them the tools to create choices in life and grow up as decent, useful, happy individuals.”
Vorakorn Chatikavanij, wife of former finance minister Korn, is a stylish mum who never turns up at an event looking anything less than fabulously chic. This is something her 21-year-old daughter Karn, or Jam, the second youngest of four children, feels she has to live up to. “Her style is slightly crazy but also very elegant,” says Jam, who admits her sense of fashion is very much influenced by her mother’s, though she often adds her own boyish twist to it. In addition to getting hand-me-downs, she frequently borrows her mother’s clothes.
“I’m not sure if borrow is the right word,” says Vorakorn, or Jay, with a laugh. “Sometimes, Jam pinches something from my closet and I never see it again.”
While she admires her mother for many things, Jam openly criticises her in a humorous way for her absentmindedness. “She forgets the things she shouldn’t forget all the time,” says Jam. “And she remembers a lot of the things I wish she would just forget. Then again, she’s very quick thinking in difficult situations, which is something I admire about her.”
The most valuable lesson Jay has instilled in her children is to learn to be independent and to think for themselves. “Of course, being a mother can be tiring, especially with four kids,” she says. “But the most important thing for me is to help give them the tools to create choices in life and grow up as decent, useful, happy individuals.”
Her advice for all the mothers out there is to make time for your children, be open and foster good communications with them. It is advice Jam can take to heart. “I see myself as a mother one day and I want to see my parents as grandparents,” she giggles.
Holly and Nandhini Amranand
“We’re almost like sisters.”
Simply the idea of becoming a mother can be daunting, as single mum Holly Amranand knows. Prior to giving birth, the campaigner for women’s health issues admits she hadn’t held a baby before. It was a fear she quickly overcame the moment her first child was placed in her arms. Having children, Holly says, is by far the best thing she has done in life.
Over the years, she has fostered quite a unique bond with her daughter Nandhini, or Nan, who works in investment banking at Kasikorn. “We’re almost like sisters,” says Nan. Unlike many mothers, Holly is often invited to join her daughter and her friends when they hang out for a meal or drinks, making her almost part of the squad. “We are very close,” says Holly. “Usually we need only look at each other to know what the other is thinking.” Like best friends, it comes as no surprise that Nan knows her mother so well, down to the things she likes and doesn’t like to eat. At the restaurant, Nan does all the ordering with Holly sometimes not even having to open a menu. For Mother’s Day, Nan treats her mother to a meal and buys her stuffed teddy bears, which Holly collects.
While Holly definitely figures among the cool mum gang, she has been adamant about teaching her children—who spent most of their early lives at international schools—to be Thai and to conduct themselves in the
What is Nan’s biggest pet peeve regarding her mother? “My mum complains about absolutely everything,” Nan laughs. But Holly claims the majority of it is about her children. Rather than constantly nagging them, she has resorted to sticking notes around the house with messages that inspire the attributes she deems most important: a sense of economy, endurance, honesty and a work hard ethic.
Krongkarn and Pichamon Chomanan
The daughter-in-law of late former prime minister Gen Kriangsak, Krongkarn, also known as Kongs, is the mother of twin daughters Primpisa and Pichamon and a son, Panusit. Always looking sharp, Kongs and her daughters are fans of the same favourite fashion brands, DVF, Kate Spade and Asava. It is certainly convenient that mother and daughters are the same size so they can all share just about anything, from clothes to shoes to jewellery.
"Much of the nurturing aspect of motherhood is instinctive."
Contrary to the popular belief that having twins is double the work when they are toddlers, Kongs explains that parenting, if anything, actually gets harder as children grow older and form their own characters and develop those traits that will mark them out as individuals. “I was most worried about mine when they were in their teen years,” she says. “I wanted them to be able to take care of themselves.”
Between her husband and herself, Kongs says she is the more lenient of the two. “She’s a very caring and considerate person,” says Pichamon, referring to Kongs’ constant stream of tips and guidance to her children on how to stay fit and healthy. “My kids get annoyed if I complain or talk too much, so I send them beneficial messages via LINE on how to look after themselves, on what to eat and what to avoid,” she laughs.
—says Kongs. “It is something you have to be prepared for and while books can give some guidance, I think much of the nurturing aspect of motherhood is instinctive; you never lose those caring instincts, no matter how old your children are.”
(Related: #TatlerGram: Our Favourite New Tatler Mums)