This was the meal we had with Win Thu and Tuk the day before I quit my job with The Irrawaddy. We wanted to share some of the food we had brought back from Chonburi, and I wanted to give Win Thu a heads-up about my intentions, as I knew he would be the one who would have to deal with the effects of my abrupt departure after I decided I could no longer work with Aung Zaw. Strangely, he never asked me why I wanted to leave (although I think he had some idea, as more than a few others have walked out because of Aung Zaw’s attitude or behavior, which I had always dismissed as merely abrasive, until I learned that it was actually abusive). I also told him that he could inform Aung Zaw of my plans if he thought that would make it easier in terms of dealing with the situation (I left five days before our final deadline, with nearly half of the magazine’s content not available due to Aung Zaw’s incompetence, which was what triggered the conversation I had with Eid that led to her telling me how he had treated her when she was still with the Irrawaddy and I was living in Japan.)
When we were in her hometown a few weeks ago, Eid made some pad Thai sauce following her mother’s recipe. Since returning to Chiang Mai, I’ve been using it mostly as a dipping sauce with grilled or fried chicken, but last Sunday, we went to a friend’s house to have a proper meal of pad Thai for lunch. Eid brought all the ingredients and cooked enough for four people (Irrawaddy office manager Ko Win Thu and his wife, Tuk, plus Eid and myself) in just a few minutes. She also made some som tam (green papaya salad) to go with it. It was quick, simple and cheap, but better than anything you could buy in a Thai restaurant (even here).