It was the first time Meisun sae Chao, a descendant of a Chinese soldier in the Kuomintang army, had felt true happiness.

The woman, who was born and lives on the mountain of Doi Mae Salong, had just become a Thai under the government’s naturalisation scheme.

Sharing the happiness in a ceremony to take an oath of allegiance which was held on Doi Mae Salong last month were the other 220 ethnic Chinese, also descendants of Kuomintang fighters who fled southern China in the 1940s. With the help of Thai authorities, the Kuomintang soldiers and their families took refuge in 13 villages in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son in 1970.

– Extracted from “Reborn Thai“, The Bangkok Post, 14 June 2008. The Post also has a profile of Lei Yu Tian, a former Kuomintang officer, who settled in Thailand in 1969. Well worth a look.