Cool Grandma Opens the Boxes “91…and so what? Forever Young at Heart”
Story & Photo by WAY
Grandma Pranee, the owner of ‘Cool Grandma Opens the Boxes’ (Khun Yai Kae Klong) webpage, has over 21,000 followers (interviewed in May 2018) and never told her friends that “She has her own Clip Page”.
Grandma Pranee told us that she is not a shy person and her eyesight is getting worse. People at her age rarely access Facebook and use the phone for making a call only. But we wonder why the 91-year-old grandma say ‘Yes’ when her nephew asked her to film a video to create her own Page, and she presented herself in a home-casual dress.
Don’t judge her by her clothes, let’s find out who she is. Grandma Pranee used to be a professional English teacher who speaks English as perfectly as a native speaker. She also worked as a translator, a trainer, and a test administrator. A chance came when her nephew asked her to do clip reviews of home and personal items for the elderly, ‘How to’ apply makeup for the Baby Boomer generation, and cookery courses which has put a smile on the faces of audiences of all ages and gained her tremendous popularity!
Of course! We can’t wait to see her. We jumped into this new-face blogger right away. Khun ‘Pun’ - Panasarn Pattanakulchai, a nephew of Grandma Pranee and freelance graphic designer, takes a role of admin page and solo producer behind a hilarious Grandma’s Page. Initially, he just wanted to approach her to do something fun and relaxing. Nevertheless, things went beyond that and it’s now more than laughter.
Grandma Pranee not only reveals what’s in this and that box but her story delivers such a warm and touching message to us, and helps bring family members who are apart, to be back for a reunion.
“My voice is quite hoarse today…”, said Grandma Pranee when starting an interview with us.
Q: How do you feel when your “Khun Yai Kae Klong” Page is highly successful?
Grandma: I’ve got a large number of new friends. I received comments from people around me and some comments were really good. I’m happy that I’ve done something that matter and helpful for most people.
Pun: I didn’t expect that teenagers or people with any age would have eyes on the elderly’s review. It was quite a shock to me at first. All comments were so much fun. I always read comments when I’m free. One comment said that he showed the clip to an elderly at home, and then he shared a picture that his old parent was watching Grandma’s clip. It’s adorable to see a gray hair group of people watching a grey hair woman via their mobile phones. I think it’s cool. What we’ve done, is enjoyable and it has created shareable experiences.
Q: What’s behind the name “Khun Yai Kae Klong”?
Pun: The word ‘Kae Klong” means to open the boxes of Grandma’s personal belongings. Secondly, Grandma still has a good memory at the age of 91. The boxes are filled with her valuable knowledge that has been cultivated in her entire life since her youth. (Grandma interrupted)
Grandma: In fact, that was not my initiative. Pun might realize that I can’t focus on anything so he asked me to do a clip just for fun. I have problem with my eyesight that’s why I can’t read well. I had plenty of time and tried to find an activity but didn’t know what to do.
Pun: Before launching the clip, Grandma was unwell and stayed in the hospital. She was quite bored and lonely after returning home. She normally doesn’t complain but I heard she said she was fed up. Then I had an idea if she could review something.
Pun: As Grandma was once a teacher, I’m sure she has life-long experience throughout her 91 years. I thought that a clip could create an amazing fun for her. Grandma personally enjoys talking and sharing things with others. She is well-rounded and has collected so many stuff over the years. Finally, I decided to get her involved in the clip production.
Q: Grandma, did you have any idea about the clip at that time? Did you know what to do?
Grandma: I didn’t understand how to get started at all. Pun told me to share my experience by talking about my personal belongings, especially my collections. I kept talking without scripts. Just said what I thought. We enjoyed it. Sometimes we had a break during the production. Sometimes, I talked too much or I didn’t communicate well. There’re so much more to share now.
Pun: Grandma was confused for a while. I needed to explain her about the Facebook and how that works. While we were filming, I told her what to do, what to say, and how we cut off things and so on.
Q: Was it Grandma’s idea to review each item like Walking Cane, Wet Tissues?
Grandma: No, it was everyone’s idea and our family members supported us when we’re in need. Sometimes, we wanted to do this and they said that didn’t work. We always consult each other.
Q: We saw a clip about Makeup Tips. Do you have any must-have item?
Grandma: Yes, an Eyebrow Pencil. I apply it when I go out; otherwise you can’t see my eyebrows because they were faded. (smile)
Q: Do you have to choose your own clothes; a specific dress to match the story?
Grandma: I normally wear a home and casual dress. Just a relaxed one. But he (Pun) would suggest me “this color doesn’t suit you, please find a brighter one”. I mostly pick comfortable dress, a neat one.
Q: Has Grandma joined you during the clip editing?
Pun: Grandma is a QC. She came to the editing room at late night to see the clip and made a comment “I spoke too fast, delete that. It was not good.” When I left home after finish working, she gave me a call “Hello Pun, I forgot to say something, let’s work on that when you get home” (smile). I needed to add scripts when she missed something. Everything she says, are absolutely from her thoughts.
Q: Please tell us about the family feedback?
Pun: Everyone has questions. My aunt asked me “When would the clip go live? Send me the link”. Sometimes I was asked “What are you doing”. I never told my family what’s going on. (laugh)
Q: Could the clip production beat your loneliness?
Grandma: Whether you’re young or old, you may feel upset when you are lonely. And you’ll have fun if you can keep on doing something. For young women, you have so much work to handle and it’s not that fun. When retiring and you have a full rest, it’s truly boring. If there’s nothing to do, you may feel discouraged. It’s totally blank and you need to do something. There’re 24 hours a day and I basically sleep for 8 hours. I spend the rest of the day having meals, doing some activities, watching TV, and reading books. I’m weary if I have nothing to do so I always find something to do to kill my lonely time.
Q: Besides the clip, what else are you doing?
Grandma: I play Sudoku puzzle game. It’s all about the numbers and it’s getting harder. When I look through it, I can’t see it all clearly as I normally did. I see many dots and need to sort out the numbers. That takes a bit of time. I also spend some time playing Target (or Crossword). I’m able to read letters one by one but it’s not comfortable to do that. I don’t have many things to do so it’s quite boring. I try to do some household jobs like washing dishes, tidying up my bed. I also arrange time for shopping food and personal stuff but there’s still plenty of time left.
Q: Have you joined a friend reunion party?
Grandma: Quite often. Say - once every 2 or 3 months. I have 4 groups of close friends; friends at work, friends from English classes, friends from Chulalongkorn University which there’re only 3 persons remaining, and the last group, my school friends.
We manage to see each other more often as we all are getting old. Everyone always wants to get together. A friend who is slightly younger than me was asked by her son where she wanted to eat. She told him that she wanted to eat among friends because friends are forever. We stay in touch by phone when we can’t meet each other.
Q: What did your friends say about the clip?
Grandma: Nobody knows that I’m creating the clip. (laugh)
Q: Why didn’t you tell them?
Grandma: Not now. They probably don’t know how to use Facebook. People at my age just use the phone for making a call. Well, we also take photos with our phones and that’s it. Only few people join Facebook, Apps or whatever because we have vision problems.
Q: But you look physically healthy, do you exercise?
Grandma: Not much when I was young as I worked hard. Anyway, I was quite active. I did household chores and took care of my children. That was kind of workout. Over the past years, we did the cleaning jobs by hands not by using mops like we do today. Cleaning tools save your time and energy but the performance is not that good.
I regularly exercise on my bed right after I wake up. Lift my legs up like biking to strengthen my knee joints. My knees are still healthy so I don’t need an operation. I also do the shadow boxing, arm swing and walk along the neighboring areas. I have someone accompanying me when I go farther.
Q: You seem to be health concerned, right?
Grandma: I’m cautious. If we are sick, we’ll be the most painful person and our children will be annoyed. They will have to take and accompany us to the hospital and sacrifice a lot of their time until we recover. Overall, I’m healthy but feel a bit difficult when walking because I don’t see well. I go to places where I can walk safely. Walking in the Department Store is ok because the surface is smooth. I love walking. When I go to Central Chidlom, I take the BTS as it’s quick. Now, my children don’t allow me to do that anymore, they’re worried that I may slip and fall on stairs (smile). Well, I always walk carefully and hold the handrails. If the steps are high and steep, I stop and rest along the way. It would be great if the escalators are available.
Q: Do you have any financial tips that you’ve put into practice since you were young?
Grandma: I’m quite stingy (laugh). I think before I pay and I’ve started saving my money since I was a child. Savings can help you when you have financial burden. I take that seriously because I want to live a debt free life. I record all my expenses every day. At the end of month, I’ll figure out what I spent, for example; household bills, home devices, personal stuff, fresh and instant foods, and dining out expense. I monitor each individual account so that I can control and manage if I’m overspending.
Q: How do you cultivate your children to follow that practice?
Grandma: Have I advised you to do that, Pun?
Pun: (laugh) Yes, you did.
Grandma: I always ‘show and tell’. Before you buy something, you need to think over and over again. But we can go for expensive items if it’s necessary.
Pun: Grandma is a very economical person. My mom once showed me a tiny piece of soap and I asked her which soap was that? She told me that Grandma merged pieces of bar soap, and boiled them together so that we can reuse it.
Grandma: I didn’t want to waste it. The soap doesn’t cost much but I prefer to use it up.
Pun: We love teasing Grandma.
Grandma: Pun enjoys making fun of me all the time (smile).
Q: Pun, you seem to be very close to your Grandma, right?
Pun: Yes, we are very close. When I finish working and stay home, I’ll see her most of the time. Grandma took care of me when I was young. She talked to me when I was lonely. In the meantime, I entertain her when she needs someone. We take turn (laugh).
Q: Do both of you face the challenge of the generation gap?
Pun: When I talk to her, I don’t consider her as my Grandma. I see her as a woman whose age is around mine. I treat her like she is my friend, my mom, or my sister. This helps to bridge the gap and we are comfortable to communicate with each other. I understand her and know her better while she also feels the same way. The key is, we shouldn’t treat the elderly like they’re old. Once we perceive that they are old, we may keep distance from them. We will be worried whether they understand what we say. Keep the conversation simple. Say what you want to say. If they don’t get it, we can explain it to them later. By this way, they’ll be open and understand us more. Don’t overtreat the elderly. Personally, I don’t think they like to be treated like old people. They don’t need someone to point out that they are old. That’s why I treat my Grandma like normal people who are healthy and lively woman.
Q: How do you approach young generation and make them comfortable to talk to you?
Grandma: We should never give up talking to the young people. We need to know their views and attitude. Adults may think differently but the young people should listen to us and realize what we thought. Often, adults tend to think that kids are weird and ask strange questions. I would say that the more we talk, the more we understand each other. Just don’t complain (laugh). Fortunately, I’m not a fussy person and I never blame my children. I’m flexible and open (smile).
Q: Now, the last question, are you still thinking that you’re lonely and have nothing to do?
Grandma: I still have plenty of time. If Pun is around, it’s fine with me. If he goes out to work, then I’m a bit lonely. But that’s ok, I can find something to do (smile).