"Quietly, a great film was made"Lee Grant - Oscar Winning Actress and Director
"Hugely empowering and uplifting"Greg Lowe - CNNgo
"Should be mandatory viewing"Jim Pollard - The Nation
Living With The Tiger is an intimate and moving story about a group of HIV infected orphans in Thailand that have been abandoned by society. The story focuses on two of the children over a period of 3 years, and highlights the problems they encounter as they try to re-integrate back into their communities. Despite their traumatic experiences, they embark on the most unlikely of ventures for a group of teenagers from the countryside; a performance in an opera....
The initial discussions we had about the possibility of involving Bla in the film screenings was met with some reservations. On one hand, we realised that his attendance could help overcome some of the barriers that exist, especially with those in the audience that didn't know anyone with HIV. On the other hand, at just 18 years of age, we didn't want to encourage him to do something that he would later regret.
When we asked him, he was very clear in his own mind that he wanted to participate. However, he didn't want to be on the stage for the post-screening Q&A sessions. How things have changed in just a couple of months.
The first screening he attended had a profound effect on him. Not only was he surprised by the fact that he was accepted by everyone, but the level of support he received was very genuine and touching. His confidence bolstered, the next 2 school screenings saw him on the stage answering questions from the audience. Having his picture taken with admiring girls is something that he will need to get used to!
His gentle nature and charm serve to disarm any doubters that might exist. His innocence and naïvety only compounds the tragedy of his life. He probably isn't fully aware of the influence he is having on the attitudes of others, and the change that is taking place at every screening of the film.
Yet still he is abandoned by family members who should be caring for him. People that have a misinformed view of a disease that is largely shaped by prejudice and ignorance. The changes taking place may not heal the rift with his blood relatives but hopefully, it will be able to provide him with a future that has more opportunities than before. Let us not forget that there are 84 other children in Baan Gerda in the same situation, as well as countless others around the world.
Together with Bla, we have to encourage further change and greater acceptance for those living with this disease.
Over the past year, Bla has expressed his desire to see life outside of Baan Gerda, to become more independent and to have new experiences. Something which will no doubt be common with more of the children as they get older. I promised Bla that I would bring him to Phuket so that he could try surfing and see one of the most beautiful parts of his country. With the help of Khun Jutima from Yoga Thailand Retreat and Wellness Center and Khun Pop Areeya, we were able to do that last week. You can see the pictures from his trip here
I wish we could do the same for the other kids.
- Phuket Gazette
- The Nation
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