KANCHANABURI – Jasmin Krusangkon is the daughter of ethnic Karen migrants who left Myanmar, also called Burma, in the 1980s to seek a better life across the border. She has become well known in Thailand for her musical talent.
People started to notice her when the video of her playing the guitar and singing a song called “Cocktail” in Thai got more than a million hits.
Since then, she has been contacted by national television stations in Thailand and featured in a number of programs on different channels.
“I was so excited and also very happy that people recognized me. People ask to take pictures with me,” Jasmin said.
Part of her appeal, beyond what has been described as her “crystal clear” voice, is the lush mountainous backdrop in her videos of Kanchanaburi, where she lives. Perhaps it reminds Thais of the talent that can be nurtured in their own borders.
On social media fans have commented on the setting of sky, mountain, forest, river and song.
Jasmin’s mother Ni Mar, an ethnic Karen woman, left Rangoon (now Yangon) in 1989 for Thailand a year after Myanmar’s military coup. She met Soe Htut, another ethnic Karen who had fled to Thailand, and settled in Sankhalaburi, a small town near the border with Myanmar where Jasmin was born a Thai citizen.
Ni Mar said her daughter was only five years old when she realized she had these talents.
“Jasmin is not afraid of audiences. She had participated in local concerts since she was four or five. She could sing and dance since she was very young.”
Wants to be a Star
Her mother taught her the guitar and she also continued her musical education at the Sankhalaburi Christian Fellowship Church.
Her choice of language is also a talking point for fans.
One Facebook fan writes: “I can’t think of how she can sing that well in English and Thai. I know some of your Thai fans around me young girl. Keep up with your good work!”
Her parents have been singled out for praise by some Burmese fans including this from one called Bu Sein: “I respect her parents who taught her to speak Burmese. Her singing in English is superb.”
But she still has still faced some questions on social media about her Karen roots. One listener, Lay Thine, asked on Facebook: “Your mother father they are Karen people and why you don’t sing Karen song???”
Jasmin’s dedication is to her music. She says she wants to study at a music school and she wants to be a star.
“I want to study in Bangkok where I will have better chance to learn at a music school. I want to be a singer.”
Ni Mar has said she will encourage and support her daughter whatever career she chooses.
“I am very proud of her. I was born and brought up in Myanmar where things were difficult. My daughter is doing well here.
“I will support her. I’m very glad that she is always on the top, whatever she does.”