Name: Bung Siriboon
LAST SEEN: Boronia, Victoria
Missing since: June 2011
Then aged: 13
FUN FACT: Loved singing and dancing between teaching herself Korean
Here is Bung.
It is her first time away from home. First plane trip. She is wide-eyed and clutching her mum’s hand, stepping onto the tarmac and into a new life. Australia is nothing like Thailand. The houses are bigger and everything is strange. New people, new school, a new language. The rice paddies and dense green vegetation of home has been replaced with bitumen roads and suburban streets with brick houses and endless expanses of neatly trimmed lawn.
Bung is nervous about fitting in. She’s worried she’ll miss the family members she’s left behind. The world is suddenly very large, and Bung is still very small.
But she’s excited too.
“Worrying doesn’t fix anything. It’s a very hard concept, but I’m getting better at it lately, than what I was before.”
Bung plants flowers in the front garden of her new house with her mum, sister and dad. They install a gurgling fountain and the house starts to feel like home.
Here is Bung.
She’s heading out the door to school. Her mum made chicken curry soup and rice for breakfast and Bung has the leftovers packed in her backpack for lunch – she doesn’t like the stuff they serve at the canteen. It’s cold, so she wears a rain jacket over her blue and white striped uniform.
‘Bye Mum,’ she says. ‘See you later.’
The birds overhead don’t mind that it’s cold and grey. Magpies warble in the gums and there’s an occasional squawk from a cockatoo. Traffic rumbles nearby as commuters make their way to work. School is just down the road…
After the story, Loren and Fred discuss the confronting, uncomfortable, additional experiences people in their position face, and how the family functions while Bung remains missing.
What’s Missing was adapted from MPAN’s book, Too Short Stories. Fred and Bung’s story was written by Lili Wilkinson. Get a copy of the book at Too Short Stories.
Hosted by Loren O’Keeffe
Additional writing for this episode by Erin Munro
Research by Catherine Seccombe
‘Wildflowers’ by Jess Ribeiro
Audio production and music composition by Mike Migas
Graphic design by Maricarmen Rubí Baeza
Video and web design by Paulina Szymanska
Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN)