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10 May


Something different

Next week I’ll post the results of a Thai court battle between a Thai and a foreigner.

There’s been a lot of stalling from the court’s administration, so I can’t give the final result or the whole story. Hopefully, next week.


I really feel for Pranom. He’s a decent guy, always around when friends need help – whether Thai or farang.

His wife left him left last year and he and his 80 year old mother look after his young son. Pranom has a fairly high pressure job and his domestic circumstances can’t be helping.

He didn’t want to go, but his friends insisted he visit the hospital as his leg has swollen up and turned almost black. He did not want to leave his son, knowing his mum could not cope on her own. The doctors think they can save the leg.

But the nurses have noticed he is talking to himself and staring at the four walls of the ward. They have put him on a high dose of anti-depressants but they are making things worse. Unfortunately it is true that there is a great stigma in Thailand against people who are perceived as  going crazy – going ting tong as the Thais call it –  and there is little real support from the authorities because of this attitude. The hospital  doesn’t seem to appreciate that he is worrying about his son and mother and that the answer is not more and more medication.

But is also true that in Thailand, friends and family pull out all the stops when someone needs help.

His work mates have organised an informal rota to get his son to and from school each day and making sure his mum has food.

After we visited him in the ward, we made contact (and this was at 8 at night) with a few line managers where he works and started the ball rolling to get him some financial help and to arrange transport for his mum to visit. We spoke to the medical consultant employed by the office and it was her view that he would be better off at home provided medication on the leg could continue. She set about getting that organised.

In all, half an hour of telephone calls. It is the way it works in Thailand. No-one was bothered at taking a call late in the evening.

The big boss, however, was not in any way effective though she had to go along with the consensus view. Her management and people skills are not high. That is one sad thing about Thailand: people get to high positions through contacts and money, leaving the underlings to actually get the work done and sort out the problems.

Everyone greets big boss with a  wai whenever they see her, but she has gained no real respect. Her staff gossip that she got her job and promotion, not with her brain, but through using another part of her anatomy.

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