Sunday, October 25, 2020

A 90-year-old expat says farewell to the land he once loved

Apr 24. 2019
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This beleaguered 90 year-old, an invalid, is leaving Thailand on May 2. In an attempt to get expats over the age of 75 a waiver to be able to stay in Thailand, I wrote letters to the chiefs of Bangkok and Phuket Immigration and a letter to the chief of police in Bangkok. Not one had the courtesy to answer! 

So, what to do? Not having a “home” or relatives to go to, I played “tic-tac-toe” on an atlas and wrote letters to many cities. After many months, one city with a warm climate replied saying they had a place for me. I submitted a multi-page application along with documents and many e-mails, and finally they have accepted me. So, on the early morning of May 2, I will somehow, using a cane or a walker, board a plane and leave what I used to call “The Land of Smiles”. It certainly is no longer that. Most Thais no longer smile; they only have their hands out wanting money. If you are an expat farang, you will always be an unwelcome foreigner.

I closed out my account at the bank recently, and the lady at the counter asked why anyone so old would be leaving. I told her it was due to Thai Immigration. When I told her the banks would suddenly become richer because of the influx of Bt800,000 deposits, she shook her head and said old people should be exempted. I just smiled, took my receipt and walked outside onto the uneven and broken “sidewalk”.

Donald Graber


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