Wednesday, August 12, 2020

To clarify, this is why I’m leaving Thailand at 90 years of age

Apr 28. 2019
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Re: “A 90-year-old expat says farewell to the land he once loved”, Have Your Say, April 26.

It is simply amazing the verbal diarrhoea that spewed forth from some of the replies in online forums to my letter. Many adult minds have been sympathetic to my leaving, others childish and downright juvenile in their opining, many unnecessarily nasty and even threatening. One man said I would not live to see my 91st birthday. Some said I was lying. Some said I had cheated in the past. Others said, “Good riddance.” Why do these, supposedly grown men, get such personal delight in carrying on like a gaggle of teenage schoolgirls?

Let me once again set the record straight and also add a few final thoughts:

Donald Graber is not a pseudonym. I don’t hide behind a fictitious name so I can sling dirt at others from the comfort and ambiguity of my easy chair.

I am not living on the street on garbage; I have Bt800,000 – and more. I am moving to an affluent place with a climate far better than Thailand’s: mild and pleasant, plenty of sunshine, not oppressively hot or humid and no rainy season that brings unexpected soakings and flooding. Someone said I was moving to the Philippines. I am not.

Where I’m going there are “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs on the street corners – and people abide by them.

There are red, yellow and green traffic lights – coordinated to allow for smooth traffic flow.

You do not have to take your life in your hands to run gingerly across the street, dodging unsympathetic car and motorbike drivers who refuse to slow down and blow exhaust in your face as they speed up.

There are no dangerous uneven and broken sidewalks in disrepair.

They provide for the elderly, especially the disabled, where city buses even lower their entrance ramps for automatic lift, entrance and with the wheelchair then locked in place by the bus driver.

People automatically give their seats to the elderly on public transportation, not pretending to not see by staring down at a cell phone.

There is, blessedly, not the constant din of noise heard here, as like the girls with microphones on the street screaming some product and whose amplified voices can be heard all the way to Chiang Mai.

There are no “Security” guards blowing whistles constantly, supposedly to allow cars access from side streets to a main street; not paying any attention, mind you, if a pedestrian is already in the midst of crossing that side street.

I choose (or was forced) to leave because, at 90 and without heirs and relatives, I refuse, upon my death, to simply “donate” Bt800,000 to a bank, a military junta or a corrupt government in a Third World country like Thailand is.

To the inhumane individual who wished me death, saying I would not live to see my 91st birthday, shame on you! The Good Lord will decide that, not you.

I have a 614-page memoir, a 300+ post-memoir, a compilation of short stories, restaurant and drama reviews, all printed. Do you?

I have travelled to more than 100 international destinations. Have you?

Yes, I am leaving on May 2, 2019, to go back to (and the word may be unrecognisable to some of you) civilisation.

Donald Graber

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