Hanging On Regardless

Posted by M ws On Sunday, October 16, 2011 0 comments
Miss Nom Mislem lives alone in her hut in Ban Yi Kahn, downtown Bangkok. Her windowless shack hangs precariously on the verge of being swept away by the 18billion cubic meters of deluge headed towards Bangkok this weekend.

Already, the house is leaning forward towards the rapid flow of the Menam Chao Praya. Her house was flooded again the morning we visited, and had completely soaked her mattress. It lies drenched in the far corner to the left.

Scrap packing-foam floats around in the back of her room. “I was born here in this hut 75 years ago, and have nowhere else to go”, she sobbed a teary Mislem, when asked about her family. She never married, and has no children nor known living relatives.

She used to be a cook, and had even appeared on National TV before. Today, she relies on government funds and the kindness of her neighbours to survive.

When asked if she would like to be moved to a safer location she candidly replied, “If the flood comes, I hope it comes and takes me quickly, because I am already old, and do not want to be a burden to my community around me”. Miss Mislem is unable to walk or move around, and often slept on the dining table, while sitting cross-legged with her head propped on a pillow, ever since the Chao Praya flooded her home a month ago.

Thirty minutes after we left, it started to pour again. Her fate hangs on a thread for now.

-Written by Dr. Michael Chick (currently visiting Bangkok)-

Thanks to Dr. Michael Chick for his kind permission to share this story and photographs in my blog.

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