NOT JUST A NUMBER
Thailand has, apparently, one of the highest rates of road deaths in the world. According to WHO, the World Health Organization, there are more than 24,000 road deaths in Thailand each year, or sixty six each day, and 48 of these deaths are a result of accidents involving motorbikes.
Each year as we near Songkran the table showing the number of deaths, injuries, and accidents is printed in national newspapers and on social media. But to most readers these are just numbers that have no affect on our daily lives. And then one day you receive news and the statistics become a reality.
Early one recent morning we received the news that one young man from the Father Ray Children’s Home had been involved in a fatal road accident.
Traveling along Thepprasit Road, riding a motorbike with his girlfriend sitting behind him, they were hit by a speeding motorbike, coming down the wrong side of the road and the Korean driver was drunk, several times over the legal alcohol limit.
When the news reached the Children’s Home there was disbelief. No one wanted to belief the news, nineteen year old Pam was part of the family, even though he had left one year earlier to go and work. But you have to believe it, no one jokes about things like that, you just wish it wasn’t true.
He was seven years of age when he first came to Pattaya with his two elder brothers. Their mother had recently died, and their father was unable to give his boys what they needed so he brought them to Pattaya, and then he himself died a few months later
For eleven years Pam lived at the Children’s Home, and although he had two brothers and his parents were dead, he was part of a bigger family and there were many adults he called mum and dad.
That family came back together at Wat Sutthiwat temple in Nongprue. Friends and former residents of the Home, some who traveled from all over the country to be together and say farewell to their brother.
No longer are the figures and statistics just a number, one of those numbers is Pam. Nineteen years of age, a life ended too early. Sixty six deaths a day, and yet you just never know how close to home any of them will be.