A Real Babel Story

12:41 am PHT

I read today a story of a mother who got separated from her family for 25 years. The mother lives in the Thai province of Narathiwat, just adjacent to Malaysia. In 1982, she got on a wrong bus going home from an excursion in Malaysia and ended up in Bangkok. Not being able to speak or read Thai, she boarded another bus and reached Chiang Mai, near Myanmar. She spent the next 5 years begging, and then two decades in a homeless shelter where no one is able to talk to her.

In a fortuitous turn, Muslim students visiting the shelter recently recognized her dialect and this paved the way for the mother to be reunited with her family.

On one level, I’m really glad that she got back home after 25 years. On the other hand, I’m distressed that she had to spend those 25 sad years away from her family at all. A mistake like this should’ve been easy to remedy but since she couldn’t speak Thai, no one could help her. There’s a real Babel story for you.

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