The other side of life

So there’s this guy crawling down the sidewalk. There’s probably a few hundred people passing him every 10 minutes, hurrying to wherever they’re going or just strolling along as they shop for cheap clothes and jewelry. This guy, though, is crawling, not walking, because he has no legs and no wheelchair or anything to help him along.

Oh, and he’s also missing an arm. He’s literally using his chin to help himself scoot and scratch along the pavement.

This is in Bangkok, by the way, probably not the nicest place in Bangkok but certainly not the worst. Like I said, a few hundred people pass him every 10 minutes with enough money to buy stuff they don’t need. I think I bought a bubble tea on this street.

My Thai friend who wants to teach English here said she’ll make about a third of what I would make here, just because she’s Thai and I’m American. But she’s okay with that. She smiles all the time.

This is also in Bangkok. She lives in the middle of the city. And she’s doing well, comparatively speaking, especially since she’s currently unemployed.

From where I’m staying with a friend, I can see this little corner nook along one of the canals. A few homeless people gather there each day. Sometimes, they ask for money as I pass. Most of the time, though, they just hang out. This is life for them. They eat, when they can, and they talk and laugh like other 12-year-olds who have homes.

It’s so similar to what I’m used to in Korea or in America that it’s easy to forget it’s a different world over here.  The guy crawling, the friend smiling, the homeless children laughing – these jolt me back. “Hello. Welcome to the other side of life.”

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