Re: “A 90-year-old expat says farewell to the land he once loved,” Have Your Say, April 25.
I’m sure that readers will sympathise with 90-year-old Donald Graber, who will be forced to leave Thailand on May 2 because he doesn’t have the Bt800,000 he needs to deposit in a Thai bank in order to qualify for a retirement visa.
Old expats will be especially sympathetic because there, but for the grace of God, go we. The Immigration Department has absolute power over all of us. While we personally have always found its officials to be fair-minded, it does have rules it
has to enforce; and even in Buddhist countries like Thailand, government bureaucracies are not famous for their compassion.
Unfortunately, sympathy buys no noodles. Is there no altruistic individual or group in Thailand that would be willing to give Mr Graber the Bt800,000 he needs to continue living here? Such a generous paragon would bring about a happy ending to a truly heart-wrenching story. Even more desirable would be the establishment of an ongoing charitable foundation dedicated to aiding deserving expats who have fallen on hard times. Of course, it would have to have a foolproof vetting system to prevent scams. We estimate the chances of ever seeing such a nobly conceived foundation as approximately zero.
On a more practical level, in view of the ever-changing vicissitudes to which expats are subject, some of us would like to know the name of that city of warm climate and welcoming attitude in which Mr Graber has finally found refuge.
Ye Olde Pedant
Ye Olde Theologian
Ye Olde Curmudgeon
(on behalf of a host of other Oldeys)