Mother loses beloved son to turmoil in the South
Ampan Bua-thong does not feel proud when people say that her son died for the noble cause of reviving paddy fields in the violence-plagued South. All she feels is searing pain."My heart was torn to bits when I was told my son was killed," the 44-year-old said yesterday. She lives in the peaceful province of Sing Buri.
Ampan said her second son, Eknarin Homchoey, left their hometown for the South because he wanted to earn extra cash to help repay her debts. Eknarin only earned Bt20 for every rai he ploughed in Sing Buri, and was promised up to Bt100 per rai when he agreed to join the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC)'s project to restore paddy fields in the deep South.
After working in Pattani for about 15 days, Eknarin called his mother and said he had Bt20,000 for her. But hours later, she heard that her son was fatally attacked and would never return home.
Eknarin died last Friday when four gunmen opened fire on a pickup carrying the "rice-farming teachers". Apart from two people killed, many others were injured. One of the victims, Thanom Khamkua, was still under intensive care yesterday.
Ampan said her son was not a brave person and chose to always look away when challenged. She said he was only brave enough to go work in Pattani because he wanted to help his family.
Ampan's husband and her eldest son had abandoned her and since then Eknarin had done what he could to support her. She ended up being mired in debt after she borrowed Bt50,000 to start a duck farm, but all the ducks died. Now, she has also lost her son.
"My son's a really good boy," she said tearfully. "Nothing can compensate for the loss of my beloved son."