Sirithorn, scavenger with heart of gold
Sirithorn Yothin is no ordinary homeless person and scavenger. He donates Bt100 each day from his hard-earned meagre income to the Thai Red Cross, in order to, in his words, help society.Having scrounged garbage around Lumpini Park for 10 years, the Ubon Ratchathani native said he wanted to give a donation all along, but was discouraged by fear that he would not to be welcome in the Thai Red Cross compound in downtown Bangkok. His clothes were dirty and his long hair and thick beard did not give him an attractive appearance - until a person volunteered to accompany him and showed him the donation process last month.
Starting from January 29, he has given Bt100 - half of his daily income of around Bt200, a limit he set on his own. The remainder goes to: Bt10 daily rent for his garbage trishaw, and Bt5 for a bath at the park. He sleeps on a lawn at a nearby building and keeps all belongings in his trishaw. His daily collection of Bt200 has earned him Bt5,000 in personal savings, for emergencies or treatment for illnesses.
He singled out His Majesty the King as the ultimate figure of his faith, and inspiration for doing good. His good behaviour is known to local people living around Rama IV and Henri Dunant Road and the park - he does not steal, or ransack their garbage dumpsites when collecting trash.
Most residents keep their garbage and sort it out for him to pick up, from around 3pm to 9pm everyday.
"I donate every weekday. I have now have everything I want in my life. I want to spend the next 10 or 20 years helping society, although I am only a scavenger," he said.
Sirithorn, 45, is featured in a documentary film produced to commemorate the monarch and was paid Bt15,000 for his brief role in it.
The movie features him on the day he made his first donation to the Thai Red Cross. He donated the whole Bt15,000 later on, plus another Bt2,000 given him by a foreigner, who watched the |film, through his relatives in Thailand.
A food vendor at the Thai Red Cross cafeteria, Waradanai Phatthanawibool, said he was impressed with Sirithorn's donation. "Phi Kheo is like a book with an ugly-looking cover, which has very interesting content inside. Some books have nice-looking covers, but contain content which are not fun to read," he said.