living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

(2 of 3) High-spirited Nong Than ready to move on

Via: The Nation

Not many teenagers would be happy to spend their 15th birthday in a hospital and without legs. Nonetheless, Nitcharee Peneakchanasak, or “Nong Than” as she is known to the public, is in characteristic good spirits.

“Smile and accept reality, don’t try and avoid the truth,” Nong Than said.

On April 3, while on a language course in Singapore, Nong Than had an accident on the Singapore mass transit system, the SMRT.

While on her way to meet friends at Singapore East Coast Park, she fell onto the tracks and was hit by a train at Ang Mo Kio station.

One of her legs was severed and the other had to be amputated. She is still recuperating at the Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Centre.

She has become a minor celebrity, though, because of her happy demeanour, lack of selfpity and a charming interview on Thai TV.

Yesterday she celebrated her 15th birthday surrounded by friends and family at the Tawandang German Brewery Ramintra.

“I want to have a party, to have a lot of people come and tell me ‘happy birthday’ and to eat cake,”

Anxiety tinges the occasion, though, as her father Kittanesh talks about her future.

“My daughter is strong, so I’m not worried about her psychologically, but the SMRT has refused to take any responsibility,” he said.

The SMRT has offered to pay 5,000 Singaporean dollars (Bt123,000 @ 30Bt = $4,100USD), but that price will hardly pay for the medical costs of Nong Than.

Her father estimates the accident has cost the family about (Bt1.5 million @ 30Bt = $50,000USD) . While donations have helped, his real concern is for the future.

“Her prosthetic legs will cost around (Bt5 million @30Bt = $167,000USD) and will need to be replaced every three to five years,” he said, “If she lives until she’s 75, that’ll cost Bt60 million @ 30BT = $2,000,000USD), not including the expenses inherent in changing her lifestyle.”

The SMRT has a history of accidents. While the government has worked on installing platform walls at all stations, a project expected to finish next year, there have been 24 deaths on the rail system.

Kittanesh filed a lawsuit against the SMRT last week in the hope of receiving help with medical costs.

Still, Nong Than seems hopeful. Her father predicts that in a few weeks she’ll get her prosthetic legs and start the arduous process of learning how to walk again.

She’s also looking forward to continuing her studies in Singapore, hoping to get into a Singaporean school in six months’ time.

Nong Than credits her longterm dream of becoming a psychiatrist with her ability to adjust so well and so quickly to her new situation.

To all others in situations like hers, she says: “Don’t get too caught up on what you don’t have now, but instead look to what you have in the future.

There was an air of happiness around Nong Than, as throughout the day people – strangers and friends alike – brought her presents and good wishes.


June 17, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] of 3) ‘High spirited Nong Than ready to move on’ – June 17, 2011 Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed Has sustainability […]

    Pingback by (3 of 3) Brave girl learning to walk again with ‘new legs’ « living in the ‘Land of Smiles’ | September 13, 2011 | Reply

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