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Vol. XII No.18 - Sunday September 8 - Saturday September 21, 2013


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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun

 

All alone in Chiang Mai

The last issue of the newspaper reported the death of an elderly French artist, Alain Veran, a 70 year old man who was found in his room, having died several days earlier. While he had friends in Chiang Mai, he had no family and I know the Consulate was having difficulty contacting his daughter back in France. I am sure that Mr. Veran lived a full and wonderful life and I know he had friends here in Chiang Mai who cared. As my father pointed out, we all die alone. It would seem his time had come.
What is rather frightening, at least for me, and for more than a few other expats living here, is not the dying part but the not being found part. I confided this to a friend and she said to me, “Don’t’ worry. If I didn’t see you on Facebook for a few days and I knew you were not traveling, I would be worried and call you.” All well and good, and it’s good to have a network of friends that expect to hear from you. But the fact is that I don’t actually know where a few of my friends live. If something were to happen, I wouldn’t even know where to go.
Lanna Care Net issues “In Case of Emergency” cards for people, and it’s a great idea to have something like that tucked into your wallet but it is also a good idea to create a network, maybe print out a page (or share a google doc for the more internet savvy) with friend’s phone numbers, addresses and emergency contacts for your group of friends. Be sure and include those with partners as well as the singletons. You never know when the partner might go traveling and your friend needs emergency help.
It all sounds quite morbid but really, it is just very practical. I recall talking to a Thai friend of mine about this, about the need to be prepared, have a will, get life insurance. He said, “Why, do you think I am going to die?” Of course, not but everyone does at some point or another. Life, no matter where you are whether that is Chiang Mai, back in your home country or Timbuktoo, is full of surprises. It is possible to be a little prepared and one of those preparations is to make sure people know how to find you and your loved ones just in case.
 


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All alone in Chiang Mai
 

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