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“Running a successful recycling business” in the L*nd of Sm*les?

Not every Westerner in the L*nd of Sm*les is having fun, fun, fun.

Here in the J*mtien/P*tt*y* area (or “Moscow-on-Sea” as it is called due to the huge number of Russians) there are two Farang (Westerners) who don’t seem to be having an enormous amount of happy, happy, happy. They spend all day, every day, walking around the main streets rummaging through stinking piles of garbage and fetid rubbish bins collecting glass and plastic bottles. I guess they then sell these to a recycling company – probably for a pittance.

Here’s one of the men hard at work: (click to see more clearly)

I don’t have a photo of the other one. I’ve seen them both for the last 8 years, though they probably were already hard at work before I came here for my first diving holiday.

I often wonder how they ended up on the lowest possible social rung in what is still a Third World country. I suppose they came here and started to party. Then they partied and partied and partied. Many Farang seem to get carried away by the fact that they can spend every day and night surrounded by adoring, attractive girls (or boys or ladyboys or whatever takes their fancy). Perhaps it’s because they never managed to get this kind of attention in their home countries? Gradually these men lose control and become “walking wallets” for the ever-smiling but cash-hungry locals. As they say here “money number one”.

Anyway, eventually the money runs out and it’s a case of “no money, no honey”. Then the Farang has three possible choices. He could go home and admit to friends and family that he’s made a fool of himself and, although he has made a generous contribution to the local economy, he is skint. Or he could find a convenient balcony (sixth floor and above recommended for best results) and join the P*tt*y* Flying Club. Or he could try to earn a pittance rummaging through piles of foul-smelling, fly-ridden garbage full of rotting food, used nappies and many other unmentionables as, being a very hot humid country, the L*nd of Sm*les is also very much the L*nd of Sm*lls.

I did briefly talk to one of these men (not the one in the photo) and asked him why he did it as his pension (even if very small) should be enough to live on – the cost of living here is less than a fifth of that in Europe or the USA with rent for a small flat about £15 a week and a meal at a street café about £0.60. The guy looked at me with surprise and replied, “pension, what pension? I’m fifty four”. Ooopps. I guess 8 hours a day going through other people’s garbage in burning sunshine or pouring rain doesn’t do wonders for your skin tone and complexion.

I also wonder how these two men explain to their friends and families back in their countries of origin what they’re up to. Perhaps they say they’re “running a successful recycling business“?

Oh, I’ve just met the guy in the photo. He’s a really nice guy. He’s originally from Holland but lives in the L*nd of Sm*l*s with his wife and young baby. He collects bottles for 5 to 6 hours a day and earns around 100 baht a day – that’s £2 or $3.

1 comment to “Running a successful recycling business” in the L*nd of Sm*les?

  • Paris Claims

    At least they’re engaged in more honourable work than that low life parasite you wrote about the other day.

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