Blind ex-Thai embassy employee alleges neglect, seeks compensation

Photo Courtesy of Bangkok Post

Countering accusations made by a former member of staff at the Thai embassy in Paris, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has refuted claims of embassy neglect following the irreversible loss of her eyesight. Previously employed as part of the embassy service team from 2009 until 2012, Rattanaporn Saeng-on, aged 45, was found by authorities trying to deliberately endanger herself in moving traffic on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road last Friday.

Rattanaporn accuses the embassy of abandoning her after she lost her sight and claims she was never afforded the proper level of compensation fitting her predicament. Heartbreakingly, she confesses she lost her will to live as a result citing embassy neglect. Kanchana Patarachoke, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson, stated on Saturday that Rattanaporn began ageing from glaucoma, a genetically predisposed condition, that pre-dated her employment at the embassy, further adding that many of Rattanaporn’s relatives are also impacted by the condition.

Rattanaporn resigned from her role at the embassy, citing health reasons, in 2012. She appealed to the ministry in 2018 for support with her condition. Once the ministry had consulted the Comptroller General’s Department (CGD), a special monetary package of 196,549 baht was approved.

Rattanaporn later submitted a subsequent request for further financial support for one million baht, which was relayed to the CGD by the ministry. In 2021, her appeal to the ombudsman against the CGD for their refusal of her additional aid was rejected given the lack of evidence in support of her claim. Instead, the ombudsman advised the CGD to find alternative ways to alleviate Rattanaporn’s grievances.

Despite their efforts, in March, the CGD announced it was unable to provide any further assistance, given that Rattanaporn was no longer a governmental employee and had already received a compensation package. She was duly informed reported Bangkok Post.

After she had been saved from the dangerous traffic on Friday at Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Rattanaporn insisted she was in desperate need of the previously requested compensation. She recalled how she served under a Thai ambassador in Phnom Pehn in 2007, who later moved to Paris. Before relocating to Paris in professional service to the ambassador, she had undergone a health check-up, passing with almost perfect health, except for minor shortsightedness and astigmatism.

However, after her first year in Paris, the severity of her eye condition became linked to the cold weather. She raised her health concerns with the ambassador who facilitated an appointment with a local medical professional. However, obstacles with language meant she did not receive the necessary treatment, which directly resulted in her permanent loss of sight, according to Rattanaporn.

Rattanaporn alleges that she was tricked by the ambassador into signing a document under false pretences. She believed the document was a request for medical treatment in Thailand, but discovered too late that it was, in reality, her letter of resignation.

“The financial aid I got is nowhere close to what I’ve lost, which is my eyesight,” she said.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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