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When home is a dangerous place

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: I was born and raised in Yala, but have lived in Phuket for about three years. Many outsiders think that Yala is horrible because of the violence. My friends in Phuket don’t want to visit me when I go home, and I understand why. There are a lot of negative stories about Yala in the news. Teachers are assaulted, schools are burned and many people are scared to go to work.

On April 5, I was at home visiting my family and went to a souvenir shop to buy some gifts with my mother. The next day, there was an explosion in that same shop. My mother called to tell me as I was riding a bus back to Phuket. I was shocked, and felt sorry for the people who were killed and injured.

I had another near miss before I came to live in Phuket. I was riding my motorbike and had stopped at a traffic light. It turned green, and just as I started to drive forward there was an explosion behind me. I stopped and saw that a lot of people had been hit and needed help. I couldn’t do anything… just cry. Later, I found out that one of my friends had been killed there.

A lot of people in Yala have died and a lot of families have lost someone. The way we live has changed – my family stays inside our house after 7pm because we are scared to go out. If we do go out at night, we take great care.

But if you ask me if I was afraid living there, I would tell you no. Yala is my home, and I love it. It might sound strange, but I got used to the situation. We don’t have explosions every day and I still remember how livable and peaceful it was when I was a child. Back then, a lot of people visited because there are so many beautiful things to see. In Betong, for example, there are mountains, hot springs and cool weather. And Yala Town was designed in a lovely way, much like a spider web.

A lot of different groups are responsible for the bombings. I want to ask them, “Why are you doing this? What do you want?” And I want to tell them, “Stop doing bad things. It’s enough. We want to be a peaceful place again.”

— Waritnan Aoming

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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