Tuesday, November 2, 2010


The sad story of a U.S. veteran, down on his luck, reduced to begging on the streets in Bangkok.

This story dates back to 2008 - 'Bob' appeared reasonably well dressed and clean shaven at the time period of this journalist's encounter with him.

His story: he's a 62 year old American who first came to Thailand 39 years ago. He's a Vietnam vet and he had a long hitch in the Merchant Marine. It's the classic 'my wife sold the house and didn't tell me' story that you hear so often in Thailand. I don't doubt for one moment this is the God's honest absolute truth.

He is not actually begging per se. He goes to great lengths to keep himself clean and presentable, even though his circumstances are bad. His hair is well groomed, his shirt is clean and all he wants is a job, as stated on his sign.

Read the interview HERE.



  1. I have an uncle who is this age and the last time any of us saw him was when I found him "On the Wagon" in a Christian mission in Aberdeen, Washington. That was 1983. I heard later that he had become a cook on a merchant ship, and a park ranger in Colorado somewhere. He had been a beatnik and a hippie and probably still blames Nixon for all his problems in life. Who knows....
    At this point, if he's still alive, he too also probably feels he has no family, which isn't true. Many of these expats and old guys and of course the younger ones on the streets have substance abuse problems and/or psychological issues. Many times they’ve been put back on the street by a state facility and even their families which have either run out of money or patients and given up on them. Too often they've just given up on themselves and anyone who would care about them if given the chance. They frequently have either legitimate or perceived skeletons in their closets which keep them where they are, and very often, they choose to stay as they are even when there are options. Many of these guys are veterans who seem to me to be trapped in their own personal hell or of course there are those who choose to claim to be veterans seeking sympathy and a hand-out. Many times they’ve settled into a lifestyle on the streets but, in economic times like these of course, society churns out more of them like this guy Bob, a guy down on his luck and like anything else in life, with two, three, or four sides to every story. None of which matters, I’ll try to help when I can....jd

  2. Many people who aren't at all mentally ill get suckered by women in countries where ex-pats can not legally own property, as resident aliens.

    Happened to one fellow I met after he got back on his feet in Thailand and happened to another acquaintance of mine in Angola. Married, had a kid, bought a house, got booted out of the house, Thai wife kept house, Angolan one sold it. Both of them ended up sleeping pretty rough for a while before they got their legs again.

    One is a petroleum engineer and the other works in security services. They weren't dummies, they just got rooked because they had a weakness for women that was exploited.