Not another forgotten hero?
"Do you want to go home? If yes, raise a finger. If you don’t want me to leave, raise two fingers if it is yes."
The aforementioned statements streamed out of the mouth of Lim Amartmontri as he tried to communicate with his younger brother, Mai, who was recuperating at Yala provincial hospital from serious wounds sustained from a recent roadside bomb blast.
Mai was among nine members of a para-military ranger unit injured in the bomb explosion in Village 5 of Tambon Baroh, Yaha district of Yala on October 10 as the unit was travelling on a pick-up truck on their way back to their base in Ban Sapong of the same tambon after a routine mission. The blast left him unconscious as he was initially rushed to the Crown Prince hospital but was later on transferred to Yala provincial hospital because of the serious injuries from bomb shrapnels and the need for emergency brain surgery.
According to Mai’s brother, the victim’s right eye was badly damaged and had to be removed whereas the left eye also sustained injury and doctors would have to assess the condition later on. Brain surgery is also pending until conditions permit, he said.
Despite the serious injuries and partial blindness, the young paramilitary ranger tried to communicate with his brother and medical staff through body language.
Lim said he felt very sorry for his younger brother and never thought before that he would be so badly hurted. "I am not angry with his tormentors because this may be his (victim) own karma from the last life," he said, adding that the victim had a plan to engage with his girlfriends in November.
The victim’s father, Mr Ruey, in the company of Lim rushed from Seka district Bung Karn district where they have been living to Yala immediately they were told of the victim’s injuries.
"I used to warn him (Mai) to think twice before deciding to go South, but he was determined to fulfil his wish to serve the country. Even so, I didn’t think he would be so badly hurted."
Mr Ruey has altogether nine children, three females and six males with Mai being the youngest and the last hope of the family.
Mai’s cousin and his closest buddy, Pol Corporal Saravuth Thaseesaeng, who was attached to Kota Baru police station in Raman district of Yala, told Isra news agency that he heard about the bombing incident from his radio but wasn’t sure that Mai was among the injured. He admitted that although he was familiar with the violelence in the deep South, none of the victims were as close to him as Mai.
The police officer said that the only problem that he was most worried about was government’s help from Mai because the victim is likely to be disabled. He said that he didn’t ask for anything special but only proper care for someone who has sacrified to serve the country so he would not be abandoned as "forgotten hero".