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Sad story of disabled soldier

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With more than 4,300 killed in the South since 2004, bomb or gunshot injuries have disabled many more who often must rely on their family. 

disabled soldier

Photo above of Mangkornthong Limprasertkul, 23, a former army private who was left with poor memory and limited movement after a bomb attack four years ago, sells lottery tickets at Phramongkutklao Hospital. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul).

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Vicious attack severs ex-soldier's hopes

A former private, who once held a bright future in the military, can now barely support himself after being injured in the southern unrest
23/02/2012
Wassana Nanuam

If it were not for the bomb blast that hit him four years ago, Mangkornthong Limprasertkul might have joined the Army Non-commissioned Officer School and become a young corporal.

Today the 23 year old Chiang Rai native is just an ex-army private who sells lottery tickets at Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok. He has poor memory, speaks slowly and his right side is too weak to function due to injuries from the blast in Krong Pinang district of Yala on May 28, 2008, that injured him and five other soldiers who were escorting local teachers.

Mr Mangkornthong took the brunt of the damage as shrapnel was imbedded in his head and he has struggled to make a living after the injuries forced him to give up his military career early.

His struggles are just a microcosm of the suffering dished out by the insurgency. While more than 4,300 people have been killed in the South since the insurgency renewed in 2004, many more have been injured and maimed, suffering permanent and disabling injuries that they must live with for the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile... Four rangers hurt in bridge bomb blast.

Mr Mangkornthong's story is one of those stories.

After the bombing, he was taken to Yala Hospital, and later transferred to the better equipped Phramongkutklao Hospital.

"There, he remained unconscious for three months and has been under the care of his 45-year-old father Nopparat ever since. "At that time, the doctor said there was no hope. As a father, I could not afford to lose my son. I asked the doctor to do whatever it took. I let the doctor do the brain operation. I took the chance," Mr Nopparat said.

Surgeons removed shrapnel and dead brain tissue. That cost Mr Mangkornthong some of his memory and speech, equilibrium, and strength on his right side. He can move his right arm but cannot raise it. He cannot raise his right hand or move his right fingers. His skull is dented

"But I am lucky that my son still remembers me," Mr Nopparat said.

As a teenager, Mr Mangkornthong dreamed of being a soldier. At the age of 19, he quit vocational college to join the army. After finishing a two-year term as a private, he was planning to seek admission to the Army Non-commissioned Officer School.

After enlisting in the army, Mr Mangkornthong was sent to Chiang Mai and then Yala.

After just three months in Krong Pinang district, his squad was hit by a bomb during an ambush. The bomb missed his team but he suffered temporary hearing difficulty and chest pain. The explosion that disabled him occurred seven months later.

He still has a soldier's heart. "I want to be a soldier. I will go to the South again. I want to be there and I am not afraid of bombs."

This is always his reply whenever people ask if he wants to return to the military service, his father said.

Mr Mangkornthong always stands up whenever he hears a military song but he is unable to salute.

His father stopped selling fruit in Chiang Rai and stays with him in a flat near Phramongkutklao Hospital. In a visit to injured soldiers at the hospital, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn asked the hospital management to allow Mr Mangkornthong to sell lottery tickets there.

His father stays with him at the hospital as he cannot calculate change.

Mr Nopparat is concerned about the future of his son

Mr Mangkornthong depends on his father alone as his mother died in 1998.

He receives 200 lottery tickets for sale in each draw.

He pays 74 baht per ticket and he sells them for 110 baht.

"I wonder how many more privates will be injured and disabled from their duties in the three southern border provinces and will end up like my son," Mr Nopparat said.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Vicious attack severs ex-soldier's hopes, A former private, who once held a bright future in the military, can now barely support himself after being injured in the southern unrest, 23/02/2012, Wassana Nanuam, link

Disabled Veterans Vocabulary

war veterans -
a person who served in the military as a soldier and was involved in a military conflict (See Wikipedia)
veterans -
usually the same as "war veterans" but can also mean someone with a lot of experience in some area like a "veteran reporter"
vets - Short for "veteran"

disabled - body cannot work normally in some way (See Wikipedia)
disabled veteran - a soldier who was badly injured during fighting (so he cannot use his body normally)
disabling injuries  

private - the lowest rank in the military (See Wikipedia)
a former private - was a private in the past, was once a private
Non-commissioned Officer (non-com)
-  a low level military officer who has not been given a commission to become a Lieutenant, usually includes all grades of corporal and sergeant (See Wikipedia)
corporal - the second lowest rank in the military, either first or second in command of a squad of soldiers (See Wikipedia)

insurgency -
an attempt of a group of people in a country to take control of the country or part of the country (See Wikipedia)
South Thailand insurgency - the military conflict in Southern Thailand (See Wikipedia)
southern unrest - Same as "South Thailand insurgency"

memory - something that you remember from the past; the ability to remember information, experiences and people ความจำ

lottery -
a form of gambling for small amounts that sells tickets with a number to many people, then a number is drawn and the person with number wins money (See Wikipedia)
lottery tickets - the ticket that people gambling in a lottery buy

vicious - very violent; causing much damage, harm and injury 
attack - a violent attempt to hurt a person, group or place
vicious attack

blast - to damage or destroy something with a bomb or gun
bomb blast -

sever - cut off
sever leg - cut off leg
suver hopes - end hopes

Vicious attack severs ex-soldier's hopes

bright - very clever or intelligent ฉลาด
a bright future in the military

support - help สนับสนุน
support himself - do all the things in daily life that need to be done (dress, make food, work to make money, etc) 

barely
- almost not happening or not able to do แทบไม่เคยเกิดขึ้น
can barely support himself

A former private, who once held a bright future in the military, can now barely support himself after being injured in the southern unrest. If it were not for the bomb blast that hit him four years ago, Mangkornthong Limprasertkul might have joined the Army Non-commissioned Officer School and become a young corporal.

native - someone who was born in a particular place ชาวพื้นเมือง
Chiang Rai native - person from Chiang Rai, a person born and raised in Chiang Rai, has Chiang Rai as their hometown

escort -
go with a person when they go someplace (to protect them, for example)
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
escorting local teachers

function - to work or operate in a normal way เป็นปกติ ใช้การได้ปกติ
his right side is too weak to function due to injuries

Today the 23 year old Chiang Rai native is just an ex-army private who sells lottery tickets at Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok. He has poor memory, speaks slowly and his right side is too weak to function due to injuries from the blast in Krong Pinang district of Yala on May 28, 2008, that injured him and five other soldiers who were escorting local teachers.

brunt - an unpleasant thing that one suffers
took the brunt of the damage

shrapnel - a piece of a bullet or a bomb
imbedded in his head -
the object is inside his head

make a living -
work at a job and make money (to support yourself and family)
struggled to make a living -
worked hard to make money to support his family (and it was very difficult)

career
- work (job, profession) that a person does for a long period of life (See glossary) (See Wikipedia)
give up - stop doing activity
military career -
working as a soldier for many years
give up his
military career

Mr Mangkornthong took the brunt of the damage as shrapnel was imbedded in his head and he has struggled to make a living after the injuries forced him to give up his military career early.

struggles - experiences difficulty and makes a very great effort in order to do something ดิ้นรน
microcosm
- a small part of something that is like the larger whole

suffering
- physical or mental pain or problems ความทุกข์ทรมาน

dish out -
when people experience something bad (example: dish out punishment)
suffering dished out

insurgency -
renewed
- started again after stopping for a period

maimed -
badly injured (so person cannot use part of body)
permanent - happening or existing for a long time or for all time in the future ถาวร

His struggles are just a microcosm of the suffering dished out by the insurgency. While more than 4,300 people have been killed in the South since the insurgency renewed in 2004, many more have been injured and maimed, suffering permanent and disabling injuries that they must live with for the rest of their lives.

transferred - moved
unconscious - in a sleeplike condition, usually from an illness or injury หมดสติ

afford - 1. to not have to worry or think about something สามารถทำได้; 2. to have enough money to be able to pay for something มีเงินพอจับจ่าย ซื้อหา มีเงิน/ทุนพอ
cannot afford to - cannot let this happen

chance - what happens when you don't control events (example: gambling = games of chance)
took the chance - did something (but did not know if result would be good or bad)

Meanwhile... Four rangers hurt in bridge bomb blast. Mr Mangkornthong's story is one of those stories. After the bombing, he was taken to Yala Hospital, and later transferred to the better equipped Phramongkutklao Hospital. "There, he remained unconscious for three months and has been under the care of his 45-year-old father Nopparat ever since." At that time, the doctor said there was no hope. As a father, I could not afford to lose my son. I asked the doctor to do whatever it took. I let the doctor do the brain operation. I took the chance," Mr Nopparat said.

tissue - the substance that animal and plant cells are made of เนื้อเยื้อ
dead brain tissue - parts of the brain that are dead

equilibrium -
being able to balance while walking and not fall over

dent -
when smooth surface becomes unsmooth (example: there was a dent in car door after another car ran into it)
skull
- the bones of the head กระโหลกศีรษะ
dented skull  

Surgeons removed shrapnel and dead brain tissue. That cost Mr Mangkornthong some of his memory and speech, equilibrium, and strength on his right side. He can move his right arm but cannot raise it. He cannot raise his right hand or move his right fingers. His skull is dented

"But I am lucky that my son still remembers me," Mr Nopparat said.

vocational - teaching the skills necessary for particular jobs การสอนวิชาชีพ
vocational college

admission
- permission to enter a place การเข้าชม การเข้างาน
admission to school - offiicially gaining permission to start studying at a school
seek admission to school
enlisting in the army

As a teenager, Mr Mangkornthong dreamed of being a soldier. At the age of 19, he quit vocational college to join the army. After finishing a two-year term as a private, he was planning to seek admission to the Army Non-commissioned Officer School.  After enlisting in the army, Mr Mangkornthong was sent to Chiang Mai and then Yala.

squad - a small group of soldiers who do a particular job หน่วยทหารพิเศษ
ambush -
temporary
- done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent ชั่วคราว
chest - the upper front part of the body of humans and some animals, between the stomach and the neck, containing the heart and lungs หน้าอก
chest pain -

After just three months in Krong Pinang district, his squad was hit by a bomb during an ambush. The bomb missed his team but he suffered temporary hearing difficulty and chest pain. The explosion that disabled him occurred seven months later. He still has a soldier's heart. "I want to be a soldier. I will go to the South again. I want to be there and I am not afraid of bombs."  This is always his reply whenever people ask if he wants to return to the military service, his father said.

salute - 1. a formal signal make to show respect to someone, in this case, the firing of 21 guns ยิงสลุต 2. to express praise of support for a person สรรเสริญ
calculate - to discover a number or amount using mathematics คำนวน
calculate change - find out how much money to give back to a customer (they give more than the amount of the price)

Mr Mangkornthong always stands up whenever he hears a military song but he is unable to salute. His father stopped selling fruit in Chiang Rai and stays with him in a flat near Phramongkutklao Hospital. In a visit to injured soldiers at the hospital, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn asked the hospital management to allow Mr Mangkornthong to sell lottery tickets there. His father stays with him at the hospital as he cannot calculate change.

concerned - worried about something มีความกังวล
duties - responsibilities; things that you must do as part of your job
border - the official line separating two areas, regions or countries เขตแดน อาณาเขต

Mr Nopparat is concerned about the future of his son. Mr Mangkornthong depends on his father alone as his mother died in 1998. He receives 200 lottery tickets for sale in each draw. He pays 74 baht per ticket and he sells them for 110 baht. "I wonder how many more privates will be injured and disabled from their duties in the three southern border provinces and will end up like my son," Mr Nopparat said.

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