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Compassion for a Traveler

An Expression of Love and Respect to “Kohn Thai”
by a Former North Korean Refugee

On the 15th of December, 2000 a young North Korean refugee couple approached the outskirts of the Thai city of Chiang Rai.

It so happened that this couple had previously been eyewitnesses in their homeland to the gruesome North Korean practice of infanticide.

As the car made its way to the city, the wife, in her last trimester of pregnancy, became increasingly nauseous and asked the driver to stop. She seemed to have no choice but to relieve her nausea in the ditch along the country road.

To their surprise and relief, a Thai woman from that rural area, who had apparently seen the little drama unfold at a distance, suddenly rushed to the scene and offered the struggling refugee woman a tray carrying a most welcome bottle of cool water and cup. The Thai woman then proceeded to comfort the pregnant Korean woman by gently patting her back and even invited her to her home for a rest, a typical gesture of Thai kindness.

As a result of the help of this thoughtful individual and the government of Thailand, the North Korean couple safely arrived in South Korea and delivered the first baby, a boy, in January, 2001.

This touching story has been repeated many times over in South Korea by that couple in the past four years, an expression of admiration for the Thai people. So great was their gratitude for that act of kindness on the roadside that the couple’s first boy was given the name “Wuntae,” signifying “the Grace of Thailand” in memory of the aforementioned incident and an expression of thanks and respect to them.

South Korean people hold the King and People of Thailand in very high esteem for their long and internationally respected history of humanitarianism to refugees, including Cambodian refugees in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. We are also sincerely thankful to them for their vital humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees in their plight, a real friend in need.