Disabled homeless man fights for a living by selling craft art made of palm leaves on streets in Pattaya

Pattaya-

A disabled homeless man is fighting for his livelihood by making custom made craft art with palm leaves and selling them in Pattaya.

The Pattaya News met Mr. Pramuan Sangjan, 63, on a footpath in Central Pattaya earlier this week and he invited our reporters to sit with him to hear his story.

He told The Pattaya News that he is paralyzed and is unable to move the left side of his body.  He has been unable to work for the past six years due to his disability and became homeless and now lives in abandoned buildings in the Pattaya area.  Unlike many other homeless in Pattaya, he had faced struggles prior to the Covid-19 pandemic closing borders and stopping foreign tourism to the area, although the situation has affected his income.

To survive, he sells custom crafted palm leaves on footpaths in Central Pattaya, in which he folds them into a variety of designs, especially carp. He does not set the price as people who buy can give him what they feel his artwork is worth. He says he currently makes about 100 to 200 baht each day (3 to 6 USD), even with the downturn in people in the Pattaya area. He gets his palm supplies for free from local residents who sympathize with his plight.

Pramuan said that he doesn’t want charity, freebies or monetary handouts as a result of his interview and has declined similar offers before but encourages people in the Central Pattaya area, near Icon Place on Central Pattaya Klang before Harbor shopping mall (across from PLC language center), who see him sitting with his palm leaf artwork to say hello and consider purchasing his custom made artwork to help support him to eat daily.

Pramuan also spoke about the situation with Covid-19 in Pattaya, which caused borders to be mostly closed since March of this year and stopped all foreign tourism in the city. He said that the situation was dire and the homeless population had increased significantly, many of them with drug or alcohol problems. He said he has neither and although his luck has been difficult he is happy to be alive and pleased to see other’s joy with his custom artwork.

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Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than three years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.