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Letter to the editor – pensioner safety in Koh Samui

There are probably thousands of pensioners who have retired to this tropical island of their dreams, with lots of healthy sunshine, lovely people (well most of them) & a comparatively low cost of living.

Most of us are spending a lot of our pensions & sometimes, our savings here, so we are helping the Thai economy with all our spending, especially healthcare.  I used to have health insurance but it was very expensive & when I hit the age of 70 it became extortionate, so I decided to self-insure & opened a bank a/c for it.
My big grievance with this island is the poor state of the footpaths, it would seem as though the authorities are spending millions on relaying tarmac on the ring road but doing a “cheap charlie” job on the footpaths, there are cracks & holes everywhere, together with other obstacles such as motorbikes, plant pots, advertising boards & even cars sometimes.   I was always lead to believe that the word “footpath” meant “path for pedestrians”??    Many times, to avoid these obstructions, we have to step off the path onto the road, which means “road for lorries, cars & motorbikes”.
The footpaths in the towns are even worse, they never seem to have any repairs done, if a hole appears, the standard procedure is to put a twig in it!  There is a certain area in the centre of Lamai which use to flood every time we had a downpour, so the authorities did a good job of increasing the height of the road by approximately 500cm, at the lowest point.    Guess what they forgot to do? They didn’t get the shopkeepers to increase the the height of their signs, so now, because our concentration is on the poorly laid paving slabs, anyone who is taller than 170cm is very liable to bang his head on one of the shop signs.
Many of my fellow pensioners & I have chosen not to drive out here, so we have to be extra careful when walking, it’s so easy so twist an ankle or break a toe on some paving slabs that have shifted after the rains.
Some shopkeepers have privately laid shiny tiles on their shop fronts, these can be equally dangerous when it’s raining, it’s like trying to walk on ice & can easily result in serious injuries like a crack on the back of the head or a broken wrist.
Des Gillet, Lamai

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