THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT :
by Bia.
Bangkok.

Bia with Brian & Lek

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On their trip to Thailand in September 2008, Brian and Lek met with Bia (photo above)

I had a small stall outside the apartment block at Pinkcloi Apartments in Bangkok where Cyril used to live near his friend, Brian. My stall sold three different types of herbal Thai whiskey and it was known as the Ya Dong Bar.

Bia's Stall

I got to know Cyril and Brian initially as they used to come and buy some of my products. They became very friendly with me, especially Cyril. Cyril used to come in the evenings when I was opening the stall and he would help me to set it up. He told me he used to work in a bar in Ireland. Not only did Cyril help me set up the stall but, also, he made an effort to talk to all my customers and he used to practise his Thai with them and myself.

He was always in good form and he used to joke with me and my customers. He told me that his Mum was Thai and that he was a teacher. Cyril was coming to my stall almost every night for the year prior to his death on the 7th of June 2008. He also had a lovely smile and was good fun. He was particularly pleasant to all my customers - irrespective of where they came from or how poor they may have been.

In early May of this year, Cyril and Brian came as usual and I let out by mistake that my birthday was in a few days' time on the 8th of May. They both wished me a Happy Birthday. On the day of my birthday Cyril came as usual to help me set up my stall that evening. He then slipped me an envelope and said I didn't have to say anything to anybody about this. When I went home that night and opened the envelope there was a lovely birthday card and with it Cyril had given me 1,200 Baht as a birthday present. That sum of money is as much as I could earn working for two weeks at my stall.

I thanked Cyril the next day and he said that he was absolutely delighted to give it to me. I will never forget Cyril’s generosity and kindness to me. When I heard the awful news of his death on the 7th of June 2008 I told his friend, Brian Kenny, about his birthday present. Brian told me that CyriI had told no one about his very generous birthday present.

Appreciation:
Cyril was a lovely man and I will always remember his kindness to me and his good humour and pleasant smile. I am afraid that I was so sad after his death that I could no longer continue to run the Ya Dong Bar. It was too sad for me each night to open it and to know he was not coming. I have let someone else open a similar bar in the same spot as I couldn't do it without Cyril' s lovely smile and support each evening when I used to open up for business.

Bia

 

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