Bangkok: A City Of Glitz, A City Of Desperation – keranews.org, January 17, 2013
Most male dropouts living in Bangkok’s most notorious slum, Klong Toei, are presented with two principal career paths: speed dealer or stevedore.
The first involves ducking cops, consorting with junkies and hardening your neighborhood’s rep as a crime-infested no-go zone. Klong Toei’s reputation for selling “ya ba” — pink meth tabs that smell like cotton candy when smoked — is second only to its reputation for catching on fire. Flames easily leap between dwellings in the slum, a labyrinth of buildings packed so tight that alleys remain dim under the Thai noontime sun.
In lieu of meth, Boat Thammongkul, 20, has chosen to work the nearby docks.
“We move heavy stuff at the pier for 500 baht a day,” Boat says. That’s roughly $16 for nine hours at the Klong Toei wharf, a critical hub in Thailand’s export economy and the chief employer of nearby slum dwellers…