Thailand, a Land of Contrasts

Thailand is a land of contrasts. Long blessed by an absence of war, it is a country rich in agricultural and natural resources and economically sound. With a strong commercial and economic base, it's well educated population is now enjoying personal economic growth. Thailand in recent times has been consistently ranked by financial institutions as having one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is classified as a Newly Industrialized Country.

But beyond the glitter and glamour of Thailand's booming industry, there are still many Thai people struggling to raise themselves from poverty and despair. They have been left behind in the rapid expansion of their country. Thailand has one of the highest per capita prostitution problems, with abandoned and HIV infected babies often the result. Those remaining to work small tenant holdings of land are unable to make ends meet and seek avenues of hope for their children. The weak, the infirm and the disabled are frequently discarded in the rush to prosperity.

Stateless people and refugees, fleeing the problems in neighboring countries, stream across the borders into Thailand. They are seeking the "American Dream" while Thailand, still striving to emerge as an industrialized country, is unable to solve all it's problems yet alone theirs.

Amid the misery and hopelessness of those left behind in this rush to economic prosperity, many people saw the problems which existed and would soon exist. One of these men was Fr. Raymond Brennan, who commenced his work of helping the needy in Thailand over thirty years ago. He is a shining beacon of hope to those that have never known hope. Fr. Ray has taken upon himself the task of helping those who struggle for daily existence regardless of race, creed or nationality.

When abandoned babies started to appear on his parish doorstep in Pattaya, Fr. Ray decided it was time for an orphanage. When the disabled came to him for help, he decided to give them the tools to help themselves -- an education and vocational training. When the blind, the deaf and the mute came to him, he responded to their special needs. When street children, hardened by years of fending for themselves, sought relief, he provided an escape. When stateless people rotted in prison for decades for lack of official documents, he decided to free them.

Father Brennan has acted as a parent, provider, teacher, advisor and friend to thousands who had nowhere else to turn. He has accepted them as they are, without moralizing or proselytizing , and provided them with all the necessities of life and tools for their future. Most important of all, he has provided them with love.

In summary,
Is this Web Page the story of that remarkable priest, Fr. Ray Brennan? Far from it!!! Fr. Ray would have all our heads if we spent more time than this single page even mentioning him. These pages are not the story of a Catholic priest nor of the Catholic faith. They are the stories of the people who have been helped, are being helped and can be helped in the numerous relief activities that now exist in the city of Pattaya.

Acknowledgement for almost all of the wording in the above paragraphs is made to Mr. Derek Proctor, resident of Thailand, frequent assistor to Pattaya Complex activities and currently a consultant to International Business Systems. Derek was also responsible for a fine written profile of the various activities within the Pattaya Complex. Ample use of those write up's is also acknowledged. My apologies to Derek for any editorial changes inadvertently made. R.J.S.