BangkokDan at Absolutelybangkok.com has posted a very interesting YouTube video. It is about a British woman who was sent to a Thai prison as a consequence of trying to smuggle drugs out of Thailand. Her name is Sandra Gregory who later wrote a book entitled “Forget you had a daughter” about her experiences of her time in the prison.
I came across this programme about her over a year ago on Channel 5 UK. What struck me about her was that, without being biased by her story, she seemed to be genuinely honest and regretful for what she did in Thailand. I felt really sorry for her, especially when she mentioned her parents. Nobody ever wants their child to be sent to jail, let alone in a foreign country like Thailand where the sentence for drugs related crime is very severe. I can imagine what her parents felt when they saw their daughter in a Thai jail. Their hands wanted to touch their daughter, but they were prevented by a ‘no man’s land’ gap and chicken wire.
Later on Sandra Gregory was granted a royal pardon by His Majesty the King. You can see the whole story about this on Youtube. Revisiting her story for the third time makes me realise that people can do wrong things and in some cases, like hers, they might not be immoral. But sometimes people can make very big mistakes. One particular bit of poor judgement could easily land someone in very big trouble and can change that person’s life forever.
To me, the fact that she can demonstrate to everybody that she is not such a bad person makes it a happy ending. I genuinely believe she is now even a better person after succeeding in her geography degree from Oxford university. It makes me think that some people deserve a second chance, but it also might depend on what type of crime they have committed. In Sandra’s case, I am pleased with the second-chance result.
What can foreign people, particularly young travellers, learn from this story? As a Thai person, I can advise that when you travel to Thailand, never get involved with any sort of drugs because when you get arrested, the punishment is always very harsh, in some cases you may be executed. Whenever you get into trouble, no money for example, you can still go to your country’s embassy where there will always be some help for you. I do not know about other foreign embassies, apart from British one which I visited twice to apply for a UK student visa; the officials there were very helpful and polite to me. If you are a British citizen, like Sandra Gregory, you should not hesitate to seek their help. I think this is a valuable lesson that everybody should learn. I hope people do.