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Page added on February 28, 2008

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High gold prices and inflation prompt Thais to sell heirlooms

BANGKOK: The sluggish Thai economy and record gold prices have prompted many elderly Thais to cash in family heirlooms as they struggle to make ends meet.

“This is family jewelry,” said Pannee Sae Kaow, a 78-year-old Thai-Chinese woman standing outside a gold shop in Chinatown in Bangkok and clutching a tarnished gold necklace given to her years ago by her mother.

“The economy has left me no choice but to sell it,” Pannee said forlornly. “Everything is more expensive and it’s tougher to live in a time like this. We’re not rich people.”

Like many of the 65 million people in Thailand, Pannee, who makes just 6,000 baht, or $185, a month from a small dumpling stall, is not alone in battling soaring inflation stemming from high oil prices and an economy laboring after two years of political strife, including a coup in 2006.


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