Missing woman found 25 years after boarding wrong bus

What’s up with women going missing in Southeast Asia? Last month, a Vietnamese woman missing for 19 years emerged from the jungle. In Malaysia, an ethnic Chinese couple wants to sue a hospital for giving them the wrong, dark-skinned son … 30 years ago. Now a Thai woman has been reunited with her family 25 years after ...

604196_thai_bus_05.jpg
604196_thai_bus_05.jpg

What's up with women going missing in Southeast Asia?

Last month, a Vietnamese woman missing for 19 years emerged from the jungle. In Malaysia, an ethnic Chinese couple wants to sue a hospital for giving them the wrong, dark-skinned son ... 30 years ago. Now a Thai woman has been reunited with her family 25 years after boarding the wrong bus.

The woman boarded the wrong bus when leaving on a shopping trip, and ended up 800 miles north in Bangkok. She only spoke Yawi, a dialect of Muslims in southern Thailand, and couldn't communicate with anyone in Thai or English. In hopes of returning home, she took another wrong bus to a city near the border with Burma and ended up being a beggar there for five years. In 1987, police who suspected she was an illegal immigrant arrested her, but they couldn't identify where she was from. So they put her in a social services center, where she remained for the next 20 years.

What’s up with women going missing in Southeast Asia?

Last month, a Vietnamese woman missing for 19 years emerged from the jungle. In Malaysia, an ethnic Chinese couple wants to sue a hospital for giving them the wrong, dark-skinned son … 30 years ago. Now a Thai woman has been reunited with her family 25 years after boarding the wrong bus.

The woman boarded the wrong bus when leaving on a shopping trip, and ended up 800 miles north in Bangkok. She only spoke Yawi, a dialect of Muslims in southern Thailand, and couldn’t communicate with anyone in Thai or English. In hopes of returning home, she took another wrong bus to a city near the border with Burma and ended up being a beggar there for five years. In 1987, police who suspected she was an illegal immigrant arrested her, but they couldn’t identify where she was from. So they put her in a social services center, where she remained for the next 20 years.

The staff at the center thought she was a mute until last month, when Yawi-speaking students happened to visit the center and the woman could finally talk to people who could understand her.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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