This is a true story of a grave digger in Thailand, based on an article that appeared in newspaper way back in 2004.
Somnaek Kokrathok was the chief grave digger working for Poh Teck Tung Foundation in Bangkok.
Poh Teck Tung Foundation was founded a hundred years ago to provide proper burial for unclaimed bodies.
At those days, many dead bodies were found in Bangkok, and nobody tended to them.
As of today, Poh Teck Tung Foundation has expanded its service to serving the poor people, the injured and the dead.
Somnaek Kokrathok worked in Samut Sakhon province, about 30 km from Bangkok.
His job includeddigging grave for new corpse, and exhumed the dead bodies from the grave for mass cremation five years later.
The cemetery is never meant for the dead to stay buried permanently.
In 2005, about 10,000 were exhumed from the cemetery.
The monks conducted the mass funeral rites, and cremation for all of the unclaimed dead.
In the words of Somnaek Kokrathok, the chief grave digger, they were unknown but not uncared for.
Somnaek Kokrathok and the other grave diggers worked for long hours under the hot sun, for a very low wage.
They were paid less than $400 in 2004. They considered the work as satisfying, since they were gaining merits by caring for the unknown dead.
There were some spooky moments in their work.
Once Somnaek Kokrathok saw the spirits of some children. They were rather playful, and wanted to disturb him.
Somnaek Kokrathok were very firm with the spirits of these children. He told them that if they continued to disturb him, he would not let him rest in the
On that night, the spirits of these 8 kids appeared in his dream, and apologized for their playfulness.
They begged for his forgiveness. As a sign of good will, they gave him winning combination for the national lottery that week.
Once Somnaek Kokrathok met with a road accident. His injuries were so severe that the doctors practically gave up on him. The doctors even told him that his chance of survival was very, very slim.
He stayed in the hospital for two months, but he survived.
He believed that his good deeds in the past helped to save his life.
While working as a chief grave digger was satisfying to him, his girlfriends did not share the same thought.
They complained that he smelt of death, and all of them broke off with him.
In most countries, the grave digger dug the grave for the recent dead. However, the grave diggers in Thailand had the tough job of exhuming the graves too.
They had to do it every year for the mass cremation ceremony.