BURIRAM, THAILAND – Left to their own devices, five siblings aged between 2, 6, 9, 11 and 13 years are being taken care of by the oldest – 13-year-old Fluke.
After his parents separated and his father left the family to fend for themselves, Fluke’s mother, Panita, now 37, found work at a sugarcane plantation a year ago – in another province. She manages to send her children a total sum of THB1,000 or SG$40 every one to two weeks, through which the siblings rent out a small space and fulfill their basic survival needs.
It is 13 year old Fluke who now ensures his siblings are well taken care of. From the wee hours of the morning at 5am, Fluke begins his daily routine, which involves cooking breakfast and preparing his siblings for school. He bathes them, gets their uniforms ready, and walks them to elementary school before himself heading to the city, where his middle school presides.
During the evenings, Fluke cooks dinner, does the laundry and helps his siblings with their homework before tucking them into bed for the night.
Of the SG$40 sent from their mother, Fluke cooks rice in their home while purchasing a serving of curry or a similar dish which the children can share among themselves. Time and again, their neighbours offer them food as well.
Responsibility for his siblings does not, however, hinder Fluke from moving forward in his own academic life; not only does he excel in school, but was too chosen to be a district representative in an international math competition, where he won the gold medal.
The fact that he does not have a guardian to look up to or care for him does not discourage him in the least, says Fluke. He hopes to pursue his lifelong dream to continue studying and attain a higher education degree, own his own house and work as a policeman. If this isn’t true gallantry in action, we don’t know what is.
The admiration of Fluke’s efforts has led to many attempting to help out the siblings in any way possible, to which the teen responded: