Matthew Pape

Online teaching saved my life

What would I have done without it?

Many entrepreneurs have always gone on about the glories of multiple streams of income. If you lose your income from one of your sources then you'll still have the other one (or two or three) to take care of you.

I heard one guy talk once about an accident at his home that caused an explosion and put him in a hospital burns ward for several months. He never had any financial worry because he already had several passive streams of income that he didn't need to manage.

Terrible news

I never thought I would have the same type of experience, but I did. I was officially diagnosed with prostate cancer back in May. I can't even begin to tell you how nervous I was when I had to report the situation to my employer but I was really grateful that SINE (the company I work for) were totally cool with it. They supported me all the way.

We decided it was best to not work through my treatment and I was glad that we made that decision because, WOW, that was a rough time.

Working online really saved my ass because of the flexibility of my schedule. If I didn't have any classes scheduled at night, I would close off my availability and rest. Going through cancer treatment is something I would not wish on anyone because it can be emasculating and damaging to your spirit too.

I'm very fortunate to be able to borrow money from my parents to pay for the treatment, but I'm even luckier that my online job helped me pay for my rent and for food. That would have really sucked to have had to borrow money from my parents for that too.

Have I made my point yet?

Working online as a tutor is a great way to make extra cash here in Thailand. If you're making the usual $1000/month, you're breaking even. If you make $500, $800, or even an extra $1000, that is life-changing my friends. It's as hard as hell or even impossible to save that much money per month from a basic salary.

If, God forbid, you have a medical emergency that's as screwed up as mine, on-line teaching can help keep you afloat until the ordeal is over. 

I'm back on my feet figuratively and literally, and true to their word, SINE has some work for me to cover for schools missing a teacher. I'm hoping for semester two that if there is a school close by that needs someone, I can go back in a school as a full-time teacher again instead of being a substitute, which is what I am currently doing.

If you ever apply to work with them, SINE will have your back like they had mine. That makes them more honorable than most companies and schools that I've worked for back in America.

If you're interested in hearing my story of going through treatment for stage four prostate cancer, you can go to my website and see future updates of everyday life and even sign up for the new online school that I am working for. It'll be an extra $100 in my pocket to go toward paying back my debt. 

Just as an FYI, on the video where I tell me story, I do go over-the-top with jokes, but this was more for friends and family that I talk about at the beginning of the video.

Also hopefully if someone my age (42... damn) is going through the same treatment as me, then hopefully I can give them a laugh and peace of mind to show that if I'm doing okay, they can do okay too.

Thank for reading guys, especially if you made it this far. If I've made an impact on even one person, it was worth sharing my story. I hope this makes a difference in many people's lives.


A warning to all! What you don't realise is that there are many greedy doctors the world over that pretend you need an operation when you don't. You are better to go back to a Western country and get opinions from 3 different doctors before "believing" you need an operation. I know many who on returning to the US to get a 2nd opinion were informed that there was absolutely nothing wrong with them and no need for an operation after being advised in Thailand it was essential. Surgery is big bucks! Always be more than street smart.

By John , Malaysia (30th August 2017)

Having gone through a few bouts of serious sickness (although not quite as serious as the one you had) and also having income from online teaching for nearly 10 years now, I completely agree. Unlike you, during a period of sickness (while working for a US University in China), my employer completely throw me under the bus (long story), but having the additional income from my online teaching allowed me to get through the tough time (but not as tough as your time) and come out the other end ok.

Working overseas, we often do not have the same type of safety net as those working back home, and you were lucky enough to have family to help you out, not everyone has that luxury and having an extra income stream from working online (or other source) can really make a difference during times of trouble.

Good advice for people thinking of living abroad long-term. Thanks for sharing.

I hope you are doing well and recovering!

By Jack, In Asia (26th August 2017)

Did SINE pay you your statutory sick pay for 30 days and did you claim the benefits you were entitled to under the Social Security Program?

"Sickness benefit (formal-sector system): 50% of the insured's average daily wage in the highest paid three months of the nine months before the incapacity began is paid. The benefit is paid from the first day of certified absence from work (after the end of entitlement to statutory sick pay, usually 30 days, under the labor law) for up to 90 days for each illness and up to 180 days in any calendar year; may be extended up to 365 days for a chronic condition"

By Steve C, Bangkok (22nd August 2017)

"Working online really saved my ass!"


By Mark, A. MUANG (21st August 2017)

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