Returning happiness to the people – just call Bill
Some while back the government spent considerable time and energy in setting up the Damrongtham center. The idea was simple; call a certain number, go online and some helpful member of the civil service will listen to your difficulty and you will get referral and immediate action. Problem solved. Brilliant.
Trouble is while I am sure they are civil you just don’t get the service.
Little did its miffed customers know that all they had to do was call Bill!
No sooner had Bill Gates posted disgruntled holiday snaps than the government itself was jumping to his tune. On this occasion it was a picture familiar to everyone in Thailand – those tangled wires you see on every street corner.
Bill thought they were an absolute disgrace – that’s the wires not the government – and five minutes later the prime minister announces they’re spending a zillion baht on burying everything underground. Until Bill came along it had taken thirty years for action. Problem solved. Brilliant.
Now if only Bill had posted a few more holiday snaps we might have got a bit more action. The soi dogs on Soi Oriental Hotel for example. Surely he could have taken a picture of the gridlocked traffic.
Not wishing him or wife Melinda any trouble on their next visit but if they had a tiny road accident, or the taxi driver had charged twenty baht too much or Bill had his wallet lifted by a lady boy or a monk. Or just a tiny bit of their hotel collapsed and he posted another helpful picture. The inevitable improvements would mean Thailand could be well on the way to the Nirvana of twenty million more tourists.
Not that that in itself seems to be the problem if the figures for tourist arrivals announced this week are to be believed. Bangkok is apparently now the most visited city in the world and even skeptic Yanks are threatening to outdo the poverty struck post Brexit British visitors in the coming year when foreigners will probably outnumber Thais ten to one.
Indeed it had looked earlier in the week that the beleaguered Englanders were in for a bit of joy after “Little” the albino porcupine – no, I am not making this up – predicted a win for the national team at the Euros at a Chiang Mai safari park.
Iceland subsequently put an end to “Woy’s” dream while a series of unfortunate accidents nearly put an end to everyone else’s.
First was the bear ‘as big as a buffalo’ that surprised an Ubon mushroom collector embedding a souvenir ursine tooth in his head in the process. The man survived as did the sergeant who thought driving his Pajero over a rickety wooden bridge would be a good idea to save time at a klong in Ayuthaya.
What I liked about this story was the quick think actions that in a spanner and smashing his way out of the sinking vehicle – rather than concentrating on the decision making process that landed him in the canal in the first place. The forum gave the copper almost as much of a mauling as the bear had given the mushroom collector.
Accident of the week, however, has to go to the classic photo opportunity that went disastrously wrong. The scene was one witnessed over Thailand – officials proud of the work in progress repairing the local roads having their collective phizogs snapped with the mechanical digger in the background.
Just one thing – no one told Somchai the driver of the backhoe that the municipal authority leader and his entourage were standing plumb in the way.
Who could blame him for flattening the boss, after all he was only doing his job. And it wasn’t as if anyone was killed though the Thai nation did die laughing with half a million views within hours.
Several stories more akin to soap operas once again dominated the week on Thaivisa with the expat community enjoying the fare every bit as much as the Thais. A good story is a good story after all and while the Thais might concentrate on a slightly different angle to westerners it is still fun for all concerned.
A case in point is the Lady Kai vs Student Koy saga that Thaivisa has been billing as rich hi-so versus poor from Isan. Reading between the lines it appears that Lady Kai who is married to a high ranking policemen has been offering the chance of lucrative work for young Thai girls in Hong Kong. It is not likely to be as shop assistant; much more likely is that it will have some tangible relationship to the murky world of the buzzwords of the last few weeks of crackdowns, namely human trafficking.
Lady Kai’s feathers got mightily ruffled whenever her underlings refused these generous job offers and so she reported the girls for theft of millions of baht to the police. The gall of the woman is quite staggering. This last week several more complainants came forward. Amusingly, as the story progressed Thai news sites, perhaps as a precursor for the hi-so woman’s fall from grace, started referring to her no longer as “khunying’ but now as just “nang” or plain old Mrs. Chicken.
Two other stories revealing of fundamental aspects of Thai society were widely reported and commented upon. The first was the “Sideline” girl – otherwise known as sex freelancer – who came out after flogging her body for six years to advise other girls not to follow such a disreputable and demeaning path.
But it emerged that she was boasting of having made up to 500,000 baht a month on some occasions so I think we can expect her “warnings” to fall on decidedly deaf ears as a whole new generation of females ask where they can sign up for such abuse.
While many Thais saw through the nonsense of a rich prostitute who found true love telling others it’s just not worth it, few would use the term “bullshit”. But the Thai word that most resembles this was used on a national dating show when a smarmy male contestant was slagged off as a “bullshit merchant” by prospective female dates– before it emerged he was a racing driver and pilot and actually quite a catch.
Thai television remains a medium where there is very little bad language – I guess just bad programming makes up for it.
Laugh of the Week came out from the minister attached to the PM’s office M.L. Panadda Diskul who announced a major new project to create a huge digital database of “positive stories about the Kingdom”. This was like a red rag to a bull for many Thaivisa forum posters who had a field day posting stories of the complete opposite.
At least the tourism minister Khun Kobkarn stayed out of this one perhaps mindful that at least on news sites the stories of good deeds do tend to be swamped under the latest examples of grisly crime and other national mischief.
This week saw the usual hatful of appalling incidents though two were notable for different reasons. In Bangkok an uncle and aunt who had stepped forward to look after their niece when her mum had been unable to cope ended up murdering the child in Prakhanong in Bangkok. The three year old had been beaten senseless after soiling the bed.
It is hard to sleep after reading such despicable wickedness and though the second case did not result in death it was also shocking. A teacher gave a ten year old 40 severe whacks for not tidying up the classroom as requested. The injuries looked terrible but it remains to be seen whether “sir” will even lose his job.
Unfortunate death of the week went to the Samut Prakarn pub and car care owner who dropped in for a bit to eat on his way home and choked to death on a “Krapow Moo” at his local restaurant. The Thai headline screamed that he died eating the “national dish” though one doubts whether it crossed the mind of the poor man as he lay gagging on the restaurant floor with people phoning medics rather than performing the Heimlich Manoeuver. I think it might be time the general advised everyone to learn some first aid.
Unusual language of the week came in the story about the ladyboy who had nearly been blinded by the illegal practices of a backstreet surgeon in Bangkok. The word “quackery” had some posters diving for their dictionaries while the politically correct were appalled and the snigger brigade amused when the reporter said that the katoey had “come over all queer”.
But apart from the story about Mr. Gates and the wires two others went barmy viral on Thai visa. The first was the monk who had been reported for selling drugs. No news there even if there were several kinds of ‘medication’ and a dozen knives found behind a cabinet. What self-respecting abbot doesn’t do a bit of dealing these days to make monastic ends meet?
No, it was what was found along with a stash of condoms that peaked the investigators interest. Apparently the monk had a collection of tins that had been somehow converted into “masturbation equipment” for what one TV wag called “bashing the bishop”. Soon enough the number of defrocked monks is going to equal policemen in inactive posts.
Finally it was revealed at the end of the week that Thai ladies had placed near the bottom of the world league tables in breast size.
I don’t know what Bill Gates thought about this one but I was pleased for his sake that on this Thai issue he had wisely decided not to post any holiday snaps.
Besides, I rather like the status quo.