Dienstag, 15. Juli 2014

Thailand: You are too stupid to vote!


A couple of days ago a friend of mine posted this article on Facebook - and I got really angry - again! We already heard this point of view so often before. It was proclaimed during the anti-government protests again and again by speakers and supporters of the PAD (anti-government protest 2005 -2008)  and PDRC (anti-government protest November 2013 - May 2014). Both were right-wing, ultra-royalist, partially fascist and mostly anti-democratic protest movements.
(read also: http://yanawa.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-anti-government-protest-in-bangkok.html)

Very interesting is Ponn's argument in the second part of the article when he asks the reader if he would let a lawyer operate him or her, etc.
I think he wants to show with this kind of example, that you need a certain knowledge/experience, intelligence and standard of education when you want to do your job properly and, in his opinion, this also extends to one's ability to vote.
Referring to one's job - he may be right. But he is completely wrong when he set's this standard also on political matters. Daily politics are, among other things, about EVERYONE'S (and not just the elite's) daily needs, goals, interests and visions! You don't need a university degree to understand your needs. The rice farmer, the factory worker and the street vendor know exactly what they want: better payment, less "donations" to teachers, policemen, land owners, politicians..., better education for their children, an affordable healthcare system, etc. And last but not least it is a matter of decency and how you regard and treat your fellow human beings: as humans or as underlings,serfs or animals.

After being confronted with this nonsense (that there are more and less qualified voters, etc.) for so many years, one would imagine that I got used to it. But on the contrary, every time when I am confronted with such point of views I am getting more and more angry!
In Khun Ponn's opinion, higher educated people or people with higher graduation are more intelligent and therefor better voters (humans) and regarding upcoming elections (whenever this will be) that should be taken into account. David Streckfuss' satirical draft shows how people like Khun Ponn possibly want the election law to be "reformed":


But please, don't get me wrong! There are a lot of of very nice, decent and really smart people in this country. From all walks of life! Not everyone paid for his or her good marks at school or university, not everyone is greedy and corrupt and not everyone is afraid of accepting responsibility for their lives and their decisions. Many of these people are very close to me and they earned my deepest respect in their fight for human rights, freedom of expression, free and fair elections, labour rights and democracy. Others just want to live their ordinary life and refuse to force their will or opinion on others and they strongly believe in the diversity of opinions.

Sadly Thailand is currently ruled by a ruthless, violent, anti-democratic, greedy but also dwindling minority who is deeply convinced that the real value of a human being is defined by it's wealth, it's level of graduation and it's position in society's hierarchy. Obedience without questioning is the ultimate goal. Different opinions are not tolerated and everyone who disagrees or holds a different opinion should be punished by all means!

The following examples will proof that high graduated/educated people are NOT necessarily more intelligent and their sometimes insufficient general knowledge is terrifying. Some of them don't even know how to do their job properly! All pictures were taken in or near our neighbourhood.


My first example refers to the Thailand's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The members of the NHRC seem to be "intelligent and well educated" and many Thais regard them as honorable and decent people. Therefor they should be qualified voters.
But considering the activity, comments and reports of the NHRC since 2010 it is obvious that the members of the commission are far from being able to do their job properly! They have no idea about the principles of human rights or their definition (see text below) and they are unable to recognise the difference between ordinary laws and human rights. Taking Mr. Ponn at his word, because of their inability and ignorance, the members of the NHRC should be excluded from elections or at least, their votes should be less worth than those of "better qualified/smart" voters.

Prach Panchakunathorn wrote in his analysis on the report of the NHRC (about the 2010 violence):

...1. The NHRC does not understand the difference between violating human rights and violating the law
It should be quite obvious that violating human rights is different from breaking the law. The fact that someone violates the law does not imply that he also violates human rights. And the fact that someone abides by the law does not imply that he abides by the principles of human rights.
However, the NHRC does not seem to understand this distinction. On page 52-53, the NHRC writes: “The demonstration [by the UDD on 22 April 2010] involved acts that constituted violations of various laws, and caused troubles and damage. So we can say that the UDD’s demonstration involved acts that violated human rights.”

2. The NHRC does not understand the difference between human rights and other rights
The NHRC’s report shows that the NHRC does not understand that human rights are different from ordinary rights, and that violating human rights is different from causing troubles and inconveniences. The NHRC spends a good portion of the report explaining how the UDD’s protests caused troubles and violated some rights and freedom – such as the right to drive vehicles freely without being blocked by protesters, and the freedom to conduct business without being disturbed by protests – as if these rights were human rights.
For example, on page 30 the NHRC writes: “Some protesters had moved to Ratchaprasong intersection, which is an important business area. The protest aimed to block traffic routes and prevent people from using their vehicles, as the area is an important transport hub in the heart of Bangkok. Also, the protest continued for several days without a scheduled end, which affected important businesses, caused troubles, and prevented people from working and living as they normally do.”
In reality, the freedom to drive vehicles unobstructed and the freedom to work and conduct business undisturbed, though often recognised by the state as legal rights, are not human rights...
(Human rights, the law and violence in 2010 by PRACH PANCHAKUNATHORN, 18 AUGUST 2013 - http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2013/08/18/human-rights-the-law-and-violence-in-2010/) .

Terminal for hazardous material next to the oil depots of two international oil companies (Klong Toey/Yannawa)

The pictures below are showing the railway siding for two oil depots located in Klong Toey, near the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok. It is a partly densely populated area. The whole area is more or less unguarded and unprotetcted. Sometimes the smell of solvent is unbearable.
Those people bearing the responsibility for the safety of the area, the condition of the railway tracks and the security of the trains may be smart but they are also irresponsible and/or careless. They risk the lives of hundreds or thousands of innocent people. Should their vote count more than those of ordinary people?

Trains use these railway tracks several times a day!

Partly the railing system is in a very bad condition.

Rail tankers near the oil depots.

Danger code of the rail tankers.

Un-Number  Danger Code Class Proper Shipping Name
120130 + 333Fusel oil
1202303Gas oil or diesel fuel or heating oil, light
1203333Gasoline or petrol or motor spirit

The BRT desaster

The pictures below are showing a "BUS STATION" and NOT a train or skytrain (BTS) station! The idea was to implement a rapid bus system similar to Mexico City or other metropolises. But in Mexico City every five minutes another bus arrives at the station and the network covers large parts of the city. In Bangkok there is just one line only: from Sathorn Road to Charan Sanitwong Road and sometimes up to four busses arrive in just 10 minutes and then one may have to wait for 30 or 40 minutes for next bus to arrive.  The whole system doesn't work.
Also take a close look at the building itself. Many of the expensive escalators are out of order or turned off (most of the time). The wheelchair ramps are just a bad joke (see picture and comment below). There are up to seven ticket counters at every station (most of the time only one counter is staffed) for busses that couldn't transport more than 40 passangers at a time! But I am pretty sure that a number of people earned a lot of money with this oversized bus stations. And since they reduced the four-lane road to a three-lane road the traffic collapses completely every day during rush hour.

An oversized bus station. The escalators (red circles) are turned of as usual.

Most of the ticket counters are closed all the time.

But the wheelchair ramps are THE masterpieces of architecture!
Between the concrete wall and the hedge the clearance width is at most 35 centimetres (red circle). At the end of the concrete wall it is less than 10 centimetres (yellow circle). If you manged the "narrow" passage with your wheelchair you have to cope with the 30 centimetres high kerbside (also yellow circle). 
If you managed those little obstacles you just have to conquer the concrete blocks which define the bus-lane (green circle). Finally you have to cross as quick as possible the three-lane road. These wheelchair ramps are found at nearly every bus station. Furthermore most bus stations are not equipped with an elevator.

Calling stations for taxis

Another example for misunderstanding an idea and the waste of taxpayers money! Installing hundreds of these calling stations in a city with estimated 20.000 taxis driving around makes no sense at all. Especially when these stations were only placed next to main roads. Normally you don't have to wait longer than 2 -3 minutes before another taxi passes by, even late at night or in the early morning hours. Therefor why should I call a taxi via a calling station and wait up to 20 minutes (or longer) for the arrival of the taxi? At the present day all these calling stations are turned off, are out of order, severely damaged or have been salvaged.

Flooded roads

Bigger sewer tunnels could drain more water away than smaller sewer tunnels. And water always flows DOWNHILL and NOT UPHILL! These two simple concepts seem to overstrain many Thai engineers and politicians. And it's not that complicated. Here a little help for city planners:

Wastewater         +            Rainwater                               =   inside diameter for the sewage tunnel

q8 = m * w * s    +            r = i * 10 (simplified formula)  =  diameter sewage tunnel
          3600                              60

Bangkok's new bicycle stations

Again: a good idea badly implemented (you can't just copy a concept that works fine in Copenhagen or Amsterdam and implement it in Bangkok without modification). 
There is just a very small number of bicycles available, just six to ten per station. And the 50 stations are just covering the area between Sathorn road and Rama I road - Bangkok's main business and shopping district. Just around 400 - 450 bikes for hundreds of thousands of commuters! Sorry, that makes no sense at all, especially because the covered area of around 100 sq km is very, very small regarding the size of Bangkok which is nowadays estimated around 2100 - 2200 sq km and a population of officially 6.5 million (unofficially 13 -15 million people, estimated by a representative of the city planning office). Just another immature idea of some members of our ever so educated elite.

The bicycle stations between Sathorn and Rama I.

More interesting links:
Bangkok after the coup - faces
About the coup in Thailand
Bangkok protest: violent Tuesday
The anti-government-protest in Bangkok: A fascist movement?

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