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Do you agree on This?

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The Nations article,  The coming decade: Thailand’s ten greatest fears by Kavi Chongkittavorn makes a very interesting read.   Khun Kavi  has listed the followings as the big ten:

1. CONCERN OVER HIS MAJESTY.

2. FEAR OF LOSING THAI WAY OF LIFE.

3. FEAR OF LOSING NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY.

4. FEAR OF INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM.

5. FEAR OF COLOUR-BLINDNESS.

6. FEAR OF INSIGNIFICANCE.

7. FEAR OF POLITICAL CHAOS.

8. FEAR OF TELLING THE TRUTH.

9. FEAR OF ABHISIT’S WITHERING LEADERSHIP.

10. FEAR OF THE FICKLE FUTURE.

This has made me ponder why we Thais with our Buddhist way of  life have so much anxieties and fear over things that the Buddha have taught us  as the fundamentals of being human. We are subject to birth and live our lives in constant state of flux until such a time that our biological bodies come to an end. Yet we all fear change and the biggest of all change, death.

It seems that being modern Thai what we fear of most is uncertainty/ impermanence and interestingly we  fear virtue.

Surely what being Thai is not just what the Tourism Authority of Thailand expound. We cannot forever go on believing that we are amazing Thais who never stop smiling through it all! We risk becoming a cardboard cut-out of TAT campaigns.

As this is the beginning of the year, perhaps we should look at the list and ask ourselves what makes us who we are?

At this moment in time, what makes us Thai to me, is lost in translation.

It makes me post the question, do we Thais really know what historical Thailand is about. It makes me question what do we really know of our history. What we have learnt in school and more importantly what we began to record as our history is not accurate enough as always politic has a hand at writing our history.

May be we should look at the way of life lived outside Bangkok to find out what being Thai is about.

Here is my take on this list,

1. CONCERN OVER HIS MAJESTY = fear of having to grow up and be responsible for our own actions, body, speech and mind!

2. FEAR OF LOSING THAI WAY OF LIFE = fear of change and that also equates to making an effort to change

3. FEAR OF LOSING NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY = we have lost that sovereignty when the CIA moved in 50years ago but shhhh…

4. FEAR OF INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM = this one I agree but it will be nice for some to have the ability to intellectualize first and not follow thoughts of others verbatim

5. FEAR OF COLOUR-BLINDNESS, ditto this

6. FEAR OF INSIGNIFICANCE – yes I have to agree with this and that includes the entire high echelon

7. FEAR OF POLITICAL CHAOS – hold on, we have been living in chaos for the past 3 years, haven’t we?

8. FEAR OF TELLING THE TRUTH – yes this might be seen by onlookers as a Thai trait if we’re not careful

9. FEAR OF ABHISIT’S WITHERING LEADERSHIP – what leadership, show me when he actually does that please

10. FEAR OF THE FICKLE FUTURE – yes but hasn’t this fear been with us since the end of WW 2

Hey but this is only one woman opinion. Why not tell me if you agree or better still what do you think are Thais greatest fear?

Happy 2010 and lets live in hope and not in fear.

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12 thoughts on “Do you agree on This?

  1. I just spent the last week in Taiwan (politically governed by China) and I must say that I think most of these “reported fears” are probably justified, whether real or not. Being in Taiwan I was struck by how open, friendly and intelligent Taiwanese people are. There is also a lot of “activity”, with the sense of an economy moving rapidly forward.

    As to physical differences; no beggars, no security guards, no police on the streets, no katoeys. Everything works, the streets are clean, the choice is endless and cheap. The Taiwanese have beautiful temples but they don’t stop to pray on every street corner (much like the Japanese).

    Arriving back in Thailand I was struck by all the things you mention – the excessive preoccupation with all the things which just don’t matter if you do the job right in the first place. Thailand is mired in the past whilst its neighbours are racing into the future.

  2. โทษนะพี่… แต่ในบรรดานายกที่ผ่านมา อย่างน้อยก็ ห้าคนหลัง
    เราชอบคุณอภิสิทธิ์มากที่สุด อ่ะ…
    บางที leadership กับ modesty มันก็ไปในทิศทางเดียวกันได้…..

    Ribbib, I took the liberty and translated your comment for non Thai reader. Hope you don’t mind na ka.

    “I beg to differ here … of all the past PM’s, especially the last 5, I like Abhisit best.
    Sometimes leadership and modesty can work together -go in the same direction.”

  3. ภาษาอังกฤษเราไม่แข็งแรง
    แต่ที่พี่แปลเนี่ยยย ตรงใจใช้ได้
    ขอบคุณมากก๊าบบ

  4. No katoeys? Excuse me? What’s wrong with transgenders in Thailand? I see nothing wrong with the way they are, albeit they are a tad outre and excessively in your face.

    In regard to this topic, I concur with khun Chdarat that Thai people should grow up (quickly) and start taking responsibility for their own actions, instead of counting on opportunists who will always use chicanery to exploit wide-eyed Thais for their own benefit.

  5. I think Ribbib’s point is interesting. I also like Abhisit as a person but not as a politician. He has not fought and won an election and currently merely “holds things together” until something changes again. But at least he and the democrats are trying.

    From recent studies (not difficult to do) the most effective politician has been Thaksin. During this period Thailand had unprecedented growth, and following the coup it has been in rapid decline. I don’t like Thaksin either but these are facts. You can like Abhisit all you want but every economic indicator is getting worse not better.

    Thailand will never see sustained growth again – as in the case of its neighbours – until their is consensus over the form of government. Democracy (the system Thailand was heading towards ten years ago) or dictatorship (what it has now).

    As we see in the case of Taiwan you don’t need to have democracy to be enormously successful. But you do need consistency and predictability.

  6. Abhisit is a nice guy and as a person I also like him. Ribbib is right is saying that modesty in leadership is a rare quality as most are the opposite.

    Still I have to stand my ground as modest, charming and interesting specimen that her is, he has been denied power to lead and my comment should therefore be expanded to say he is ineffective as he has never been given the opportunity to lead and carry out effectively any of his policies having to forever compromise in order to remain in power.

    I look forward to see him elected into government and see what he will be like. However, that might not be possible as people here are mostly short sighted and have no time for the long view so they will mostly blame him for all the things that are wrong right now.

    Thailand New Year resolution should be to really work hard at electing someone into power for the sake of this country and not on personality or wealth. I can dream on …

    BTW Taiwan and Korea was like Thailand a few years back but they some how changed course, would love to get the magic formula and sprinkle it into Thai stratosphere.

  7. “What’s wrong with transgenders in Thailand?” There’s nothing wrong with them but their sheer magnitude, prominence and distribution (notably in the entertainment and sex industry) in Thai culture is symbolic of the relaxed attitude in Thailand as to what constitutes life’s priorities. Needless to say, it’s not about hard work, education and doing a good job – which IT IS in neighbouring (and undemocratic) Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc.

    My point is clearly not about transgenders(!), it’s about the scale of non-value added jobs in Thailand. Even if you walk around the streets of Vietnam you won’t see masses of beggars, police doing something other than police work, substantial copyright infringement, security men blowing whistles and waving hands and people generally doing nothing to create value in society.

  8. I think if one lived in Korea or Taiwan (or anywhere) instead of just visiting, then the particular problems within a country might be more apparent.

    Many Thai’s (not Chdarat:) seem to find it hard to examine their country (and themselves) and instead get defensive and sensitive – IMO this is one of the main reasons why Thailaind is like it is – its not all bad of course, and the Thai personality that inhibits change/improvement is also very tolerant IMO – just compare being in a traffic jam in Thailand to one in the West to see the difference in personality:)

    On the political side of things, I think JFL’s latest comment over at Prachatai Eng hits the mark.

  9. I still don’t see how the way they conduct their lives affects anybody, even though what they have been doing or who they are might be deemed fruitless by other people. Personally, I think they rock. That is just the way it is; some people simply do not want to work hard, including me. Having said that, this does not mean these people are not cognizant of the value of education and industriousness, but they might not be bothered enough to aim for higher goals. Instead, they have chosen an easy option. This, as far as I am concerned, is fine. I think it is slightly conceited for someone to expect other people to share the same sentiment as him or her. If people want to improve their sense of well-being, they will do it in their own time, but it will not be appreciated when someone tries to offer them gratuitous advice or suggestions.

  10. Oneditorial: “I still don’t see how the way they conduct their lives affects anybody” Really? The only time I’ve been robbed in eight years in Thailand was last year when my bag was stolen by a ladyboy in Bangkok. It contained my passport, wallet with ATM and credit cards, phone and iPod. It cost me all told about 30,000 baht and considerable time and energy to replace. The police were not in the least bit helpful as you can imagine. If you look at the frequency of theft on the streets of Bangkok a significant proportion of it is instigated by katoeys. Ladyboys constitute the lowest rung of Thai society (alongside drug dealers and other criminals) and should be treated as such.

    If you think “ladyboys rock” and they provide some hope for the future of Thailand then I’m lost for words. The best advice I can give for ladyboys is to put them all on an island for human freaks.

    • I am sorry to hear about your incident. But you should not single them out and tar them all with the same brush just because you had a bad experience. The same also applies to not uncommon incidents in which western men molest Thai kids. I would not dream of making a sweeping generalisation that all of you, behaviourally speaking, are the same. It is not right on many levels. I don’t doubt that some ladyboys are no good and some will prey on naive foreign tourists and they should be dealt with appropriately. Yet there are also many Thai katoeys who are normal and helpful. We even have a ladyboy teacher and a katoey air hostess. I take issue with you over your broad assumption of these people. It is bigoted and wrong. I don’t think they are freaks. They just want to live their lives, living la vida loca, and only want to be who they really want to be, like you and me. I admire their way of living as to me these people live their lives more authentically than the rest of us and I don’t doubt that.

  11. “Fear of Intellectual Freedom,” that’s a classic.

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