A build up of the temperature, as it is I am unsure whether “winter” has ended, with this dense smog in the sky and the steady increase of humidity. Weather affects the urban poor, often harshly, offering no mercy to even those seeking sanctuary behind rusted zinc walls.
The cold nights were unbearable for the homeless, for those wandering the streets without warm clothes, without access to temporary shelters. Malnutrition now, then, along with the vulnerability created by urban poverty. Food is accessible though not a balanced diet, as some rummage in trash bins or receiving leftovers from residents.
State-run social welfare for the homeless is almost non-existent, despite the presence of government hospitals and clinics. Forget the private health care services, these are not for the wandering poor. Most common, homeless folks have no identity papers, and ostracised, being branded “Burmese”, “Rohingya”, “Khmer” or simply ignored. Statelessness, coupled with poverty, the breeding cesspool of marginalization, with tongue-tied mainstream media and many redundant NGOs.
There are no visible campaigns by the junta-led government agencies responsible for community development. At least not the “rights-based” programs. What little that happens on the ground, are thanks to the initiatives of young Thais, who drive the energy for community-based outreach projects and soup kitchens. Otherwise, the overall junta road-map is beyond the reach and understanding of the poor.
The marginalized community depends on the informal work sector, collecting garbage for reprocessing. All for a fistful of coins, or sometimes less. Others depend on the trade of a street vendor, selling food, or toys made from recycled tin cans. Those working, or possessing no income, are caught in the cycle of poverty, of debts. Where are the grand master plans of the country’s political masters? What happened to the governor of this city of smiles? Where are the champions who claim to fight for equality?
Forgotten, them the urban poor, or just that no one else gives a fuck.