Narrowing the concerns.
Wage. Debts. Housing. Family. Life.
Bangkok has seen it’s fair share of hardship, during times of democracy, martial law, and in times of uncertainty under the military elites. These are challenging times, with zero-plans for social welfare, zero-thoughts on the economy and zero-intervention on the obvious meltdown of human rights.
Poverty is part of the landscape.
The junta boasts about their blueprints on economic recovery, though this is assuming they have a clue on where to start. Yet what of social recovery? In the old days, before the coup d’état, poverty reduction programs were partly effective, especially in rural areas. Nowadays we do not see any sustainable programs that incorporate democratic participation in decision-making among marginalized communities. The institution prefers the top-down approach. Nothing else matters.
A fair chance at life? How so?
Children and adults beg, the roaming homeless, the growing slums, the rubber plantations that offer no economic advantage, paddy fields petrified by drought and societal mediocrity, the malnutrition faced by indigenous families, the Rohingya refugees hiding in the wilderness, and the conflict-torn south Thailand that drives Patani families further into destitution. Where are the road-maps, coupled with political will, to improve the quality of life for vulnerable people?
Being born poor often leads to a lifetime of poverty, at least that is what the social elites expect in Thailand. Poor education systems lead people to poor jobs. Into the loop, as the poor are prodded to run, and crawl, in a hamster wheel.
In media coverage and political discourse, too often these concerns are treated as marginal when in fact they are mainstream. Apathy runs deep. Indifference governs society’s common sense, or what’s left of it.
The needs of human beings must come first, and in this there must be national acknowledgement. The need for rights, the rights for life. If not, then the military elites and bourgeoisie will continue living in their fantasy while the poor suffer the reality.
Social inequality has widen. Poverty has risen.