Friday, September 25, 2009

Has Dr. John got it right? (Situation hopeless?)


Dr. John and the Night Tripper crew performs Zu Zu Mamou (Warning: possible Voodoo content)

Letter to the Bangkok Post
(PAD even gets some praise in another letter:)

"The sad state of affairs starts young here
The past weeks have seen numerous navel-gazing articles littering the English-language press about the state of Thai society, what bodes for the future, all lamenting on the parlous state the country finds itself in and postulating solutions.
Sadly, the raw fact is that there are no magic solutions. The country is inherently dysfunctional and will remain so. The reasons for this are complex and manifold, but I will address what I see as the main protagonists.

It starts young; I watch the predominantly male children of friends and colleagues being essentially indulged and spoilt. There is very little corrective parenting that involves ''no don't do that, no you can't have that''. Indeed, one English father has become so exasperated by his Thai wife's constant doting on their youngest to the exclusion of all discipline, that he has detached himself from the close rearing process entirely.
This kind of over-indulgent behaviour by parents produces spoilt children who become petulant at a moment's notice. They become equally unpleasant adults that feel the world owes them and revolves around them.
I will not loiter on the educational system as it has generated reams of column inches over the past months; sufficient to say that it continues to fall substantially short of being in any way fit for purpose and offers no assistance here.

Then there is the general demeanour of Thai society and the requirement for non-questioning, non-confrontational deference if you are not the high status one. This suffocating environment not only prevents any form of growth in social society, but is the most fertile of environments for corruption in any of its forms, as those who are endlessly fawned upon grow to become arrogant and indulgent.

Then in the higher structures of society, due process is routinely interfered with so that a ''workable'' outcome can be achieved; no doubt it being paraded as the middle way. Sadly, if the middle way falls out with the law or at least natural justice, then the seeds of division are sown and those at lower levels see that as a green light to make their own ''middle'' way and thus we have the society we have today.

So, short of brainwashing the entire country and starting again, there is nothing that can be done as there is no part of the national structure that is _ save for one very striking exception _ respected. That, sadly, is the sum of it.


I'm not completely sure about the child spoiling comments, as Thai kids (including males) don't seem any worse behaved than their western counterparts - if true, I'm thinking the deference to higher authority 'rule' must counteract the child spoiling???

I hope Dr John is wrong about the rest, particularly the hopelessness of the situation.

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