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.


Leosia said...

I would agree that Thai kids are spoilt excessively. However (and its a big "however") what you have in Thailand is a social order whereby kids are taught to respect elders and to behave in a respectful manner. This is something we lost long ago in the West, so much so that we have gangs of kids roaming the streets killing people for fun - and filming the scene on their mobile phones.

I think that in general Thai kids are very well behaved compared to Western kids - who probably have more material possessions and therefore higher expectations. The worst kids I have ever seen are muslim children, who behave like rabid animals in public.

hobby said...

You have a point about the 'social order', but Dr John does a good job of explaining the downsides of that (IMO)

I'm unable to say who has the right model for raising children, and actually think luck plays a big part, as kids of 'bad' parents can end up model citizens, and kids of 'good' parents still seem to go 'off the rails'.

Anonymous said...

You're right in saying that Thai kids are no worse than any others. But there is a degree of truth in what Dr. John's comment. However, I feel Dr John has made the assumptions that the children he observed are the majority.

There are children from poorer families who naturally learnt to adopt responsibilities as they have to help support their families in order to survive and these are the majority.

But if Dr John is referring to middle and middle upper class parents then he has a point!

Joy said...

i think i agree with anonymous (being a Thai myself). My grandparents were farmers, and all their kids needed to either help out on the farm, with household chores, or raising younger siblings. Lower middle class, and, to a greater extent, Thai family from working class background is not in a position to spoil their kinds coz it's hard enough to maker ends meet.

antipadshist said...

Thailand is not hopeless - I hope.

because there are enough young smart people who are world-wise (even if it is only due to their usage of internet) and know well enough what is what and what's going on. sooner of later these young fellas are gonna change the things - it is simply inevitable, as a force of evolution.

meanwhile, the old farts (the elite and amart) will continue doing their best to plunder the country and siphon the money to their offshore assets and companies, and attempt to prolong if not strengthen their grip on the system which facilitates that.

so, either those youngsters will win eventually, or this country will become similar to NK or Burma II regime. or may be entirely seize to exist as a sovereign state but become like a province of a Greater China eventually.

but then, taking into consideration what's going on in so called "democracies" of the West - "corporate fascism" or "socialism for rich" - it wouldn't be surprising at all if LOS also follows their lead and become (or rather continue being) a caricature version of those regimes...

Vichai N said...

There's nothing to be alarmed about spoiled Thai kids. The kids would soon realize the errors of their ways, one way or the other.

It's those spoiled Thai adults and even more spoiled hard-of-hearing Thai geriatrics that are the source and cause of the ongoing Thailand mess. (These Thai seniors would never admit to the errors of their ways!)

Joy said...

couldn't agree more with Vichai.