I had an interesting conversation with Catherine of Women Learn Thai last night that really made me sit back and think about what I would like to see for Thailand in the future.
Catherine is very passionate about a number of things in Thailand but one of her biggest passions is the law concerning seat belt use. I had thought it was the law that everyone in the car must have a seat belt on but Cat quickly corrected me to the fact that only the front passengers are legally required to wear a seat belt. A lot of cars in Thailand don’t even come with rear seat belts. If something were done about this many more lives could be saved yearly in Thailand, even if some people still disregarded the law.
Obviously as westerners we are all coming from countries that over time have mandated certain aspects of life for health and safety reasons, while they haven’t always been in the consumers best interest they have definitely changed the way we live our lives.
With that in mind I started thinking about the things that I believe need to be changed in Thailand that would result in a better way of life.
- Remove all elephants from city streets in all of Thailand and make it illegal for regular citizens to own an elephant.
- Curb the use and manufacture of plastic bags. In a country with thousands of weavers and bakets for sale there has to be a way to become less dependent on plastic bags. As Catherine pointed out to me, even Burma is enacting laws to curb the use of plastic bags and reverting to using news papers for a lot of things.Ban on Plastic Bags Extended to Rangoon
- No more than 2 passengers on a motorcycle. How many times have you seen 4-6 people on a small motorcycle including babies and young children, all of which not wearing a helmet. I would think this might save a life or two over time.
- All pet sales have to be through licensed shops and all animals such as dogs and cats must be spayed/neutered and licensed before given to the new owner. The stray dog and cat population in Thailand is a very sad sight that impacts everyone. How many people are bitten a year and have to go through rabies shots? How many animals needlessly suffer?
- Removal of the Lèse-Majesté laws. They are archaic, abused and have no place in a democratic society.
This is my list and of course these things are much easier said than done but even the longest of journeys begin with one single step.
What would you add to the list?
More importantly what do you think you, as a foreigner and an individual, can do to make a difference in Thailand and possibly make it a better place?