Thailand in 2011
Thailand, like so many countries, could be on the verge of so much more in the coming year if it can do more than the finite balancing act of the past few years. Political infighting and turmoil are just the tip of an iceberg that sits on one side of the scale, while on the other side sits the hopes and dreams of the Thai people. Thailand is a country still in flux, adopting many western ideas and ideologies while still grasping onto it’s cultural identity with both hands tightly.
While Thailand continues to try and keep these scales in balance there are outside forces seeking to tip the scales in their favor at every turn. What will ex Prime Minister Thaksin’s hopes be for the new year and how will he act on them? How will the continuing tensions with Cambodia factor into the region? Will the continued devaluation of the Dollar and Euro bring more woes to the tourism industry?
There are clearly inside forces at work in Thailand as well that threaten to tip the balance at any time. The largest being the King of Thailand’s fragile health. Will the King’s health weaken more and become a larger issue in 2011? This is a foundation of the iceberg that can’t be ignored. The King is the most respected and revered man in Thailand and everyone looks to him in times of distress for hope. While no one wants to think, much less talk, about it, the King will surely pass one day which will leave an enormous void that will be a hard fought battle to fill.
So many prospects hang in the balance for Thailand in 2011 that it’s hard to predict the year to come. One small tip of the scale could could bring the country to new lows or see Thailand soar high above the region. Hopefully 2010 can be viewed now as an important lesson on what direction Thailand needs to move to become the best it can for it’s people. While the changes necessary won’t come easy or without some conflict there is a chance that the process of change will bring the Thai people closer together which can’t be a bad thing.
Below are a few ideas I have had that I think might help Thailand move in the right direction during 2011. Obviously they are just my thoughts and some may even be far fetched, but I welcome you weighing in and giving your opinions too.
Thailand Wishes for 2011
- Thailand and Cambodia need to put the Preah Vihear conflict well and truly behind them. Preah Vihear has suffered as a result with damage to it’s buildings from gun fire to lost tourism for both countries. As a UNESCO World Heritage site Preah Vihear could be a great boon to the region for both countries if they would sit down and come to terms. Working together and sharing the historic site would bring not only more in tourism to both countries but would do much for the region.
- Stop the censorship . Thailand has taken pride in it’s status as a democracy and yet still the government doesn’t truly understand that you can’t keep the people quiet when they want their voices to be heard. The government needs to stop censoring the people in all forms. Stop arresting people for speaking out, stop closing down web sites because they say unflattering things and surely stop using the antiquated Lèse majesté laws to protect a King that doesn’t need to be protected. Democracy needs to have a free flow of thoughts and ideas, while some of these thoughts and ideas may not be easy to hear you can’t have a democracy without them.
- Equal education for all Thai’s. That’s it in a nutshell. Treat all Thai people with respect and provide them all with the same tools and opportunities so that they can empower themselves and Thailand for a better future. Maybe it’s not just that easy but with everyone having an equal chance the prospects for Thailand’s future become much brighter.
- Let Bangkok sink so that Thailand can rise. Bangkok has long been the seat of political problems for Thailand. The politicians all gather in Bangkok, reason in Bangkok, and think of Thailand in terms of Bangkok. Thailand is much more than Bangkok and reaching out to the whole country needs to be more than a campaign function where the officials only step foot in rural Thailand during elections to hand out money, blankets and alcohol in search of votes. Red shirts, yellow shirts, green shirts and every other political faction has to come to the realization at some point that when they play this “Us against Them” game that the “Them” are their countrymen…they are Thai’s. The politicians need to stop thinking about what will benefit them or Bangkok and start thinking about what will benefit Thailand as a whole.
One thing is for sure, the Thai people deserve a government that is working for them and Thailand’s future, not for itself or certain sections of the populace. The Thai people deserve to see the various political factions working together to solve Thailand’s problems and show true hope for the future of the country.
There are so many more things I would like to add to my list for 2011 but they seem much less important in comparison to the few but extremely complicated wishes I have already listed. In any case I hope nothing but the best in 2011 for Thailand and the Thai people. Whatever may come I hope the Thai people find the best course of action to move forward through the year.
What are your Thailand wishes for 2011?