- 21 Apr 2017 at 03:00
- WRITER: PORNCHAI SEREEMONGKONPOL
Our dear cabinet recently approved a budget to buy 10 made-in-China tanks worth two billion baht while key members also seem keen on a plan proposed by the Royal Thai Navy to buy three submarines worth 36 billion baht. While I'm sure these dear sirs exercised their sound rationale before agreeing to such big purchases for the sake of Thailand's security, IMHO, with utmost respect, I would like to point out that there are other more beneficial ways the money could be used too.
Perhaps, the cabinet should consider buying one less submarine and spend the freed-up money fixing the following problems (while also keeping some extra change for business trips abroad). Sirs, if you take my humble advice, you'll win the approval of the people (in case you want to stay on indefinitely) and you'll immediately bring them happiness as you promised.
The Street Food Conundrum
Despite Bangkok being hailed as the street food capital by CNN for the second year running, BMA has been launching crackdowns on all vendors. And hard. On Tuesday, BMA announced a plan to get rid of food vendors on Yaowarat and Khao San Road too by the end of this year. I can foresee what a big mess this plan could turn into as it'll jeopardise the livelihood (and an affordable hangout place) of so many. And despite how you personally feel about the street food culture, you can't deny that it's considered to be a real charm of the city by so many here.
The govt could have stepped in to find a solution that would please all involved. Strict regulating and sanctioning areas for street food on a case-by-case basis with the S44 magic wand, instead of an outright ban, perhaps?
BTS or MRT Galleries
Commuters on the BTS or MRT trains are like a captive audience being bombarded with visual/audio assaults from those banners and TV screens showing advertisements. Not to mention those mini smartphone screens from fellow passengers.
The govt could buy out the ad spaces available on these trains and the stations and replace them with pictures of puppies, kittens, our famous beaches (to subliminally promote tourism) or works by Thai artists. This should make the ride more pleasant and Instagrammable for passengers. There should also be public deodorant spray cans available at all stations so there will be no BO on board.
Getting Rid of the Utility Poles
Seriously, those poles and their f*gly wires need to be moved underground for several good reasons. First and foremost, some of those wires droop so low that they can actually catch someone really tall by their neck if they aren't careful. Secondly, without them, our precious sidewalks would be a tad more walk-able and tidier as they, for some reason, also serve as garbage dumping sites, spots to put offerings out for wandering spirits and impromptu urinals for soi dogs and drunk people.
Growing More Trees
Deputy Bangkok governor Amnuay Nimmano recently said it himself that we have only 3sqm of green space per person in Bangkok when the World Health Organization said we need an average of 16sqm.
The junta could spearhead a plan to spring up more trees in public spaces, open new parks or improve our existing ones. In any case, I would strongly advice against buying more big bowls for lotuses.
Endorsing English as Our Official Second Language
I remember not so long ago the aptly-named Education Ministry called off a plan to make English our second language due to a worry that other countries would think we were previously colonised. Nations rise and fall, people. If you want to be proud of that fact, go ahead, but don't let it hold back our future.
I'll say we need to get over ourselves and equip ourselves with better English so we can be more competent as a nation. Hire qualified native teachers to teach at your average Thai schools please. I'm sure they are cheaper than the National Legislative Assembly members who are paid B100,000++ a month (even if some of them are frequently absent from work).
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