Monday, March 11, 2013

Do not come to Thailand, this country does not deserve your tourist money

I was reading an interesting post on Thailand. Here it comes :

I am saying this as a 5-year resident of Thailand and in the 10-years previous to moving here I traveled extensively in SE Asia for a cumulative period of well over a year, most of that in Thailand. I will be posting this to every major travel related website and forum I can find to get the word out.

So, why does Thailand not deserve your tourist money? In a word they are spoiled. Tourist income has become expected and is no longer genuinely appreciated. Behind the fake smiles of the Thai people lies a contempt of foreigners that goes to the core of the Thai social hierarchy value system. Your worth in this society is directly attached to the amount of cash in your bank and what family you come from. In a nutshell, Thailand would prefer if you just sent them your money and stayed home.

There are plenty of other beautiful holiday destinations where people are genuine, sincere and interested in hosting visitors from all over the world. There is no other reason to travel here other than if you are a sex tourist who wants to visit the whorehouse of Asia. Thailand will always have sex tourists who want to come here to take advantage of the widely available prostitution but other than those, none of whom I count amongst my list of friends, there is no reason to travel here instead of somewhere else. The beaches are nice but so are beaches in other countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and the Bay of Hong Kong is amazing. Anything, aside from the availability of prostitution, can be found at other destinations which will also have a favorable exchange rate for your foreign money.

Go to another country where that hard earned money will be appreciated, not taken for granted, and where the people are genuinely interested in meeting and hosting guests from all over the world. In Thailand, once they have your money, you will be talked about with contempt by Thais behind your back. You see, I speak enough of the language, too much in fact, to not understand the comments and trust me here, you may be treated with an outward kindness but that is part of the amazing Thai ability to hide what they really feel inside and put on a good face. Saving face, at any cost, is of paramount importance to Thais.

Political instability is not my motivation for making this post but it is something that should be addressed. Why should you support a country who can not even create a sensible government that balances the representation of the rural poor with that of the of the Bangkok rich? Wait until this country grows up and proves to the world that they can handle problems without resorting to violent protests that paralyze the country for months on end and more coups d'├ętat than any other country in the world. Thailand calls itself a democracy but that is a joke. Here are some facts.

"Since the change from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy in 1932, Thailand has had seventeen charters and constitutions, reflecting the high degree of political instability and frequency of military coups faced by the nation. After successful coups, military regimes abrogated existing constitutions and promulgated new ones."

Since the 1932 transition to a "constitutional democracy" Thailand has had 27 Prime ministers of which only 1 has completed a full term in office.

"From 1932, bureaucrats, generals, and businessmen have run most of the political parties. While the 'grassroots' are always the target of the political parties, no 'grassroot' party has never led the country. Money seems to be the major factor of gaining power in the country. Political power means control over the national resource."
"Every time a coup was staged, some scapegoats or excuses were always found to justify it. Eventually, the ensuing junta government would hand the government back to elected officials. As a result, there have been 18 coups and resultant 18 constitutions in the history of Thai politics."

Now, on to the matter of human rights. Why should you support a country with your money that has such a poor record of human rights violations? I did not want to go into details here but I could not find a single site with an aggregated list of human rights abuses in Thailand and yet they are numerous. Off the top of my head here are some of the most egregious:

The 1976 massacre of student protesters at Thammasat University where 46 died, many beaten to death while lying on the ground.

"The government's anti-drug war in 2003 resulted in more than 2,500 extrajudicial killings of suspected drug traffickers. Prison conditions and some provincial immigration detention facilities are characterized as poor. In 2004 more than 1,600 persons died in prison or police custody, 131 as a result of police actions."
"Of 2,500 deaths in the government's war on drugs in 2003, a fact-finding panel has found that more than half [were] not involved in drug[s] at all."

The insurgency in the South of Thailand has claimed thousands of lives but one incident stands out above all, the 2004 'Tak Bai incident.' "Hundreds of local people, mostly young men, were arrested. They were made to take off their shirts and lie on the ground. Their hands were tied behind their backs. Later that afternoon, they were thrown by soldiers into trucks to be taken to the Ingkayutthaboriharn army camp in the nearby province of Pattani. The prisoners were stacked five or six deep in the trucks, and by the time the trucks reached their destination five hours later, in the heat of the day, 78 men had suffocated to death. [Prime Minister] Thaksin, however, gave the army his full support. Those responsible for the ill-treatment and death of the detainees received the most minor of non-custodial punishments. Thaksin's initial response was to defend the army's actions, saying that the 78 men died "because they were already weak from fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Charges were filed against 58 suspects accused of participating in the demonstration. The trials went on at a slow place, and as of October 2006, the court had finished questioning of only two out of the 1,500 witnesses in the case. Police were also unable to find 32 Tak Bai protesters who were still at large after fleeing arrest."
Shortly after this the court concluded the soldiers where "just doing their jobs" and no one has ever been held accountable.

Thailand has a policy of using the military to drag boats of refugees that trying to come to Thailand back out to sea where they are almost certain to drown or die of dehydration / starvation.

Participation in the US CIA's extraordinary rendition program, "Based upon statements by current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents, the Washington Post reported that captives might be subject to techniques of interrogation illegal in the United States. Since it might violate US law these suspects are flown to facilities around the world. Eight countries have been implicated, including Thailand"

I could go on but it would turn an already very long post into a novel. Please do your own homework, use Google, if this has sparked your curiosity about human rights abuses in Thailand.

Finally, I'd like to make you aware of the double pricing standard you will be subject to here simply because of your skin color. I work and pay taxes here and yet I find it very difficult, as a resident not a tourist, to escape this unfair pricing. It is not just individuals who naturally will try to get 'what the market will bear' for their goods and services. That is capitalism and I can understand it but the Thai government has a policy of charging 1000% higher admission fees to national parks and other attractions. Imagine traveling in the US and having to pay $300 for admission to a national park that US citizens can enter for $30. I would love to have a job as a US Park Ranger taking admission fees simply so I could demonstrate to Thai visitors how grossly unfair this policy is to foreigners.

For longer term travelers here you will also quickly become aware of how the visa system is structured to extract as much money as possible from you.

So, in conclusion, Thailand needs to be taught a lesson and they will only get the message when it effects their income. Boycott traveling in Thailand until Thailand demonstrates that it understands that the vast amount of money that tourism brings this country is nothing other than a blessing.


1 comment:

Anderson C said...

I enjoyed rreading your post

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