Friday, 21 October 2011

There will be flood

Thailand is currently battling the worst monsoon season in about 50 years. About a third of her provinces has been affected. As per usual, the Thai government's priorities are to protect the interest of the rich and that means focusing on keeping the floods out of capital, at great cost to surrounding provinces. However, since a couple of days ago, Bangkok could no longer fight the inevitable and parts of Northern Bangkok (including Sai Mai, where my mother lives) are now flooded, with the floods expecting to reach more and more parts of the city.

I remember from my childhood in Thailand being really excited whenever there was a flood because it was like living in some sort of fantastical water world but now, as a grown up, all I think about is how scary this situation is and how much damage it will cause, to ordinary people, to their homes, their livelihood and income, to the economy, etc. I worry about my poor mother everyday even though she sounds like she's taking it in all in stride as she prepares for the inevitable. A disaster like this really accentuates what I love about Thai people - their good spirits. They know that it is a dire situation but all that they can do is try to prepare for it, no matter how futile their efforts may prove to be (there is only so much that sandbags can do), and soldier on...usually with a smile.

It's a crisis that some experts are blaming on the myopia and poor planning of water management officials, government-sanctioned deforestation and reckless urbanization. On top of everything else, you have a government that seems completely overwhelmed and ill-equipped to dealing with a natural disaster on such an epic scale, led by the inexperienced Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (the first woman elected to this office in Thailand, voted in just two months ago, who happens to be the younger sister of ousted former PM and political fugitve Thaksin Shinawatra).

From watching all the news footage, I feel this sense of pride about the way the people of Thailand are handling this nightmare situation and their generosity of spirit; the way people are looking out for and helping one another, whether they be friends, family or strangers. Nobody gets left behind....not even that poor little puppy in the video below! The full impact of this monsoon season cannot be measured but what I can be sure of is that Thailand will get through this, as it has before with other tough times. Nobody knows what the situation will be day-to-day, let alone week-to-week but in my heart, I pray that Thailand will be able to put this chapter behind her in the next 2-3 weeks, just in time to come together and celebrate Loi Krathong, which is, ironically enough, a traditional Thai festival that has its roots in the practice of paying respect to the spirits of the waters.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sad for Thailand, but I know my country and my fellow Thais will get through this and come out stronger.