Want something from the govt? Block a road. | Bangkok Post: learning

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Want something from the govt? Block a road.

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There seems to be a tradition developing that if you want the government to do something, join together with friends and colleagues and block a road. 

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Residents in Ayutthaya block the Asian Highway in front of the provincial hall demanding that discount coupons worth 2,000 baht be used as cash to buy energy-efficient home appliances and products at the Energy Ministry’s energy-saving fair for flood victims. SUNTHORN PONGPAO


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Want something from the govt? Block a road

There seems to be a tradition developing that if you want the government to do something, join together with friends and colleagues and block a road.

In the past, road blockages were mainly carried out by angry farmers or factory workers. During the floods, it spread to groups of residents unhappy at the slow pace of drainage of their inundated communities.

Now it seems, just about any grievance can lead to a blocked road. Yesterday, in Ayutthaya about 200 angry residents blocked a section of the Asian Highway over a government coupon plan.

The coupons were intended to help flood victims in 28 provinces buy energy-efficient home appliances and products at the Energy Ministry’s energy-saving fair.

The coupons were worth 2,000 baht, but when the residents, some of whom had queued up for hours to get them, tried to use them, they found out there was a condition.

"The coupons are worth 20% of the [purchase] value,  explained Passorn Saengkaew, 48.  “It means you have to spend 10,000 baht to get a full discount of 2,000 baht. That means you have to pay 8,000 baht. Basically, it doesn't help us at all," she said.

She lashed out at the government for imposing such impractical terms and conditions.

A scuffle broke out when officers led by Ayutthaya police chief Maj Gen Anurak Taengkasem intervened and asked the protesters to end their blockade.

Ayutthaya police try to convince protestors to leave. SUNTHORN PONGPAO

Villagers dispersed after a meeting with Supan Saenthong, an inspector-general with the Ministry of Energy, who agreed to extend the coupon validity period to early March and to increase the number of participating stores.

This wasn’t the first protest over the discount scheme. On Thursday, dozens of people blocked an intersection in Mahachai in Samut Sakhon.

Adapted from a story in today's Bangkok Post by Sunthon Pongpao.

residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else  ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
discount – a reduced price or rate การลดราคา
coupon – a small piece of printed paper that you can exchange for something or that gives you the right to buy something at a cheaper price than normal  คูปอง, บัตรแลกสินค้าที่ได้จากร้านค้า
cash – money in the form of notes or coins เงินสด
energy-efficient – using energy so that little is wasted การใช้พลังงานอย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ
appliance – a machine or piece of equipment that you have in your home, for example a washing machine or refrigerator  เครื่องใช้
victim – someone who has been affected by a bad situation, such as a disaster, illness or an accident เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
tradition – a very old custom, belief, or story ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
colleague – someone who works in the same organisation or department as you do เพื่อนร่วมงาน
spread – to (cause to) cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people แพร่กระจาย, แพร่กระจายไปทั่ว
pace – the speed at which something happens or is done อัตรา
drainage – the process of taking away of water or other liquids from an area  การระบายน้ำ
inundated – flooded ถูกน้ำท่วม, จมลงใต้น้ำ
community – the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
grievance – a complaint about being treated in an unfair way ความคับข้องใจ
section – any of the parts into which something is divided ส่วน, ส่วนที่ตัดออก, ส่วนย่อย
intended – planned; wanted to happen  ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
queue up – to stand in a line waiting for something เข้าคิว, เข้าแถว
condition – something that must be true or must be done before another thing can happen เงื่อนไข
purchase – something that has been bought ของที่ซื้อมา
lash out – to criticise someone or something angrily  ประนามอย่างรุนแรง
impose – to introduce something and force people to accept it  กำหนด,บังคับใช้
impractical – of something that cannot be done or used easily or effectively ซึ่งไม่มีประสิทธิภาพเมื่อนำมาใช้งานจริง,ที่ใช้งานไม่ได้
terms – conditions; requirements  ข้อกำหนด
scuffle – a short and sudden fight, especially one involving a small number of people การต่อสู้กันอุตลุด
intervene – to become involved in a situation in order to try to stop or change it  แทรกแซง
blockade – an action that is intended to prevent people or goods from moving from one place to another การกีดขวางการจราจร
disperse – (of a crowd of people) to separate and leave in different directions  สลายฝูงชน
extend – to add more time ยืดออกไป
validity – the state of being legally accepted การมีผลบังคับได้
participating – taking part in something เข้าร่วม
scheme – a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people  แผนการ โครงการ
intersection – a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other สี่แยก

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