Great news, people! The long-awaited solution to our eternal traffic woes is finally here! Authorities in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district of Bangkok finally got serious earlier this week, and have cracked down on what they believe to be the cause of massive congestion in the area.
The culprit? Fried banana vendors!
That's right, these good-for-nothing sellers of the yellow phallic devil are being blamed for contributing to gridlocked streets in PPSP district by taking up space in traffic lanes. And for valid reason too! Everyone knows that the sight of fried bananas makes motorists reflexively stop, drool and completely lose the ability to press their foot down on the accelerator.
Oh wait, I made that up. I'm actually not quite sure how officials came up with this plan. Perhaps it was something like, "Hey, you know how this city suffers from ridiculous traffic? And you know how we've never been able to find a way to ease the congestion? Well, BANANAS! BANANAS! The answer has been right in front of us all along!"
Let's dissect the logic (or lack thereof) behind this: Apparently the fried bananas that are sold on the street in PPSP district are damn delicious. Fair enough. But it's also illegal for the vendors to approach cars on the road and peddle their goods. Fair enough.
Authorities say that traffic is horrible because tons of cars are stopping to buy the bananas. In true farcical crackdown form, police have asked people to take pictures of those seen unlawfully buying/selling the snacks and mailing the images to firstname.lastname@example.org or posting them on Pom Prap District Office's Facebook page. Those who are spotted selling could be fined B2,000, while those who are caught buying may be fined B500.
If you're only just skimming this article at this point, you could be forgiven for forgetting what I'm writing about and think this measure is being taken to combat something super dangerous, like weapons or drugs. But let me remind you again... some peepz actually sat down and came up with a plan to take down fried bananas! Perhaps it's now considered the ya baa of the snack world!
What exactly is expected to happen with this strategy? It sounds almost as archaic as the Hotmail address that PPSP district uses. Are Good Samaritans supposed to perform their civic duty and photograph people in the satanic act of banana transactions? Then what? Police will begin a massive hunt to track down the fruity criminals to fine them? Then if all goes well, traffic will cease to exist?
While the intentions of this plan are somewhat OK, it's completely misguided as usual.
Yes, illegal roadside vendors are a problem in PPSP district and beyond. Yes, they are annoying when they approach your car, whether it's to sell bananas, garlands, or goldfish in inflated plastic bags. But isn't it more reasonable to say that vendors come out because cars are stuck in traffic, not because they want to cause traffic? If anything, that's a smart business plan on their part!
Plus, when the light turns green, the vendors scurry off anyway for fear of being run over by a maniacal speeding driver.
Instead of finding solutions for problems that don't really exist (fried bananas leading to traffic), wouldn't it make more sense to tackle things that are more likely to contribute to congestion - mismanaged traffic lights, lack of communication between control stations, horrible drivers, police falling asleep on the job...
Cracking down on fried banana sellers because they are illegal is reasonable. But taking them away because they supposedly hold up road flow is ridiculous and will do nothing to combat traffic. If anything, we should let them keep selling their bananas because who knows how bad road rage could get if drivers are sitting in their cars cranky and hungry.
About the author
- Writer: Sumati Sivasiamphai
Position: Guru Editor