An independent development specialist
Apichai Sunchindah is an independent development specialist.
During the commemoration of Asean Day earlier last month at the newly inaugurated Asean Secretariat (Asec) building in Jakarta, Indonesia, a poster displaying eye-popping statistics of the organisation's current staff composition shows that there are only four Thais working there. This figure is minuscule compared to those from the other four founding members states of Asean, and even latecomer Vietnam.
Last year, we were saddened by the hazards related to dam failures in the Mekong River basin after one of the saddle dams on the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydro-electric project in Laos collapsed and the large amounts of impounded water then gushed downstream, causing massive inundation and damage to property, crops, livestock, lost livelihoods and some human casualties. The cause of the dam disaster has been attributed to sub-standard construction and unusually high rainfall.