University of Hong Kong Assistant Professor
Danny Marks is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Asian and International Studies of City University of Hong Kong.
Almost 10 years ago, the Thai government faced another huge crisis and unnatural disaster: the 2011 floods which killed over 800 and caused over US$45 billion (1.5 trillion baht) in damage. The damage and losses would have been significantly lower if the Yingluck Shinawatra government had responded more effectively. While the responses needed to the coronavirus certainly differ from a mega-flood, there are numerous lessons that the current Prayut Chan-o-cha government can learn from the mistakes made during the floods and thus how to best handle a crisis. But have they?
If you recently ate fresh seafood in Bangkok, there's a good chance some of it came from Bangkok itself. The idea that seafood is cultivated in a city considered a concrete jungle might be surprising. But Bangkok's district of Bang Khunthian touches the Gulf of Thailand and in Bang Khunthian's sub-district, Tha Kam, the vast majority of land is used to farm seafood, particularly shrimp. A district officer estimates that 70-80% of Bang Khunthian's residents are aquaculture farmers. Many have earned their livelihood through this means for generations.
Anyone who lives in Bangkok won't be surprised to know that the navigation company, TomTom, recently ranked the city among the world's worst for traffic congestion. The transport sector also contributes greatly to Bangkok's overall carbon emissions: a quarter of its emissions -- higher than the global average -- come from this sector and is driven by private automobile use.