A sad, vicious cycle
published : 12 Jul 2021 at 04:30
newspaper section: Life
It has been a scourge on Thailand to be led by clueless and directionless leadership since the pandemic broke last year. Its ramifications have made the situation deteriorate in the course of months, with thousands of cases reported daily and a spike in fatalities. Their efforts to vaccinate the nation against the virus have also been a flop and the country's health system is in shambles and has been unable to cope with the rising number of infected patients. The impact this has had on the average Thai has been insurmountable.
In times like this, we question the role of a leader. Isn't he supposed to run the country with the public's interest in mind? Someone who takes the form of a father figure and thus has your back no matter what?
Unfortunately, when this coveted post is in the wrong hands, which happens often in Thailand, it is the citizens that suffer most. It is very much like the saying: "the sins of the father are visited upon the children", which basically refers to how children often suffer for the bad things their parents do.
As far back as my recollections take me, we have never had a government that has truly prioritised the public's well-being.
Among other things, the head of a nation should possess the ability to hold himself accountable for his actions, have a clear vision and focus, not to mention serve his country with integrity.
What we see today is that when this mandate is trivialised, lines are blurred, and deemed unnecessary, apathy sets into every action, not to mention the growing public resentment that ensues.
It is hard to decipher whether people enter politics with the wrong motives from the start or if it is a gradual process. I would opt to believe that not all come with ill intentions to swindle the country dry, but rather have good intentions at first and are later led astray.
Some of the common vile practices seen in governance today include corruption taking place at the highest level, turning a blind eye towards the wrongdoings of cabinet members, operating with impunity, lack of transparency, and allowing the bureaucracy to continue so one person manages the melting pot.
Again, who suffers from the transgressions of such leaders? You guessed it, the public.
The latest incident to add to Thailand's string of miseries this year was the catastrophic explosion at the Ming Dih chemical factory, located on the outskirts of Bangkok. The factory produced highly flammable expandable polystyrene foam and the incident resulted in fatalities, dozens injured and hundreds who had to evacuate.
The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined, however, it is a well-known fact that such incidents could easily have been averted if everyone was doing their job.
Time and again it is the people who suffer the consequences of the corrupt and inept.
The fact of the matter remains that this is a vicious cycle, which will not stop until we create a society that decides to change the course of the direction our government system has been taking for decades. Sadly, the pit of hell is where the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer.
People I have spoken to on the country's current predicament paint a rather gloomy picture of the future. One said that it will take generations to make any difference in improving our governance because change would mean taking on a new perspective to what we are used to.
Politics is a dirty game. Politicians who take office with the best of intentions can be easily swayed into dirtying their hands to benefit themselves if they lack a moral compass to help them base their decisions on what is right and wrong.
Thus, it comes back to what type of example we as parents, teachers, and guardians set for our own children. Through our actions, are we showing that corruption is fine as long as no one is getting hurt? Do we condone patriarchal and bureaucratic practices as being part of our culture and make it no big deal?
If we desire to see youngsters, the future of our country, have a moral compass guide them, we need to teach them a set of values and objectives that guides a person with regards to ethical behaviour and decision-making.
We can also benefit from eradicating patriarchal and bureaucratic practices that have led to incompetence at the highest level. While we are at it, let's also address the need to get rid of the I, me, myself attitude and unlearn the conditioning instiled in us.
As the country is going through a rough patch, with no proper solution in sight, I would recommend everyone to do their part in becoming a moral compass for the youth and making sure they have morals that will help them to lead by example one day.
Yvonne Bohwongprasert is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.
Yvonne Bohwongprasert is a senior writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.