Club karaoke a step too far
Despite our half-baked democracy characterised by a series of coups and street protests, our parliament building should be the subject of our pride -- a pantheon of democracy.
The Thai government -- initiated by the Samak Sundaravej administration -- spent over 12 billion baht to build the new parliament house known as "Sappaya-Sapasathan", which in Thai means the place where people come to create good things.
Despite reports of it going massively over budget, delays, malfunctions such as water leaks, an unstable sound system and even a den of mosquitoes, Sappaya-Sapasathan is a matter of pride for our democratic institutions.
Opened in May last year, it is built in a hybrid style, between modern and Thai traditional architecture including a pagoda on top of the building. It is the place where our elected MPs and senators come to work, pass laws, debate national issues and keep government and administrators in check.
Sappaya-Sapasathan is not just offices with meeting rooms. Apart from a national library and a parliamentary museum, it provides a space known as the soon-to-be-opened Parliamentary Club where lawmakers can relax after their hard work. The club is expected to open soon, presumably when the government announces Covid-19 as endemic.
Yet the news of the Parliamentary Club has raised a few eyebrows after Senator Peerasak Porchit, chairperson of the Senate committee on social and leisure activities, conducted a media press tour of it. Like the old one in the previous Parliament building, the new Parliamentary Club has a gym room, sauna room, and massage room for our lawmakers to exercise and relax.
The new club, however, offers an extra sporting space -- a small space for lawmakers to practise their golf swings, a basketball court, and a jogging track with a professional runner from our national team to offer lessons.
Since, apparently, all work and no play can make dull minds, the Parliamentary Club also provides karaoke rooms and a dance floor. It's an area where lawmakers can mingle, chill out and socialise. Needless to say, the club also has a luxurious lobby.
Make no mistake, our lawmakers deserve a decent workplace that befits their honourable status.
Our MPs and senators are representatives of the nation's citizens and, as such, they need to be well taken care of.
It is more than reasonable for our lawmakers to spend time after work exercising in gym rooms with decent equipment. It is a must for our Parliamentary Building to provide massage and sauna rooms and for lawmakers to be able to relax and de-stress after sitting long hours debating and scrutinising laws and budgets for the nation.
Yet, the is a line between rationality and over-indulgence.
While the gym room and sports space are rational, the karaoke and dance floor are not.
A workplace, especially a high-status one, should exude a sense of seriousness and solemnity -- not an entertainment co-working space where office workers sing along in karaoke and dance after work hours.
The press tour also came amid bad timing and showed a lack of sensitivity to public sentiment.
After two years of Covid and economic hardship, people simply want to see our lawmakers and our elected politicians walking beside us, sharing hardship and pain. Showboating such inappropriate facilities in the Parliamentary Club simply does the opposite.
Bangkok Post editorial column
These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.
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