My Bangkok Travel Log, the rant continues

During my travels, I see and meet people, especially in the slums. Their lives are torn by indifference, by the apathy and by those seeking to profit from the suffering of the oppressed. Bangkok is a city of contradiction, shaken by political madness, the uneven tilt of social class discrimination and the spiraling economy.

I see the visible indicators, there are too many, one of them being the increasing number of marginalized young people being self-employed in the informal industry and being excluded from mainstream opportunities. Young people, regardless whether they are Thais, refugees, migrant workers or stateless, have inspiration for a betterment of their lives, to be able to take charge of their growth and live life to the fullest. They greatly desire a life of happiness, and with the ability to work hard and be rewarded accordingly. Yet this is far from the truth for many, sadly.

Marginalized young people, especially those living in the slums (or homeless), seek to escape the horrors of unemployment. They dread the prospects of being poor, or absolute poor, and much of their resentment are against the above-working-class adult population. Politics of the Yellow and the Red dominate the time and energies of people, some are completely distracted from fundamental issues such as child poverty and human rights.

From my candid discussions with young people, Thais have a great weakness: they find the drama of politics intriguing and addictive. As it is, their prime minister is struggling against the daily political assault from the opposition, all in the name of democracy. While everyone is focused on the dose of drama, I am concerned about the floods in the other provinces. Bangkok will eventually be flooded, unavoidable due to the poor public administration and the Mayor who in 2011 had assured the public that several mega-flood tunnels would be ready in time to reduce the flood damage -- I have yet to see or hear of this "development" -- quite ridiculous, indeed. Some of the young people I have spoken to are genuinely concerned about the possibility of their city being flooded (again) as it affects their livelihood and their families.

My mind, engulfed with concerns, is unable to rest. My travels seem to reveal an unpreparedness on their part, this possibility of seeing lives distracted by the drama-of-the-day and unable to call upon leadership from Bangkok's authorities. As it is, I believe there will be a repeat of the flooding, the horrible cannibalizing politics and the social redundancy in the city, similar to previous years.

As I see it, this is an excellent opportunity for youth mobilization in activism, where young people take the initiative to empower themselves. They don't have much of a choice, to do nothing would merely invite a year of depressing doom.




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