Epidemic of Prejudice against the Poor
|Homeless woman having her lunch at a petrol station in Bangkok|
Its not as if I can effectively educate the masses about poverty. People are aware of the situation in their country, and people are not oblivious to their surroundings. Urban poverty carries societal dilemma, such as limited healthcare services and lack of educational opportunities, along with homelessness and the violent environment for Thais and foreigners. Limited employment and low income stimulates poverty. Many families compel their children to avoid school and focus on their livelihood, a collective effort to work and feed each other.
Often urban Thais would say that the child begging on the street or the homeless woman wandering under the elevated highway is a foreigner, possibly someone from Cambodia or Burma, or even someone from a different province. But should it make a difference? I've seen this sort of negative behaviors among urbanites in Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore and Jakarta. Prejudice is a borderless epidemic, infects society with barbaric haste, especially those who are in the high society and upper-working-class.
I don't believe that governments and funding agencies should increase their technical assistance (limited as it is) to NGOs for the usual merry-go-round "support services" for the marginalized community. Similar to Malaysia, I have not seen any sustainable development in the most-at-risk population in Bangkok. Yes, you can find many initiatives to raise money for the "unfortunates" or that donation box for charity. But I have not seen sustainable positive behavioral change in society. Call it what you will, I believe that society is still lubricating the flow of poverty; further seeking a growth to the epidemic.
|Child begging for coins, while society ignores him|