Showing posts from August, 2016

Apathy Becomes a Cultural Norm

Often people tell me that there's no need to donate to the poor, to those living on the streets or slums in Bangkok. Allegedly beggars are part of a lucrative industry, managed by powerful syndicates, of deceiving 'honest people' and unsuspecting tourists.

To the urban wealthy population, particularly the middle class and educated elites, the beggars are like annoying insects or filthy peasants from a distant province. Other times they tell me that beggars have become part of the city's landscape, and to just ignore those outstretched hands.

The privileged and the arrogant believe that the authorities should detain or banish these 'low borns' from their city, or at least from the neighborhood.

Meanwhile Thailand's regime is still clueless when it comes to a national welfare system, despite repeated promises of introducing reforms. Then you have city hall - the administrators and government officials who authorized raids to clear beggars and homeless from so…

The Poor are Ignored in the Realm of Loss

I've been travelling extensively for the past few years. This region, Southeast Asia, has revealed much to me in the past five years. Not just about the cultures and cuisines, but most importantly the multifaceted lives of those facing marginalization. 
From those facing violent conflicts in their communities, to those without homes, without identity, caught in an almost fascist bureaucracy, or in a tight grip of urban societal prejudice. All of which that robs them, coupled with daily stigma, of their right.
Poverty in Thailand is not a popular topic. 
Some expatriates and locals prefer to indiscriminately brand the urban poor as willing partners to begging "thieving" syndicates. While others justify the indifference with a presumptuous flair, as if such matters are beneath their station. "None of my business", aye I've heard that coming from the mouths of self-proclaimed educated citizens.

In the end, even those who are concerned for the well-being of the…

Attempting To Escape the Poverty Trap

Despite the promises of local authorities and politicians, the reality is the urban poor in slums continue to live in miserable, impoverished conditions. With the decline in the national economy and the increase of household debts, I see no opportunities for marginalized communities to break free from the poverty cycle. Previous governments have attempted to improve the quality of life of slum residents, yet often we see very little positive impact on the issues of housing and land rights. And what of the rural landless poor and indigenous populations?

This seemingly endless continuation of poverty is disheartening to me. While I have met many families who struggle to make ends meet, even they are naturally concerned about the unpredictable state of healthcare, education, livelihood and the future of their children.

So what happens now?

Longing for Tranquility

An alley, that provides sanctuary to the wanderer who seeks even a brief moment of serenity.

Uncomfortable Routines

An emptiness at night. The city, at least in this part, appears stagnant. A numb urban society, catering to routines rather than the future, with little hope of inspiring change. Hard times, I guess, for the working class of Bangkok. A sequence of (in)actions, as hope slides away.