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 some streets, but the poor are back again, and their issues remained unsolved. This increases vulnerability of the marginalized, and at this rate, it will make apathy a government policy and a cultural norm.

Thai Zashnain
A woman holds a child at the roadside, waiting for donors.
[Silom, Bangkok 2016]


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