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ResourcesThailand Criminal LawCriminal Jurisprudence ThailandCan the Tattletale Media Give It a Rest in Thailand?

Can the Tattletale Media Give It a Rest in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing what I can only describe as the "Tattletale Media". I am going to be talking about one particular article although I didn't really mean for this to seem like I am pointing out one particular outlet. I have seen this in other outlets including but not limited to the Bangkok Post, the Nation; I have seen things on; various other things on the internet where you have got people talking about just a tattletale mentality. I hope the viewer will understand what I am talking about.

I have been hesitant to make these kind of videos where I delve into my personal thoughts on it. This is less a video on the law and more just a video on "what are we doing; what is this serving; what purpose is this serving? How do you call this kind of thing "news"?” I am not pointing out this particular outlet exclusively. I have been getting increasingly frustrated reading many of the news outlets here in Thailand. This was a phenomenon I saw last year reading the American News primarily, that is where I primarily read a lot of foreign things although I do read a lot coming out of Australia just because it is English language and it is coming out of this part of the world so it is easier for me to keep an eye on what is going on down there. I saw this happening a lot last year and we have had a year of hindsight with a lot of these things and I find it just fascinating that it is as if many in Thailand, and I am not talking exclusively about the locals, about Thais here in Thailand, it also seems the foreigners are trapped in some kind of bubble where they can't read and get the information about what has gone on in other parts of the world for example the United States. Just as a preface, just to point out there are various places that have removed a lot of restrictions especially rather Draconian restrictions and have had virtually no negative impact. If anything, one could argue it has had a positive impact; it has had an affirmatively positive impact most notably in places like Texas and Florida.  It is harder to make the argument with Florida because they sort of had a laissez-faire attitude earlier on; Texas however had pretty Draconian lockdowns, relatively Draconian lockdowns and then went ahead and just pulled everything just stopped it and things completely turned around case wise. Again, I don't know the science. I don't know why that is but I think it is interesting to point it out and folks over here don't seem to be taking that into account. Now that is kind of moving a little bit further afield from the purpose of this video.

The purpose of this video, since this third wave began I was really impressed. Up until about mid-April I was frankly really impressed with how Thailand handled everything on this. Now I understand that the vaccine issue hasn't rolled out the way that everybody would have liked. Well things happen and it is certainly tragic that people have died. However, as we pointed out in other videos, a lot of people die from traffic in Thailand. In fact a disproportionate number compared to the rest of the world and we are not sitting around making Draconian traffic rules. Although they have changed some of the speed limits in Thailand, I suspect we are not going to see major changes to road fatalities anytime soon. Again, not the main thrust of this video, more just to provide in my opinion a little nuance on how to analyze all of this. Thailand shut down in March 2020. We are sitting here in June 2021; that is a full what 15 months or going on 15 months of time, an interval of time and we were already starting to see a massive slowdown of people coming in in late February. So the purpose of this video, and I will get into it here in a minute but again part of the preface to this is, this isn't happening in some vacuum. I mean we have been at this for 15 months, why are things seemingly getting worse and why are people, I am not just blaming Thais here, foreigners, everybody, why are we acting as if we don't have more insight into this than we clearly do. At this point, there has been a lot of research, there has been a lot of data, it seems to me that lockdowns, there doesn't seem to be any correlative or causative data that shows that they have improved anything that I can see and I am perfectly happy to stand corrected on that point if someone can produce some data on that although let's just anecdotally look at the situation here in Thailand in the last roughly 6 weeks. They shut everything down back around Songkran and things got worse. How does that work? I don't understand. I am honestly asking the question, I am not positing my response. Back to the thrust of this video. I found this article and it was similar to when I read this other article in the Bangkok Post some weeks back where they brought in a child psychologist to talk to us all about how Thais basically can't be trusted to deal with the pandemic, a year into the pandemic after they had locked down twice and were one of the highest per capita adopter countries of mask wearing and every other instruction they were given we were told that "oh no you can't be trusted to follow the rules!" I mean, whatever! 

This I saw and it put a fine point on, again I am not pointing out this particular outlet. I have seen this across the board. Like I said before, Bangkok Post, Thai Visa; other places where they are talking about this stuff and I feel like, there is a great line from the movie Zoolander where Will Ferrell's character says "I feel like I am taking crazy pill." I am at that point with some of this stuff. A recent article, this is from the Pattaya Mail, again I am not pointing them out specifically. I have seen this across the board. This was just one of the best examples of this as a phenomenon that I have seen. Pattaya Mail,  May 27, 2021, that is, the article is titled: Pandemic Fatigue Obvious On Pattaya Beaches and I am going to go ahead and quote here directly: "Pandemic fatigue is in full bloom in Pattaya where despite the threat of fines and arrest, people continue to flock to area beaches to gather and drink alcohol." Well okay. Yeah pandemic fatigue is in full bloom and it is not "pandemic fatigue". I would argue it is "threat of fines and arrest fatigue" for doing things like being outside. Quoting further: "A stroll along Jomtien Beach May 24 saw plenty of people sitting together and chatting, friends lounging on the beach and no police to be found." This is written as if this is a problem. Again I just reiterate this: "A stroll along Jomtien Beach May 24 saw plenty of people sitting together and chatting, friends lounging on the beach and no police to be found." Oh God forbid, anyone be chatting on the beach of all things. Quoting further: "Those splashing in the water technically were the only ones not violating Coronavirus protocol." Where are these protocols? We have done a number of videos on this channel where I have tried to cite the actual law that many of these officials have said have been promulgated to support their position of these Coronavirus protocols and as we have discussed, codification of these things is pretty lacking. The other thing I have noticed a lot is a lot of citation to the Emergency Decree which could we call that a law per se? I don't know. My point is, again my ire is not even really at the Government here because Governments do what Governments are going to do. Governments are going to govern, that is what Governments do so I am not even really all that upset with them. My question is, who are these people that are sitting around saying things like, "A stroll along Jomtien Beach May 24 saw plenty of people sitting together and chatting, friends lounging on the beach and no police to be found!" I feel like the Law and Order theme should play. Again, I don't understand this mindset. Quoting further: "With virtually everything closed there is little to do as residents wait for mass COVID-19 vaccination to begin in June." Yeah everybody certainly is waiting with bated breath for that! Quoting further: "Until then, it is up to law enforcement to enforce the regulations enacted to prevent the spread of the virus." Well hold on a minute. What regulations? Cite them. Where are they? Other than just vague decrees of "do this, do that or we are going to arrest you or fine you," I would like to see where these laws were promulgated, codified and where these regulations stem from that are the result of these laws. So let's start there. What exactly are we talking about here? People just lounging around and no police to be found! That is a crime now? Is that what this article is saying? Meanwhile, to get more to the thrust of this, I don't usually quote articles to this extent but, they have photos, we will go ahead and put this one on screen. The caption under this one: "With pandemic fatigue in full bloom in Pattaya, many Thais and foreigners group together on the public footpath in Jomtien." That is the caption under this photo. Just keep this on screen. Here is the photo. What do I count there? 4 people in that photo. "Many Thais and foreigners group together?" And then another one, again putting up this photo here: "A stroll along Jomtien Beach May 24 saw plenty of people sitting together and chatting, friends lounging on the beach". Again it doesn't go into the full quote "with no police to be found". Lounging with intent to relax must be the crime I guess. Again it says "a stroll along Jomtien Beach May 24 saw plenty of people", what plenty of people? I am looking at this article, I have been in Jomtien Beach during tourist season, even during low season. This is not plenty of people by any metric of anyone that has been in Thailand. Again this next photo, I question where are these plenty of people? You have got an empty beach. I count in the foreground two guys and in the middle ground you have got 2 people, maybe 3 I can't quite make out on one side of that. 2 on one side of this footpath and 2 on the other and then way in the background 3 or 4 people so at max, maybe 10 people outdoors in a wide area, I don't even know how many football fields you are looking on in there but then again with this caption under this photo: "As long as people wear masks and maintain social distancing there is not much police should do." Well thank you! “Not much police should do!” What does this writer want? It is not just this person. I have seen the implications, the pregnant prose of these people writing about this, what does everyone want? Do they want battalions of armour clad cops sitting around on the beach pushing people along if they stand for too long? 

Thailand is a free country and it is a place that I happen to love. I have got no problem with how they have handled everything to this point. I frankly have only had issues in the past few weeks when frankly Thailand has started acting with the hysteria of the rest of the world. It has been the West primarily and let's not forget the beginning of this with China welding people into buildings supposedly but I mean it has been the West that has been moving people off beaches when there was no appreciable reason that anyone can cite that that needed to be done. It was the West that demanded all of these rules regarding what you had to wear and how far apart you had to stand. Again and I am very willing to stand corrected but I have researched this pretty thoroughly and to me, issues pertaining to lock downs; especially outdoor mask mandates and social distancing, I think the jury is well and truly out as to whether or not those things have any appreciable impact on mitigation of this. Now there are some things that I think certainly did most notably I think you can make a very strong argument in favour of things like hand washing, sure had a tremendous impact; commonsensical things like stay away from Grandma if you have this disease or if you think you have been exposed to it. Again things like that didn't really bother me. The Thais here in Thailand instituted a true quarantine which in my opinion was what needed to be done when no one knew what this was. Meanwhile, again the West did things in a patchwork manner; America was letting people in and then enforcing these rules and things which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. Not getting into the broader aspects of this, I think people can understand my personal bias and set aside my personal bias maybe for a moment, my real issue is what does this serve? This kind of tattletale, snitch media operation? I have seen it across the board, it is not just one outlet. I am not saying everyone either but I have noticed a number of otherwise very reputable mainstream organizations and news outlets that have seemed to go out of their way to sort of like almost shame people for things as innocuous as lounging on the beach. Again this is not some full moon party, some rave party with 300 people on a beach crowded up together. I mean four people sitting around? Really? This is a problem? This is something we need to get the police on? We have got to get the dragnet going to go after these folks?  

As I said, Thailand is a free country. I love this place and my biggest argument, my biggest complaint about how all of this has been handled is frankly the influence from the outside. I think the Thais if left to their own devices would have handled this in a very commonsensical manner. I think they have done. I think they have gone a little bit overboard in the past few weeks but fanning the flames of this hysteria with this kind of tattletale snitch operation, these tactics, that doesn't help anyone and I don't see how it mitigates transmission of this disease which does kill people and it is something to take seriously but I don't see how that helps anyone. I don't see how it adds to the greater good and especially where we are right here on the cusp hopefully of putting this thing behind us, I just don't see what the purpose of this is in May 2021.