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So Thailand Is a Nation of Children?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thailand. Obviously this is an opinion video. I often try not to do a lot of these. In roughly the past 10 days it seems I have been doing a lot of them and I have made some more contemporaneously with this one mostly because I am finding a lot of the verbiage associated with discussion of responses to this COVID-19 situation to be pretty galling frankly. I have no other word for it. I really just find it kind of repugnant in a lot of ways and just as a case and point, this is Bangkok Post, Sunday print edition, I am putting this out as quickly after I came upon this as I can. It is from April 25th, 2021. The headline in the paper is: Calls for Lockdown Mounting. My immediate, instinctive response when I read that headline was, “calls from whom?” I mean I can tell you the business community is not happy about this. Everybody is operating in good faith. We all are concerned about public health and safety but we also are concerned about our livelihoods and things but never mind that. I mean again the reporting on this overall at least up to the past I don't know 10 days or so I feel has been pretty on point but I am starting to see things that are just, it is just pretty difficult to read this stuff without, for lack of a better term, getting a little bit upset.  

So again, this is Bangkok Post print edition April 25th, 2021. The article is titled: Calls for Lockdown Mounting. When I read this excerpt, I had a strong reaction. Quoting directly: "Calls are also mounting for the Government to impose a nationwide lockdown." Again, from whom? Can we have a referendum on that? So quoting further: "Benjaporn Tantasuti, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, said that without law enforcement many Thais cannot control their behavior during the pandemic." Quoting, and this is a quote directly: "The situation is worsening and it is now necessary to impose a lockdown and curfew to stifle the surge of infections. The lockdown may be imposed for a brief period to curb the spread of the virus and help ease the burdens on the overwhelmed healthcare system, she said." Well I find it interesting, "brief period", because the minute I read that I was thinking back to America a year ago, a little over a year ago with two weeks to flatten the curve. "Brief period!" What is brief? Again, the thing that is rankling me at this point, because I have watched and the reason I am making these videos is I have watched folks, especially, primarily in the foreign business community I do understand that, my perspective is someone tinged by a foreigner's perspective but again I am actually making this as a Thai here, and what got to me was the quote "a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist", this isn't a virologist, this isn't an epidemiologist okay, well a medical doctor, psychiatrist, but a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, said that "without law enforcement many Thais cannot control their behavior during the pandemic." Well this is not April 2020, this is April 2021. We are a year into this and I have watched Thais keep calm and carry on for an entire year. I watched people willingly shut down their businesses in order to try and deal with this. I have watched Thais take it upon themselves to go out of their way, in many different ways, in the normal living of their lives to try and take steps to mitigate the spread of this disease, if that is possible. Again, I am not a Medical Doctor. I do not know but the notion that a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist would say, again quoting directly from Bangkok Post, "without law enforcement many Thais cannot control their behavior during the pandemic." We shut down Songkran last year; we shut down Songkran effectively this year; we shut down International New Year; we shut down businesses pretty much entirely for Q3 of 2020. I mean May and June were effectively nil as far as economic activity incurring in Thailand, period. Things started to pick back up in July when certain things were allowed to reopen. We have been under constant, substantial restrictions that people have abided by so I take serious offense, "Thais cannot control their behavior during the pandemic!" That is all they have been doing, for an entire year and now we know what this is. We have a better idea. A year ago yes, I could kind of understand this kind of verbiage, because we didn't know what this was. Yeah, we were heading into Songkran, okay everybody was getting ready to party and then this comes up and okay. In 2020 we didn't know and maybe some forbearance was in order but to say this a year later after in my opinion having observed the Thai people truly take it upon themselves, quarantines, we have shut off, I have done videos on this already. The Tourism Council of Thailand has specifically cited that they think between 2 and 3 million Thais have lost jobs in the tourism sector because Thailand willingly shut down in quarantine. "Can't control themselves during a pandemic?" That is all we have been doing. That is all Thailand has been doing is trying to control themselves. I just hate this condescension and I hate being talked down to when the country has tried, with all its might. You know what?  There is a certain point where we just may have to learn to live with it. It is a disease. It is out there. It is real but maybe we can't control every little thing in this world. I mean a year ago when I talked about this too, I mean Thais shut down their economy to the point that people were committing suicide because they had no way of maintaining their livelihood. I watch people come up to me on the street and ask me for money and tell me how terrible things are going. I have seen people line up in what can only be described as a bread line or rice line, ad hoc, Thais helping other people. "Can't control themselves in a pandemic?" I have seen more goodwill during this pandemic from street level Thais to one another than I have seen in a decade being here. I think there is a way of saying in a good faith way, hey we need to do this, we need to do that but to talk down to us like we have somehow done something wrong over the course of this year, that is pretty galling and especially again a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. I don't know how that interacts with virology. I will be clear on this. I am a layman when it comes to all of this kind of thing but I am pretty sure the notion that many Thais and I am quoting: "Many Thais cannot control their behavior during the pandemic", I just think that is a pretty broad and general statement that really isn't based on any observable, anecdotal or evidentiary fact that has occurred in the last year.  

So the point of this video is, yeah do we maybe need to take certain measures to deal with this situation on the ground? Yes, probably but hyperbolics and scolding people who have done everything I think a nation of people can really do, I don't see that we have any room for that in the discourse.