I haven’t posted for a few weeks. Truth to tell, the news here in Thailand is rarely edifying, and the same sorry stories repeat time and time again.

“Spoiled kid of a rich family kills someone and gets away with it”
Most recently a younger member of the Red Bull family who was allegedly drunk and high on drugs slammed his Ferrari at high speed into a policeman’s motorcycle then dragged him down the road for 200 yards. The policeman died. The heir’s indictment has mysteriously been postponed six times. Immediately before the final scheduled indictment attempt he was allowed to leave Thailand to see motor racing in Singapore. He then developed a sniffle and got a doctor’s note saying he was unfit to fly. The statute of limitations on one of the charges then expired. So, yet another rich kid looks like getting away with murder.

“Drunk policeman shoots tourist dead in fit of pique and gets away with it”
The only twist in this story is that one Chiang Mai policeman who shot a Canadian tourist didn’t actually get away with it. Rather foolishly, he went on to club his new wife to death; she was heavily pregnant at the time. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the murders of both his wife and the tourist.

“Technical college students shoot at/knife each other. Only one or two dead”
Across Thailand there are rivalries between technical colleges. Students arm themselves and attack those from a rival college. Frequently there are fatalities. Occasionally an innocent bystander gets killed.

“Another policeman/soldier/rubber tapper/teacher shot/blown up/beheaded in the South”
The Islamist insurgency continues to rack up dead bodies; pretty much every day there’s a new report of somone’s being murdered. The death toll is now well over 5,000 and the killings continue apace.

“Thailand flooded”
I didn’t expect a repeat of the 2011 floods quite so soon. After all, didn’t the government promise to invest massively in infrastructure to prevent a recurrence? Recent headlines include “Flooding in east Thailand worst for 50 years”, “Thai floods force closure of 17 factories in industrial zone”, “Thailand floods death toll rises to 73”, “Millions affected by floods in Thailand”. Still, no need to worry here in Bangkok; as Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop reassured us “Bangkok will be 100 percent safe unless there is more heavy rain in the North for a couple of days.”

“Government Minister says something ridiculously stupid”
The ability of government ministers to spout total nonsense that anyone with even a single functioning neuron is rubbish is uncanny. They universally appear incapable of distinguishing truth from fiction – or hold their countrymen in such contempt that they assume they will lap up any old rubbish.

“Massive corruption in government project”
Corruption is omnipresent; there’s probably not a single government project that doesn’t involve graft. Many projects such as the rice mortgaging scheme (losses to date estimated at over 400 billion Baht – that’s roughly $13 billion – the government has repeatedly refused to provide accurate figures on the costs and losses) appear to have been specifically designed to facilitate corruption; the poorest farmers have gained very little from the scheme.

With daily news like this, I sometimes wonder why I bother to read the news in the newspaper. Perhaps I should just stick to the cartoons and the crossword.

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