Occasionally I post remembrances here. Nostalgic flashbacks to a time that seemed like both just yesterday and also a million years ago. Too often these past few years when I write about Thailand it is because of the upheaval, the unrest, and the violence that has come to be a small reality of life in Bangkok. It was not the Krung Thep I knew, nor do I believe that my former students and friends who still live there consider it to be an identifying part of their lives now. But it occurs nonetheless. Innocent people lose their lives. More and more of them do.
I worry for them as a nation. I worry that they are not equipped to deal with such tragedy. They don’t have the infrastructure, they don’t have the methodology. When we lived there we saw an ambulance once. Just once, despite the scores of deadly traffic accidents we witnessed. The ambulance was just a truck with a bench in the back covered in a white sheet.
Their lack of laws governing safety put them in a unique position. While they are more likely to suffer and witness accidents, they are also more likely to be forced to face their consequences head on. And so in some ways, perhaps they are more equipped than we are to deal with tragedies such as this. We have ambulances and processes and streamlined emergency response. We expect high survival rates. When that doesn’t happen, we are dispondent. They, on the other hand, have never known emergency response to the caliber of most modern US cities. Their expectations are more realistic.
Either way, it doesn’t make it hurt less.
Chokh di na ka. โชคดี