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A Week in Review: October 30 - November 5, 2010

The test results came back last week, and it seems that we are suffering from a rare affliction – so rare in fact that it has been dubbed ‘Thailand Syndrome’. Find out what the symptoms are here…

The first symptom is a tendency to wait until something goes wrong and then react to it rather than be proactive and try to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

It was announced last week that the government was set to spend 20 billion baht on flood relief after the south of Thailand took its turn to be inundated by devastating floods following similar havoc in the north, northeast and central regions the week before.

Just as the 100 million baht spent on compensating red shirt protesters would have been better spent on alleviating poverty, so the 20 billion spent on flood relief could have been used more effectively on flood prevention or even enforcing existing laws designed to protect society.

The second symptom is an overwhelming desire to place personal interests before anything else, often resulting in a complete disregard for the laws of the land.

Following the revelation that many of the floods were exacerbated by the land encroachment of greedy developers, it was revealed last week that a businessman had encroached on forest reserve land to expand a golf course in Korat – the province most severely affected by devastating floods caused by land encroachment.

While the media made a point of announcing that the businessman had close ties to Phuea Thai, he is just the latest in a long list of selfish individuals from all sides of the political spectrum who rape the country for their own personal benefit.

This second symptom is by no means confined to the upper echelons of our society, however. It is an infection that has spread pervasively from the very top to the very bottom.

Last week also saw the tragic deaths of 8 people – including 2 children – with another 8 seriously injured after a van plunged from an elevated expressway and burst into flames. The driver was found to have broken several laws, including speeding, reckless driving, illegally operating a passenger vehicle, overloading, and illegally converting a van to run on LPG gas.

The third symptom of Thailand Syndrome is the uncontrollable urge to attack the people who expose illegal activities rather than admitting guilt or defending one’s actions.

Following the release of video footage allegedly showing Constitution Court judges colluding to cover up fraudulent activities, Jarun Pukditanakul, a Constitution Court judge, said that it had been agreed by all of the court's judges during a meeting on Monday that they would not issue a statement to refute the video, but would instead file a complaint asking police to take legal action against whoever is responsible for its release.

So there you have it – Thailand Syndrome. Apparently, it is not fatal, although it is highly contagious.

Paul Snowdon – November 6, 2010

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