From the Grand Palace to the Floating Markets, Thailand’s culture shines through as a beautiful Asian country.
With Thailand’s tourism industry coming to about 6 to 7 percent of their gross domestic product, this Southeast Asian country has other focuses such as infrastructure, which is central to the success of any nation.
In Bangkok, billions were spent on the creation of the Skytrain to transport people as quickly as possible. The endeavor was granted an extension to 2020 for $700 million.
However, rural areas in Thailand are still suffering. The World Bank stated in 2014 that about “80 percent of the 7.1 million poor people in Thailand live in rural areas” and 6.7 million were living “within 20 percent above the national poverty line.”
With huge sums being spent on progressing Thailand’s new infrastructure, nothing is being done to help rural areas.
In addition, the people of Thailand have stated that they do not trust their own government. According to the South China Morning Post, “a poll was conducted on March 13-17 among 1157 people throughout the country” about whether or not people believe that corruption could be fixed in Thailand.
The survey shows that about 56.6 percent of the people believed that the government could not solve the problem, 23.4 percent stated that they were not sure as to whether or not this huge problem could be solved, and 19.9 percent answered that the government needed immense strength in order to do so.
As to whether or not corruption could be completely wiped out in their country, 44.2 percent stated that “corruption in the bureaucracy is deep-rooted and has long caused damage to the country.” Furthermore, laws in Thailand are very different from the laws in America.
While we are currently able to speak out against President Donald Trump whenever we are angered by his policies, two years in prison is given to protesters in Thailand, and officials censor out any form of human rights discussion.
Buddhism is also one of the pillars central to culture within Thailand. Nearly 94 percent of its population practices Buddhism. This religion has made its way into how laws are enacted, which differs greatly from the secular nature of law practiced in the United Staes and other modern western countries.
For instance, according to the U.S. Department of State, “Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.”
Thai victims of trafficking and some of the estimated 3 to 4 million migrant workers in Thailand are forced, coerced or defrauded into labor or sex trafficking.”
With these gargantuan numbers, the government had to have made a significant effort aimed toward stopping these atrocities, right?
The answer is not a stark yes or no. As a matter of fact, human trafficking is officially recognized as an illegal practice before the law, yet it is still happening in Thailand to this day.
How does Buddhism play a role in this? Karma suggests that if an individual is part of human trafficking, then in the previous life, the individual must have committed something terrible. Therefore, they deserve this tragic fate of being treated as nothing more than mere flesh and bone.
Additionally, the government understands that sex trafficking brings commerce to Thailand. There are some people that come to Thailand just for cheap, affordable sex.
While the government has tried to stop human trafficking with posters and harsh penalties, it still remains a major issue within the country. Put simply, the Thai government is not doing its job effectively.
Tourists in Thailand can certainly find many beautiful and extraordinary sights. However, any individual is able to see a stark contrast between the tall glass buildings and broken-down homes.