There’s a simple formula to corruption. Mark up the price. Exchange the goods. Receive the change. Spread the change among the patronage network. Everyone is happy because everyone makes money. Courtesy of taxpayers.
But of course, such practice no longer exists in Thailand because General Prayut Chan-o-cha has eradicated corruption as promised. No, kidding.
For the past couple of weeks, social media has been going nuts over stories about the costs of fancy street lamps around the kingdom, which many are rather audaciously ugly. But rest assured, there are no corruptions; if you believe in General Prayut, you should believe this.
Elephant street lamps in Phang Nga Province at 97,080 per piece, totaling 48 lamps and 4,659,850 baht. More Elephant street lamps in Petchaburi Province at 100,000 per piece for the budget of four million baht. Why not? Thailand loves elephants.
Kinnaree street lamps in Samut Prakarn Province at 95,000 baht per piece, contracted for 6,773 lamps at 642,650,000 baht. Airplane street lamps in the same province, at 106,800 baht per piece, contracted for 18 lamps at 1,922,400 baht. Samut Prakarn shines bright like a diamond, that is all.
Lighthouse street lamps in Chonburi Province at 144,825 per piece, with an order of 63 lamps for 9,124,000 baht. Naval boats got to see clearly when pulling into Sattahip, right?
In Chiang Rai Province, catfish street lamps at 64,000 baht per piece, totaling 22 lamps for 1,400,000 baht. It’s near the border and simply practical in catching illegal refugees.
Lady merchant in a rowboat street lamps in Nonthaburi Province at 40,625 baht per piece for 1,300,000 baht. Cupid street lamps in Kanchanaburi Province at 99,400 baht per piece for 1,988,000 baht. The 12-constellation street lamps in Nakorn Srithammarat Province at 94,530 baht per piece, totaling 178 lamps for 16,826,750 baht.
And many more.
Meanwhile, the streets are muddy and full of holes.