Mai Pen Rai: the national spirit of servitude

Only Sinovac is presently available, so let’s get vaccinated by Sinovac. Sure, it’s too risky for the prime minister because he’s elderly. But for elderly commoners, let’s get vaccinated. (The Prime Minister received his second dose of AstraZeneca yesterday.)

Only this constitution is available, so let’s accept this constitution. Sure, it’s junta inspired and written to serve the power of the Prayut Chan-o-cha Regime. But if you want an election, just accept it. The best constitution is the constitution that we have.

Only this election is available, so let’s accept the election. Sure, 250 junta-chosen senators and a funny calculator come with it. But if you love the country and want Thailand to win, then just accept it.

Only General Prayut is available, so let’s accept General Prayut. Sure, the economy has been faltering for the past seven years, human rights abuse is rampant, abuse of power is routine, and vaccine management is a mess. But if you don’t want Thaksin Shinawatra to return or Thanathorn Juangrungruangkit to take power, let’s just accept General Prayut.

There are many reasons for Thailand’s national struggle, one of which is our spirit of servitude. The willingness to bend over and take it where the sun doesn’t shy, only to turn around and “wai” with a smile on our faces and gratitude on our lips, “thank you.”

The culture of servitude amputates the human spirit. It kills the courage to stand up for our rights, murders the ambition to achieve the best, and massacres even the basic human instinct to ask questions and offer disagreements. As children, we always ask why. As adults, we bow our heads and submit, “okay krub/kha, mai pen rai.”

The unfortunate truth of living under a regime that has so far been able to procure only Sinovac for the people is this: Sinovac is the only presently available vaccine, so let’s get vaccinated by Sinovac.

We can’t deny the reality we are in, but never, ever stop demanding other vaccines.

The other unfortunate truth is AstraZeneca. It was supposed to come in June, but as the Health Minister told us yesterday, he didn’t say 1 June. So there are 29 more days to keep the promise.

We can’t deny the reality we are in, but never, ever stop scrutinize and demand transparency in the date of arrival and vaccination plan.

Incompetent leaders and governments are worldwide. This is nothing unique to Thailand. But the reason incompetence persists and endures in Thailand is too many of us the people are willing to say, “mai pen rai na, luv, luv, joob joob, [mini-heart].”

Better things can only come when the majority of us are willing to stand up and always demand better things. Not just from this government, but every government hereafter.

Not just from a Chan-o-cha, but also from a Shinawatra, or a Juangrungruangkit, or whatever surname that assumes the role, not as “master of the people,” or “head of the family,” but as “servant of the people.”

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