“Thailand must win,” these are the words General Prayut Chan-o-cha used in every speech of late.
He wants the nation to unite behind him, calling himself “general” in the fight against COVID-19. But to this day, the healthcare industry still lacks proper medical supplies. Isn’t it ironic that the general’s army doesn’t have enough weapons?
Here’s the truth of the matter. In the fight against the outbreak, Thailand will win, and so will the world. Like the small pox, the Spanish influenza and the plague known as the Black Death, humanity will survive. It’s going to take a lot more than a disease originally named after a beer to take us out.
Thailand will win. But at what price?
At the time of this writing, worldwide infection is at 1,016,534 people, with 53,164 deaths. Thailand has 1,978 cases, with 19 deaths. When this crisis is over, Thailand would — on the surface — suffer little, when compared to other countries.
However, unless you live under a rock and refuse to even peek out from under it, you would realize this crisis is one expensive lesson for the kingdom. Worse still, it’s a lesson that many people would refuse to learn from, because under the rock, ignorance is bliss.
Truth of the matter is, Thailand has been too comfortable in our own mediocrity. So when a crisis exposes the banality of our national existence, the stench of incompetence should have any of us vomit ten times over. Except, of course, for those of us lying on Versace bed linen, under the rock.
We will win. But at what price? The fabric of our social safety net is thinner than the cloth used to make face masks. A crisis hits, and we have no idea how to take care of the poor. We are clueless in how to accommodate those most affected by the lockdown. Yet, those living under the rock continue to bless a leadership that blindly persists in its delusion of self-importance.
At what price? We have no strategic thinking and perhaps, not even basic common sense. People movement is the cause of the virus spreading, yet we closed down businesses, with no plan to accommodate those migrant workers who lost their jobs, prompting a mass exodus back to their home provinces.
Guess what? Mass movement of people; spread of disease. Meanwhile, people with money sip on champagne from under the rock, calling those workers “selfish” and “irresponsible,” while continuing to defend the very people that have caused the mass movement in the first place.
At what price? From the start of the outbreak we are bombarded with misinformation, threats and carelessness from an inept leadership that to this day is still being supported by those people who can only see the world through a pair of fashionable sunglasses from the luxury brand, Delusion.
At what price? What is the price we would put on the life of Ratchani Cheausuwan and of countless others like her?
Without a doubt, Thailand will win in the fight against COVID-19, and so will every country. We don’t even have to unite behind General Prayut, and we would still win. But there is a much more dangerous virus contaminating the soul of this nation.
No, the virus isn’t General Prayut. He’s merely a visible symptom of the virus, as are those who live under the rock. The virus is not one person, it has millions of carriers and spreaders.
This virus goes by many names. Mediocrity in leadership. Apathy of the privileged. Delusion of society. Willful ignorance of the people.
When this crisis is over and done with, it’s time for Thailand to wake up and smell the real virus. To realize the changes we must implement, starting with who we are as a people and as a nation.