Prior to my recent visit in Bangkok, I went there on two occasions in the past but had not had the chance to see the heart of the city. So when I landed and started my journey out from the airport, it was as if I’m seeing things for the first time. “Amazing Thailand” indeed was what I’ve uttered.
I can’t help myself made a comparison from my country of origin, Philippines. I know it isn’t fair to compare a country from another country. That when you keep comparing a country from another country you definitely end up in discontent. As a consequence, you lose the chance being given to appreciate the unique beauty of each place. However, in this premise, I will use the viewpoint of economic development. I realized that no matter how wealthy a nation when it comes to natural resources – it is not a sure guarantee of a progressive country. I realized that no matter how English is widely spoken in a particular place– it is not an assurance of a progressive country. I realized that no matter how many intellectuals, bright minds, critical thinker a country produced – it does not equate to a progressive country. You only become critical. I felt dejected thinking that Philippines is being left behind by our neighboring ASEAN countries. What’s alarming at this time is the ongoing war in Zamboanga at the Southern part of the Philippines. It was a decade of non-stop peace negotiation among the Islamic rebels of MNLF-MILF (Moro National Liberation Front- Moro Islamic Liberation Front). I no longer understand what Nur Misuari is fighting for. He is using “jihad” for the wrong context. I personally believe that differences in religion should never be a reason to divide a country. What Nur Misuari has shown is a sure disgrace to his fellow Muslims who make a peaceful co-existence within the community of their Christian counterpart. What is heartbreaking is the death of innocent civilians who has nothing to do with the war, is simply trying to make a harmonious living. And after all the killing and damaged done, Nur Misuari has the guts to ask the government for the safe passage of his men? He is living neither in delusion nor misery!
I am on the side of the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant – in his ethics: to never ever use man as a means to an end. Because life of human being is sacred.
On the other side of the coin, there’s something at the back of my mind playing like a devil’s advocate – isn’t the war in the Southern Philippines a plain fabricated political plot (I hope I’m wrong) to divert the attention of the Filipinos for the current big talk of the town – the P10 billion (yes BILLION) “pork barrel” scam by our God-fearing public servants. How ironic that these political figure involved in the scam keep talking about God when the evidences are there presented before their eyes. Philippines has so much idiosyncrasies, the so called predominant Christian country in South East Asia and yet rampant corruption is ubiquitous. The Philippine government leaders where most of them come from showbiz – who are great actors/ actresses continue to fool the common people. The politics in the Philippines is really a BIG JOKE.
At the end of the day, it will dawn on us – we put them there to be the public servant. People elected them. Shall we blame ourselves? When are we ever going to learn? I think democracy as much as I prefer it has its own downsides.
I thought, we Filipinos can learn something from Thai people:
1) They have a direct transport – sky train from the airport to any point of destination when you head to central of Bangkok. It is very easy to move around anywhere you go – you have lots of public transport to choose: tuktuk, bus, boat and sky train – which is more efficient and very accessible. You will only spend less than a hundred Thai Baht from the airport to reach the city via sky train.
Import/ Export products
2) What makes Bangkok a shopping paradise is because most of the branded clothes, shoes, accessories etc are manufactured in Thailand. It is freakin cheap in Bangkok and you can guarantee that even those local brands the quality is NOT being sacrificed. Imagine I really don’t go shopping (unless, there is a necessity to do so) but I end up taking a pair a pair of sneakers, a ladies high heel shoes, and two-piece working long sleeve clothes – all branded.
3) Although chances are you might encounter drivers who will try to rip you off and charge for a higher price – just leave them as this kind of scam is perpetuating everywhere. In general, I have observed that Thai people have discipline when it comes to commuting in the public places- they queue in the train station, boat and cab station and they do not push each other. The locals especially those who speak English well are making their way to help you.
4) In Maslow’s Theory – the need for safety next to need for food, shelter and clothing – is a basic human needs. I was already at the Hua Lamphong train station when I found out I left my phone being charge at the lobby of the guesthouse where I stayed. I immediately asked the cab driver that we return to my guesthouse (as fast as we can) because my scheduled train to Vientiane is about to leave in 45 minutes. I was rushing up almost bump my head at the glass door – the receptionist rolled her eyes “what happened??” I said – I left my phone – it was still there at the lobby – charging silently! By safety – free from any pickpocketing, snatching, hold up. We won’t worry about our life to be in peril because the government can assure the safety not only of its constituents as well as the tourists and travelers.
On a lighter side, I had a relaxing stay on my return to Bangkok from Vientiane. And look whom I found:
NOTE: I wrote this post a couple of days back, when the issues back in my country was everywhere in the print ads but work has taken so much of my time. Am actually at work now 😉 (but am done with my part) and is winding up for the next week auditing. As my one of those means of unwinding – I have to write and update my blog. For the lack of right platform to express my dismay and sentiments from what is happening politically back home, I’ve written it here.