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The week that was in Thailand news: Welcoming 2019 – The Year of the Scapegoat


The week that was in Thailand news: Welcoming 2019 – The Year of the Scapegoat

I had hoped that 2019 would get off to a fresh, bright and new start. Dream on.
It appears that the blame game and scapegoating (very much used as a verb in Thailand) started about 12.01 am, perhaps even before.
The carnage that claimed 463 lives over the New Year period was seemingly blamed on everybody except the drivers and riders who made it possible.
First up, the liquor sellers were castigated for flogging booze to the drivers. How very dare they sell their wicked wares instigating all that mayhem on the highways!
Then rather than blaming the motorcyclists for keeping Thailand at Number One on the Corpse Charts we were presented with an altogether more convenient culprit or lack of one – ABS brakes systems.
One official declared that if more bikes were fitted with ABS 9,000 less stiffs would grace the news pages over the next five years alone. Progress! But definitely a threat to that Number One status, so steady on there Somchai.
Even an Italian litter-picker-upper – hilariously named Macaroni Man – got blamed in Sangkhaburi for trying to clean up Thailand. Though at least on this occasion the friendly netizens gave him support – it was the spirit of New Year after all (that is not “lao khao” by the way).
Down in Pattaya a foreign couple were blamed for doing what comes naturally in the sea at Jomtien. The couple were on AK 47’s radar. This is my new moniker for Pol Col Apichai Krobpetch the station chief in QUOTES (Queen of the Eastern Seaboard). He looks about that old or is it the woes of Pattaya that has aged him and is he really just 21?
He wants a word after the frolicking farangs were filmed getting fruity in the foaming froth. Though if you ask me he should have arrested the videographer for voyeurism instead. Why can’t people keep their interfering noses out of others…er….business. The creep’s running commentary set him up as a peeping, perving, pathetic perp.
Not that I condone public displays of affection. Oh, no, not Rooster. I have been in Thailand far too long to even dream that that might even be half acceptable….
As Thais issued resolutions blaming everyone for their being fat, unhealthy and addicted to fags, the authorities in Chiang Mai – aghast at the completely predictable if record death toll in the province of a nice round dozen – blamed tourists for clogging the roads and the rain for making it slippery. Damn H2O needs some attitude adjustment.
What was next I wondered – God must be quaking in his boots as tropical storm Pabuk threatened to wreak havoc in the south and tourists tried to flee the scene as the authorities closed airports and forbade ships and ferries to go to sea.
The Almighty may escape sanction for the storm, however, as Thais are reluctant to blame higher powers fearing that they will be looked unkindly upon when the time comes for the handout of the crucial lottery numbers.
No, on this occasion various depressions were blamed – it was probably a Chinese and the Japanese conspiracy to bring the high winds and rains as Thailand does not usually suffer enough from natural disasters when compared to their Asian neighbors.
Though to be fair, there are enough man made ones to more than redress the balance.
Down in Nakorn Pathom the combination of a phone charger and a graduation balloon were held responsible for the 50% burns on a little child clutching the balloon in the back seat of a car. Yes, no one thought to blame the person who probably filled the balloon with inflammable gas rather than more expensive helium.
While also up in Chiang Mai a woman driver (who else?) was to blame for negligently going straight on as a famous male TV host and his mate Joe lost their lives in a klong. I got their point but was not the CRV driver just an itsy-bitsy bit to blame too. No, he was dead and what’s the use of blaming the deceased. No money in that, thought pecuniary minded plod.
The dead male couple looked like man and wife – at least there was no blame attached to that in Thailand that always retreats into claims of  liberal-mindedness when threatened.
Surprisingly, no one offered to blame anything for a fire that destroyed a warehouse in Chonburi or another conflagration that caused tourists on a pleasure boat to “flee for their lives” in the Chao Phraya. I suspect an almost religious reason…immaculate combustion perhaps.
Thankfully, it appeared that a monkey in Krabi was guilty as charged after an Aussie woman was molested at Wat Tham Seua. Though a park official did manage to sneak in lack of food being to blame (the monkey not the tourist, incidentally).
Meanwhile at Rooster Central (my house, not a shopping center) Rooster was blamed after taking the entire family away for New Year to Hua Hin, buying huge numbers of Xmas presents and forking out the cost of about ten expensive meals at every restaurant under the sun.
Silly old me forgot to get gold for Mrs Rooster – as Basil Fawlty once said taking off his upper body wear – “Here have it! The shirt off my back!”
With all the blaming going on Rooster was beginning to think of one thing that was now inevitable. The 2018 Year of the Dog will not now be replaced with the Year of the Pig come February 5th and Trut Jeen (Chinese New Year).
That accolade will go to the Year of the Goat – the Scapegoat!
It will be just as well to change the animal at the last minute. What with the election coming up in late February one would not want to tempt fate with the Year of the Pig – that could see several pig faced men in khaki underpants cling onto power and keep their grubby snouts in the Thai Trough for years to come.
At least Scapegoats are relatively free, don’t eat much and give us all a good belly laugh.
Not giving any laughs and providing much cause for concern was the approaching storm. As a taster of what might be to come Facebook – and inevitably Thaivisa – was reminded of what naughty “Harriet” did in 1962 and what another storm managed in 1989. Namely death and destruction.
Some 50,000 tourists and locals fled Samui, Pangan and Koh Tao en masse. Expect the accident rate in the two former places and the murder rate in the latter to go down as a blessed result.
As Rooster headed via the roads for the relative safety of Chiang Mai (famous last words) for the Northern Scrabble Championships the southern residents and remaining tourists were battening down the hatches from Prajuab to Yala and everywhere in between with dozens of stories on Thaivisa from every angle.
At the time of writing this there had been a solitary death on a fishing trawler but thankfully Thailand seemed to have been spared a disaster as the storm was about to be downgraded to a tropical depression.
The warnings issued by the authorities had clearly helped to mitigate the situation.
Phew! No need for blame.
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