After watching Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang’s clip wishing us all properly for 2020, I requested myself if I ought to, in his phrases, “really feel blessed”, particularly for the reason that actuality is the exact opposite.
In his speech, the governor wished us — Bangkok residents — happiness, urging us to “depart unhealthy issues behind in 2019” and look ahead to a brighter future. He additionally did not overlook to thank his workforce for its dedication in reaching his administration’s excessive targets.
As for leaving unhealthy issues behind, all I can ask is, actually? As a long-time resident, I’ve no confidence we will depart the robust life behind and hope for a brighter future as he mentioned.
How can we probably really feel what he says once we know full properly that the governor and his workforce’s sole intention is to please vacationers? Over its tenure, the town administration has made it fairly clear that its major precedence is to beautify the capital for guests, forgetting that its intention must be to make Bangkok a greater, stronger metropolis for its residents.
Whereas the governor and/or his workforce spend countless hours and undeclared quantities of cash on social media attempting to persuade folks of their so-called success in tackling issues or introducing new initiatives, folks on the road discover their lives just about the identical, if not worse.
When he mentioned “depart unhealthy issues behind”, I ponder if he means the fantastic PM2.5 mud within the air? This hazardous smog has haunted us on a yearly foundation, and I actually hope he would not overlook — or faux to overlook — this reality.
With out critical strikes to sort out this concern, the air air pollution will worsen daily not less than till the tip of subsequent month or March. The 2 big air-filters at Ratchaprasong Intersection and in Ratchathewi that he’s so happy with are not more than massive toys. They might have helped Pol Gen Aswin as a PR stunt, however they’re actually not the correct instruments to fight smog. The one means we will management the smog is that if we in the reduction of on the variety of autos on the street, which may solely be achieved with the event of an environment friendly and reasonably priced public transport system.
Town administration has additionally been boasting concerning the resounding success its “staged” street-food occasions in Khao San, Silom and Yaowarat have had. The truth is, deputy governor Sakoltee Patthiyakul claimed the 800-metre strolling road in Yaowarat had attracted near 100,000 guests and generated 18 million baht.
But what about long-term plans for road meals that may profit abnormal folks, the blue and white-collar staff or the lowly-paid state officers?
In a bid to make the town greener, the administration has give you initiatives just like the so-called Inexperienced Bridge and Saphan Duan or a sky park based mostly on the unfinished construction of the Lavalin Skytrain venture. The elevated Inexperienced Bridge has been dusted off and can finally flip right into a connection between Lumpini and Benjakitti parks. But when the town thinks that is sufficient, it is fallacious.
Final week, the town’s slightly absurd “Tree/You/Once more” venture turned the topic of a lot ridicule. The venture, launched on Dec 24 at Mahakan Fort Park, noticed a handful of foreigners becoming a member of metropolis officers in planting timber in an space that after housed an previous group, which was booted out after dropping a marathon land dispute with the town.
The “Tree/You/Once more” marketing campaign within the Mahakan Fort space is ironic, as a result of the realm was residence to quite a few majestic timber that the town blatantly eliminated solely to ask foreigners to replant new timber. When will this felling and replanting cycle finish?
Comparable campaigns are going to be held at Rommaninat, Saranrom and Santi Chai Prakan parks in previous Bangkok till March.
Judging from his fierce PR efforts, it is going to come as no shock if Pol Gen Aswin, who was handpicked by the army regime to switch MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, runs within the subsequent gubernatorial election. If he does that, his first transfer must be to get his priorities proper and have all his schemes and initiatives profit metropolis residents, not international guests.
Pol Gen Aswin and his workforce might argue that tourism is important to generate earnings for the town. In a means that is true, however finally it’s the residents who will solid the ballots. Making Bangkok resilient and preserving its historical past is a sure-fire technique to attract vacationers.
Additionally, ought to I remind him that no person will wish to go to Bangkok if the air pollution persists?
If the governor would not know what to do, might I humbly counsel that he lead a life like a standard metropolis resident so he can be taught first hand what persons are up towards each day? Perhaps he might take a bus to work as soon as every week?
The boss on the Air pollution Management Division took this initiative and inspired his colleagues to comply with. Although his effort might not see the variety of automobiles go down considerably, it is going to not less than set an instance, if not make a powerful political assertion.
Sirinya Wattanasukchai is a columnist for the Bangkok Submit.