Once you come to learn how corruption in Thailand seems to make things just a little nicer to the end user being tourist and others wanting to get things done, you start to wonder about the wisdom of cleaning it up. There clearly is a trade off that must be carefully weighed before deciding on the hole size of the screen that looks to filter it out.
Ridding Thailand or any country for that matter of corruption does have its draw backs. If you really stop and think about it for a moment, political correctness is about as anti corrupt as you can get. With Thailand being an oasis from political correctness, one can not help but wonder why would anyone in their right mind want to set conditions that would see political correctness in Thailand. People are much happier and healthier without it as any western mental health provider working in Thailand will attest to. There is a very clear distinction that is seen by mental health providers in Thailand that see both tourists and locals with stress and anxiety levels 20% higher with tourists.
So enter Prime Minister Abhisit who was educated in the UK and who has been seeded with western values of morals and ethics, and you start to see the makings of this political battle. Abhisit has set a high priority on cleaning up corruption in Thailand and clearly battle lines have been drawn.
So given the choice between New York City and Bangkok for a laid back and somewhat adventurous tourist destination, most people would pick Bangkok hands down. New York cab drivers with foul mouths and attitudes are quickly canceled out by the smiling faces and pleasant people of Thailand. So if corruption were to suddenly end, the chances of people not smiling because their inherent stress level would be higher will no doubt take some shine off Bangkok leading to Thai cab drivers sounding more like New York cab drivers.
On the up side of getting rid of corruption, more money will be available to move Thailand forward to be more like western cities like London and Paris. Rural areas would be more organized and more rule savvy. Lives will be more complex as more rules will be enforced to insure corruption stays in check.
So to understand what this means is the people who are not seeing any of that corruption money in their wallet will simply stop saying ‘Don’t worry about it’ because they will need to worry about it or suffer the consequences.
To say this is totally un-Thai is an understatement. If things are not fun, Thais simply will not do it. Many Thais would work for less money if the job was fun. So essentially corruption is woven into Thai culture as well because it tends to lower stress in avoiding the need to dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘T’. As long is it is close it will be just fine.
So the consequences of cleaning up corruption does have significant fallout if you take a look at all the dots. When you remove corruption, that empty space must be filled with rules, regulations and the watchful eye of Big Brother government to avoid corruption rushing back in. All of that adds stress and all of that looks to pave over the Thai oasis with asphalt.
Next Part 3