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Road Rage – time for Thailand to face the truth.
It really is time Thailand stopped hiding behind the “jai yen” myth.
Increasing exposure to dash cams and video phones are showing that “Road Rage”
is out of control.
Sure, violence in Thai society is hardly a new phenomenon – but it
looks like half the population is resorting to violence to handle
small scrapes and disagreements on the highways.
It is increasingly looking like a nation of “jai rorn” people or hotheads.
There is a pertinent question too – how long will it be before one of
the daily assaults ends in the death of an innocent person or their
As if the death and carnage from road accidents is not enough – now
there is an ever greater tendency for violence.
Just sounding a horn seems to be an excuse for a beating or waving a gun.
Thais have been bleating that society is going to the dogs – but it is
now time for action, not just empty words.
It seems like every Tom, Dick and Somchai who goes out to visit their
gran is tooled up for a fight should the slightest thing go wrong.
In the last few days we saw a man taking a baseball bat to a family
car for a small accident. He then chased them down causing a serious
Never mind the occasions when guns have been brandished from windows.
Swords and large knives seem to be essential items to be kept under
the dash. A woman was brandishing a golf club the other week.
And it is not just private drivers – drivers of public vehicles seem
to have even more weapons at the ready.
A check of minivans last year found a veritable arsenal of machetes,
guns and other weapons.
A few fines were handed out but it was woefully inadequate punishment.
But even when weapons are not used Thai drivers are making good use of
their fists and feet to supposedly teach other drivers who have upset
them a life lesson.
Even rude and aggressive celebrities – like Nott Graap My Rot – are
setting the worse of examples to their fans.
This week was no exception – a driver was mercilessly bashing a
motorcyclist after a minor scrape.
The greater tragedy was that bystanders just looked on as if it was a
humdrum daily occurrence.
The nation needs to wake up to this widespread and appalling violence.
So what needs to be done – or is it just a case of sweeping everything
under the carpet and pretending that Thais are the sweetest people on
the planet and wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Firstly the lawmakers and politicians need to take a long hard look at
the legislation about the carrying of weapons.
If it is weak it needs to be upgraded. It certainly seems to be.
Surely carrying a weapon in a car or on a bus is not just transporting
it from one place to another. Is it any different from having it on
Penalties must be severe for people with weapons in their vehicles.
Heravy fines ten times what they are at present. Jail time for anyone
using them in any way.
Then the police must be told to enforce the regulations and not
connive with the public to treat it as something that is acceptable.
For the lawless public are culpable too – it is all our problem, not
But keeping weapons out of cars is one thing – the root cause of road
rage runs deeper.
Politicians, police, and particularly parents need to educate the young.
They are seeing many images on social media and are beginning to
accept dealing with problems in a confrontational way as the norm.
The prime minister has mentioned it many times – the problem is many
just ignore him. Why don’t some celebrities step up to the plate?
The young need to be shown another way that avoids confrontation
without resorting to violence.
But above all everyone needs to accept that there is a problem.
Stop the denial.
Stop hiding behind the acceptance of cute national traits.
And face the truth that something is seriously wrong.