Thursday, October 17, 2019

The aftershock for the Thai economy

Aug 18. 2015
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Re: "Tourism boom likely to offset export contraction", Business, August 17.
I can only say, “What a difference a day makes.” The only “boom” in the news now has, tragically, had the opposite effect.
In light of the terrible Erawan Shrine bombing, we can safely ignore the story referred to – we all know there is little hope of a tourist revival in the near future. Many travel plans will have been turned upside down. Some visitors will shrug it off, but others will be certainly put off and stay away. A second incident would be tourism’s death knell until at least next year.
While Thailand will dust itself off amid the ashes (literally), there are no viable drivers of the economy at the moment. Perhaps it’s time to genuinely embrace the King’s sufficiency-economy philosophy and get serious about rampant consumerism, the widespread addiction to shopping and tech and the high debt-to-income ratio. The endless hours spent on such addictive and vain pursuits by this young generation of Thais could be better employed with more worthwhile and productive activities, be they reading good books, exercising, volunteering (egads!) or creating a small-business niche. Parents, think twice about taking your kids to troll the malls endlessly just because it’s a shiny, cool and easy entertainment option of consumer feasting and junk-food gorging. You’ve been there and done that a hundred times.
It’s time to “kit nawk grawb” – think outside the box. 
If you don’t, others will. And then you’ll buy their stuff, need to pay for their ideas and to pay to watch their content. (The new Thai copyright law won’t let people get away with counterfeiting for much longer.)
Niels Jeffreys

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