It wasn't me boss!
by Somchai


You see many stories in the newspapers where a disaster or serious incident has happened, and no one is ever held responsible. Even when the root cause has been found, logic would dictate that who ever did this work, would get their dues. For some reason unknown to me and mankind it doesn't work like this in Thailand.

I once asked a group of colleagues living in Thailand what their biggest fear was. Everyone put forward excellent suggestions such as police corruption, a questionable judicial system, lack of government recognition for foreign workers, etc etc, however one reply intrigued me – there is a total lack of accountability in Thailand. Exactly who is responsible when a motorcycle hits you as you are walking on the footpath? Who is responsible for your safety when you fall down a great big hole on the Sukhumwit Rd that should have had barriers around it? The answer is that no-one is responsible. Or at least never in a million years is anyone going to admit to being responsible.

A few years back, during the construction of the skytrain, a steel girder was accidently dropped from a great height onto a passing taxi. The driver was killed instantly. The story received front page coverage in the Bangkok Post for weeks as the taxi driver’s poor widow fought with the skytrain contractors to try and put some kind of monetary value on her husband’s life. The case went backwards and forwards for some time, and I forget the final sum that was paid out to the grieving woman but it was pretty pathetic. The only reason that any money got paid out at all in my opinion was because it was spouted all over the newspaper front pages. As a result, the widow had support from all sides. Lack of accountability in Bangkok is something I have grown to fear. If a bus driver, high on illegal substances, ploughs into me at a bus stop - Tough shit, I should have got out of the way. The bus driver will either flee the scene never to be found again, or he’ll rot in some Thai prison. And what about the victims? Well, they will quite simply be forgotten.

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