Posts Tagged ‘society’

Household debts among workers have risen 4.9% year-on-year to 137,000 baht per household on average this year, the highest in a decade, according to a survey.

The poll was conducted on 1,194 workers earning less than 15,000 baht a month by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) ahead of the Labour Day on Tuesday.

Of the debts, 65.4% were formal loans with an average 10.6% interest rate a year. The rest, or 34.6%, were informal loans with interest of around 20.1% a month, said Thanawat Ponvichai, UTCC vice-president for research.

An overwhelming majority, 96%, said they were indebted, the highest proportion in 10 years. The major purpose of the borrowing chosen by 36.1% of the respondents was to cover general expenses, followed by asset purchases such as cars or motorcycles, investments, home-buying, medical treatments and debt repayments.

The average monthly debt repayment of the respondents was 5,326 baht.

Most of the debtors, 85.4%, missed repayments over the past year because of lower incomes and higher expenses, rising goods prices, as well as higher debt burdens and loan interest rates.

Asked whether the current debt burden affected their spending, 45.7% said while their spending remained the same now, they would tighten belts over the next three months.

Continue reading: Bangkok Post

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Most of the people think the Thai economy declined in the first quarter of 2018 and see no hope in the economic stimulation policies or programmes currently being carried out by the government, according to a survey carried out by National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on April 9-10 on 1,250 people of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country to compile their opinions on the Thai economy during January-March this year.

Asked about the overall economy of the country during the first quarter, 45.92% of the respondents said it had become worse; 37.52% said it had remained the same as before; 16.24% said it had improved, and 0.32% were uncertain or had no comment.

Continue reading: Bangkok Post

A Thai government official’s suggestion that women should dress conservatively to avoid sexual harassment during the nation’s new year festival has sparked a rebuttal under the hashtag #DontTellMeHowToDress.

Crowded water-gun battles that leave revelers soaked are a distinctive feature of the Songkran celebrations from Friday through Sunday, prompting the official to warn women against wearing revealing outfits. At least one survey indicates harassment is pervasive during the festival.

Cindy Bishop, a Bangkok-based Thai-American model, actress and television celebrity, said she created #DontTellMeHowToDress to put the onus back on how men behave instead of the way women dress. Her video on the topic has been viewed almost 500,000 times on Facebook and Instagram, and the hashtag has created more buzz in Thailand than #MeToo.

“Maybe the reason this is taking off faster is because they’re not coming out and accusing anyone,” Bishop said. “Our society is quite conservative, and for someone to come out and point a finger at someone who’s assaulted her is huge, I don’t know if we’re ready for it yet.”

Continue reading: Bloomberg

It’s never been easy. Marginalised communities suffer, especially for the past four years, in a state of loss and neglect.

More than 300 Thai pro-democracy demonstrators marched to the gates of the army headquarters in Bangkok on Saturday (Mar 24) to call on soldiers to withdraw their support for the government.

It was one of the biggest in a new wave of protests against corruption and the government’s failure to keep to a promised election timetable.

The marchers demanded soldiers end their backing for the government, which took power following a May 2014 coup. But the protesters also said they did not want another military takeover.

“We want a peaceful transition,” Rangsiman Rome, one of the protest leaders, told Reuters. “It’s time for the army and all of Thai society to stop supporting the junta and side with the people.”

Soldiers at the army headquarters declined to respond.

Continue reading: Channel NewsAsia

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn must have seen his removal coming when he wrote Friday that, weeks after having wed, he might be sent on an unexpectedly early honeymoon for having said too much.

And when junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha used his absolute power Tuesday to sack the acting election commissioner, it came across as payback for his increasingly strident comments, despite the official charge he had misled the public.

Either way, it served to reopen old wounds which have festered since the pro-democracy camp accused him of sabotaging – rather than facilitating – elections four years ago.

The schadenfreude ran strong among some anti-juntanite and Redshirt Shinawatra supporters who blame Somchai for his ambivalent stewardship of the failed 2014 vote they fault for setting the stage for Prayuth’s coup.

“You reap what you sow. You paved the way, which let them in,” Chulalongkorn University political scientist Puangthong R. Pawakapan said an hour after the news broke last night. Puangthong added that he couldn’t have been sacked in such a way under an elected government.

Continue reading: Khaosod English

A Buddhist scholar and foreign correspondent both warn in recent books of the rising specter of Buddhist nationalism in Thailand.

Buddhist scholar Suraphot Thaweesak recently warned that a bid to enshrine Buddhism as the national religion would increase the kind of extremism that French journalist Arnaud Dubus writes about in his recently released book “Buddhism and Politics in Thailand.”

“They think the state must protect Buddhism. … It’s difficult to make them see other points. We have to invite them to think about the teachings of Buddhism, that the Buddha talks about cessation of suffering,” Suraphot said, adding that establishing a national religion would spark more conflict with Thais of other faiths.

Dubus’ evidence of growing Buddhist extremism includes calls to burn down mosques in the predominantly Muslim-Malay Deep South, where soldiers have ordained as monks, equipped with both alms bowl and heavy weapons.

Continue reading: Khaosod English