Wed. Jul 10th, 2024

Covid-19 inflames resentment between rich and poor in Thailand

Covid-19 inflames resentment between rich and poor in Thailand 3
Covid-19 inflames resentment between rich and poor in Thailand 3

When `super VIP` customers stepped out of limousines parked in front of Krystal nightclub in Bangkok, Thailand, they were greeted by young girls wearing crowns and angel wings, and then quickly taken to the entertainment venues.

With the motto of operating as a luxury entertainment nightclub, the fun at Krystal did not stop despite Covid-19 prevention measures, during most of the pandemic.

Many people related to these two nightclubs have tested positive for nCoV, including an ambassador and a minister.

High-rise apartment buildings and office buildings are located opposite Khlong Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok, Thailand.

As of November 2020, Thailand, which was once praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its ability to fight epidemics, recorded a total of less than 5,000 cases of nCoV infection.

The new outbreak in Thailand occurred just as many Western countries gradually loosened restrictions, and also when a `late wave of infection` swept across Southeast Asia, where most of the time there was not enough vaccine for vaccination.

Meanwhile, the phuyai class, Thailand’s flashy upper class, can book trips abroad to get vaccinated against Covid-19 vaccines not yet available in their homeland.

However, poor working people are not qualified to do so.

`Society is extremely unequal. The phuyai class has destroyed safety during the pandemic. And we, the small people, cannot survive,` said Mutita Thongsopa, an employee of a dairy company in Bangkok.

Supatra Thongsopa, Mutita’s 40-year-old sister who works as a grocery clerk at a shopping center in Bangkok, went to the government’s nCoV testing site at 3 a.m. on April 27 to reserve a spot, but had to wait until April 1.

Supatra received a positive result and died 5 days later.

A court in Bangkok sentenced managers at two nightclubs Krystal and Emerald to two months in prison for violating the emergency decree against Covid-19, but so far no one else has faced charges.

`The Krystal nightclub case is being investigated. We are still waiting for the suspects to turn themselves in and have sent a letter to the owner of this nightclub,` said Major General Sophon Sarapat, commander of a police team in Bangkok.

According to commentators Hannah Beech and Muktita Suhartono of the NY Times, three waves of Covid-19 in Thailand all broke out from places where the elite profited through questionable business activities and disregarded prevention measures.

For the first time last spring, virologists traced the virus to a military-run boxing arena that made money from betting.

Covid-19 inflames resentment between rich and poor in Thailand

Khlong Toey slum residents live along the railway tracks.

The third wave, which left about 1,000 people dead, originated in nightclubs seemingly close to the authorities, then quickly spread to slums along Bangkok’s highways and railway tracks.

`The rich party, and the poor suffer the consequences,` said Sittichat Angkhasittisiri, chairman of a neighborhood in Khlong Toey, Bangkok’s largest slum.

It is unclear exactly how the virus crept into Khlong Toey.

`The government recommends quarantine, but that’s for rich people. Our houses are too small. We don’t have enough space,` Sittichat explained.

After wearing a raincoat and plastic glasses to deliver water to a group of Covid-19 patients, Mariam Pomdee, a leader in the community, distributed free food to residents who were running out of food.

Due to the spread of Covid-19, workers living in Khlong Toey have been turned away by employers, while the unemployment rate has skyrocketed because of border closures.

`The rich, who are privileged, are trampling on the poor. They believe that money can buy anything,` Mariam said.

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