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How can Thailand curb its appalling road fatality rate?

Tim Newton

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It’s a question asked by an article nearly a year ago. Tim Newton ponders if much has changed in the last 12 months….
“In the worst of the incidents, 25 people died on Monday in Chonburi province after a pick-up truck and a minivan collided and burst into flames.
In all, 426 people died on Thailand’s road between Dec 29 and Jan 3, up from 340 in the same period a year earlier.
These words were written nearly a year ago, after the 2016/2017 ‘Seven Days of Danger’. It’s a question one should ask as we’re poised to enter the next set of very dangerous days – days which I’m sure we’ll report and reflect upon with horror and dismay.
How can the road toll be curbed, indeed? The more the Government and police seem to try, the higher the toll rises – the key ‘drivers’ of the road toll numbers simply aren’t being addressed. And here we are, as the sun sets on another year, where Thailand has hit the Number One spot in the world, according to ‘World Atlas’.
This accolade is a blight on the Kingdom.
Whilst the top brass flail their arms around deflecting questions about the Deputy PMs haute watch collection and distorted investigations into dead Army cadets, they should be focussing a lot more of their attention on this national disgrace.
Sadly some 500 or so good people won’t be around to celebrate much of 2018 if history repeats itself on Thailand’s roads during the ‘silly season’.
Cambodia may have to relinquish it’s claim to having the ‘Killing Fields’ (referring to the Khmer Rouge purge between 1975-79) and send the title next door. No other term better reflects the situation on our roads.
Shame, shame, shame.
Original article HERE.

- Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 2,800 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 330 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and now produces digital media for The Thaiger and Phuket Gazette.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. thai roadcraft

    December 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

    The evidence is there. The way forward is clear.
    The problem is that in the way of it is blind dogma and failing initiatives like the UN and WHO’s “Decade of action for road safety”. 7 years gone out of it’s 10, totally focused on helmet and seat-belt compliance. Totally failing to understand the problem.

    It’s easy to see when we look past the dogma. Allow for GDP and the WHO “death’s per 100000 road user” statistics show a clear correlation with the countries who offer the greater amounts of road user education and support, being the ones who have the safest roads. While the ones who prefer to try and enforce safety on their subjects, but not support them through education, are at the bottom.

    Safety cannot be enforced on a system. It’s comes from education and understanding.
    This is being addressed in other safety critical environments such as Aviation, but road safety is still in the dark ages.

    If we look at countries at the opposite ends of the WHO Stat’s but with similar population numbers, then compare Thailand with the UK.
    To ride a small motorcycle up to 125cc in the UK requires completion of a Compulsory Basic Training course. To ride any bigger requires a full licence that on average takes 5 days of training on public highways to get to the required standards. The test includes a 40 minute road ride on public highways while being directed by an examiner riding behind the novice.

    While Thailand requires no such display of these real world skills whatsoever. Until this is addressed the carnage will continue unabated.

    If you want to read more on developing a new approach to Road Safety in Thailand, may I share my blog post on “Buddhism and Safety II” -https://thairoadcraft.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/buddhism-and-safety-ii/

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National

Executed 26 year old had grilled chicken and rice for final meal

The Thaiger & The Nation

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In the wake of Thailand’s first execution in nine years, a few more details have emerged about the prisoner’s last moments and of his family.

According to witnesses, the first man to be executed in Thailand in nine years was calm during the last few moments of his life.

Identified only as Thirasak by authorities, the 26 year old remained expressionless as he walked to a room for the fatal injection on Monday.

“We let him say farewell to his family that day,” said Department of Corrections director-general Naras Savestanae. He said Thirasak also chose his final meal – grilled chicken and sticky rice – and after finishing it, was taken directly to the execution room.

Thirasak was executed by lethal injection six years after he fatally stabbed and robbed Danudej Sukmak, who was a 17 year old schoolboy in Trang at the time.

The victim’s parents have never recovered from the pain of losing their son. At the time of the crime, Thirasak was 19 years old.

The execution broke the hearts of Thirasak’s family members.

“He made one last call to Mum just before he entered the execution room – but she didn’t answer the phone soon enough,” one of Thirasak’s sisters said.

She said Thirasak had, however, managed to talk on the phone to his first wife. They had two children together.

“When Mum answered the phone again on Monday, she was told to pick up his body. Mum hasn’t stopped crying,” the sister said.

Thirasak leaves behind his two wives, three children, his mother and sisters. His burial took place yesterday, immediately after his body was transported from Bang Kwang Prison in Nonthaburi to his hometown of Trang.

“I had never thought he would have been executed. Convicts of graver crimes are still alive,” Thirasak’s younger sister said yesterday.

His elder sister said she would have been able to accept his execution had other inmates on death row also been put to death.

“At the very least, prison officials should have allowed him to meet his family members one last time,” she said.

The sisters said they had kept in touch with Thirasak throughout his imprisonment.

“When he was locked up at Trang prison, we visited him often,” one of the sisters said. “But after he moved to Bang Kwang Prison in Nonthaburi, we could not make the visit due to travel expenses. We exchanged letters instead.”

A recent letter from Thirasak mentioned his love and care for his family and also told his siblings to take good care of their mother.

“Living behind bars, my caring concerns cannot actually reach her,” he said in the letter.

Thirasak had also intended to study while behind bars, according to his family.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Nation

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National

mu Space wants to send your name to space

The Thaiger

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Space and satellite company mu Space is sending its first experimental payload beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and it wants to include a list of space fans’ names on it.

The Thai-based company is encouraging the public to write their names on a signature board installed at mu Space’s booth (Experiencing Zone 4) during the Techsauce Global Summit. The event is happening on June 22-23 at The Centara Grand at Central World in Bangkok.

A video posted by mu Space on YouTube explains that the names gathered from the Techsauce Global Summit  will be flown to space.

“This space initiative is the first in Asia and this is something Thais should be proud of. It shows Thailand’s capability to join the space race and create history”, said mu Space’s project lead Chaiyos Kosalakood.

“mu Space will send my name to space, your name, and the names of everyone who wants to join this space mission. This initiative is an initial step to make our dream of travelling to space a reality. We would like to invite everyone, both the local people and foreign expatriates in Thailand, to be part of this,” Chaiyos continues.

If all goes according to plan, mu Space’s payload will reach 100km above the Earth’s surface, where a reduced effect of gravity or weightlessness can be experienced. 

mu Space’s payload box weighs 11kg and will be stowed aboard a sub-orbital space rocket. Aside from the list of names gathered from the Techsauce Global Summit, the payload will include several scientific experiments from universities and space research agencies based in Thailand.

“Later on, we will open a competition for students to research and develop their own space products. The winning product will get a chance to be flown outside of the Earth. mu Space will make that happen,” Chaiyos concluded.

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National

Sadvertising: The art of making us cry and selling stuff

The Thaiger

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“Sadvertising is a consumer advertising trend in which ad creators are using a certain set of strategies to play on people’s emotions and touch off feelings of sadness, melancholy or wistfulness. Touching or emotional advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies work to create strong emotional ties around their products. This is based on a belief that advertising that elicits an emotional reaction from viewers is more likely to be shared, particularly online and over social media. By attempting to reach consumers on a deeper level, sadvertising represents an attempt to gain their attention in an increasingly ad-cluttered world.”

Sadvertising is something that Thai marketeers do very well. There have been some famous ‘Sads’, like this one…

One of the big ideas behind ‘sadvertising’ is the sudden shift in advertising across generations. Not too long ago, comedy and laughter were the most common advertising strategies. Sadvertising is a kind of logical progression, although it doesn’t really work the same way that comedy did. But sometimes you can combine the two…

While there is a lot of potential for innovating advertising to bring out a wider range of emotions, some experts point out that there are inherent limitations to sadvertising that do exist with comic advertising. While many forms of comedy can be considered harmless in advertising, sadness is, at its heart, a negative emotion based on negative outcomes, which is something that marketers have classically avoided.

That means that in sadvertising, marketers must walk a fine line between tugging at consumers’ heartstrings and making them feel depressed. And, mostly of course, they and make sure you have that happy ending.

Here’s one more (there are plenty of others). Have your handkerchief ready for this one…

 

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