Opinion: Fixing potholes and mindset

Kanin Raksaraj, 31, owns a recycling business in Paklok, Phuket. A native of the island, he is also currently studying toward a bachelor’s degree in political science at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University. He and his friends are noted as the team who fixed the potholes on the bypass road.
Here he talks about why he and his friends find this work important and how the power of the local community can help boost social development through volunteer work.

PHUKET: Fixing the road is not our responsibility. However, saving people’s lives from accidents that occur everyday through bad road conditions is a big moral responsibility of a community and something we should handle [when government fails us] if we are able to.

Many accidents take place every day because of the potholes near the Samkong construction site. Protests have been held but they did not elicit a lot of change, therefore accidents kept piling up on a daily basis.

A lot of these were shared on Facebook. Sharing concerns on social media is a good way to raise awareness and to push those in charge of road safety to do a better job. However, it takes quite a long time to see action.

So we decided to do what we could in order to prevent accidents from happening. We did not spend much money on this effort but it helped a lot.

We saw that this was a big achievement when we received a lot of good feedback from the public and we have also succeeded in raising people’s awareness about doing volunteer work.

On September 20, while we were fixing the road, many local people came to support us. Some helped us with the repairs, while others brought us materials. On that day, we did not just repair the bypass road, but we also fixed several other potholes near Bangkok Hospital Phuket and on Koh Sireh.

For me, doing this type of work is better than staging a protest. Action speaks louder than words. Instead of spending time holding a protest, it is better that we take action and improve the situation.

There was a lot of good that came from our effort. The construction company suddenly started to help fix another part of the road after seeing us making repairs.

A good society starts with good citizens. Start with yourself and inspire others. If in doing so the society benefits, then please take the step. Other people will follow you.

In my opinion, the more that citizens are involved in society, the faster the pace of development in that society will be. If all citizens just ignore problems and throw everything back at the government, these problems will only be resolved slowly.

Volunteering does not cost much, it is more about a moral and positive mindset.

However, we will never intervene heavily in government work. We will just do what we can to help improve Phuket.

— Kongleaphy Keam


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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