Phuket Opinion: Click to care

PHUKET: Sharing a link on Facebook may save a whale or a starving child in Africa, but if the number of clicks truly count, then what headlines people look at highlight where our genuine interests are – and it’s shameful.

The statistics available through Google Analytics, shown clearly on the Phuket Gazette Forum, are depressing, and I know I am part of that statistical sadness.

Put aside the national and international drama stories, and do you know what are the “big hitters”? It’s not the human rights issues of the Rohingya or the steady degradation of what was once a beautiful and diverse island environment. No, it’s snakes – big snakes. Snakes found in houses, washing machines, garages. Now if we were in New York City and a large tropical snake such as a Burmese Python found its way into my tiny studio apartment and feasted on my cat Charley – that would be news.

Perhaps as most Gazette readers are Westerners, we are still intrigued by that exotic nature of Thailand that seems to come slithering into our homes when we see a snake story, and we can’t stop ourselves from clicking on it.

Nonetheless, it’s shocking that a story about a fairly common indigenous animal gets two to four times as many unique clicks (representative of readers) as a story about a refugee people, including women and children, fleeing violent persecution in their homeland.

These people aren’t washing up in some distant land, or even elsewhere in Thailand, they are washing up right here on Phuket.

I know many people who genuinely care, who read the stories about the Rohingya and try to help. They sort out what they can do to provide for these people, to help prevent them from falling into the hands of human traffickers.

Those people are special, they care and have a desire to act on their human compassion.

What is shocking is not that more people aren’t driven by human compassion to actually act, but that so few people can’t be bothered to even educate themselves about the plight of the Rohingya or even the degradation of our environment.

There seems to be plenty of time for reading about snakes, but no time for reading about the issues that directly affect peoples’ lives.

— Alex Stone


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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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