Look at the image at the top of this page. That is Thailand now. That encapsulates everything that needs to be said about our country right now.
There is a healthcare worker, in full PPE gear, sitting by the side of the road exhausted and distraught. Next to him, a man is either passed out or dead. Judging from the PPE gear that is being worn, it is likely from Covid-19.
The worst part about this image is that it is not an isolated incident, everyday we hear more and more stories of this taking place across Bangkok and other hard-hit provinces.
How did it come to this?
When General Prayut Chan-ocha took power in 2014, he promised that he would “return happiness to the people” and accused politicians of bickering and not putting the country first. His regime prosecuted those that came before him including the government of Yingluck Shinawatra for malfeasance and neglect of duty.
Returning happiness to the people was always going to be a tall order, something that Prayut would ultimately fail at. These days, forget happiness, I think the members of the Thai public would settle for having a coherent, transparent vaccine program and not letting people die on the streets would be enough.
Prayut carries himself as a man of honor and valor, who is sacrificing so much of himself for the betterment of the people. When asked in the days after his military coup – which deposed a legitimately elected democratic government – he talked about the risks he took to take power and how he knew he was not legitimate but it was a move he had to make to help the country.
It is a theme repeated again and again by the administration – the myth of the reluctant general who stepped away from the barracks because he couldn’t stand by and let his country go down in flames.
I wonder what the Prayut of 2014 would make of the Prayut of 2021, maybe he would stage another coup.
Because right now, the country is in flames and the major reason is Prayut.
From a horribly botched vaccine program, to constant infighting between various government organs, not to mention a cabinet filled with crooks and criminals, this government resembles a mafia movie more than an administration ready to tackle the biggest challenge to face the country for decades.
But yet despite these failings, the honorable prime minister fails to see his shortcomings. One does not know whether it is through hubris or doltishness that the premier still considers himself the best man for the job.
But with more than half a million people infected and over 4,000 dead since April 1, the time has come for General Prayut to leave.
It is time for him to show a shred of the honor he boasts so heavily about and resign.