A deadly New Year epidemic
Most people look forward to the new year with renewed hopes, promises and happiness. However, every year, thousands will start the year with a funeral. During the new year holidays, nearly 400 Thais died and more than 2000 injured in road accidents. That’s like entire villages wiped out in days. If this had been a biological disease, people would be all up in arms to get rid of it, at all costs. Just look at the bird flu panic.
However, when the culprit is a social disease that also happens to bring about billions of baht into the Thai economy, then the authorities’ response to the mass deaths is symbolic at best.
How long has alcohol been plaguing Thai society? Since the early ages, countless people fell victim to it. Everyone already knows well ahead that there will be carnage on the roads; everyone knows when it will happen, and why. And yet, year by year, authorities only feed us some feeble response. This year, it was the following: “the government hopes to limit the number of deaths from road accidents during the corresponding period this year to 456.” (IHT Thai Day).
Excuse me? So, if less than five hundred people die, than they declare success? What kind of success is that? For every person who died, there is a grieving family, dozens of ruined lives for each. I’d like to see a government figure visit such a funeral and boast about their ‘success’.
It’s about time the Thai government stop acting as if death by drunkards is an unpreventable disaster like the tsunami; something that can be only anticipated, but not eradicated. This is not so. Unlike a natural disaster, alcohol deaths are completely preventable. A total ban on alcohol production, sale and consumption, combined with severe punishment of the lawbreakers is the only sure-fire way that could cure this persistent plague of Thai society.
Just think about it. The only beneficial use of alcohol is in science – and that alcohol is denatured (made unfit for human consumption). The rest has no useful purpose whatsoever, it’s just a burden on society. Getting rid of it would help Thai society more than some feeble aims and promises every time the carnage comes around.
So, whose hands are stained by the victims’ blood? Stupid idiots who recklessly go ahead and get drunk, despite knowing what happens every year? The system that barely lifts a finger to curb and contain this social disease? Or alcohol producers themselves who also know exactly that their product kills hundreds every year, and yet promote it wherever they can?
A tsunami of booze
But of course they do, because during the rest of the year, they sold “only” 1,972.52 million liters of alcohol, the poor fellas! That volume alone would be enough to cause a tremendous tsunami of booze, but wait! You see, in December they can sell some additional 64.4 million liters of liquor and 166.2 million liters of beer. This extra income is clearly worth hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries, right?
Thailand is among the top five nations when it comes to alcohol consumption. It’s long overdue to get off that list.
(Fact and pic source: IHT Thai Day)