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Pattaya Daily News

25 December 2008 :: 11:12:37 am 5995

It Could Be Worse

You don’t need me to tell you these are troubled times and the word on the street is that we may indeed be on the brink of a social crisis of enormous significance. We are about to enter a year of particular uncertainty with many on the verge of losing their jobs, homes, or both. Our hearts go out to those who have spent many years of hard work to build up security for themselves and their families only to see it disappear before their very eyes.
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For many Westerners this period is a time of celebration coupled with the traditional mantra of “goodwill to fellow men”. It’s a time of year where feelings and displays of altruism reach their peak. But for perhaps for the first time in a generation, with hundreds of thousands losing or about to lose their jobs and livelihoods, we can be excused for abandoning the selflessness and instead drown ourselves in our own anxieties. We have enough problems and worries of our own without worrying about the plight of others.

When things are going bad, it’s always easy to fall back on the platitude “there’s always someone worse off than me”. But now, perhaps more than ever before in our experience, despite the odds being stacked up more and more against us, we should just realise that our condition could indeed be worse and that maybe, by just looking around us, things aren’t as bad as we think. For those of us living in Pattaya you don’t have to look far.

In just a few minutes wandering around Pattaya’s main tourist district on Christmas Eve, I encountered what appeared to be a whole family including two young children, sleeping on the main Second Road, just a stone’s throw away from Marine Plaza, displaying a sign saying “Fortuneteller”; a disabled garland seller obviously struggling with the downturn in the tourist trade but still managing a smile; a small boy playing in the Walking Street dirt at 2 o’clock in the morning while his Western counterparts are probably tucked up in bed waiting for Santa. There were many, many more examples of the worse off, in this, the heart of Fun City.

The difference between us and these examples of the less fortunate is that at least we are better equipped to tackle our situation – we have at least a few more stops to pull out, the possibility of economising, the support of family and friends, and so on. The family on the street have probably reached the end of their tether. Their government recently found the funds to cover the costs of thousands of stranded tourists to the tune of 2000 baht per day. 2000 baht would feed the whole family for a couple of weeks or offer them shelter for even longer. Imagine how they feel about this?

No matter how long it takes for the world to sort itself out the chances of any of us finding ourselves in a similar state are virtually nil. Everything is indeed relative, and really, let’s face it, it could be a lot, lot worse!

All of us at PDN wish our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Editorial

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