One of the many complaints of
pedestrians and motorists alike is the lack of courtesy towards others on
the roads. Whether it is pedestrians trying to cross the road by dashing
between cars or dashing across the crosswalks when the have a green walk
light, hoping that drivers will stop long enough to let them pass.
Then there are the cars that pull out without looking, the drivers that are
too busy talking on their phones to watch the road, the songthaews that stop
without looking, the list is, in fact rather endless.
Motorbikes are not immune to this lack of courtesy often cutting people off,
dashing through red lights and making it difficult for pedestrians to cross
There are driving exams that people must pass in order to obtain a driver’s
license. However, there are times when one would never guess that. In
general, given the growing number of vehicles in Chiang Mai, the traffic
still manages to flow fairly well but what is lacking is a sense of courtesy
towards others on the roads.
A good Thai friend says “Thai people can learn, and can do these things, but
we lack discipline.” I don’t think anyone can argue with this assessment
although for those of us who have chosen Thailand as our home, one of the
charms as well as one of the difficulties is that lack of discipline. From
the drivers on the road who fail to heed the rules and each other to the
service personnel who don’t deliver, don’t show up or don’t do the job
correctly the first time.
Of course, these problems are not unique to Thailand and in fact, can occur
anywhere. But, we don’t live anywhere, we live here and so it is those
everyday problems we face here that we must face. I don’t profess to know
any short term solutions to any issues, except of course better police
enforcement of traffic laws, not just helmet and license checks would
certainly go far in improving things in the short term.
Long term, of course, the key is in education. The children learn the
behaviors they take into adulthood, is it possible to teach courtesy and
consideration, even for those you don’t know? To teach punctuality and how
do a job right? I think it is, but it has to come from teachers, parents and
society as a whole.
The more people who teach by good
example rather than simply complain about how things around them need
changing are just that many more who can make an effect, no matter how
small, on those around them.