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Peter M: Garbage as site specific art installations

Peter M gives his 2 cents worth
Regarding garbage. It’s a big concern of mine as well. From the MRT to my house their are several SORE spots that make me wonder why Thais behave this way.

One spot is right beside a female food vendor who sells meat squewers on a stick. The garbage is piled high and is complete with a burnt of automobile chasis. Just across the road is a lovely house….?

Turning the corner, there are several other DUMP sites. But what is intriguing and less beguilling is that they are low budget recyclers who have set up camp on vacant parcels of land . Thus, they have accumulated garbage with a purpose. This I can fathom and almost accept. It’s not just lazy pile ups.

As a Westerner it is disturbing because our sense of “community” precludes such distasteful indulgences of sloth. If this were to happen back home, the owner of the land would receive a clean up notice from the local municipality. If he didn’t clean it up than he would be fined. If he didn’t pay the fine, his land would be confiscated. Somehow this doesn’t happen here. Either the local government are to stupid to follow suit or just to plain lazy (definitely the later!)

Since I need to truck anyway loads of construction debris from my home project, I’m going to enlist the same truck and personal to do a little other work. Make up a couple of sophisticated looking signs and when we guerilla fashion remove the debris, post the signs as a warning to others with a hefty 5,000 baht fine.

I had contemplated a much more soft, grassroots approach and to enlist others in the neighbourhood to join me in my campaign but in the end decided it would be pointless.

It was the same in Ko Chang where I lived amongst other houses suspended over the water. The fisherman who lived in the village threw their garbage, beer bottles and shat directly into the very place that brought them their livelyhood. At low tide the picturesque village was transformed into one large garbage dump. Educating them was like trying to draw blood from a stone…

So are we as foreigners to believe that Thai’s are a garbage-culture or is it simply a lack of education and ignorance that allows them co-exist with such complacency? Or is the problem extended to the local government who simply don’t provide better removal service. I don’t hold any answers. Does anybody out there?

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