15 September 2005

At least he's not telling them to chew on razor blades

Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has a job for the kids here (from the Bangkok Post 11 Sep 2005):
...children could be selling expressway coupon booklets at toll plazas, he said.

Apart from easing traffic congestion at toll plazas, the scheme is likely to improve the quality of life of the children, he said.
I read this and heard, "Kids! Go play, er, work in traffic!"

Sad to say, though, he's probably right that this will improve their quality of life. These children are currently selling garlands of flowers at stop lights, and if the coupon books are popular enough, this could raise the amount of money the kids make. (He's proposing that they earn 2 baht, about $0.05, for each book they sell.) The toll plazas are a more controlled environment, and thus likely safer. And his proposal includes accident insurance for the children.

But there aren't nearly enough toll plazas to employ all of the flower sellers, so this will wind up being yet another symbolic gesture from Thaksin. Shouldn't he working on making it possible for these children to do what they should be doing, going to school and conducting the serious business of children, which is play?

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