*My blog posting has been infrequent, to say the least, lately. Due to work and study obligations, infrequent posts will likely continue for the next 3 months.
*All photos copyright*
A "gun locker" outside a Thai night club were gun-toting patrons are requested to store their firearms while drinking inside the bar.
For 2008 and 2009, Thailand's Global Peace Index has been holding at 118th out of 144 countries.
In 2007, the first year of the Index, Thailand was doing at little better at 105th.
This places Thailand in the bottom 20% globally and in the company of some very troubled countries being ravaged by high levels of conflict.
The Global Peace Index is established through "23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the level of respect for human rights. These indicators were selected by an international panel of experts including academics and leaders of peace institutions."
From a global perspective, New Zealand comes up shinning in 1st place while Iraq is dead last (no pun intended) at 144th on the list.
From a mainland Southeast Asian perspective, Vietnam looks promising at 39th as does Laos at 45th while Cambodia is much closer at 105th (among other troubles, Preah Vihear hostilities occasionally flare into open conflict between Thailand and Cambodia). Myanmar (Burma), follows Thailand just slightly at 126th.
From a personal perspective, I tend to think Thailand is an exceptionally safe place to live...that is excluding a couple of close calls while working in the conflict plagued Deep South of course.
But, 118th is obviously not that good and particular issues which Thailand scored badly on were political stability, human rights respect, potential for terrorist acts, levels of violent crime, and the likelihood of violent demonstrations.
But this is of course not surprising with the ongoing Red vs. Yellow conflict, other ugly issues like the shocking treatment of the Rohingya boat people, or the festering southern insurgency.
It will be very interesting to see the index each consecutive year to measure positive or negative changes.
But as many of the issues which Thailand scored badly on - political stability, human rights respect, levels of violent crime, and likelihood of violent demonstrations - are certainly far from being resolved it is highly unlikely that Thailand's score will improve next year.
I hope I am wrong.