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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.

Co-existing With Covid-19
Monday, August 23, 2021
Co-existing With Covid-19

Goh Choon Kang, former journalist and member of the Singapore Parliament from 1984 to 1997, in Lianhe Zaobao (August 11, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: ian carolino)

Co-existing With Covid-19

Singapore authorities have announced that Covid-19 safety management measures will depend upon an individual’s vaccination status. This can be interpreted as a new stage in the fight against the pandemic and a prelude to coexistence with the virus. With nearly 80 percent of the population vaccinated, they will have a good immunity to infection. This means that Covid-19 would be seen as a type of flu.

Measures are already relatively loose for those who have been vaccinated, while stricter requirements are in place for those who have not been vaccinated. As they do not have the added protection of a vaccine, they will be more likely to be infected and have a higher probability of suffering from severe illness or even death. They must be more careful and must be better protected to minimize the risk of infection.

Some still think that doing so constitutes discrimination and is unfair. But from the perspective of society, these people are not being treated differently. Instead, they have actively chosen to differentiate themselves. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but providing they can look at the problem rationally, they should be able to make an informed decision. In Europe and the United States, the situation is different. Many oppose the vaccine, and the issue has led to a division in society. Fortunately, Singapore’s state machinery is functioning effectively, society is not polarized, and the government is also very capable of doing things. Singapore, therefore, has avoided a US-type situation.

As a country with one of the highest vaccination rates, the goal of herd immunity is just around the corner. We have the conditions that would allow us soon to enter a new normal of coexistence with Covid-19.


The Global Aviation Industry Is In Serious Trouble
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
The Global Aviation Industry Is In Serious Trouble

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Christian Junker)

The Global Aviation Industry Is In Serious Trouble

The global aviation industry has been in trouble since the emergence of Covid-19. Within five months of the outbreak, 50 airlines worldwide filed for bankruptcy protection. Facing unprecedented challenges, few airlines will make it through the pandemic. Expanding into other industries or seeking government or private financial assistance has become their only way to survive.

The challenges facing the aviation industry are not just a sharp drop in the number of passengers and profits but also serious losses for the regional hubs, airports, aircraft manufacturers and their suppliers. Due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the aviation industry has still not recovered, with many airlines not daring to resume operations let alone expand their fleets. Recently, Malaysia Airlines, which took 150 days to complete debt restructuring in early 2021, announced that it would sell its Airbus A380 aircraft.

According to the latest forecast of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of global flight passengers this year is expected to increase by more than 60 percent from the base of the 2020 downturn, but it will still be down 28 percent compared with 2019. The global aviation industry is not expected to recover to 2019 levels until 2023, one year later than previously forecast. Some experts pessimistically believe that no airline could survive a third summer of the pandemic.

The reality is that even after the pandemic, things may not return to as before. Online video conferences have replaced overseas business trips and this trend may continue even after the crisis is over. Faced with such a dilemma, the aviation industry must diversify and seek sufficient financial assistance to survive.


Insulting The National Anthem Is A Criminal Offense
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Insulting The National Anthem Is A Criminal Offense

朱家健 (Zhu Jiajian), member, Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, in Hong Kong Commercial Daily (August 3, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Insulting The National Anthem Is A Criminal Offense

Hong Kong police arrested a man suspected of booing the national anthem while it was being played. The incident took place in a shopping mall that was broadcasting a medal ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics when the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region flag was raised after a local fencing competitor won the gold.

This was the first time someone has been arrested on suspicion of violating the National Anthem Ordinance since its implementation. According to the law, the national anthem is a symbol and emblem of the People's Republic of China. All individuals and organizations should play and sing the national anthem on appropriate occasions and respect it. The law safeguards the dignity of the national anthem and regulates its use. It strengthens citizens' concept of the nation and promotes patriotism.

The act of booing the national anthem while it is played is a violation of the ordinance and anyone who commits this criminal offence, upon conviction, may be liable to a fine of HK$50,000 (US$6,400) and three years’ imprisonment.

Following the incident in the mall, the Hong Kong government should promote the national anthem so that all sectors of society can grasp its history and meaning. Respect for the national anthem should be demonstrated from the heart. When singing the national anthem, Hong Kong people must both appreciate and admire it.


Electric Vehicle Charging: Challenges and Opportunities
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Electric Vehicle Charging: Challenges and Opportunities

Hu Jwu-sheng, Vice President and General Director, Mechanical and Mechatronics Systems Research Laboratories, Industrial Technology Research Institute, in Liberty Times (May 30, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Electric Vehicle Charging: Challenges and Opportunities

With the intensification of climate change, many European countries have committed to creating low-carbon transportation and formulating strict automobile carbon dioxide emission standards. Some such as Norway, the UK and the Netherlands have already laid out plans for banning the sale of petrol vehicles. As a result, many traditional car manufacturers are now producing electric vehicles to meet future demand.

Charging has always been a topic of high concern in the development of electric vehicles. In terms of electricity, large-scale centralized super-charging points will need to be built to meet future demand. There are four mainstream electric vehicle charging standards in the world. Taiwan has industry players who have invested in the development of these, yet there is still no unified charging standard interface. To solve the problem, the Industrial Technology Research Institute has partnered with nearly 50 manufacturers within industry, government and research to establish the Taiwan Electric Vehicle (EV) Power Charging Technology Promotion Alliance.

The charging interface for electric vehicles at charging stations should largely adopt the international standard "CCS1", which is most used in Europe and the United States. It is hoped that public charging stations with a unified interface will create a friendlier domestic charging environment. Furthermore, as the demand for electric vehicle charging increases, some areas will face the challenge of whether supply can meet demand. Big data could be used to overcome this.

As the electric vehicle market expands, so will the development of charging equipment. In addition to grasping the demand for hardware, Taiwan should also invest in charging software, charging stations and other renewable energy channels. This will ensure that Taiwan makes the most out of business opportunities in the electric vehicle industry.


Relishing Our Feat At The Tokyo Olympics
Friday, August 13, 2021
Relishing Our Feat At The Tokyo Olympics

Joey D Lina, attorney and former government minister and senator, in Manila Bulletin (August 10, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Hidilyn Diaz on Facebook)

Relishing Our Feat At The Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics was unlike any other, mainly due to the great uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the amazing performance of Team Philippines.

The host country Japan and all the participants deserve all the accolades for the tremendous efforts to ensure the success of the Summer Games amid fears of another postponement and the Covid-19 restrictions imposed.

Filipinos are thankful the Tokyo Olympics finally pushed through, primarily because of the unprecedented result. The Philippines finally earned its first-ever gold medal, along with two silvers and a bronze.

Our country’s medal haul in Tokyo that surpassed the three-bronze record set in 1932 at the Los Angeles Olympics will certainly go a long way in boosting national pride. Our achievements would undoubtedly inspire the Filipino youth to engage in sports and physical activities. Engaging in sports undoubtedly develops character, self-confidence, discipline, respect for rules, sense of accomplishment, willingness to go through sacrifices. It even helps fight depression and boosts mental health.

There is no dispute about the importance of sport and physical activity. So important indeed that the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stressed in its International Charter of Physical Education and Sport, adopted in1978: “The practice of physical education and sport is a fundamental right for all.” It also said that “it is clearly evident that physical education and sport are not confined to physical well-being and health but also contribute to the full and well-balanced development of the human being.”

To add more meaning to the Philippines’ achievements in Tokyo, it certainly would make sense for all able-bodied Filipinos to engage in sports and physical activities as soon as the situation permits.


The Pandemic Is Promoting The Adoption of Digital Payments
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
The Pandemic Is Promoting The Adoption of Digital Payments

Jacquelyn Tan, Head of Personal Financial Services, United Overseas Bank (UOB), in Lianhe Zaobao (March 5, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

The Pandemic Is Promoting The Adoption of Digital Payments

The use of cash in Singapore is declining – but at a slow pace. Since the Covid-19 crisis, the use of digital payments has grown. The total value of transactions made by United Overseas Bank (UOB) customers through PayNow service increased by 220 percent in the first 10 months of 2020. Singapore must see this as an opportunity to promote further the growth of digital payments.

In recent years, Singapore’s government has strongly supported the development of digital payments. In April 2019, the Land Transport Authority, UOB and other partners jointly launched the SimplyGo service, which allows passengers to use credit or debit cards to pay for bus or subway fares. During the pandemic, 1,000 ambassadors were recruited to teach the public how to use digital tools.

For consumers, the use of digital payment means that there is no need to count money, making shopping more convenient and transparent. For merchants, eliminating paper payments and manual processes means saving costs and improving efficiency and the consumer experience. When it comes to ensuring public health and safety, digital payments offer a huge advantage. Another key benefit of using digital payment relates to security. Financial institutions can protect digital payment users from losses caused by unauthorized or erroneous transactions.

Despite these benefits, old habits remain a stumbling block for Singapore to move towards a cashless society. Among them, "muscle memory" plays an important role in payment. When consumers start to use digital payments, the reflex habit will develop. The government and businesses should work to encourage consumers to adopt digital payments. Providing incentives and adding simple digital payment options to shopping can speed up adoption. This all requires close cooperation among banks, merchants and the government.

The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to the payment industry, which Singapore must seize.


Protesting Is A Right Not A Crime
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Protesting Is A Right Not A Crime

Dulguun Bayarsaikhan, journalist, in The UB Post (July 15, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: @ajplus on Twitter)

Protesting Is A Right Not A Crime

The Constitution of Mongolia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulate that everyone has the right to the freedom of peaceful assembly and to the freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests. Yet, the government and law enforcement authorities are severely violating this fundamental right, a new study finds.

Amnesty International Mongolia has conducted a new study titled “Law Enforcement During Covid-19”. The first chapter focuses on the right to protest and assess how Mongolia handled public demonstrations. In the wake of the pandemic, the government, State Emergency Commission and Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office passed a number of decisions and resolutions “limiting” the right to protest. Nevertheless, the public has held peaceful demonstrations, marches, online petitions, vigils, unintentional mass demonstration, people-less protests, flash mobs, sit-ins, and civil disobedience to express their objection, disapproval and dissent toward the decisions and measures enforced by the authorities.

As for the resolutions passed by the Ulaanbaatar mayor to limit the right to gatherings, Amnesty International has concluded that it is within the right of the mayor to make such a decision within the city territory. These resolutions also provided for the imposition of penalties and the arrest of anyone who organizes or participates in a demonstration or assembly during the pandemic.

Mongolia must review its laws and regulations to ensure all citizens can exercise their rights, especially during the pandemic. The current legal system has limited the freedom of expression and right to protest, causing distress and harm to all sides. The more detailed the law and due process, the better and quicker issues can be resolved.


Are People Still Intolerant and Racist?
Monday, August 9, 2021
Are People Still Intolerant and Racist?

Jaya Suprana, pianist, composer and founder of Sanggar Pembelajaran Kemanusiaan (Humanity Learning Center), in Kompas (August 9, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: isawasi)

Are People Still Intolerant and Racist?

In 2001, after then president Abdurrahman Wahid lifted the ban on celebrating the Chinese New Year, the message was that racism was no longer an issue in Indonesia. Personally, I am friendly with fellow citizens of different ethnicities and religions without ever having encountered any racism or intolerance. When reporters from The New York Times and CNN interviewed me about allegations that in Indonesia today there is still discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, I firmly emphasized that Indonesian people are neither racist nor intolerant as some in the foreign press have said.

When the coronavirus epidemic was rampant, however, the question of racism and intolerance resurfaced. I started to have doubts about my own personal belief that the Indonesian people are tolerant and not racist. It was beyond my knowledge that minority races and religious minorities were still being treated unfairly and in an uncivilized manner. My personal perspective being limited and shallow, I did not know anything about the reality of life in my beloved homeland.

My vision is myopic so I could not see the reality beyond the reach of my sight. So I humbly ask for guidance about the facts on the ground and the parties who dare to violate the law that strictly prohibits racist and intolerant attitudes and behavior. What evidence is there of racist and intolerant behavior in Indonesia?


The President Explains Why Kashmir Matters
Monday, August 9, 2021
The President Explains Why Kashmir Matters

Arif-ur-Rehman Alvi, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in Dawn (August 5, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: @PresOfPakistan on Twitter)

The President Explains Why Kashmir Matters

The two years since India unilaterally and illegally stripped Kashmir of its special status have been a somber reminder that our Kashmiri brothers and sisters remain under a brutal military occupation. Despite seven decades of denial of their right to self-determination, the Kashmiris continue their steadfast demand for the right to choose their future. No amount of brutal oppression and atrocities have dented their resolve.

Pakistan and its people are united in their hearts and in their minds with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters. We have always stood for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and in keeping with the principles of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

The government continues to take steps to highlight the Kashmir cause and Indian human rights violations on the world stage. For the first time in decades, the Kashmir issue has been discussed at the UNSC. Several leaders across the world and international journalists have called out India for its human rights violations.

To divert attention from the humanitarian catastrophe, India has embarked on a campaign to malign Pakistan internationally through a concerted propaganda campaign while actually sponsoring terrorism against my country, as revealed by Pakistan’s dossier on Indian-sponsored terrorism and disinformation.

The struggle in Kashmir is indigenous and has always enjoyed popular support against the Indian military occupation. Pakistan will continue to awaken the world conscience to the plight of the Kashmiris, and I remind the nations of the world that they owe it to the people of Kashmir and to the principles of humanity to let Kashmiris decide their future. Kashmir stays as an unfulfilled promise on the world conscience. The day is not far when the people of Kashmir will be free from the yolk of Indian occupation, Insha’Allah.


Traditional Services vs Digital Platforms: An Inevitable Battle
Monday, August 9, 2021
Traditional Services vs Digital Platforms: An Inevitable Battle

Kim Charm, editor, social policies, in Chosun Biz (June 19, 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: KM Solutions)

Traditional Services vs Digital Platforms: An Inevitable Battle

Flagging down a taxi on the street is becoming an outdated practice. Now, most people use their smartphones to access an increasing array of services, including a ride, a trip and cleaning.

Digital platforms are also encroaching into the traditional professional services. The most well-known is the LawTalk, a legal tech company that charges subscription fees to connect attorneys to clients. There are about 4,000 attorneys on the service, which some joke is the fourth largest law firm by revenue size.

Worried about the impact on legal fees, the Korean Bar Association (KBA) updated its internal regulations to punish attorneys offering services on platforms and plans to bring a lawsuit. Not many think that the KBA can win in this battle, however. In two earlier legal attempts, the platform company won by arguing that they are not providing a legal service, but a marketing service. Many expect that the current efforts by the KBA will merely delay an inevitable victory for the platforms.

There are many similar battles between the traditional professional services and the emerging digital platform companies. The Korean Medical Association is fighting to extend review requirements to beauty and medical platforms. The Korea Association of Certified Public Tax Accountants has taken legal action against a digital accounting and tax service.

With the proliferation IT technology, the battle between the digital and the conventional order is expected to spread to even more industries. Digitalization transformation can be inclusive, distributing the benefits more evenly among players, while customers benefit from convenience. Service providers are growing fast and are gaining in the compensation and respect they receive.


Businesses Should Take Action To Promote The Right To Vaccine Access
Friday, August 6, 2021
Businesses Should Take Action To Promote The Right To Vaccine Access

Nattavud Pimpa, Associate Professor in International Business at the College of Management and the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue of Mahidol University, in Pratchatai (June 8, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: The Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce)

Businesses Should Take Action To Promote The Right To Vaccine Access

To mitigate the health and economic risks associated with unequal access to Covid-19 vaccines, the public and private sectors must coordinate their efforts and resources to address access as a fundamental human right for everyone.

Actors in the private sector, such as multinational corporations (MNCs), SMEs, and local and international startups, should be proactive on working closely with national governments and international bodies on how to support and promote access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for the public.

This issue is complicated by the current high demand for Covid-19 vaccines worldwide as well as the politics of vaccines. Governments lead the way in policy development and the governance of vaccines. Governments also have an obligation to ensure that companies respect human rights and promote them.

Unequal access to Covid-19 vaccines is an obvious human rights issue. It is grounded in broader structural inequalities, putting some populations at greater risk than others. These include legal and illegal migrant workers, low-skilled workers, people with disabilities, and workers on short-term contracts in various sectors. Companies need to design and execute effective and inclusive human rights due diligence strategies that promote access to vaccines for all.

Companies that promote the right to good health via the promotion of access to vaccines could need to re-design their human rights due diligence strategies, bolster their internal capacity to adopt innovation, and engage employees, suppliers, and clients in all steps. Doing so will enhance companies’ resilience, reduce financial risk, and promote management capacity.

In short, the actions that a business takes during this crisis will aid in the recovery of economic prosperity while building a more inclusive and equitable future for their workers, suppliers, and for society in the long run.


Breaking Away From “Digital Defeat” With a New Agency
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Breaking Away From “Digital Defeat” With a New Agency

Murai Jun, dean of the Institute of Geoeconomic Studies and senior fellow at the Asia Pacific Initiative, in The Japan Times (August 3, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Kizuna/The Government of Japan)

Breaking Away From “Digital Defeat” With a New Agency

The government’s Covid-19 response, which led to the public’s worries and dissatisfaction, has been described as a “digital defeat” for two reasons. First, while the internet and mobile technology were widely available in Japan, administrative services using such technology did not function well in tackling the virus. Second, it became apparent that the public could not use, had difficulty using or chose not to use the digital apps and services that were actually provided by the government.

But why did such problems emerge? When the pandemic arrived, countries across the world took various actions to cope with the spread of the virus. It became clear to everyone that there are gaps between governments that actively utilized the digital environment — citizen identification systems and services, infection data, testing services, data on hospital beds, vaccination processes and predictions for the effect of lockdowns — to tackle the virus and those that did not.

Members of the public do understand the power of digital services. And they also became aware of the fact that Japan, unlike other countries, failed to use these services to deal with this significant contingency. That is what made many view the situation as a digital defeat.

The new digital agency has a goal to not leave anyone out. That means realizing a 100 percent digital service coverage for all regions and people.

To lead the global governance regarding the internet, it is necessary to have sufficient discussions on a daily basis to establish trusting relationships with allies and other countries which share the same goals. It is essential for the agency to secure people who can engage in such activities, as well as implementing other policies such as making its officials communicate in English, inviting advisors experienced in international negotiations and holding exchange programs with international organizations.


Politicians Purposely Stir Up Anti-Business Sentiment
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Politicians Purposely Stir Up Anti-Business Sentiment

Jeon Jae-ho, industry editor, in Chosun Biz (May 28, 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Steve Boland)

Politicians Purposely Stir Up Anti-Business Sentiment

One of the first tasks undertaken by the new chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) was to research and gain insight on the growing anti-chaebol sentiment. This phenomenon is neither uniquely Korean nor new, but it is imperative to understand public opinion as this trend could lead to more regulation of corporations.

According to two Korea University professors, there are two main reasons contributing to “anti-chaebolism”. First is the close relationship between the chaebols and the government dating back to the late 1940s under president Syngman Rhee, which was deepened under the military dictatorship of president Park Chung-hee. The chaebols were given incomparable preferential treatment to support their fast growth. For many, this was unfair and diminished the legitimacy of the success these business groups.

The second reason is the fabrication and manipulation of the anti-chaebol sentiment by the politicians. Both presidents Park and Chun Doo-hwan built up and tapped into the anti-chaebol sentiments. Under President Kim Dae-jung, certain chaebols were blamed for causing the financial crisis and were punished. Even today, the tradition of the incoming government penalizing the chaebols which were closely associated with the outgoing party continues. Politicians intentionally use the anti-chaebol sentiment to bolster their legitimacy.

From the corporations’ point of view, it is clearly in their interest to regain public trust. People expect the chaebols to play their part by giving back to society, providing good employment opportunities, and fulfilling their corporate social responsibility. There is much speculation about what the new KCCI chairman might do to turn the anti-chaebol tide.


Posture Changes in China’s People’s Liberation Army Affect the Border Dispute
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Posture Changes in China’s People’s Liberation Army Affect the Border Dispute

Suyash Desai, research associate with the China Studies Programme at Takshashila Institution, in The Times of India (August 2, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Sarthak Bikram Panta)

Posture Changes in China’s People’s Liberation Army Affect the Border Dispute

Under the Chinese Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undertaken military reforms intended to make it a world-class force by 2049. Xi has not defined what a world-class force means. But an informed guess is that it would mean being on a par with the US, UK, French, Russian and Indian armed forces.

Although China’s primary strategic direction is reunification with Taiwan and to prepare for the US contingency during reunification, India and other Indo-Pacific countries are also affected by the PLA’s force modernization. India needs to be cautious of at least four changes:

First, China has built dual-use infrastructure in Tibet to prepare for possible offensive and defensive operations on the border. The PLA is much more capable of forcefully changing the status quo on the border with India. With force modernization and improved connectivity, its ability to convert these standoffs into a protracted conflict has increased.

Second, the PLA is shifting from “near seas defense” to “near seas defense and far seas protection” – meaning protect its interests in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean.

Third, China created the PLA Strategic Support Force to increase synergies between its space, cyber and electromagnetic spectrums. This force is responsible for China’s information warfare and electronic countermeasures, cyberattack and defense, and psychological warfare missions.

Finally, China elevated its Second Artillery Corps to the PLA Rocket Force in 2015. This force’s missile systems and rapidly developing space and counter-space capabilities have become critical components of China’s emerging power projection capabilities.

China’s investment in military tech, big data, drone swarms, and other disruptive offensive technologies, its military linkages with Pakistan and the ongoing building of border villages should concern India. These developments have strategic and tactical implications for India’s border dispute with China.


Despite Failed Handling of Covid-19, the Prime Minister is Unlikely to Resign
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Despite Failed Handling of Covid-19, the Prime Minister is Unlikely to Resign

Pravit Rojanaphruk, senior staff writer, in Khaosod (July 10, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: The Government Public Relations Department)

Despite Failed Handling of Covid-19, the Prime Minister is Unlikely to Resign

It is clear for all to see that the government of Gen Prayuth Chan-o-Cha has failed its people with its incompetent handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The death rate keeps soaring to new highs. As hospital beds, particularly in Bangkok reached capacity, news and images of coronavirus patients waiting to be cared for or put in ad-hoc wards is heart wrenching. Tens of thousands are set to become unemployed. Thailand would be lucky if the economy does not contract this year.

The inoculation process, originally targeted at 500,000 jabs per day, has fallen far short of that. The government failed to secure mRNA vaccines and have had to do with less effective shots that will hardly ensure herd immunity and offer little protection against the Delta variant.

The call for Prayuth to resign is getting louder by day. In a clear signal that he will not resign, Prayuth said that he will forgo his salary for three months to help fund the government’s battle against the coronavirus, a gesture that elicited more anger than sympathy. It will not bring back the dead because they were not vaccinated in time or help those who lost their jobs. It is just theatrics prolonging Prayuth’s stay in power for at least three months.

Even if Prayuth resigns, and not many are betting on that, there seems to be no visible competent alternative. No general elections can take place without a major risk of significantly exacerbating the pandemic. This means Thailand will likely have to suffer more infections, loss of lives and face absolute economic ruin before any significant political change can occur. The hope is that we do not become utterly destitute and the country fall into ruin before positive change can be achieved because that would be a total tragedy.