Halt Your Tuk-Tuks

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Bangkok has the worst traffic problem I've ever experienced, or at least it seemed that way flying in from Myanmar, where so few people could afford cars. Now some Thai generals have decided that stopped traffic is patriotic. Reports Ananova:

Traffic would come to a halt every time the national anthem is played under new proposals to promote patriotism in Thailand.

Opponents of the Flag Bill, put forward by a group of retired and current generals, say it would cause chaos on the roads.

The minute long national anthem is played twice a day in Bangkok, during the raising and lowering of the flag, reports Sky News. 

Retired General Pricha Rochanasena, 70, said: "The national anthem lasts only one minute and eight seconds.

"So why can't motorists stop their cars for the sake of the country? They already spend more time in traffic jams anyway."

Yes, that's Ananova quoting Sky News. But it could be true.

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  1. At least this government is honest when they pass a law that compounds a problem…

  2. On Army posts (and, I imagine, Navy bases and the like), that rule is already in place; you’ve gotta stop the car, and everyone piles out and stands at attention during the song, etc.

    Now for the Unintended Consequences Pop Quiz:

    When people are heading off-post in their vehicles when they know the song will start playing at any moment, what happens to traffic patterns?

    A) Nothing; military personnel are too patriotic to do anything unprofessional;

    B) People park their cars on the shoulder or in designated parking places before the song begins, so as to be ready, or;

    C) Everyone drives like a fucking maniac to get out of earshot and off-post before that damned song starts up again. Fender-benders ensue.

    I don’t imagine you’ll need too many guesses.

  3. I’m not sure which is more appalling: the arrogance of this proposal, or the breathtakingly naive notion that being trapped in traffic for the national anthem will promote patriotism rather than the reverse.

  4. Jake-I remember the same phenomenon from Camp LeJeune, although we didn’t have to get out of the car. You could also see everyone who was outside their barracks disappear about 1 minute before colors played.

  5. I guess reason is now a respectable news source according to Google. I just did a GoogleNews search for “patriotic thai” and damned if this article didn’t show up on the top of the list as being six minutes old.

    Anyway, Reuters is also reporting on it so who knows it’s legitimacy?

  6. Wow. I found it annoying just having to stand still instead of walking to my seat at the hockey game when that song was playing. And I had a couple beers in hand by that point.

  7. Kwix – that’s cool and all, but Google also considers Xinhua (PRC) a “respectable” news source.

  8. RoastedAptenodytes,
    True about Xinhua, hence my “according to Google”. I just think it’s nift that they consider HnR enough of a traffic source that it’s somewhat legitimate. I have yet to see anything from NewsMax on Google so you get the drift.

    As for your hockey game, at least you could have walked to your seat. Sure, it would have been disrespectful and you may have gotten your face beat in later but at least it wasn’t illegal.

  9. Kwix –

    then all Hr. Gebratene needs to do in that case is dramatically point and yell: “EDDIE SHORE! OLD TYME HOCKEY! IT’S THE HANSON BROTHERS!!!!”

  10. Anyone ever been riding (if that is the proper word) in the back of a tuk tuk in downtown Bangkok? I have, and unless those generals are going to enforce this thing by shooting every 3rd kamakazie tuk tuk, it ain’t gonna happen.

  11. At sporting events, I always make it a point to go to the bathroom during the anthem. Coerced patriotism is an oxymoron.

  12. On Army posts (and, I imagine, Navy bases and the like), that rule is already in place; you’ve gotta stop the car, and everyone piles out and stands at attention during the song, etc.

    Beat me to it. Yes in the Navy as well. At Subic Bay in the PI, they played the U.S. AND the Phillipine national anthems at morning colors. What a pain in the ass!

  13. Also, please continue to post about Thailand as it seems to trigger a very nice looking side advertisement.

  14. Anyone ever been riding (if that is the proper word) in the back of a tuk tuk in downtown Bangkok?

    Are you kidding? I can’t even say it without sniggering.

  15. The sheep are indeed lovely…

  16. I endured this stupid bullshit when I was in the army. That is why, today, I refuse to stand for the anthem or take my fucking hat off.
    Fuck the flag, too. “Symbols are for the symbol minded.” I was on flag detail for 6 month either putting it up or bringing it down. So the way I figure it, I’ve shown the stupid fucking rag more respect than anyone else in the country but for some other poor bastard that got stuck with flag detail longer than me. So if any of the former don’t like it, they can suck my ass. I have a feeling that the later group would not begrduge my attitude.

  17. Bangkok Bangkok

  18. If you’re required to pay respect to the flag, are you demonstrating patriotism, or merely obedience? I’d imagine a certain number of people don’t realize there’s a difference, and most politicians probably don’t care.

  19. So if any of the former don’t like it, they can suck my ass.

    Troy,
    Get over it. This obsessing is unhealthy. Take a deep breath, roll a joint, whatever.
    LET IT GO, MAN!

  20. Kwix, fair enough about the news source thing. As to the hockey, at least I had beer, and yes, was not likely to be arrested.

    Also, while I appreciate the new appellation, InebriatedAptenodytes would come closer to what I’d meant by the original. Think about the Linux symbol after a couple bong hits or a six-pack.

    Moose: I want that hundred dollars, coach!

  21. Honestly, when I first read this headline, I though this would be about breakthrough in hemorrhoid treatment.

    Sigh. Guess I’m still stuck with Prep H or the anal equivalent of a Stridex pad.

  22. If you’re required to pay respect to the flag, are you demonstrating patriotism, or merely obedience?

    Ooo! Ooo! I know! I know!

  23. My parents tell me they used to play the National Anthem in all the movie theaters in India before the movie itself started. They stopped doing it when people refused to stand and generally didn’t care.
    There will be more than enough drivers who will be gunning their cars as soon as the rest of the city stops. Unless they’ve got APCs with .50 cals patrolling the streets, they can’t really enforce this rule.

  24. Unless they’ve got APCs with .50 cals patrolling the streets

    Something tells me they do.

  25. I saw a deaf guy get the crap beat out of him for “ignoring” the anthem. I figure he deserved it?

  26. You know, for just a few dollars more, I’ll bet our traffic signals could be playing our national anthem when the light is red or the flasher is on “don’t walk.”
    That wouldn’t be bureaucratic spitefulness. That would simply be patriotism as pure as the driven snow.

  27. Imagine the spectacular effects they could get by applying this law to airplanes.

    PS: Am I the only one who thought of Ray Bradbury’s great story “The Anthem Runners” when he read this article? Possibly the best story he ever wrote.

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