Bangkok flood waters have forced thousands to flee, but many are joking, reinforcing their flood barriers, and then remaining open for business as usual.
Leave it to the Thais to keep cool, and lighten the mood with a joke in a crisis.
Wednesday night, as Bangkok was bracing for the flood surge that has since killed at least 366 Thais and displaced hundreds of thousands of others, former Governor of Bangkok Pichitt Rattakul told journalists at a press conference that Thailand’s numerous water management institutions, such as the Flood Relief Operations Center (FROC), were failing the people.
“We don’t need FROC, crocodile, snake,” he joked, playing off the acronym's resemblance to the word frog and also referencing the recent paranoia about crocodiles on the loose in the flooded streets.
Riverside neighborhoods with historical buildings such as the Grand Palace and National Museum, saw Chao Phraya River water spilling out into the markets and streets with the high-tide on Thursday. But shopkeepers took it in stride, scrambling to reinforce temporary flood barriers, and then remained open for business as usual. No shoes, no problem.
Before Bangkok’s drainage system was updated in the late 1990s, streets flooded regularly after each rain, and residents learned to go with the flow. But the “gigantic” amount of water, according to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, is perhaps a different story.