Rage Against 'Rich Law Breaker'

Another rich and well connected Thai man has gotten himself involved in a road traffic 'accident'. And, naturally he has then attempted to use his status to avoid having to man up.

This happens all too often in Thailand. In this most recent case the man concerned seemed to think that he was untouchable because of his connections.

While these sort of people are not exclusive to Thailand, it does seem that the Kingdom has more than its fair share of spoiled rich men. Having lived for some time as a guest in Thailand, I have become accustomed to having to deal with a segment of society who believe that the rules simply don't apply to them.

Often times, the rage against the 'rich man' who shows contempt for the rule of law can be justified as righteous indignation. An innocent, law-abiding, non-rich person is wronged by a rich bully who uses his money and power to avoid having to face the music when s/he messes up.

But, there is another equally ugly side of humanity that also rises up in cases like this. To be clear here, I am not condoning lawlessness. Regardless of status, if a rule applies to one person it should apply to us all. With that said, here is the other side of the story. Many non-rich people have a heart that is riddled with a festering jealousy that causes them to rage against the rich.

There was a period of roughly two years when I drove to work in Bangkok traffic every day. I spent over two hours a day learning much about the state of humanity. I witnessed hundreds of traffic law violations each day. Yes, hundreds. How is this possible?

Well, to start with, I observe speed limits. If the limit is 80 km/h, and I am doing 80 km/h, then no cars should be overtaking me. Yet every morning on a major road heading outbound I was passed by hundreds of vehicles doing well in excess of 100 km/h. Add to that a disregard for lane discipline, overloaded trucks, folks throwing litter and other items out of their cars, drivers using the hard-shoulder as a overtaking lane and many accidents caused by all of the above as well as many other brainless acts.

Where am I going with all of this? Well... the reality is that in my observations, the wealthy man is not alone when it comes to lawless practices in Thailand. In fact, where a proper study to be carried out, it is probable, based on what I have witnessed, that there would be no correlation between the value of vehicle (or wealth of the driver) and traffic violations.

Most people seem to think that if they can get away with it, then no problem. But if a 'rich' guy runs into a 'poor' guy... suddenly there is a distinction made, and the 'rich' guy is somehow guilty of something that the 'poor' guy would never do! Perhaps the reason for the 'poor' man's restraint, is only because he doesn't have the connections and power?

One morning at around 6:30 am, I was driving a 5-year-old pickup truck in rush-hour traffic. At a busy junction where three lanes of traffic were attempting to merge with four lanes of traffic, I had a coming together with a car in front. It was a low speed crash, and actually I didn't even notice, until the driver of the car in front put on her hazard lights and pulled to the side of the road. I followed her over and after inspecting her car, she determined that it wasn't a big deal, and accepting my apology gave a smile and a wave as she got back into her car and continued on her way.

My question at this point is this: If I had been driving a 5 million baht car rather than a 400k baht truck, would she have been so gracious?