Homelessness vs. Cultural Enrichment in Germany

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is organizing help for homeless people as winter approaches. But how does the aid provided for the homeless compare with the resources lavished on “refugees”?

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from Presseportal:

How generous! NRW [North Rhine-Westphalia] provides €340,000 for the homeless: sleeping bags, rucksacks, heated tents

Winter is just around the corner, and in the frosty season the homeless in particular are exposed to the freezing cold without protection. In order that the homeless do not fall ill and, in the worst case, freeze to death, the state government in North Rhine-Westphalia wants €340,000 for the procurement of heated tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, durable Provide food and disinfectants.

How generous — this aid money is truly a charity and determined by charity, but by no means comes close to the humanitarian care for asylum seekers, “refugees”, “winter refugees” from the Western Balkans or anyone else who stumbles across the border, who then are in a heated communal accommodation and are provided with three meals a day, or even have an apartment allocated with a fitted kitchen, etc. etc…

Rheinische Post:

With a view to winter, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to financially support the independent support organizations for the homeless.

According to information from the Rheinische Post (Saturday), Social Affairs Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) is making €340,000 available so that, for example, sleeping bags and backpacks can be procured, but also disinfectants or non-perishable food. According to the ministry, it should also be possible to use state funding to finance alternative options for a warm overnight stay, for example in heated larger tents, in which the relevant hygiene regulations and distance rules for infection protection can then be observed. More than 90 independent homeless support providers from all parts of the country are ready to help.

In addition, the state continues to pursue the approach of either not letting people slip into homelessness in the first place or of finding a place to stay with the help of the housing companies in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In this context, Minister Laumann announced to the Rheinische Post that the “carer projects” started nine months ago in 20 districts and urban districts would be extended for two years, and that two more would be added with the district of Düren and the urban region of Aachen. Despite the difficult conditions during the corona pandemic, 484 apartments were sold to previously homeless households, said Laumann. These included over 100 households with children. A total of 748 people found a new home. In addition, in 340 cases, early advice prevented the threat of housing loss.

As a comparison, Hellequin GB translated an article from the archives that shows how much money North Rhine-Westphalia has spent on “refugees”. He notes:

Here is what I found in comparison about the cost of refugees to the NRW taxpayer. Although the article is now more than five years old, and it seems that after that nobody in the MSM likes to talk about those costs at all anymore, it gives you a clear insight of WHO is IMPORTANT and WHO isn’t to those who make the decisions over people’s lives.

The translated article from PolitikStube:

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Everything for the Benefit of the Migrants

The following article from Il Giornale references a speech given in the European Parliament by Silvia Sardone, an Italian MEP for the Lega. Many thanks to Gary Fouse for the translation:

Europe’s priority on migrants: housing and jobs for those who disembark here

The new plan on integration into the EU revealed: Space and social inclusion projects and new housing for migrants. Meanwhile, the report on civil rights arrives in the European Parliament: No mention of terrorism, priority given to the fight against racism and Islamophobia

by Mauro Indelicato
November 24, 2020

Crucial days in Brussels, between sessions in the European Parliament and commission meetings. It was to be expected, given what is happening in all of Europe, between the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

Still, the ongoing arguments have nothing to do with recovery or recovery plans. On the contrary, they talk about migrants and civil rights.

The EU plan on integration

In these days, for example, placed at the top of the work agenda of the European Commission is the new plan for the integration of migrants. These are multi-year projects, with which the EU is trying to give precise directions on the issue. In recent hours, the plan, which will substitute that approved in 2016, and which should last for a period of time including the years between 2021 and 2027, was announced by the European Commission itself.

It is based on four principal pillars: Education, work, access to health care, and adequate housing. The responsible principals of social policies are the member states, but the EU has the possibility to coordinate the policies and give specific directions. And according to the institutions of Brussels, in the coming years, the various governments must always commit themselves to inclusion, with investments and spending relative to more adequate accommodation for the migrants present in EU territory.

The first point concerns inclusion in the world of education: “There is a need to commit to education and training that are inclusive from early infancy to higher education,” the commission plan reads, “concentrating on the facilitation of recognizing qualifications and on continuous learning of languages, with the support of EU funds.” The second point, however, concerns the work world, where all migrants, “and women in particular,” the plan further reads, must receive the support to express “their full potential”.

Then there is the third point, concerning the health sector. “In addition to specific financing of the EU, “the document states, “the action plan looks to guarantee the people are informed as to their rights and recognize the specific challenges faced by women, in particular during and after pregnancy.” Finally, the fourth pillar calls for, “adequate and convenient finances through the European Fund for regional development, the European Social Fund Plus, the Asylum Fund, and Migration and Invest EU,” to find better housing for migrants.

Investments and priorities that could cause — and not a little — those outside EU institutions to wrinkle their noses. Especially because for the moment, in the countries hardest hit by the Corona virus pandemic, there are no clear indications as to funds that the EU will make available to restart the economy. Whose eventual collapse, not so remote through anti-contagion measures, could involve everyone, from citizens to migrants.

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The Reset to End All Resets

To paraphrase Hermann Göring*: When I hear the word “sustainable”, I reach for my Luger.

The term “Great Reset” is causing such a buzz in the deplorable fever swamps of the intertubes that even the august New York Times has been compelled to mention it. Just in order to dismiss it as a “conspiracy theory”, mind you; but still, they had to pay attention to it.

Yet how can it be a conspiracy theory when it is featured on the website of the World Economic Forum?

The originator of the phrase is Dr. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the WEF, which is a sort of country club for absurdly wealthy globalists. Dr. Schwab’s treatise on the topic —posted last June on the WEF website — is entitled “Now is the time for a ‘great reset’”. Its subtitle riffs on Rahm Emanuel: “In every crisis, there is an opportunity”.

Two current crises provide the subtext for the opportunity to impose the Great Reset. One is the Wuhan Coronavirus, and I’ll get to the other one in a minute.

First: Dr. Schwab lays out the rationale for taking advantage of the unprecedented opportunity provided by COVID-19, saying that “the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

There are many reasons to pursue a Great Reset, but the most urgent is COVID-19. Having already led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, the pandemic represents one of the worst public-health crises in recent history. And, with casualties still mounting in many parts of the world, it is far from over.

[…]

Left unaddressed, these crises, together with COVID-19, will deepen and leave the world even less sustainable [this is where my Luger left its holster —BB], less equal, and more fragile. Incremental measures and ad hoc fixes will not suffice to prevent this scenario. We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.

Dr. Schwab intends a thorough overhaul that will fix the global system once and for all. He tells us that “populations have overwhelmingly shown a willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of health-care”, out of which arises the golden opportunity that will allow the bumpkins and hayseeds to be gulled into global governance — for their own good, of course.

The Great Reset agenda would have three main components. The first would steer the market toward fairer outcomes.

[…]

The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability.

[…]

The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges.

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Alice Weidel: The Lockdown is Ruining Our Lives!

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this op-ed from Politikstube:

Alice Weidel: The lockdown is ruining our lives!

The nationwide lockdown, which will initially apply for one month, will come into force tomorrow — with fatal consequences for the economy.

Revenues will collapse by €19.3 billion; 600,000 jobs are in acute danger, according to the pitch-black forecast of the DIW Institute. Hotels and restaurants have been hit particularly hard with a loss of €5.8 billion; experts assume that these industries will have to reckon with 55 percent less income than in 2019.

The areas of sport, culture and entertainment also had to cope with a minus of €2.1 billion, retail a minus of €1.3 billion, and German industry a minus of €5.2 billion. A large part of the €19.3 billion in losses is attributable to corporate service providers, logistics companies and cinema operators.

Given this bleak outlook for just one month, GDP slips by one percentage point.

This has direct consequences for the labor market: The number of temporary workers will increase by 400,000 to 3.2 million by the end of the year.

DIW Director Michael Hüther also assumes that around 591,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of the “lockdown light”, and another 15,000 employees in 2021 — provided the shutdown ends on December 1, as announced, otherwise another would threaten the aggravation of the situation.

The rude awakening comes when the short-time work expires and the obligation to file for bankruptcy returns.

Germany will not be recognizable after Merkel’s lockdown scenarios! Taxpayers will feel this by 2021 at the latest.

The translator adds this afterword:

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German Pastor: The Illegal Corona Terror Measures Are World War Three

Jakob Tscharntke is a pastor in the Evangelical Church in Germany. In the following sermon he describes the international regime imposed to fight the Wuhan Coronavirus as “World War Three”.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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Alice Weidel: The German Economy is Perishing!

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this op-ed from Politikstube:

Alice Weidel: The German economy is perishing!

Germany is on the cusp of a deep recession.

The signs of excessive unemployment, bankruptcies and the slump in GDP are already evident today.

The fairy tale issued by the federal government of the V-shaped economic recovery in the near future is being shattered by reality.

The so-called second Corona wave with its profound restrictions on public life and the smoldering lockdown subjects many economies in the Eurozone to a stress test that comes at an inopportune time.

After three lost quarters, many analysts have cut their growth expectations for the fourth quarter sharply within a month.

For the EU member states, only a 2% instead of a 3% recovery is expected by the end of December — for Germany the forecast is even lower, at a modest 1.5%. Every taxpayer in Germany will be presented with the invoice after the 2021 federal election.

The increased number of tests, even on symptom-free people, leads to a higher number of infections.

Just 851 (!) people are currently showing symptoms.

What kind of a pandemic is that supposed to be?

Instead of remaining in disaster mode, threatening the economy with a new lockdown, and forcing the entire population under the mask, even outdoors, the government must now make a 180-degree turn.

A call to the WHO is needed: They issued the update that COVID-19 is less dangerous than conventional flu.

The translator includes this afterword:

It looks to me that our respective governments around the world have been pushing the Corona Pandemic Lie already to such a degree that there won’t be any recovery for the little people until those responsible are taken down from their lofty pedestals, tried and [intemperate recommendation redacted] for crimes against humanity.

But that is just my humble opinion.

Islam, Marxism, Globalism, Covideanism… all those cults seek only power and the submission of people. The people themselves, the little people like you and me, are no more than the grist for their mill.

And I for one am sick and tired of it.

Thailand: It’s Shirt Time Again!

Our Bangkok correspondent H. Numan sends this update on the latest unrest in Thailand.

Thailand: it’s shirt time again!

by H. Numan

I’ve reported extensively about the red vs yellow shirt crises during last decade in Thailand. In the end the green shirts (army) won. At this moment we see the white shirts (students) battling it out with the brown shirts (police). Who will win is not clear, but I’m absolutely certain we are witnessing the beginning of what could become large-scale riots, if not something a good deal worse.

As usual, a bit of groundwork. What’s that with colors in Thailand? Well, you have to understand: Thailand is not a western country. It is one of the few Asian countries that was never colonized. Therefore it was able to keep its identity. In Thai culture colors have names, and every day of the week has its own color. The late king was born on Monday, which has the color yellow. In Thailand yellow is reserved for the king himself. All members of the royal family have their own personal color.

When people started to organize themselves into opposing camps under the Thaksin administration, royalists wore yellow shirts. They were mainly middle class citizens of Bangkok. Adherents to Thaksin started to wear red shirts. Not because they are communist. Communism is explicitly forbidden in Thailand. Red is the color of blood and of love for the country. Thaksin supporters (red shirts) were predominantly lower-class citizens outside Bangkok. In other words: a huge majority. Both the red and yellow shirts were monarchists. The monarchy was not an issue. That’s why you have the weird situation in which both parties were carrying large portraits of the late king Rama IX.

Those colors are important. When the late king Bumibhol left the hospital one day wearing a mint green jacket, I saw lot of people the next day wearing mint green shirts.

In the end, the green shirts won. They committed a coup d’état in 2014 and are still in control. Both the yellow shirt and red shirt leaders were arrested and put on trial. Both movements were disbanded. As usual they claimed no other solution was possible but a coup, and they would put things right and fight corruption. And, of course, as soon as possible democracy would be restored.

And, of course, that didn’t happen. This military government may not have been the most corrupt government in Thai history, but they sure tried. One nice juicy scandal involved the many watches of General Prawit Wongsuan. He was spotted wearing an expensive watch he hadn’t declared when he took office. Soon it was clear he had a collection of 24 watches. We’re talking top-of-the-line watches costing many thousands of dollars. Each watch is more worth than the annual salary of a general.

We do have a national anti-corruption commission — which is akin to Marlboro running anti-smoking campaigns. That NACC did its utmost best to keep Prawit out of the wind. After a lengthy investigation they accepted his excuse: those watches were from a friend, who sadly passed away. That friend had loaned him those 24 watches, and matching jewelry. He will return them to the next of kin, some day in the far future. He wears them today. As a badge of (dis)honor, even. After all, he, an honest hard-working underpaid officer, defeated the evil corrupt NACC.

Last year the military government announced they had re-written the constitution, would resign from office, and called for democratic elections. When Prayuth announced his candidacy for premier, I knew he was going to win. No Thai PM would ever announce his candidacy if he wasn’t 100% certain he was going to win. Which he did.

Were the elections rigged? Probably. A vote costs Bt. 500 ($16) each. Thai politics are not based on national parties, but on persons. For example, scumbag first class, I mean police captain Chalerm Yubamrung. Talk about every crime in the book, he will assure you he committed more. His youngest son Duangchalerm shot a police officer in a bar. He fled to Singapore. There the Thai ambassador personally escorted him home, where daddy had arranged a hero’s welcome for him on the airport, with thousands cheering the returning hero. He never had to see a judge, the court has ruled that the bribe was sufficient there was insufficient evidence for prosecution. Daddy was member of parliament and even vice-premier under the Yingluck administration. He supported the wrong team, and was arrested shortly after the coup. Now he is retired in comfort.

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Spahn of Satan

Jens Spahn is a member of the German Bundestag for the CDU (Christian Democrats) and serves as Minister of Health in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet. The following article outlines a recent controversy over Mr. Spahn’s purchase of a luxury villa in Berlin.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this piece from the German edition of Business Insider:

Spahn financed the purchase of villas in part with a savings bank loan — previously he sat on the bank’s board of directors for years

Jens Spahn’s purchase of a luxury villa in Berlin triggered nationwide discussions — also about whether the process was of political interest, or a private matter for the Minister of Health.

“It is not forbidden,” wrote the conservative political magazine Cicero, among others, “but it transcends the boundaries of good taste.”

Political symbols would also not stop at private life

The Augsburger Allgemeine commented: “Whether a mandate holder lives in a room in a shared flat or in a castle has absolutely nothing to do with how well he does his job.”

After Business Insider reported last week that Spahn had bought a house for several million euros, his lawyer also spoke up. In a letter, the lawyer stated that the reporting was untrue and inadmissible.

The purchase price is not correct

The minister’s attorney asked Business Insider to delete the article on Spahn’s private matter. As a result, Business Insider published the exact amount from the purchase agreement that Spahn and his husband signed with the notary on July 21, 2020.

A few hours later, Spahn’s lawyer got in touch again. The lawyer assumed that the purchase price was incorrect only because of a “communication oversight”, he wrote. “In this respect we no longer hold on to the fact that the corresponding claim is untruthful.” Despite this, the information about buying a house would not concern the public, the lawyer said.

For this reason, Spahn apparently is not answering any questions about the financing of the villa. However, some details can be found in the sales contract. Among other things, that Spahn shouldered two thirds of the purchase price and his husband a third.

The basic files also show that the couple took out at least two loans to buy a house. Corresponding land charges were entered in the land register. This includes a large loan from Sparkasse Westmünsterland, with which Spahn has a special relationship.

The trained banker was born not far from the main office in Ahaus. Between 2009 and 2015 he was a member of the Bundestag on the Sparkasse’s administrative board. While in the banking sector so-called corporate loans — i.e. loans to one’s own management board or supervisory board — are particularly checked due to possible conflicts of interest, there is no such regulation for former board members.

When asked, Spahn did not comment on the terms of the savings bank loan. A spokesman for Sparkasse Westmünsterland said that there are no special rules for loans for former members of the board of directors.

The Dysfunctional European Commission

Samuel Johnson is reported to have said, “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

Something similar might be said about this TV editorial from German state TV — it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill critique of Ursula von der Leyen and the European Commission, but what’s amazing is that it aired on ARD, of all places.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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Gerald Grosz: It’s Time to Declare the Pandemic Over!

Gerald Grosz is an Austrian politician for the BZÖ (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich, Alliance for the Future of Austria) and the FPÖ (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, Austrian Freedom Party). In the following rant he elaborates on the “second wave” of the Wuhan Coronavirus, which is breaking now over Austria and the rest of Western Europe.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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No More Smiles

Here’s H. Numan with the latest Coronanews from Thailand.

No more smiles

by H. Numan

I guess it’s about time for an update about the land of the smiles. Not that there is a lot to smile about. The corona — or as I rather refer to it: the Wuhan virus — has been gone for +100 days in Thailand. In that period no new cases developed locally. Some people had to be hospitalized, but they were repatriated citizens or foreigners. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Thailand won’t be lifting lift travel restrictions for the coming peak season (December to February). Almost certainly including the next high season (Chinese New Year in February) as well. Rumors are that restrictions will remain firmly in place until after Songkran, in April 2021.

That means that Thailand will no longer have a tourist industry to speak of when the restrictions are finally lifted. Right now I hear over and over again news that worries me sick. People have started to notice that businesses are disappearing. Famous night markets close down permanently. Beaches are completely empty. Zoos and attractions are declaring bankruptcy. Almost all elephant camps are gone. Their elephants have been released into forests. People don’t realize it, but that is the disappearing of the infrastructure.

Just think about it: many coach companies work exclusively for the tourist market. Sure, they pick up a group of Thai travelers for a wedding or a party. But that is not their core business. They can’t live on it. That means their drivers and mechanics are out of work. Same for tour leaders or staff in hotels and attractions. Those people are now doing other work. You can’t wait forever for a miracle. Not here. It may not be a high-end technical job, but you do need some experience. That experience is now disappearing.

Even if, unlikely as it may be, the government were to lift all restrictions right now, the tourist industry could recover. It will take at least several years for a complete recovery. Possibly the entire decade. Only the government isn’t going lift any restrictions. That means hotels cannot apply for loans at the bank. Nobody knows how long this is going to last. Banks do not extend loans on that premise. Smaller hotels don’t have large financial reserves. Large hotels have some, but not indefinitely.

Practically every hotel in Thailand has been closed since February. Local travel restrictions have been lifted, but that is nowhere near what hotels need to survive. Not to make a profit, but to survive.

The media and the government are insanely positive. The media report widely of the recovery of nature. The famous Maya Bay has been restored completely after a year-long closing. Tigers in wildlife parks have multiplied in larger numbers. All nature parks were and still are closed to tourists since the lockdown began. Wildlife, not surprisingly, is thriving. “See how good this is for nature? We have to focus on sustainable tourism when this is all over. This is really a blessing in disguise!”

As said by the media who don’t make their money in tourism. And by government officials who basically leech off tourism. How bad is it? Really, really bad.

So bad that a sacred institution might be axed. Everyone who has ever been to Thailand knows about double pricing. Especially government-run businesses (famous temples, nature parks, public camping grounds, etc.) have prices in English and in Thai. What you probably don’t know is that Thailand has not only its own alphabet but also Thai numerals. The prices can differ considerably. For example, the entrance fee to the Grand Palace is Bt. 250 in western numerals. The price in Thai numerals is (Bt. 20). Which tourists don’t know, because they can’t read it. Shall we say: An ignorant tourist is a happy tourist? Nobody uses those Thai numerals. It’s a bit like Roman numerals. You learn them, you can read them, but rarely use them. It’s the same here, only we do have a use for them. In double pricing.

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Dr. Bhakdi on the Dangers of Masks and the Risks of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Professor Doctor Sucharit Bhakdi is a German virologist and professor of microbiology. He is an ethnic Thai who was born in the USA and educated at schools in Switzerland, Egypt, and Thailand. He studied medicine at the University of Bonn. He is the former head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene in Germany.

Dr. Bhakdi is 73 years old, and says he will never allow himself to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Below are two videos featuring Dr. Bhakdi. The first is a brief clip in which the doctor examines the possible legal consequences for those German public officials who issue mandatory mask orders.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

The second video is a 20-minute interview with Dr. Bhakdi. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript #1:

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Wuhan Coronavirus: An Engine of Economic Destruction

The two videos below discuss the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis from two very different points of view. Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.

In the first video, an unidentified German pundit on RT gives an outline of the economic effects of the coronavirus from an establishment perspective. What I find creepy is the footage of Merkel, Macron, and other political leaders mingling with each other in their masks, doing elbow-touches:

The second video is a rant by Gerald Grosz, an Austrian politician for the BZÖ (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich, Alliance for the Future of Austria) and the FPÖ (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, Austrian Freedom Party). Mr. Grosz has a decidedly Coronadissident perspective:

Video transcript #1:

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Monkey Tricks in Thailand

By now we’re all used to the madness surrounding the Wuhan Coronavirus in Europe and North America. Surprisingly enough, Thailand is in the throes of its own version of the Coronamadness, according to this report from H. Numan.

Monkey tricks in Thailand

by H. Numan

How’s Thailand doing during the Chinese Virus Crisis? Not very good. Pretty bad, actually. Yes, medically speaking, Thailand is doing great. Outstanding is a better word. The number of victims is very low. Thailand enforced one of the strictest medical regimes in the world. That saved countless lives. Fewer than 3,000 people were infected and fewer than 60 people have died. But at what cost?

The number of deaths is actually negative. Sounds odd, right? Well, that’s because of Songkran, or Thai New Year. During the virus crisis the government enforced the state of emergency, including a curfew and a total alcohol ban. You could only buy soda water in the supermarkets. Beer and stronger drinkies were forbidden. I have no idea why Thailand had to go teetotal. Probably because the Thai elite doesn’t like (other) people to drink. Same for a curfew from 10pm until 4am. Makes the streets safer, of course. I doubt it stopped any spread of the virus. But that’s also something the Thai elite really likes.

Songkran is our New Year festival from 12-16 April. It is always celebrated with lots and lots of water. And booze. The extra number of deaths during the ‘seven deadly days’ is usually well over 400, with traffic victims in the thousands. Not this year, because of the alcohol ban and the ban on any social activity. That means that the Thai government saved at least 340 lives. This year the number of extra deaths due to Songkran was zero.

The price the Thai people have to pay for remaining relatively unharmed is steep. Thailand is a tourist nation. About one third of GNP comes from tourism. Thailand has closed its borders completely, so foreign tourism is zero. There you go. We just lost one third of our national income! Nothing to worry about. Local tourism will make up for it, so claims the government. No idea where they picked those numbers from; let’s be polite and say out of a hat.

Perhaps you remember we had elections last year. As soon as the (then) prime minister general Prayuth Chan-o-Cha announced he was considering candidacy, I knew he would become the next prime minister. If Prayuth wasn’t dead certain he’d become PM again, he wouldn’t bother to run for it. So we had elections, and all his generals with whom he committed the 2014 coup were re-elected. With a few new parties added to spice things up. The only big difference is that prime minister Prayuth no longer is a(n active) general. He’s a retired general now. So are most of his ministers. Another thing to show you nothing has changed: in the new constitution (the 25th to be exact) a number of generals are automatically appointed into parliament. They can veto everything they want. None of the other parliamentarians can, just them. This system makes any unwanted changes impossible. Except in the tried old way: a military coup is always an option in Thailand… generals replacing generals. Anything else is now impossible. In the present Thai democracy one can only vote for parties that are approved by and follow policy set by generals.

The government has big plans to kill revive tourism. They want to revamp tourism entirely, and focus on rich tourists. We don’t need poor yokels! Only the rich and the best are good enough for Thailand. At this moment, if you own a private plane you don’t have to worry about closed borders or compulsory 14 days of state quarantine. You can fly to Thailand and enjoy your holiday. How many of you own a private plane? Not a lot, I guess. The number of readers owning a plane with trans oceanic range is quite a bit lower. Probably close to nil. Those are the tourists Thailand wants to focus on.

Thailand is not the first country to look at cloud cuckoo land for brilliant ideas. Greece and Spain tried it in the past. They weren’t too happy being the f**k destinations for Europe. Not that many people go to Ibiza or Mykonos to sniff culture. Both countries spent a lot of money to turn that around. In. Vain. Wasted. Money. They could have spent it on prophylactics with better results. Of course Greece, Spain and Thailand as well have lots of culture to offer.

The problem is that not that many tourists want an exclusively cultural tour. In the business we even have a name for it. We call them ABC tours. Another Blasted Cathedral, Another Bourgeois Capital or Another Bloody Church tour. Pick the one you like. As beautiful as Thai temples are: if you have seen one, you have seen them all. At least, that is how 99% of all tourists perceive it. The 1% who do appreciate it are art students or graduates in Southeast Asian history. I’ve been working for 20 years in the tourism business, so I have a rough idea what I’m talking about.

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