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Thais urged to help usher in a brighter future

EVERY MEMBER of Thai society should stand up and be an active citizen as part of the effort to usher in a brighter future for the country, speakers at an event held by the civic sector said yesterday.

"If people join hands and make a strong society, that can stop the bad," respected social critic Prawase Wasi said at the event called "Tang Jai Thai Diew" or "Different opinions, but we are all Thai", held to commemorate former deputy prime minister and social activist Paiboon Wattanasiritham, who passed away two years ago.

Prawase's eyes shone as he spoke.

The event was the first time many activists spoke at a shopping mall, and was a chance for members of the Grand Alliance for Thailand Development, a group formed following Paiboon's inspiration, to reunite.

Prawase highlighted the ties among people with the same goal.

Examples were the communities in Trang's Sikao district and Mae Hong Son's Pai district that joined hands and proved they could make their communities strong and more developed.

Even conflicting parties now agree that Thailand needs to be reformed, so Thai citizens should focus on the will to reform and get over conflicts.

Self-empowerment by citizens must go on no matter what changes with the government, he said, adding that the ruling National Council for Peace and Order was also invited to join.



Anti-corruption movement

Vichai Assarasakorn, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, yesterday recalled how more industries have taken part recently in trying to find solutions for the country.

It looked dim and unpromising when they started forming the anti-corruption movement since Paiboon and former Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Dusit Nontanakorn were still alive.

Many surveys in the past found that most Thais could accept corruption, but recent polls found 80 per cent of Thais could no longer accept it, he said.

"We can change society. It's not only up to the authorities," he said.

Duangkamol Chotana, president of Nation Multimedia Group, said the media could play a role to promote informed citizens. Everyone could also play the role of content producer and consumer at the same time.

"People are no longer the media's victims. They can contribute to improving the work of the media. People can develop civic media and contribute.

"The [mainstream] media must work responsibly and also open up space for people's participation, create reconciliation and work together to find solutions," she said.

Prominent educator Praphapat Niyom, founder of Roong Aroon School, said Thai education must be revamped so that people could develop both cognitive and spiritual aspects.

Joining the event were Pramon Suthivong, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Organisation, and Kittipong Kittayarak, former permanent secretary at the Justice Ministry and a member of the Reform Now Network.

The event, which includes forums, exhibitions and other activities, runs at Central World until Thursday.






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