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Americans should look at their own backyard before bagging Thais

Last Sunday there was a picture of Angelina Jolie talking to a Myanmar refugee.

Jolie seems to be a good woman and has done a lot of good things, but she is a little quick in going some place to try to help a situation that may not be what she was told it was.

Far too many famous people and powerful governments have a tendency to meddle in situations that they don't understand.

The present situation with Cambodian workers returning to Cambodia is the result of rumours that began in Cambodia and many of the other refugee problems are the result of poor people wanting to migrate to find work.

Why the United States is so concerned about it when they have their own problems with their country being inundated with illegal Mexican workers is a mystery to me. Does America honestly believe that some of those migrant Mexicans are not abused or exploited along the trail by independent Mexican and American predators?

Americans hear of refugees working in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand for as little as three dollars a day and they go crazy and start talking about "trafficking".

In Thailand, a street sweeper makes US$10-15 a day. Whereas in America, a street cleaner or trash collector can make upwards of $40,000 a year.

This does not mean that all street sweepers or trash collectors in Thailand are slave labour, trafficked refugees or poor Thais being exploited. All it means is that things here are in order and people are paid in accordance with their qualifications and experience.

That is why poor Thais, refugees and migrants are not buried in credit card debt and the Thai government is not $16 trillion in debt like America is.

How a country and many of its famous citizens can run around the globe probing into and criticising other countries because of conditions that exist there when its $16 trillion in debt is also a mystery.

Here are the facts: Thais all eat every day because food is reasonably priced. It is reasonably priced because those that grow or nurture it price it reasonably and those that transport it are not paid $100,000 a year for getting it to market.

I can take my children to the doctor and get them examined and purchase pills to fix whatever their malady is for as little as $10, because doctors in Thailand still remember that part of the reason they became doctors was to help people, not bankrupt them. I believe that Westerners in general and Americans in particular should stay home and attend to some of the numerous problems that they have in their countries rather than condescendingly trotting the globe and telling other countries how they should conduct there business.

The interesting thing about that picture of Jolie last week is that the Myanmar refugee seemed to have a very broad smile on her face. What was even more curious was that it seemed to be infectious, because Angelina had a broader, more genuine smile on her face than I have ever seen her with when she is in America. It might do well for a lot of people to consider that.

John Arnone

Yasothon


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