Five weeks ago, 239 lives were lost when Malaysia Airlines flight 370 veered off course and crashed in the southern waters of the Indian Ocean. Since then, the world has watched, waited and interpreted every scant detail the massive international search team has provided.
This week, at least 300 people will die on Thailand’s roads — about one-and-a-half times the number of people killed when the Boeing 777 crashed into the sea — during the Songkran holiday. About 3,000 people will be injured seriously enough to warrant attention from authorities — many will have life-long disabilities, pain or scars.
What compounds the Songkran tragedy is that so few people seem to care. The dramatic spike in road deaths during Songkran has become not only expected but accepted: The official response from police and politicians shows only small improvements, while the behaviour of those in charge of vehicles gets no better despite the high death toll. It is almost treated as though the consequence of having so many drunk drivers and motorcyclists was a matter of fate rather than physics, as if taking to the roads on Songkran was a form of natural selection.
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