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Thousands of these billboards dot roadsides and villages across the province.

We have some sort of provincial elections happening. How do I know? Well, it could be the hugely loud trucks with speakers running through the village at 6:00 or earlier and then repeated several times during the day. Or maybe it's the thousands of billboards that are nailed to anything vertical, If you didn't know the Thai name for 'number' you certainly would after just one election ('burr'). If eligible, my vote would go to candidate burr nung (number one) being the only guy/lady who isn't trying to wake me up pre-dawn 555.

4 and 6 are especially noisy and I have boycotted them.

The election in itself isn't of much interest as a topic for this group, but I do have a point to make, that gives an insight to Thai processes. My stepdaughter Peng is at university in Chiang Mai and is now eligible to vote. She is studying Thai, to become a school teacher of the Thai language. When she heard of these elections, she was onto the authorities to find out how she could vote. It is important, evidently, because if it is her intention to become a government worker, she has to show an involvement in the process of government which includes a record of active participation in voting. Luckily, like all sensible countries, mail voting is acceptable and accepted here (no massive mail-in voter fraud coming up 555) and we can register her vote at the local Amphur office. It is an indication of the emphasis Thais put on community involvement.

Peng with classmates at a 'point' generating activity. The lady in the front is a ladyboy and a friend of Peng's. She has returned to university to gain a second degree, so is older than her classmates.

This reminded me of another example of this aspect of Thai life. Peng is required to attend a number of group activities, each one of which gains her points. These may include things like visiting a temple, cleaning a public place, walks, sporting activities etc. At the end of her four-year degree course she has to have accumulated 60 points, otherwise her degree is not issued!

Thanks for reading.



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