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Pandemic, or Endemic Epidemic? It’s all Academic!

Lathers of sweat, optimism and excitement are flying about in torrents, as Thailand’s government, the Tourism Authority, and various industry ‘big-wigs’ work themselves into a frenzy of anticipation about re-naming the present viral pandemic as an ‘epidemic’. As if re-branding the horrible COVID-19 virus which has seen fit to ‘borrow’ our cellular tissues for its pre-programmed reproductive purposes, will make one iota of difference to how the virus actually behaves.

By Baz Daniel

Sunday 15 May 2022, 02:26PM

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul as featured in a Public Relations Department article titled, “DPM Anutin to implement measures to discourage COVID-19 ‘Super Spreader’”. Image: PRD

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul as featured in a Public Relations Department article titled, “DPM Anutin to implement measures to discourage COVID-19 ‘Super Spreader’”. Image: PRD

Really, do the “powers that be” think that we’re all so gullible as to actually believe that a mere re-naming of this viral plague is going to change anything?

Well, the brief answer to that provocative little question is: “Yes, absolutely they do!!”

Like most of us, I wasn’t entirely sure about the precise difference between a pandemic and an epidemic, so I turned to good old Mister Google and the Webster’s Dictionary listing on this arcane subject.

Here’s what it had to say:

“What is the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic?

An epidemic is defined as ‘an outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time’. A pandemic is a type of epidemic (one with greater range and coverage), an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population.                                                                                                                                    While a pandemic may be characterized as a type of epidemic, you would not say that an epidemic is a type of pandemic.”

So, in other words, it’s all as clear as mud!

Thailand has a long and cherished history of re-naming inconvenient truths, or annoying hard facts, that they don’t happen to like, in order to make them disappear.

Having lived in this beguiling country for over 30 years, I’ve enjoyed the hilarious antics and solemn pronouncements of some 15 gentlemen and one lady, who’ve seen fit to dress up as the Prime Minister after various ‘free and fair’ elections, or military coups and they all seemed to be experts at this re-naming game.

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Perhaps the most hilarious example of this ability of avoiding calling a spade a shovel, was made by Prime Minister Banharn Silipa- archa in 1995, a billionaire building constructor who had the rather colourful nickname of ‘The Godfather of Suphanburi”.

Addressing the foreign media about the (apparently completely false) reputation that Thailand had (unfairly) garnered for being a hotbed of prostitution, Khun Banharn set the record straight by saying, (apparently in all seriousness and without a hint of smile): “There is no prostitution in Thailand! How could there be?... It is against the law!”

Brilliant! Problem solved! Let’s all adjourn to the nearest Massage Parlour for a soapy and a rub down!

Then there was the renaming of what used to be (completely erroneously) referred to as “The Rainy Season”, presumably because during that time of year huge delegees on monsoonal RAIN had an annoying tendency to fall. A bright spark at the Tourism Authority divined that employing the word ‘RAIN’ for that wet stuff which plummets from the sky might actually deter tourists from coming here at that time of year, so the season was rebranded ‘The Green Season’… and of course the problem was immediately solved.

We shouldn’t forget the ubiquitous “misunderstandings” which hapless, ill-informed, foreigners are apt to make every few minutes: “No, no, the Patong taxi driver wasn’t threatening the hapless foreigners with extreme violence with that tyre iron when they didn’t want to pay three times the agreed taxi fare… that was all a misunderstanding!”

“What? Charging foreigners three times as much as locals to enter a National Park… of course that’s not institutionalised, racist-based, extortion… even thinking such a thing is all a “misunderstanding” of Thailand’s charming and convoluted culture!

Whether Thailand actually re-brands the Pan… oh, sorry, Epidemic as such in July or not, will not make one scintilla of difference to how that strand of RNA behaves in future. Renaming it, will however, embolden the populace and visitors to indulge in more dangerous human virus-spreading behaviour by encouraging “dropping of our collective guard” as we “learn to live with the virus”.

Whatever we call the viral menace after July, to quote another famous Thai cliché, it’s all going to be a case of, “Same Same, but Different” for a long time to come.

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jamstock | 20 May 2022 - 13:45:34

It should never have even been declared a "pandemic" in the first place smh

DeKaaskopp | 16 May 2022 - 14:47:25

@CaptainJack69   Yes,right !

Kurt | 16 May 2022 - 14:29:20

Great article! Really a to the point comment. A fine enlighting how Thai softening their wrong doings, denial, twist it around. Marking themselve as very unreliable. Always be careful, don't let them 'Thai' you. They very good in trying to take you for a ride. Never trust them to much.

CaptainJack69 | 16 May 2022 - 12:42:47

Yes, yes, very entertaining. The Thai penchant to value fabricated appearance over actual substance comes as no surprise to anyone. Any bar-stool warrior will happily spew tit-bits like this all day long. They might even be more accurate, national parks charge foreigners 10 times the price, not 3. But of course "If you don't like it you can always leave" right?


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