Thais are well known to believe that sweating (at least in an office or a mass transportation) is the very first step to a deadly disease : thus they like to have their hair combed buy a steady and vigorous flow of cool air, preferably set in the 21 to 23 degrees range with fan at full speed.

No matter what is the temperature outside, rain or shine, the aircon in my office is always set so that everybody has to wear a sweater or a jacket. Sadly  having a word with various office manager about raising the temperature or lowering the fan, not to mention saving energy, is a complete waste of time : they just smile and don’t care.

Thai ministers and Prime minister showcasing the new energy saving attitude
Thai ministers and Prime minister showcasing the new energy saving attitude : no jacket

 

Well folks this is about to change as the Government is stepping up two major campaigns, one for energy saving and the other for road safety during the Songkran festival, the traditional Thai New Year. Yes along with polar temperatures, Thai people do care for a couple of drinks while driving.

At a meeting of permanent secretaries of all ministries on 21 March 2013, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra thanked various ministries for their cooperation in cutting energy use by 15 percent. She urged the agencies working with the private sector to ask private companies to join the energy-saving campaign, as well.

The campaign is heightened following the scheduled disruption in natural gas supply from Myanmar from 5 to 14 April 2013. It is needed to cope with the peak electricity consumption period in Thailand. The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Energy to work with the Ministry of Interior, which supervises the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority, in reducing energy consumption among the people.

In related news, the Ministry of Culture will bring attire made from Thai fabric for Cabinet members to wear at the upcoming mobile Cabinet meeting in Chachoengsao province on 31 March 2013. Officials were urged to avoid wearing suits and jackets at work to save electricity used on air conditioning. Cabinet members have set an example by wearing Thai fabric at Cabinet meetings.

The Ministry of Culture was assigned to come up with suitable designs for both casual attire and semi-casual attire. It will also organize an exhibition on Thai fabric at the mobile Cabinet meeting in Chachoengsao. The use of Thai fabric is part of the Government’s energy-saving campaign, since Thai fabric is suitable for climate in Thailand. It will also help preserve Thai culture and distribute wealth to local communities, which are producing areas for Thai fabric.

As for the campaign for road safety, the Cabinet on 19 March 2013 acknowledged an integrated plan to prevent road accidents and promote road safety during the Songkran festival in April. Apart from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are also joining the campaign. The objective is to create a culture of road safety. The campaign began in March and will be heightened between 11 and 17 April 2013, the period of Songkran celebration.

The campaign for road safety focuses on six measures, comprising management, law enforcement, social aspects, traffic engineering, public relations, and emergency medical and rescue services.

Emphasis is placed on speed limit and controls on drunk-driving, alcohol consumption, and the use of motorcycles. Road accidents kill a large number of people in Thailand each year. Thailand has set the period from 2011 to 2020 as the “Decade for Road Safety” in order to reduce road accidents. Read More Here : Inside Thailand — Stepping Up Campaigns for Energy Saving and Road Safety during Songkran Festival

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