The 64,000-doughnut question


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What the heck is going on?

Red-shirt co-leader Arisman Pongruangrong will give away 64,000 doughnuts to underprivileged children and adults to mark the 64th birthday of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra next Thursday. (Bangkok Post)

The sheer absurdity of this story makes it sound like it's from the pages of Not the Nation, but alas, this is real life.

Thaksin doughtnuts

The former singer and MP, who also spent several months on the run after the political violence of May 2010, called the doughnut giveaway a gesture of national reconciliation.

The thing that struck me about this is that it makes no sense to give "underprivileged children and adults" boxes of doughnuts — especially children! Doughnuts are generally sweet. Dental healthcare among the underprivileged is generally poor. Sure, people will probably enjoy receiving these sugary gifts, but ultimately, encouraging poor people to scoff down boxfuls of doughnuts is irresponsible and just plain silly.

Sweetness appears to be the central theme behind this bizarre initiative:

Shown at the news conference was a pink box containing 12 doughnuts and a card with the written message: "On the occasion of my birthday, may love, sweetness and harmony be upon you. With love and bonding, Pol Lt Col Thaksin Shinawatra, July 26, 2012." The date is Thaksin’s birthday.

If you want to really help underprivileged communities, give them something useful, like toothpaste or rice. This reeks of dumb aid and #Swedow. It's an ill-conceived idea that doesn't even have good intentions behind it. Imagine if an NGO rocked up in rural Thailand with 5,000+ boxes of doughnuts and started handing them out. The fallout would be ridiculous.

Dougnuts

Photos nabbed from the Bangkok Post story.

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