A chat with an old friend from Thailand

Yesterday, I had a chat with an old friend from Thailand. Those of you who have been following our blog for many years might remember her. She was a very devoted supporter of AnimalCare and she organised many animal awareness events at her workplace while she was working in Malaysia too.

I asked her what the situation is like in Thailand for street animals. I did not want to google for this information but to hear it from a Thai who is living in Thailand.

Here’s what she told me:

There is no animal catching policy by the government in Thailand. Street animals live harmoniously with the people. Of course there are also cruel people who poison the animals (true, this would exist anywhere in the world, I’m sure) but the situation in Thailand is so much better than in Malaysia (these are her words, not mine, and she has lived in Malaysia as well as Thailand so she certainly has the right to make the comparison). Their Princess Chulabhorn is now working very hard to eradicate rabies in the country too. Soi Dog and Watchdog are two foundations that have made great strides in helping street animals in Thailand.

Photo credit: Bangkok Post

So, what is the difference that makes Thai street animals have a much better life than our street animals in our country?

It could be the culture of the people. It could also be the governmental efforts and the principles they hold.

As much as I personally do not like politics, it is unfortunately already a part and parcel of our lives. And I believe that many people can be influenced by what their elected leaders stand for because many people are followers. This is the sad result of our education system that does not produce critical thinkers. They only produce followers. But that would be an entirely different discussion for another day, on another platform.

Now, if it’s culture, then culture can be changed and it should be changed for the better. Again, on a personal level, I’m not one who will stick to traditions. If something traditional is not right, useless or harmful, then I’ll happily throw it out of the window. I have always been a non-conformist.

I read from an article today that true religion is a love of all beings. I don’t think we even need religion to tell us that all humans have the capacity to inculcate a love of all beings.

Let’s start by being kind to all beings. We can lead by example. We can be leaders without titles and positions. We can learn from other cultures that practise kindness to animals, embrace these good values and make it a part of our own culture.

It’s time to transcend race, religion, culture and nationalities. These designations have no meaning where kindness is concerned because kindness transcends all species.