Pattaya blue-collar workers rue low Songkran season

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Long-running political turmoil in Bangkok dampened prospects for big business during Songkran this year. While the final tab has yet to be tallied, street vendors and taxi drivers were preparing for the worst.

Motorbike-taxi driver Traiphum Janaum said he is sick of all the political rallies, as they hit him hard in the wallet as the number of tourists to Thailand dropped.

Traiphum Janaum, a motorbike taxi driver says, “What has happened to our country this year really hurts me at heart.”

“I want to tell all Thai people, no matter who they are, please stop getting involved in the politics and let the country go forward. Many people have to work daily to make a living, but if the economy is slow like this we may not survive.”

The 25-year-old said he planned to stage his own protest over the protests by not participating in any Songkran water play this year. “What has happened to our country this year really hurts me at heart,” he said.

Siem Sukjaroen, a baht bus driver, believes that this year the low season has come earlier than last year.Siem Sukjaroen, a baht bus driver, believes that this year the low season has come earlier than last year.

Baht bus driver Siem Sukjaroen also blames the Bangkok turmoil for his troubles, saying he thinks the low season hit much earlier this year with a significant drop in tourism.

Manop Sakorn, a Dongtan Beach umbrella vendor, said his business hardly gets any customers this year. “I really don’t know what to do. I guess I just have to somehow bear with it,” he said.

Manop Sakorn, beach chair vendor at Dongtan Beach says, “I really don’t know what to do … I guess I just have to somehow bear with it.”Manop Sakorn, beach chair vendor at Dongtan Beach says, “I really don’t know what to do … I guess I just have to somehow bear with it.”

Salon owner Rattaporn Sarnsuwan said her beauty shop has not been making enough money this year. Because of the economic and political situation in Bangkok, everything is getting worse in Pattaya, she said. “I probably will not join Songkran festivities this year,” she said.

Beautician Rattaporn Sarnsuwan says this year things are getting worse.Beautician Rattaporn Sarnsuwan says this year things are getting worse.