The F-Word section is dedicated to critical thoughts and opinions. The F-Word stands for Farang Word in this case since a lot of issues are usually “solved” by saying we have different cultural backgrounds. Sometimes that just doesn’t do the trick. We try to show some problems – and maybe even get people to think about those things mentioned. The F-Word might be a bit provocative or sarcastic in times – it is however not meant to offend anyone. Those issues are just being raised because we care – if we wouldn’t care, we would simply stay quiet. //EndDisclaimer
Thailand implements real life frogger for pedestrians
Thailand is not necessarily known for being on top of the list when it comes to road safety and the implementation of latest concepts into real life. Now, right before the year comes to a close, Thailand is implementing what seems to be an aggressive change in road and pedestrian safety. With hundreds of people being killed each year during the Thai new year holidays (Songkran, April each year) and more and more cyclists falling victims to Thai traffic insanity the Land Of Smile now finally decided to stay ahead of the game. Literally. With it’s new found focus and desire to learn more about and support the so called Digital Economy Thailand seemed to have caught some interest with the concept of gamification.
Gamification in Real Life
With a significant increase of people living in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok (not Pattaya as claimed by many East European travel agencies), Thailand now decided to use a simple, yet incredibly successful and addictive game as concept for their latest road safety campaign. Officials in the office responsible for the campaign stated that they felt inspired when, for the first time ever, upgrading their decade old system to an Atari 2600 and ‘finally being able to see all those impressive graphics’ themselves. “The future is now” one official was heard saying.
Now, equipped with the latest technology and fresh from a ‘digital economy’ conference in Ho Chi Minh City, road safety officers brought both their passion and knowledge together and created the ‘frog 4 life’ campaign. The name, by the way, is certainly not stolen from the bike for dad or mom events.
Save money, and breaks.
As stated above Bangkok sees an enormous influx of inhabitants and hence is happy to announce that this campaign will also help in this aspect. Studies have shown that almost every 10th intersection in Bangkok has a pedestrian traffic light while almost every 93rd zebra crossing is equipped with such an unnecessary fancy tool. Officials now state that those pedestrian traffic lights not only make pedestrians less aware of road traffic by giving them a false feeling of security but also increase the amount of break fluid used by cars which leads higher costs for car owners, slower commuting times and building frustration for the driver having to listen to his nagging wife for longer while driving home from Paragon or EM Quartier.
“Sometimes, in rare occasions, cars even have to stop at traffic lights to led pedestrians pass” on official wrote on his twitter account. This, of course, leads to more stress inside the air-conditioned driver’s cabin. An issue that needs to be tackled. “Happy drivers go to the mall more often and spend more money more frequently” another spokes person added. This is, of course, just in line with Thailand’s end of year spending spree campaign which allows shoppers to reclaim VAT of up to 15,000 THB.
Less Traffic Lights – Less problems.
So what’s the plan? Easy! Decreasing pedestrian traffic lights! Just as seen on the top picture (short game for our readers: Which one is Bangkok, and which one is the frogger game? It’s quite hard to spot the difference!). Just as the Notorious B.I.G. would have said it if he was less notorious and running BKK: Mo traffic lights, mo problems. Since history isn’t one of our biggest concerns here in Thailand though we rather go with Jay Z for our infomercial campaign: We got 99 problems but traffic lights for pedestrians ain’t one.
With less traffic lights Bangkok hopes to address “7 with one blow” (taken from a “leadership” textbook) making the city “faster, harder, scooter” (maybe someone should tell the responsible office that this is not about a ‘motorcycle scooter’?).
The seven aspects that will be improved are as follows:
- Reduction in break fluid consumption
- Increasing the longevity of car breaks
- Reducing the amount of unfit citizens in Bangkok
- Increasing morale to stay fit and aware among citizens
- Increasing motivation to buy cars – getting people of the streets into cars
- Increasing average spending on cars & shopping
- Saving electricity by decreasing traffic lights across the city
As one can see the plan clearly does not have any flaws and outlines perfectly the well oiled machinery that is behind this newly planned campaign.
The frog 4 life campaign is, of course, destined to be a success especially since it will be accompanied by some ‘viral videos’ on youtube and vimeo which clearly won’t be recognized as work done by a TV studio. In order to accomplish this the responsible office already turned to the Tourism Authority of Thailand since they had so much success in placing ‘viral’ videos on social media without anyone noticing their involvement.
Asked about what will happen if people actually get hit by cars and if this wouldn’t lead to lots of pedestrians lining up on intersections and causing crowds on the sidewalk a spokesperson said every pedestrian entering Bangkok would simply get ‘3 lives just like in the game’ so getting hit wouldn’t be a problem and one could simply try again. This also will be highlighted by a touching TV commercial produced by the companies responsible for TRUE and DTAC commercials that made the country weep earlier this year. Quite likely with a smiling baby, slow motion camera angle switches and a voice from the off.
The second part of the question however left the official a bit speechless until she revealed the office’s plan which is loosely based on The Hunger Games or The Purge. Two of the office’s favorite motivational movies. “Officers have been equipped with crossbows in order to assure a motivated pedestrian crowd with minimum waiting periods between crossing attempts”.
In order to make the transition from 0.25% pedestrian traffic lights to 0% pedestrian traffic lights in the city smoother the office agreed on playing “You never walk alone” through speakers on all major intersections during the month of January 2016.
Walk on with hope in your hearts.
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