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Thailand – What’s the color of your Shirts?

Rattana Lao

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BANGKOK – For the past ten years, Thailand has been divided so much so that it has passed the point of no return. Being associated with either the Red or Yellow shirt movements has been the defining factor of who we are.

A yellow shirt is known to be elitist, pro-monarchy, pro-Democrat party, Bangkok based, educated.

A red shirt, in contrast, is associated with being poor, pro-Thaksin, rural, uneducated, if not stupid.

Nothing more, nothing less.

The complexity on the grounds elucidate that these Red-Yellow shirts divide is at best generalization and at worst misleading. However much researches there are to demonstrate the breadth, depth and diversity within each side, the media and the public continue to hold such binary world views of who constitutes the Red and the Yellow shirts.

A recent visit to Nakorn Panom, the border province between Thai and Laos, shows that these exist those who love and venerate the monarchy, while vote for Phue Thai.

There are those who disagree with Thaksin politics but embrace populist policy.

Then, there are also those who would never vote for both the Democrat nor Phue Thai or whatever it would change its name but continues to strongly believe in electoral system and fight for one person, one vote.

What colors are these people? What should we call these outliers – who are in fact excluded in the current discussion that is so charged and so divided between Red and Yellow?

These do not mean that those generalization do not exist. Surely, such dichotomy summarizes the big picture but it has missed the point.

No nation, no society or no community is comprised of consensus on anything. Try any topic on a dinner table between family and friends, differences exist everywhere. In a healthy democratic society, respect of differences, be it by class, race, gender or political, religion and cultural appetites, is in fact the key. It’s important and fundamental that there is space for people to voice themselves.

Just because Thaksin messed it up does not mean we all should loathe electoral system altogether or just because his so-called populist policy has been used to aggrandize his personal interests does not mean the people should be deprived of the rights to quality education, health care and better living standards.

Why should we let blatant generalization defines who we are?

We should not. The lacks of depth to comprehend the complexity in Thailand is hurting the country present and its future. Should we let our children growing up knowing that apple and banana are the only fruit?

Tired of being a red or a yellow? Then stop. Be yourself. Be free.

Rattana Lao holds a doctorate in Comparative and International Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and writes on education and development. She is based in Bangkok, Thailand.

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New Social Compact

Lithuania should focus reform efforts on improving quality and efficiency of health services

MD Staff

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Lithuania has made strong progress in reshaping its health system since the 1990s but further reforms are needed to urgently improve the quality of health services and make spending more efficient, according to a new OECD report.

OECD Reviews of Health Systems: Lithuania 2018 says that although health spending, at 6.5% of GDP, is low, the system provides broadly adequate access to care. A well-run health insurance fund covers virtually the entire population and admission rates and physician visits are well above OECD averages.

“Lithuania’s reforms over the past 30 years have created a modern, financially sustainable health system,” said Agnès Couffinhal, Senior Economist in the OECD Health Division, launching the report in Vilnius, with Lithuania’s Minister for Health Aurelijus Veryga and EU Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. “The focus now must be on improving quality and efficiency. Additional resources should be directed to where they will have the most impact on health outcomes.”

Life expectancy is rising slowly, but remains almost six years below the OECD average, with a larger gender gap than in any other OECD country. Women live nearly 11 years longer than men.

Chronic conditions account for the majority of deaths, and excess mortality due to cardio-vascular diseases and suicide are more than double the OECD average.

Fewer adults in Lithuania report being in good or excellent health than in most OECD countries. Only 43% of the population aged 15 years and above reports good or very good health while the OECD average is 68%. Elderly people report particularly poor health.

Many of the deaths which occur before the age of 65 could have been prevented altogether or are due to diseases that could be better treated to avoid fatal  outcomes.

The health system remains too  centred on hospitals, according to the report. Lithuania is still one of the countries with the highest number of beds and hospitalisations per capita in the OECD, and the bed occupancy ratio is below the OECD average in 85% of hospitals. Further restructuring hospitals to ensure complex services are delivered more safely in fewer facilities would improve quality and efficiency.

The modern primary care system already in place must be further challenged to deliver effective interventions which prevent and help manage non-communicable diseases, including poor mental health, and to coordinate care.

Throughout the health care system, the quality assurance culture must be strengthened and stakeholders deliver measurable improvements.

Recent policies to curb harmful drinking go in the right direction but all stakeholders must be more effectively held accountable for progress on public health initiatives.

Greater use of performance data and fostering a culture of policy evaluation of impact would help identify the most efficient way to deliver progress.

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World’s 100 Most Influential People Working in Gender Policy for 2018

MD Staff

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Marlene Schiappa

Apolitical today announced its inaugural list of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy in 2018. The list honors and celebrates women and men making the world more equitable, whether they exert their influence through policymaking, research, advocacy or however else.

Those in the top 20 include: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Malala Yousafzai, Marlene Schiappa, Katja Iverson, Amina Mohammed, Julia Gillard, Margot Wallström, Justin Trudeau, Caren Grown, Melinda Gates, Michelle Bachelet, Gita Rao Gupta, Marian Baird, Asa Regner, Sadiq Khan, Iris Bohnet, Sarah Degnan Kambou, Maryam Monsef and Gary Barker.

The 100 Most Influential People Working in Gender Policy were curated from nominations from dozens of gender experts from leading organizations, including Women Deliver, Women in Global Health, UNDP, USAID, Together for Girls, the ICRW, the IDB, and the Wilson Center.

The list recognizes pioneering people across seven categories: Public Service, Politics, Academia, Philanthropy, International organisations, NGOs and Advocacy.

Apolitical expect the annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy to highlight what’s working in gender policy, and through the work of those named to provide both a snapshot and a road map for the future of gender policy.

“It’s time to celebrate the people making our societies fairer and better to live in for everybody,” said Apolitical CEO Robyn Scott. “Public servants routinely miss out on the recognition they deserve. This list honors the people doing the work to improve billions of lives.”

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Emotionism

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Only the existence of Emotions make a human being different from machines. Emotions affect everything we do, coloring every thought and action.

They are an essential ingredient to our lives and our survival. In our societies, there are policies, institutes for every issue either it is good or bad. No one focuses on the emotions of human beings, it includes happiness, sadness, love, patriotism and moments of joy, respect, anger or the determination to achieve something. Although these emotions are universal, they do not depend on languages or any other tool. There are existence of international laws on various issues, applied being the universal one. Then why no one highlights the emotional issues, even if we analyzes all policies and world affairs, all these are based on human behavior.

Happiness, a moment when you forget every sad memory for little time and life looks so perfect. One can feel this by heart. But with the race of acquiring more and more facilities human beings are losing the spirit of being happy in true sense.

Although there is existence of feeling known as sadness, it is there to show the importance of happiness. These emotions are interlinked both are incomplete if any of them is absent. Life is not an easy task to do, it’s a challenge every person in this world is facing in current scenario at different places. Love, being the best of all emotions, feeling of affection.

If we consider the love which is best and most accurate existing in this world is the love of a Mother, it’s everywhere the same. Even if it’s a human or any other living being, its unconditional love, always there to support you and protect you. This emotion can be shared by one’s friends, partners or any other person but it sometimes filled with insecurities. Patriotism, another form of love, the love for your country, motherland. People do sacrifice their lives for the survival of their countries, to show the loyalty with their sacred homelands. They can be uniformed or the others, sacrifice is equally considered.

Respect, an honorable emotion, given to our elders and received by our young ones. It is mostly linked with the Teachers and are considered the best personality in the life of any students. Students respect their teachers with full admiration. Teachers also love their students and sometimes show anger to save them from de-tracking in their lives. They up rise the level of confidence and emotions like self-believing in students which can change a student’s life and can effectively play its role in the prosperity of state. Teachers are the ones who help us to get where we need to go. They show us the realities of life and teaches us to counter these difficulties. Teachers are like the candles, which consumes themselves to brighten the lives of others.

Aims, many people set some goals and aims in their life to achieve them. This emotion is based on motivation and consistency. People do follow some role model and set goals to something specific in their lives. Our history is full of such examples, like Abdul Sattar Edhi, who believed that “No religion is Higher than Humanity” it was the emotion, affection and love towards the human beings and he determined to serve the humanity without the discrimination of race, gender and religion.

Determination, should be like the Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s confidence as he said, “Failure is word unknown to me” he is the iron man in the list of world famous personalities. Stanley Wolpert writes about Jinnah as “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”

All human beings are equal, but the thing which make them different is the emotions in them, their will power and their determination. The curiosity to know more and more can makes an ordinary person to an extra-ordinary one and make them like Stephen Hawking and sometimes it results into form of Bill Gates. Human Beings are losing themselves, their emotions are dying and fakeness is covering all of them.  In the current scenario, we need to focus on human emotions, these are more significant and the only possible solution to every problem of this world. For example, terrorism is also spreading due to negative propaganda and psychological tools are used to attract people and recruitment resulting into the spread of terrorism. We need to strengthen the emotions of people. There are climatic issues, this can be eradicated if we introduce the highly qualified seminars to people and tried to arise the emotion of love with environment in human beings, can control nuclear proliferation by spreading love with other states to maintain peace so Emotionism is the best tool to solve every problem. Now, it’s time to use this one. We need to save humans, we need to save the world.

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