119[ineb] democracy made obligatory
- Mar 2, 2000Guess what happens when democracy is made obligatory ...
To vote or not: a tough choice for bar girls
(by Mongkol Bangprapa)
Bar girls in Patpong would have
to choose what to endure, the
wrath of the law or the rage of
their bosses, in deciding whether
to vote for the Senate.
If they went home to vote this
Saturday, their employers would
be very angry and cut their wages.
But if they decided to stay put,
their political rights would be
stripped by the law.
Aim, 35, who had quit the entertainment service and now works for the
women's right group Empower, said to vote or not to vote had become a
matter of life and death for many bar girls.
It has already been hard for the women to return home in the provinces,
no matter how much they missed their children, because the bar owners
would not let them and because their purses were often empty, Aim said.
The law forces them to vote, but gives them neither travel expenses nor
compensation for wage cuts.
"Some even said they wanted to kill themselves to escape the dilemma,"
Aim said. "And I guarantee you this is not a joke." Aim said many bar
girls questioned why the Election Commission did not make it easier by
allowing them to vote in Bangkok. Voters have to cast ballots in the
constituencies of residence registration.
Aim said the bar owners, knowing they would be short of staff during
long holidays, would double the wage cut from 500 baht on weekdays
and 1,000 baht on weekends. Several bars had already warned those
who failed to show up for work on March 4 would lose 1,500-2,000
Bar girls said bar rules were superior to the law. "State law could
as far as the front door of the bar but could not get in. Bar rules are
rules, the supreme rules," they said.
Be cool ;-)
Dhamma * Metta * Santi
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