Thailand Today (and tomorrow)

While packing for my trip to Thailand, I dug deep through boxes in the back of my closet. Eventually I found the headphones I was looking for, but I also came across some other forgotten treasures, like my CD player! It’s amazing to think that just a few years ago this was the hippest thing to own. And now, my little iPod is so small, I can barely find it when I’m looking straight at it!

All around us, our cities and countries are changing with the times. In Bangkok, I visited a busy open air market, stacked high with fruits and vegetables. This market has been operating in the same location for over one hundred years. To keep up with Bangkok’s transportation needs, the government extended the commuter railway tracks right through the market grounds. In other cities, the market vendors may have decided to move their business, but at this market they kept working around this little problem (and the moving trains). That’s certainly one way to adjust to the times.

This kind of change happens all the time. For example, in New York City, trains once carried wheat, salt, and other material to factories by overhead tracks. When the factories moved, the trains were no longer needed, the tracks sat overgrown and unused for years. Recently, the city converted them into an elevated winding park, which now attracts tourists from all over the world.

Sometimes change is not this positive and may cause debate. In China, the government had a difficult time supplying enough electricity to its growing population. As a solution, a dam was built to generate power from the flow of the Yangtze River. This hydro-electric power is much cleaner than coal or gas. But, to create the dam, the flow of the river had to be stopped. This created a lake behind the dam. As a result, over 1.2 million people were moved from their homes located in the valleys that this lake now fills. See? It can be hard to balance the needs of the future.