Don’t Tell Ambode, Bangkok Just Banned Street Food

Bolé. Roasted corn. Suya. All gone.

Well, not here, but I imagine Bangkok residents feel a pain that I can’t even fathom as their government just went and banned all street food.

Wanlop Suwandee, chief adviser to Bangkok’s governor, said officials are “now working to get rid of stalls from all 50 districts of Bangkok” and return the pavements to pedestrians.
“There will be no let-up in this operation. Every street vendor will have to move out,”

What a spoilsport.

Bangkok, recently named the city with the best street food by CNN, has almost over 20,000 (!!) street food vendors scattered around the city. Meanwhile, did CNN come to Lagos when polling that because we have some serious objections.

“Street food was still too popular with the locals,” she said. “Of course, it would make Bangkok less charming. But it also takes a big chunk of cheap options away from working Thais, and closes up an avenue of work for many. Where will shop employees, construction workers and taxi drivers eat?”

With the Otodo Gbame fiasco, this whole thing feels like something Ambode could do. He better not get any ideas. To be fair though, Ambode looks like he enjoys a wrap of Amala or two, with hot ewedu and gbegiri and small Star on Fridays. His tie is carefully placed on his left shoulder as he descends into the amala. We doubt he'll make any drastic changes. That said, we're watching.

Officially, it’s being tagged as a “cleanup campaign” but we all know what the deal is.It does bring up one serious question though: What happens to the displaced vendors?

Pulling this “cleaning up city” move is all fine and great, but the displaced vendors are suddenly without jobs. Like the spike in crime caused by the forced evictions in Lagos, Bangkok might have some bigger issues to deal with. It’s crazy how these cities don’t think about the social cost of actions like these.

[The Guardian]