The Songkran death toll in Thailand this year has reached a whopping 335. It may sound shocking to the uninitiated, but for those of us who are familiar with the local culture, this is quite normal. However, you may be puzzled if a Thai refuses to even look at news reports like this:
Why? Well, the answer may even explain the accidents. Thai people tend to avoid looking at and thinking of unpleasant things. If a shopkeeper has a disgruntled customer, he may close his shop to avoid listening to his complaints. A student who has a disagreement with a teacher may never go back to school again. Criticise your contractor halfway through renovations and he may just abandon the project. At the same time, they tend not to entertain or think about undesirable consequences. This often leads to the absence of contingency plans.
Few Thais are deliberately reckless. When when Songkran comes around, they indulge to the max and throw caution to the wind. Most of the accidents during Songkran are caused by drink driving and speeding. By right, they are rational beings who know the dangers. The Thai psyche, however, downplays the possibility of grave consequences. Songkran is a time to be happy and keep these unpleasant things out of their minds.
I had my fair share of Songkran fun when I was young and reckless (but never as reckless as my Thai counterparts). I must say that it’s great fun soaking others while getting soaked. You should try it as least once in your life, but do set your limits and keep an eye open for undesirable consequences.