The government is having to backtrack rapidly after tough new laws banning drinking in factories and by passengers in vehicles caused widespread outrage and signs of an economic slowdown.
Trouble first started when hundreds of heads of global corporations flat out refused to get in their chauffeur driven limos and go to work. “How can I prepare for our shareholder’s meetings without being able to enjoy a glass or two of 12-year old scotch,” decried one managing director, “I spent a fortune getting this minibar put into my Lexus.”
The fallout wasn’t just felt in Bangkok, though, with the major industrial estates around Ayutthaya and the Eastern Seaboard seeing a huge drop in production figures. Workers downed tools at the prospect of having to stand on a production line for 14 hours a day stone-cold sober. “The Sangsom numbs the brain,” slurred one glassy-eyed worker. “First the floods, and now this, we’re ruined,” said a tearful Japanese exec before locking himself in a karaoke booth with a large bottle of sake.
Meanwhile, the military top brass have contacted the government for clarification of the new restrictions, “Do tanks, helicopters and submarines even come under this bill?” asked one quizzical general, “It gets awful lonely on the Cambodian border without some rice wine for Dutch courage.”
Even MPs have pleaded for the government to rethink the law. They point to the efficiency of doing business on the move, behind thickly tinted windows with a glass of JW Black Label in hand. “Next thing you know they’ll be cracking down on corrupt rice deals, it’s madness,” moaned one politician.
But not everyone had such a pessimistic view of the bill. Taxi drivers in the capital expressed their thanks that they would no longer have to suffer inter kids splashing their Spy Wine Cooler all over the backseats while on the way to RCA. “That stuff really rots the seats,” said one cabbie before taking a swig from his hip flask.