Bill Gates gets wires crossed with picture of Thailand’s drooping street cables

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates posted a photo of a mass of messy cabling on his Facebook fan page on Friday. He said it was taken in Thailand.

Gates assumed that the photo showed dangerous electricity wires and that the shoddy draped wires were a hint that people had tapped into them illegally. But, as commenters both Thai and foreign pointed out, the cables are much more likely to be phone and internet cables installed by the non-governmental companies providing those services than by people “tapping into the grid,” as Gates had implied.

Gates wrote, “Due to faulty infrastructure, many urban areas suffer from frequent blackouts and power cuts, and the electrical grid often doesn’t serve the people who need it most.”

“I’ve visited many cities filled with tangled wires such as those in this photo from Thailand, where people have illegally tapped into the grid on their own to get the power they need — at great personal risk.”

The photo was from his album called “Living with Energy Poverty,” which has the description, “If you can’t get reliable electricity, it’s hard to make the most of your life. But I’ve also seen how people can be innovative and resourceful even in the toughest circumstances.”

Both Thai citizens and American electricians seemed to be weighing in with their views on what the wires were.

Some Thais were offended by Gates’ suggestion that Thai people try to tap into the electricity grid on their own, illegally stealing power. Other Thai people admitted that the wires were a mess, but not generally thought to be too dangerous.

Either way, it’s not the first time that cabling in Thailand has caught the attention of foreigners.


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