Like magic, social media outrage fills abyss in Thonglor 9

Thonglor Soi 9 seen one week ago, at left, and Wednesday, at right. Photos: Gokfayuen / Facebook, Coconuts
Thonglor Soi 9 seen one week ago, at left, and Wednesday, at right. Photos: Gokfayuen / Facebook, Coconuts

A Hong Kong expat said yesterday he was surprised that a single social media post was able to do in two days what the city had dithered on over three months: Fill the gaping chasm workers had left in the street.

Donald Woo, co-owner of Cantonese noodle shop Gokfayuen, said he was contacted by Wattana district representative Kornranit Ngamsukonrattana less than 24 hours after he complained on social media about the yawning hole left in front of his and other shops after a pipe-laying project was abandoned.

The next morning, workers appeared at the site and, by Saturday, the hole was made whole.

“I think it’s a normal problem with Thailand that nothing gets fixed until someone’s face is hurt,” Woo said.

The expat said he didn’t expect his post would see any results, but after months of going unheard, he had to get it off his chest. 

Rather than go full rage mode, he opted to lay the sarcasm on thick.

“Many thanks to the District department especially during this pandemic time,” he wrote one week ago. “In April they decided to replace the water pipes in front of our shop. It took them 1-2 days to make the road look like this, then 3 months past and it’s still the same!!”

The photos showed a deep pit and scattered concrete piping making his shop inaccessible without serious parkour skills.

Woo added that he also was worried about pedestrians in the soi, where many Japanese housewives with children and elderly parents reside. Woo admitted that he didn’t directly contact the authorities prior to his post because he thought a larger, neighboring restaurant had already “tried to pull some strings” and failed.

While his business was the least affected because its business was split between takeaway and dining-in, he said the neighboring Isaan restaurant Sabb Sud Jai had remained closed because of the leap required to get in. He expects to see them reopen now that the pit is gone.

“I won’t thank the government officials or whoever gets it fixed because they [left] it a problem for three month[s] while it [could have been] done this quick. I thank my customers and everyone who share[d] our story,” Woo said.

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