An old-quarter canal teeming with street prostitutes will be remade in the likeness of pastoral British countryside at the wish of the junta leader and prime minister-select.
After a dredging and cleaning, Khlong Lord is running much clearer now than the fetid sewer it had been, and now Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha wants it remade to resemble the bucolic British Cotswolds, a region characterized by rolling hills and a complete lack of street prostitutes in the southeastern county of Gloucestershire.
It’s part of a waterfront redevelopment push throughout Bangkok, which has awakened to the fact waterfront property is desirable and has been evicting longtime, low-income residents to make way for commercial redevelopment.
From where the Sanam Luang hits Ratchadamnoen Avenue, Lord canal runs south between wats Ratchapadit and Ratchabophit and is what makes Rattanakosin Island sort of an island.
To achieve this, yellow flowers and paint will be added to the canal, says the Defense Ministry, which owns land along it and is part of the City Hall-led effort.
Prayuth was reportedly inspired by Cotswolds’ little Venice Bourton-on-the-Water near Cheltenham, and tourism officials there confirmed Saturday to Gloucestershire Live that a Thai delegation visited the area last year.
“A small team then visited the Cotswold village of Bourton on the Water in June last year,” the spokesman said. “The visit has obviously left quite an impression and we are very flattered that other countries appreciate the beauty of our area to the extent that they want to replicate the charm of the Cotswolds in their own places.”
Prayuth was on a state visit to the United Kingdom at that time, during which he met British PM Theresa May.
In Bangkok, a key project goal is driving out prostitutes and the scourge of “helpless” people, according to a government news release:
“[City Hall] will also study the guidelines for solving the problem of beggars, helpless people and prostitution which have been a big problem over many decades until now. If the canal can be developed into a major tourist attraction, it is expected that these groups of people won’t enter the area.
Swipe left and right to see how the canal community today will appear after the flowers and paint go in: