Hundreds of thousands of Thai students and young professionals dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the pandemic and the slow pace of vaccinations have formed an online group to discuss ways to quit the country for good.
The Facebook group called “Migrate” has garnered more than 800,000 members in less than a week of being set up.
It has become a platform for people to discuss pathways for emigration, with participants seeking advice and Thais already living abroad sharing tips.
US, Australia, Japan, Canada and Germany top the list of destinations that members want to move to in search of a better future.
Although the number of members is about 1.3% of the Thai population, the roster is enough that it would rank 28th out of the country’s 77 provinces. Membership is about double that of “likes” on the Health Ministry’s Facebook page.
Much of the private group’s discussions centre around better job and wealth prospects that other countries can offer, compared to fewer opportunities in Thailand.
For many of the young members, the current Covid-19 outbreak – the nation’s third and the worst since the pandemic began – and the slow vaccine rollout have fuelled anger toward an establishment-backed government which previously rejected their calls for reform.
Thai youths, who were at the forefront of the street protests last year, have embraced online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Clubhouse audio chat application with a ban on large public gatherings due to the pandemic.
These avenues also played a key role in driving the protests, which also called for monarchy reform. — Bloomberg