Can Russell Crowe succeed in cleaning up Bangkok’s terrible wiring? | Thailand

Reams of black wiring suspended between poles, haphazardly bundled into nest-like knots, and sometimes hanging at head peak are a standard sight in Bangkok, and has change into virtually synonymous with the town.

“In case you stroll round my space, there are lots of wire bundles hanging right down to human peak or sitting on the bottom alongside the pedestrian walkway,” says Kullapa Sakkaravech, a language trainer from Bangkok.

She lives in what is taken into account “the brand new central enterprise district” of Bangkok but says “clouds of wire bundles” nonetheless hold in entrance of her condo. “Other than being unappealing, this could doubtlessly be harmful for youths and particularly hazardous throughout flood or raining season.”

Nonetheless, following a tweet by actor Russell Crowe, that may very well be about to alter.


In a publish captioned “Bangkok dreaming”, Crowe, who was in Thailand all through September and October filming a Vietnam struggle film, The Best Beer Run Ever, shared a photograph of the town’s much-reviled communication and electrical wires.

The tweet spurred others to share comparable pictures, together with questions as to why they had been in such a state.

Now, Thailand’s prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has known as for electrical and communications cables to be higher organised and put underground.

Many wires could now not be wanted however can’t be eliminated as a result of they’re so entangled, says Dr Napong Rugkhapan, assistant professor in city planning at Thammasat College in Bangkok. “When an web service supplier desires so as to add in a brand new line for a brand new condominium being constructed, they add to that as a result of it’s not their accountability to take [any] out.”

Nonetheless, given the quite a few earlier requires the webs of wires to be moved underground, some are sceptical as as to if this newest push – even one impressed by a Hollywood actor – will change something.

cluttered power lines
Bangkok’s fragmented method to utilities has been blamed for the chaotic wiring. {Photograph}: Diego Azubel/EPA

The truth that nobody has died because of the wires means it’s not on the high of the agenda, Rugkhapan says. But individuals stumble over fallen cables day by day, he added.

Sakkaravech says: “There was a time once we had heavy rain, a tree fell and pulled down a bundled wire inflicting an electrical energy outage to residents.”

Up to now, an absence of coordination between the assorted businesses and restricted political will has been accountable for the sluggish progress, Rugkhapan says.

Movie star involvement in the difficulty will be traced again to 2016, when Microsoft co-founder-turned-philanthropist Invoice Gates commented on Thailand’s “tangled wires” on Fb. The publish was deleted after Gates wrongly recognized the wires as energy traces fairly than communication wires.

Traditionally, electrical authorities have blamed the telecommunications business for the growing variety of traces and messy wires.

Following Gates’ publish, the Provincial Electrical energy Authority reportedly produced a graphic making the excellence. In response to Crowe’s image, Bangkok’s Metropolitan Electrical energy Authority launched a press release clarifying that the wires depicted weren’t energy traces however communications traces.

Regardless of the confusion, shortly after Gates’ remark, authorities dedicated to placing 127 kilometres of each energy and communication cables underground. Prayuth urged the businesses to hurry up the primary section which targeted on 39 roads in and across the capital.


In 2019, Bangkok’s governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, launched one other initiative, committing the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to shifting communications traces underground inside two years.

Progress has been made in sure areas, together with on main thoroughfares similar to Silom and Sukhumvit, however navigating hazardous wiring continues to be part of day by day life in a lot of the town.

Timber are sometimes casualties too, aggressively pruned to make method for the wires, says Oraya Sutabutr, co-founder of Bangkok-based environmental advocacy group Massive Timber Venture.

For instance, three years in the past when the sky prepare was being prolonged round Kasetsart College, as an alternative of shifting the utility traces to make method for the development, employees as an alternative opted to chop all of the branches off the bushes to create space, inflicting public upset, Sutabutr says.

“With out public outcry over this sort of state of affairs, then the authorities will suppose what they’re doing is OK,” she says.

But Crowe’s tweet, and his status as Thailand’s “accidental ambassador” may assist to speed up the mission to maneuver the wires out of sight.

Kanchanaphan Vanichkul, a enterprise proprietor in Bangkok, says in the end Crowe’s intervention will pace up completion of the undertaking. “I’ve to thank him very a lot for making many individuals all over the world pay extra consideration to our nation.”

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