Thai Bus Conductors Wear Diapers Due to Lack of Breaks

August 14, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. conductor /kənˈdʌk tər/ (n.) – a person who is in charge of giving bus tickets and fare
Example: The bus conductor forgot to give my ticket.

2. prolonged /prəˈlɒŋd/ (adj.) – taking place or happening for a longer time than expected
ExampleProlonged sitting may cause back pain.

3. amenity /əˈmɛn ɪ ti, əˈmi nɪ-/ (n.) – a thing that makes life convenient
Example: One of the basic amenities is electricity.

4. contract /kənˈtrækt/ (v.) – to catch an illness or a disease
Example: She contracted the disease because of a mosquito bite.

5. urinate /ˈyʊər əˌneɪt/ (v.) – to remove urine from the body
Example: Parents should teach their children not to urinate anywhere.


Read the text below.
The lack of toilet breaks during working hours has forced bus conductors in Thailand to wear diapers.

As a result, conductors suffer from urinary tract infection and even cancer of the uterus because of the prolonged use of diapers.

In Thailand, blue-collar workers do not often get the best working conditions, especially bus conductors, whose basic amenities are not even provided. According to Thai Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, 28 percent of female bus conductors wear diapers during their 16-hour shift. Jaded Chouwilai [chou-wi-lahy], director of the foundation, was shocked to find out that female conductors contracted bladder stones, urinary tract infections, and cancer in the uterus.

Such is the case of Watcharee [wa-cha-ree] Viriya, who was recently diagnosed with cancer in the uterus and had to undergo surgery. The doctor told her that wearing dirty diapers for a long time caused her illness. Viriya also stressed that urinating in diapers was uncomfortable for her. Changing diapers twice a day upon arriving at the bus terminal also added to her discomfort.  

Because of this situation, Bangkok Mass Transit Authority labor union secretary Chutima Boonjai appealed for better working conditions and more toilets along bus routes and terminals. Boonjai also mentioned that bus conductors work long hours in the heat but cannot eat nor go to the toilet if they want to.

There are several factors that are causing this problem in Bangkok. One notable factor is the political crisis in the country, which has resulted in a military coup [koo] in May.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think the bus company should cover Viriya’s medical expenses? Why or why not?
·         How can the Thai government improve the bus conductors’ working conditions?

Discussion B

·         What are the working conditions of a regular employee in your country?
·         How can work conditions be improved?

August 14, 2014