Uncle Milton continues his distortions in the comments section:
I’ve been to China, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, the Philippines, and Thailand… whatever they may state on paper is not followed in reality. It sucks to be poor in all of those countries but it sucks somewhat less in Thailand…because if nothing else you can rip off the many tourists with a smile and there actually are subsidized health clinics in Thailand and the Philippines. In addition there are quite a few charitable organizations within and without the catholic church. In theory you have free (sort of) care in Vietnam but you basically have to pay a bribe to be treated. Sorry to be so contentious but what you are saying just doesn’t reflect the reality of these countries.
Those tourists won’t help you in the rural areas, because there are no tourists there. Malnutrition rate: Thailand: 3 Philippines 3 Vietnam: 1 Vietnam also has almost no unemployment, about Being poor in the Philippines really, really sucks. For one thing, they still have a semi-feudal rural economy, so you are basically a serf for some feudal lord. Plus they have some of the worst shantytowns on the planet. Thailand is variable. They recently had a socialist oriented leader in power named Thaksin. He was ousted in a rightwing military coup led by bourgeois forces in Bangkok. His followers are poor rural Thais in the Northeast who speak a language called Isan. The recent street fighting between the Red Shirts (socialist followers of Thaksin) and yellow shirts (Bangkok bourgeois followers of the coup leaders) that led to deaths and injuries in the capital was really just class war, though the capitalist press never told you that. Under Thaksin, Thailand had a pro-people leader. Vietnam, whatever its problems, has a pro-people government. The Philippines has never had one, which is why the National People’s Army (NPA) exists.