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Democrat plea misplaced

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This is an open letter to the 44 current and former Democrat MPs in response to their letter ''Thailand edges closer toward a police state'', in Thursday's ''PostBag''. 

You claimed the current Pheu Thai Party is inducing fear in the media and politically harassing your leaders, citing the axing of Nua Mek 2 and murder charges filed against your leaders as examples. You further claimed your ''party does not belong to, nor is it financed by any one individual'' and that you are a ''party of the people''. Some of these claims are half-baked truths, as other ''PostBag'' commentators have said.

With all due respect, what is it that you want from us _ the people? Do you want us to take to the streets, overthrow the current government, and install you in its place? That would be replacing a police state with a military state. Pardon me, but that isn't now and will never be called democracy.

The truth is while many are discontented with the Pheu Thai government, there is no better substitute or alternative party. And you have not given us compelling reasons to back you and your party. On the contrary, instead of accepting that politics is rough, you are using the sympathy card to woo us. Instead of concentrating on the Bangkok governor and the next general elections, you have taken the Bangkok Post as your platform for mudslinging.

Bangkok Post readers are relatively well educated and articulate. Whether they are Thais, Westernised Thais, expats, or visiting foreigners, most are moderates. They don't take sides with any party exclusively and mindlessly. Within the varied voices and commentaries, there is but one persistent and predominant voice that is loud and clear. It is to rid Thailand of corruption in all its forms and guises.

Don't mistake our criticisms of the current government to mean that we support you. We are not that naive. If you were in power, we would likewise direct our criticisms at you. So please, take your pleas and rhetoric to where they belong _ Blue Sky Channel.

Edward Kitlertsirivatana


GIVE ROHINGYA A CHANCE

Just after the Vietnam conflict, thousands of Vietnamese fled their country and settled in the United States, mostly on the West Coast. They became American citizens, worked hard, and created vegetable fields and agricultural communities. They never asked for anything, but they contributed to the American economy. Today their children and grandchildren are doctors, scientists, businessmen and more. Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has said the Rohingya in Thailand must be transported to other countries as they are a threat to Thailand's security and the economy. But like the Vietnamese migrants in America, the Rohingya could turn out to be first class, hard-working citizens who contribute greatly to Thai society both economically and culturally.

Lobzig


'ENTREPRENEUR' NO COMPLIMENT

With regard to the article by Mark Brauerlein printed on Thursday, ''US colleges take entrepreneurial path'', the writer wants to label college students as entrepreneurs rather than customers, as customers are passive in the current practice of capitalism, rather than entreprenuerially aggressive. The word entrepreneur is French; ''entre'' meaning enter, and ''preneur'', meaning to take. It is not intended as a complimentary term. The article states that today's student role model isn't Einstein, it's Mark Zuckerberg, who was alleged to have stolen the social network concept from two gullible Harvard students. Success worshippers also champion Bill Gates, who didn't write a line of DOS; and Donald Trump, who never even designed an out-house.

Liberal arts colleges were started to give the ''haves'' an appreciation of the world beyond commerce and an opportunity to give back a little of their plunder in the form of schools and museums for the masses who gave them their fortunes.

Schools can teach reading, writing and a little maths. They can teach students how to fix air conditioners and paint cars. Mostly they teach obedience, a trait which is prized by employers. Beyond this they are kidding themselves and their students, or ''customers''. Entrepreneurs, by nature, are not obedient and not often in school.

Leave the liberal arts to those who appreciate life's finer qualities, learn a skill at a vocational college and be wary of schools offering to teach that which a person either has or doesn't have _ good instincts.

Vincent Gilles
Koh Samet


PAI LOOKING A LOT LIKE BEIJING

Reading the ''Think Box'' article, ''Put up with this air pollution? You've got to be choking'' in the Life section of Friday's Bangkok Post , which described the writer's displeasure with the air quality in Beijing, I couldn't help but think about the poor air quality and needless reasons for pollution in Thailand.

For the last five days here in the usually spectacular Pai district of Mae Hong Son I have awakened to a valley fully covered in acrid smoke, as this year the burning season has begun earlier than usual. I am now forced to cut my time in Pai short by two weeks as I cannot breath properly in this poisoned environment.

How many sick people will it take before the negligent authorities start cracking down on the outdated and illegal practice of slash and burn farming, along with clearing the land for more resorts? Pai now has over 350 tourist accommodations that for most part of the year stand empty, but still the greedy outsiders want to destroy this paradise further. This should be seen as a national disgrace rather than greeted with the usual mai pen rai. After the tragic floods of 2006 in Pai and Chiang Mai, the then prime minister promised no more forest clearing as this was the prime reason for the floods.

The very next year saw the entire North covered in smoke and it has been the same every year since. It seems that this year may be the worst ever as the mountains are shrouded in smoke in mid-January, at least a month earlier than usual. Tourist are leaving en masse as locals turning up in droves at the hospital.

In 2007 the politicians blamed neighbouring countries for the smoke, but every night I watch fires on the mountains of Pai putting up huge plumes of smoke that settles in the valleys below.

James


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