Beyond East and West | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Beyond East and West

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Many are familiar with the line, ''East is East and West is West'', which David James Wong quotes in his letter (PostBag, Thursday) on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's invitation to non-Easterners Kofi Annan, Tony Blair and others to join the prime minister's unity forum. But I wonder if he has bothered to read the whole of Rudyard Kipling's ballad, or even finish reading the stanza that he quotes from? 

The complete stanza is: ''Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, 'till Earth and sky stand presently at God's great judgment seat/But there is neither East nor West, border, nor breed, nor birth, when two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the Earth.''

The full quote gives a totally different - and opposite - meaning to the opening line which Mr Wong quotes. It is also remarkable, coming from a 19th/early 20th century member of the British Raj. I think Thailand should be looking for as many ''strong men'' (and women) as possible to help solve its problems, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or cultural background.

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