To be, or not to be, that is the question. Could Yingluck Shinawatra survive in the political arena without the backing of her brother and his minions and the hordes of red-shirt agitators? Probably not. She'd just be another pretty face.
'Thaksinlandia' on way
In an interview with Forbes magazine (Oct 29), Thaksin is quoted as saying that amending the constitution is necessary for the Pheu Thai Party to solidify its hold on power.
It is my impression that constitutions are usually amended to correct some injustice such as abolishing slavery and giving the right to women to vote as was done in the US, and not to help some political party. It appears to me that what Thaksin has in mind is trying to establish some kind of one-party rule or dictatorship.
Once again it appears to me that Thaksin continues to dream of turning Thailand into some kind of ''Thaksinlandia'' where only what he wants matters.
NOT A FAN
Kongkiat offers clarity
Referring to ''Kongkiat misquoted'', (Postbag, Oct 31), I never thought that Kongkiat Opaswongkarn was an irresponsible critic like many others when I read the article, ''Government criticised for 'dangerous' policies'', (Business, Oct 29). But I'm so glad that after a long period of silence he has offered his points of view and subsequent clarifications.
It was the words ''dangerous policies'' used by your reporter that were the concern.
It is too soon to call this government's populist policies dangerous. It could be if hyper-inflation hits us in 2013. At the moment, it does not look as if that will happen. However, these policies could also be another economic breakthrough for Thailand.
Futsal flooring fiasco
The unfolding fiasco in failing to complete construction of the Bangkok Futsal Arena in time for the upcoming Futsal World Cup (see front-page stories, BP, Oct 29 and 30) is testimony to yet another longer-running failure of Thailand.
I'm referring to the demise of the Thai forest and wood products sector, aptly revealed by the fact that the futsal arena construction engineers first tried to source wooden flooring from China and, when that failed, had to turn to Malaysia, Taiwan and Italy for the required wooden playing surface.
With some 37% of the country covered by forests, Thailand deserves some credit for protecting a significant area of forest, although many would argue much more could have been done over the years. But forest protection, Thailand-style, has come at a very heavy cost to the Thai forest products industry.
Following devastating floods and landslides in southern Thailand in 1988, incorrectly blamed on illegal logging, Thailand imposed a ban on all timber harvesting in natural forests. This has effectively eliminated all prospects for sustainable management of the country's forests for purposes of producing timber and other valuable forest products.
Ironically, the logging ban has done nothing to stem the far greater cause of forest destruction _ the clearing of trees for agricultural production and oil palm plantations, infrastructure development, and the occasional resort or villa encroaching on forest lands.
Thailand subsequently imports more than (US$2.3 billion) 65 billion baht worth of timber and forest products annually, largely from neighbouring countries. These are products that Thailand is fully capable of producing itself, in a responsible manner, should it adopt policies and practices of sustainable forest management.
A country with the rich traditions of woodcraft and teak management as Thailand possesses should be embarrassed that it needs to turn to its neighbours for a few square meters of wooden flooring for its showcase futsal arena.
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