A young man in my condo building was born in Chiang Rai and moved away when he was four years old.
Now that he is 21 and eligible for the draft, he had to return to Chiang Rai at his own expense in order to take care of paperwork in anticipation for the draft.
I asked why he could not do this in Bangkok and have the information sent over the internet and was told that it was because they did not have a computer - in Chiang Rai, paper after paper was filled out and filed away.
Considering the billions of baht spent by the army every year, one wonders why they don't spend some of it on computers. This is 2012, not 1912.
EDWARD J ROSS
Time to cage corruption
Re: David Brown's letter (Postbag). Mr Brown wonders how Thailand can ethically outlaw the trade in endangered species and yet still allow it to happen, the answer, of course, is corruption.
After that is enforcement, the bugaboo of lawmakers, which requires money and a serious long-term commitment of resources - resources which will always be directed elsewhere. Unless the animal control officers are armed, as in the US, their enquiries won't go far. Until Cites becomes as big a player in the region as the DEA, we should not expect any resources directed towards enforcement any time soon. To paraphrase Gandhi, one can tell how civilised a people are by whether they like to keep things in cages - around the world, there are not too many civilised people.
By heavens, no hell
Re: Charlie Brown's ''God lets us choose''. Even if one accepts the totally unproven existence of a ''God in heaven'', why must one ''believe there is a devil in hell''? It is quite possible in the realm of superstitious beliefs to believe in one without believing in the other, thereby rendering the rest of his arguments regarding Mourdock's statement illogical and irrelevant.
Beware the ides of March
Thaksin's boasting to Forbes magazine that the current Thai government is under his thumb, and that the ruling Pheu Thai Party's motto is always ''Thaksin thinks; Pheu Thai acts'', may be his own Achilles' heel.
Thaksin's last downfall in 2006 began when two of his most important supporters, Chamlong Srimuang and Sondhi Limthongkul, deserted him and assiduously campaigned for his ouster.
Such a rebellion could happen again when Thaksin's current lieutenants start thinking he is too dangerous for the country and posterity.
As one who enjoys reading, Thaksin should study how Julius Caesar, one of ancient Rome's most popular and powerful heroes, met his tragic end.
Julius was stabbed to death by a large group of senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus, who feared the ever-growing power of the dictator. Brutus was one of Julius Caesar's most trusted friends and whom he regarded as a son and possible successor. According to history, Julius Caesar's last sentence when he saw Brutus among the assassins was: ''You too, child?''
Thaksin should study more history. Maybe it will help him become more humble and human.
What's good for the goose
Re: ''Govt seeks help to locate key witness''. The case of the disappearance of a Saudi businessman about 20 years ago and other crimes involving Saudis have strained the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Thailand for the past two decades. An opportunity to bring some relief to the situation is apparently being blocked because a convicted ex-police colonel on the run cannot be interviewed in his hiding place abroad because he would have to be arrested first.
I find this in stark contrast to the visit of a senior policeman to Hong Kong for a convivial reunion where he received an award from a convicted ex-police colonel on the run without even the thought of arresting him.
Trafficking the victim card
Yesterday's article about Thai women and men involved in a prostitution ring in Switzerland is a scary example of a huge shift in culture taking place around the world, largely initiated in America and on the internet.
Per the Bangkok Post article, Thai ''victims'' knew they were going to work as prostitutes and refuse to press charges against their supposed traffickers.
Prostitution is legal in Switzerland.
Yet this is a story that will be repeated around the world and in every case the Thai sex workers will be branded as victims.
The contract they agreed to sounds very expensive when taken at face value, but the article does not tell us their earning potential under that contract.
In this shifting culture, what it means to be trafficker, a pimp and a victim is being redefined almost from month to month. Be warned that if you drive a friend to the airport or loan a friend some money, you could be a trafficker.
Normal consensual prostitution is under insidious attack as never before.
I happen to know a Thai sex worker and she freely discussed with me her expenses and earnings expectations if she goes to Singapore for two weeks. She asked for my opinion. In today's extreme climate, some day she might need a trafficker to blame to get a better deal - in other words she can pull out her ''victim card'' in an emergency - and that could be me.
Everyone in Thailand should be aware that extreme exaggeration and sensationalism drives the internet discussion of sex trafficking. For example, I recently I saw a blog by an NGO that made the claim that a woman is killed or raped every six seconds in one small city in the Philippines.
What you will see on the internet often defies common sense - but people still fall for it!
Regardless of the each person's ethical opinion regarding this issue, this is a cultural shift driven almost exclusively by internet exaggeration and sensationalism.
We need to decide how we feel about that.
Customers the 3G losers
For years, several Thai telecommunication companies have been advertising 3G mobile phone promotions, when the actual 3G service practically never existed.
So what has the customer been paying for all these years, if the ''real 3G'' never existed, but was just ''sold to them'' as 3G on plain advertisement paper?
According to the latest articles about the year-long 3G-bidding, which ended up selling cheap by global standards, it can be assumed that those telecommunications giants have been toying with the public in order to take the best cut for themselves; in other words ''take under-the-table-money'' first, at the ''lowest investment cost'', leading to the year-long dispute in the 3G auction and a less than satisfying result.
This auction doesn't have any winners, only losers, and the biggest losers are the customers who have been waiting for years to be able to use ''real 3G services''.
But customers always seem to come last for these telecommunications giants that screwed up the bidding in the first place.
The NBTC has announced that customers will have to be patient for at least another six months before they can officially use ''real 3G'' in Thailand, but I wouldn't be too surprised that after six months, if something goes wrong again, the customers will be forced to wait another six months, or a year, until they can use real 3G.
The NBTC is a weak regulator in that sense - a paper tiger, as it was labelled during the 2012 Uefa European Football Championship ''blank screen fiasco'' with TrueVisions.
Telecommunications services haven't been reliable for many years in Thailand, because generations of governments haven't really cared too much about providing the infrastructure necessary to implement high-speed broadband technology like 3G without temporary disconnections.
Even today, random internet disconnection, on and off and on and off, still happens - it really is horrible.
After all these years, the poor telecommunications customers in Thailand have paid for ''below standard 3G'' that only looked like 3G on the company's advertisements.
A storm of sensationalism
Ever since Hurricane Katrina it has become a tradition among the ''warmists'' to use every natural disaster as leverage to push their agenda of fear; and that trend continues unabated even though all of their previous analyses and predictions have been proven false and eventually retracted.
It is almost humorous to read the actual evaluations by climate scientists that serve as the basis for this kind of media sensationalism because they say in effect that of course it is not possible to link a single weather event to climate change but let's do it anyway.
Business time for climate
Re: ''Message from Sandy is clear'', (Editorial, Nov 2).
The strong message emerging from Superstorm Sandy cannot be absent during the deliberations of the UN Climate Change Conference to take place in Doha, Qatar, from Nov 26 to Dec 7 this year.
This conference will further test the capacity of multilateral diplomacy to develop acceptable solutions for 194 participating countries in a complex round of negotiations on global warming and related issues.
Since the chaotic Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in 2009, there has been a regrettable lack of momentum for the adoption of a comprehensive international legal instrument to tackle climate change.
Is there cause for optimism after the devastating Superstorm Sandy?
No miraculous achievements can be anticipated from the Doha Conference. However, realistically thinking, significant progress might be made in approving some practical decisions in order to implement the action plan agreed during the previous conference in Durban, South Africa in 2011.
We could also see meaningful negotiations continue towards a new international framework for tackling climate change by 2015.
''Business as usual'' in conducting multilateral climate change negotiations can no longer be a reasonable option during our era of global perplexities and vulnerabilities.
The numbers don't lie
Now that the figures for the situation in the deep South are available for the month of October, a clearer picture of the violence is emerging.
The number of deaths recorded for October was 65 (35 Muslims and 30 Buddhists). This represents a more than 50% increase from the average monthly total of 42 over the past couple of years.
Injuries were recorded at 67 last month, a decrease from the recent monthly average of 78.
It would seem then that the true change in the South is not so much a surge in actual violence, but rather an increased ability by the insurgents to mount bigger and more focused, and therefore more deadly operations.
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